Sterile environment might be okay for lab rats but our homes need texture, pattern and colour.
Humans are tactile creatures – from the earliest days as infants we soothed at the feel of softness and coo at the touch of fur on a pet. Who does not love to touch cashmere? Even earlier, at day four, an infant can recognize the pattern of their mother’s face. And babies are mesmerized by colour. These three elements add so much to our lives and more importantly to modern design.
Modern home design and architecture benefit from the use of organic, textural materials to inject interest. For instance the use of humble barn board has soared – its lovely old patina and texture balances out the use of metal and hard surfaces. Live edge wood pieces are evidence of people wanting elements of nature in their interior surroundings. And what isn’t reclaimed these days? We have décor items made on an Ontario farm from rusty old metal (pic- funky beaver) and artwork painted on rough wood that could have been a packing pallet re-incarnated.
Richelieu, Canada’s largest cabinetry hardware supplier, has just introduced drawer pulls and knobs that look like blobs of lava sliced into layers – just call it live edge metal.
At this December’s IIDEX – International Interior Design Expo at the Toronto Metro Convention – Interface, one of the world’s largest flooring companies, showed their Human Nature Collection. Taking colour, texture and pattern from nature, they have a number of carpet tiles that visually mimic items such as small river rock and recreate the colour and pattern found in barn board. The carpet tile are rectangular and allow endless creativity in how the pattern, ie. herringbone, brick staggered etc, is designed with various textures and colours. (pic interface )
Interface is also environmentally concerned using recycled material for the majority of their content – even producing a line called Net Effect I and II where small fishing villages in the Philippines are paid to collect discarded nets which are sent off to be spun into yarn for carpet tile. The texture and colour of the tile resembles the movement and colour of the sea. www.interface.com
We recently used natural flagstone at the exterior entry to a modern home and carried it right through the interior foyer and out the other side to the exterior patio. With the huge floor to ceiling windows the home now has openness to nature that Frank Lloyd Wright could only dream of achieving. The client never worries about dogs, children or even bikes using this sturdy material and the random shapes create a pattern that balances out the more modern, linear shapes of the architecture and other finishes.
Grey – what can one say but that it is everywhere? Yes, it is a great basic, a nice neutral but like black and white, it is not a colour and somewhere, somehow one needs to add to the palette. By all means keep the big stuff – such as sofas, cabinetry or flooring – neutral and therefore adaptable. Then add texture and pattern and but pump up the drama, add the interest with colour. There are lots of great colour combos to use with a neutral environment – blue spa ( 2052-20); a shot of split pea green ( 2146-30) looks amazing with pewter; sundried tomato ( cc-62). (Benjamin Moore colour dabs ) And of course there is nothing more dynamic in a room than great artwork to add all three elements at once.
And what do the pundits predict this year for colour? Pantone is touting Marsala 18-1438 – think dusty wine (pic – kravet). Benjamin Moore presented Guilford Green HC-116 as their Colour of the Year – a soft, mid-green. (pic- brochure cover)
So find your favourite colour, search out all things touchable and repeat a pattern to humanize and personalize your environment.
Written by Sharon Allan
Original article found in Escarpment magazine Winter 2015 pg66