How to Bring the Outdoors In

Courtesy of kathy ireland Worldwide

I had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Walker, a brand ambassadors for kathy ireland Worldwide about cost effective ways to bring the outdoors in.  The kathy ireland Worldwide motto is “finding solutions for families, especially busy moms”, something we can all appreciate. Nicholas Walker is an award winning designer and often on TV on talk and eco shows. It was a pleasure to learn of his amazing ideas on how to bring the indoors in for my home. I hope you will find great tips for your home too!

Courtesy of kathy ireland Worldwide
Photo Courtesy of kathy ireland Worldwide

We have a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired home. We would like to bring some of his style of bringing the outdoors inside into our home during our remodel phase. Without having a stream run through our home, how can we bring the outdoors in during our home remodel?

Your home sounds beautiful. One thing that Frank Lloyd Wright and Kathy, my mentor and partner, have in common is they both love to bring the outdoors in. Windows let the sunlight in and allows for you to be inspired by God’s natural world. One of the ways Kathy does this is with her partnership with Window World. I am sure you have considered using windows whenever possible to allow light and invite the outdoors in.

You can be as grand using glass panels instead of wood railings for porches, stairs and balconies.  Or you can simply bring a gardenia scented candle indoors.  A self-contained water element is an excellent way of adding negative ions to the inside environment and the sound of running water is soothing. Be inspired by your local environment and bring it inside. Beautiful stones, interesting branches, tree stump for a base of table, a fallen nest, bark from a birch tree are simple and beautiful ways of bringing the outdoors in.

With large windows (5ft tall) in our home, it gets drafty during the winter. Do you have a solution for window coverings for 6 foot high windows that cover the majority of the kitchen, dining, and living rooms?

I recommend honeycomb shades and black out curtains as excellent ways of keeping drafts out and making your room warm and cozy. The honeycomb grid acts as an excellent insulation layer due to the fact that each individual comb has air. You also have the option to draw these beautiful shades and curtains by remote.

Aside from good windows flashing is as important. Flashing is the bridging element between the actual structure of the window and the house.

My kids love to collect rocks, cool sticks, and other “nature” items. How can we bring real nature into the home for display without it being a bucket of rocks and mud?

Kathy has three children and I have four children so we love and understand the collecting of insects, rock collections, cool sticks and other nature items.  A great way to showcase their collections is to use a tempered glass shelf that can sit on two cut tree trunks.  Each child can paint on the glass to highlight their latest find. This allows for an ever changing and interactive platform that is also timeless and elegant.

You can also pour a concrete bench and imprint their hands/feet with their favorite leaves. Kathy frames the art work of her children with each child’s favorite collection glued to the border on the frame. She then makes a gallery of her children’s art work on a cherished wall of their home.

Instead of only using edibles such as oranges and lemons in your floral arrangements, incorporate your children’s treasures. This helps display their work and adds form, depth and dimensional interest to your flower arrangements. Perhaps more importantly it shows them that you value their contribution by using their treasures. We have the pleasure of working with; which provides easy to follow directions for floral arrangements on their website.

What color schemes work best for bringing a natural, earthy feel to a home?

The outdoors is the greatest inspiration and earth tones can be found in everything. Just look outside your windows and be inspired by what you see. Truly become one with your environment and bring it in. Kathy says you can simply be inspired by your favorite rug. She says use the color in the rug that speaks to you most and bring it to the walls of your favorite room.

What are some simple ways to update a living room from boring to stylish?

Accent walls are fun and easy to change. As Kathy says, “Don’t be afraid of color!” If you have a beautiful jacaranda tree, a rose garden pulls them inside. Image your living room with the rich saturated purple color of the Jacaranda tree. The myriad of pinks from your rose garden could transform a dreary bathroom into a beautiful and peaceful refuge.

Kathy offers eight style guides that can help you find your own personal style. To learn more about those eight style guides please go to For example: Frank Lloyd Wright designs would fit more comfortably within Kathy’s Americana style guide. The important part is to not be afraid to design yourself… Kathy encourages everyone to suit your own personal style, by perhaps mixing and matching certain elements from any of the eight different style guides and making it your own.

Do you have any suggestions on gardening on a bank next to the road and/or a backyard with a steep hill?

The problem with gardening on a steep hill is erosion and accessibility. Depending on its relationship to views and privacy issues one can plant a grove of trees as they will stop erosion and transform a steep bank into a beautiful hillside tree grove.

Another less daunting option would be to plant ground cover as a carpet to stop erosion and weeds. I have had the pleasure of working with the organization FireWise and ground covers such as ice plants and Sedums are great fire deterrents.

One can also use the innate gravity inherent in a hill to your advantage and transform it into a natural meandering stream and/or water fall with an efficient recirculating pump. You will need concrete and stones. Perhaps you could invite family and friends for a weekend to build the stream/waterfall and reward their hard work with great food and refreshments, or do all three depending on your energy, space and budget.

The existence of water in any outdoor space is a beacon to wildlife. It will help develop a sustainable eco-system. The birds and the bees will come and your garden will be pollinated and thrive.

Article Courtesy of kathy ireland Worldwide

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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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