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Designing with nature and connection in mind

When designing a home, something important we investigate is how the family lives—their values, the vision for their life, and how they can best experience their home.

We recently began designing a project for a beautiful family who live on a sprawling farm in Myakka. All of our designs feel very intentional but this project in particular, centers around connection, wellness and nature.

I’ve been itching for a project I could dig my nature-driven and sentimental teeth into and really create a family-centered home. A home for connection, play, learning, and exploring, and where there are no screens to distract us from what’s truly important.

A strong sense of values, learning, creativity, curiosity, and fostering a love for nature. A space for slower moments, home-cooked meals, laughter, appreciation, and reflection.

It’s certainly a notion we can identify with and embrace.

It brings to mind some simple ways anyone can begin to re-think their home with these intentions. I do believe this is much more rooted in how we live, think, and value, and our home is a reflection of that. However, creating a space that invites and inspires us to slow down, to connect, and simply be certainly a way to begin training our minds to view our home differently.

1. Make connection a part of your routine.

Nightly family dinner or morning coffee on the deck with your spouse. An evening walk to catch the sunset. Make it a ritual and create an environment that allows for that. You don’t need wrap around porch or dining table in a castle to create these moments.

2. Invite nature into your day.

Take a short walk with your dog, work outdoors, bring your children outside instead of reaching for the tablet. Even 15 minutes a day can make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Make it a family event or a mommy and child moment.

3. Let the children be part of the chores.

Washing dishes, laundry, booking, baking or feeding the pets all have to be completed. It teaches responsibility, hard work and creates small moments of connection. Any task can be fun if you allow it to be. I often make a “bubble bath” in sink for my daughter to get her to wash dishes with me and it also makes it enjoyable for me.

4. Organize your home and de-clutter.

Create space for intentional living. It’s beyond uninspiring to be surrounded by clutter and things. Take inventory of your things and create systems in your home to allow for better function and purpose. I truly believe everything in your home should either be functional or beautiful. Use storage baskets, mount hooks, and make a home for objects. This allows for accessibility and easier cleanup.

5. Once you de clutter-create zones for each intention.

In your 700-square-foot home, every inch is meant to serve a purpose. We have a reading area, an art area, a dress-up and pretend play zone and I added a wooden rolling cart to extend the countertop space to make room for Savannah to cook with Daddy or I. She makes her school lunch with me often. It’s about using mundane tasks that serve a greater purpose; connection.

6. Don’t forgot wellness and self care.

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Home-cooked meals, walks, working out from home, and incorporating more organic food into your life are huge ways to improve your life force. You have to nurture your body to nurture your mind. It allows us to be present parents, spouses, employees or entrepreneurs.

7. Buy handmade nature tools, toys and Unitarian objects that reflect a grounded sense of wellness and call back to nature.

For your furniture, think solid wood, rattan, teak, bamboo and again natural materials.

Friends for Dinner by Cottonwood & CO

8. Keep a couple of woven baskets by your door or porch for foraging with your children.

Collect leaves, shells, flowers rocks, fruit if you have a garden and allow children to experience nature fully. Invite those fresh flowers into your home to display. Hang the baskets to store easy-to-reach or in view fresh fruit and vegetables.

Here are some products and ideas to help you bring all these values into your home.

Kids Space

Wooden bins Allow for easy access and accessible exploration and play.

A wooden kids table and chairs. So multi -purpose for art, reading, homework and snacks. The wood look options are durable, easy to clean and much prettier

Invite a Montessori approach to living

Create play zones and accessibility for toys, pretend plan, learning and movement

This allow children to better focus and there is room for creativity.

If you have the room for it Install a wooden swing in your home It is such a fun way to allow kids to play and controlled movement-stimulation indoors. I personally find it to be so calming.

Dining Room

A great rustic wood dining table that can be played on and is meant to be worn and lived

Woven chairs are very durable and kid-friendly

Kitchen Space

Kids standing towers are genius. It allows children to cook with you safely.


Add rockers to your porch or lanai that call for still moments

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