Though synthetic materials in home construction and decor have come a long way, most people when pressed would still take the natural option if it fit the budget. “Part of the aversion is likely due to the inability of artificial materials to reveal the organic processes of aging, weathering and other dynamic features of natural materials, even inorganic forms like stone,” says researcher Stephen Kellert, who specializes in biophilic design (building practices that improve human health, well-being and productivity). People crave a deeper connection with nature than what synthetic materials can offer, and combining rich wood and stone has long been a winning formula for fostering that connection.
On Site Management, Inc., original photo on Houzz
This rustic bedroom features honest materials like wood stained and finished to show the grain; stone cut and polished to enhance color and pattern; and fabrics woven to show the inherent texture and color of natural fibers like linen, wool, silk and cotton. Biophilic designers disagree about the extent to which inorganic materials like steel count, but as long as using up what’s already in existence remains a central pillar of this school of thought, recycled metal certainly seems fair game.
Traditional techniques like masonry and bricklaying create textured surfaces that architects like Hawaii-based Kenneth Masden call “neurologically nourishing.” Not surprisingly, the most intense connection to the built environment is often felt in historic sacred sites and buildings whose walls are frequently arched and stone-clad.
Fredman Design Group, original photo on Houzz
A Grounding Force in Kitchens
Here’s an excellent way to mix wood and stone in the kitchen. A mantel-like timber frames the cooking area and accents the kitchen island, while shiny marble provides a glam element juxtaposed against the rusticity of the hearthstone wall.
High Camp Home, original photo on Houzz
A Biophilic Bathroom
It’s worth mentioning that stone and wood look stellar with an unpainted plaster wall. Also of note in this photo is the live edge of the countertop stone. But first prize for biophilic inspiration may belong to the meandering pebble tile path that leads from the shower to the vanity. If bathrooms occurred naturally in the wild, they might look like this: tactile and textured.
Giambastiani Design, original photo on Houzz
Color Matching Is Key
One key to rocking this look is to choose stone and wood varieties with similar coloring. Here, the red tones in the wood pick up the rosy hues in the stone, so an identifiable color palette is subtly expressed by materials we usually think of as color-neutral.
Just because your walls are made of stone and your ceilings are decked in decking doesn’t mean you can’t throw some color into the mix. In fact, color tends to really stand out against an earthen palette, so go wild with upholstery and rugs. (Just don’t overdo it and detract from the bounty of authentic materials you’re very fortunate to have surrounding you!)
The Floor Vote Has It
Mixed flooring is a great way to define different rooms within your home as long as it’s done in a cohesive way. Merging wood floors with stone that resembles the type you’d put on your outdoor patio imparts a courtyard feel to transition spaces, such as hallways and entryways.
Ross NW Watergardens, original photo on Houzz
Take It Outside
Finally, take advantage of your site’s natural bounty, incorporating the slope or patch of boulders that others would raze or remove. Resisting the urge to pave over everything or install a thirsty lawn can yield a design that feels like a restorative retreat.