Monday, September 28, 2015

Branching Out

Last year, I noticed a trend that seems to have caught on with interior designers: That of using simple twigs, branches and greenery in place of elaborate floral decorations. While I certainly enjoy a beautiful bouquet of flowers, the idea of using nature in all its simplicity appeals to my personal aesthetic...and to my practical nature, as well!
What could be easier? Take a simple glass bottle or vase, add branches from a tree and et voila! 

Even though inexpensive fresh flowers are available year-round in local supermarkets, they seem to be the same chrysanthemums, baby's breath, alstroemeria, stock roses, etc. season in and season out. Good in a pinch, but not very exciting.

The vignette above is in the entry of West Hollywood designer Mark Egerstrom. The brilliant painting is by two artists....Brian Grosdidier and Jay Shinn. No amount of flowers in a vase could stand up to it, but a few simple Philodendrun leaves hold their own! (House Beautiful)

In the entry of designer Lindsey Bond's home, a strong painting by Meredith Pardue is framed by a glass vase holding a few branches. A good example of nature working with art and not distracting the eye from it.

The above example is from the Washington, D.C. home of one of my favorite designers, Darryl Carter. Mr. Carter is known for his restrained use of color and furnishings, preferring to use only the best items - but less of them - in a room. An exquisite19th century grand piano is back-dropped with a wall relief by Margaret Boozer. In keeping with Mr. Carter's aesthetic, he invariably chooses simple branches of greenery.

Here is another example of simplicity. Just a small branch....a twig, really....from a tree introduces an aspect of nature into a vignette featuring prints of ancient ruins.

In her Florida home, fashion designer Adrienne Vittadini used a classic white pitcher filled with tropical leaves to augment a bold print and leaf-green throw pillows .

Here L.A. interior designer Barbara Wisely used a pot of wild grasses in a corner of her guest room. Plant nurseries feature grasses almost year 'round, and they can bring an interesting feature to a room before being planted outside.

In the photograph above, taken from Bonnie Trust Dahan's wonderful book, "Living with the Seasons", a dried gourd is juxtaposed with a graphic print and a wood vase holding fern fronds.

In this photo (also from Ms. Dahan's book), grasses in a glass vase make a simple statement.


And, finally....a San Francisco designer decided to skip the twigs, grasses and branches and feature a limb from a River Birch!


  1. It seems to me that the rest of them finally caught on to something you've been doing for years. Whenever you come to visit, we can count on a lovely arrangement of whatever you were able to find in our yard or the nearby forest. (Just remember to get rid of the bugs first!)

    1. Even as a child, I foraged for wild flowers and grasses. However, to my mother's dismay, I didn't always leave the bugs outside!