Your Connection to Nature Biophilic Interior Design

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

I LOVE nature. Really. I love spending time outdoors. I feel vibrant, and alive outside. I like the warmth of the sun on my skin, and the sound of the ocean, the fragrance of the jasmine blooming in my backyard. And I love what I get to do in nature. I hike, horseback ride, bike, raft, ski – just about anything outside in nature except for camping. Unless it’s glamping.

I think one of the reasons I like the outdoors so much has to do with my height. I’m under 5’0” – actually under 4’11” – and being this short, I get claustrophobic very easily. If I’m in a group of people, it’s difficult to make eye contact. If I’m at a standing room only concert, I’m staring at the middle of someone’s back.

This feeling of claustrophobia was then transferred to my home. I found out I physically NEED to have light, high ceilings, lots of windows in my home in order to feel comfortable, in order to breathe. I have to bring nature inside to have living things around me – I’m surrounded by plants, wood, shells in my bathroom, and stones in my shower, in order to relax.

Let me tell you a quick story about my brother. I think this “need” to be connected to nature was also brought home for me by him by thinking about what might have happened to him. Keith was born with Downs Syndrome. At the time, in 1963, most babies born with Downs were put in institutions. In fact, many of the doctors my parents spoke with suggested just that, and then to simply move on with their lives.

The reason this was so horrific, even besides the idea of losing my brother, was that most people growing up in institutions didn’t live very long. Imagine it. It used to be that you were confined to indoor spaces. You rarely get to see the sky, be in the trees, hear the birds sing. You’re removed from nature, from your natural environment. It’s easy to see how depression would set in. Lack of energy, lack of vibrancy, lack of desire. It makes me want to cry.

The point is, nature is critical to our health and well-being. Particularly because we spend most

of our time indoors, we need to make sure our experience of nature can be felt inside our homes. Because we physiologically need the beauty of nature in our lives to survive. The science of neuroaesthetics – beauty and the brain – is catching up with what we know intuitively. That we feel better outside.

Think about your own home, particularly through Covid. Being cooped up there most of us

realized our homes didn’t feel as good as we would have wanted them to. We discovered all sorts of updates we wanted to do, but never got around to it. They become stale.

The best way to bring new life into your home, make it more beautiful, and actually raise its vibration so you feel happy every time you walk through your front door, is to implement aspects of Biophilic Design. I know it sounds like a disease, but think of it as literally meaning Love of Nature.

Whether you’re simply updating a room, moving into a new home, purchasing a vacation home or planning a major renovation, paying attention to Biophelia has now been measurably proven to be beneficial to you. It can lower your blood pressure, increase the release of serotonin, lower your stress level among a myriad of other benefits.

You can literally align your home’s interior design with your biology, match its resonance, its vibration, and create happiness. Perfect for creating your new, amazing space.

Creating your story starts with feeling home, at home. So you have an anchor, a safe place from

which to explore new experiences and adventures. Like in yoga, or Aikado, once your energy is grounded, you have the freedom to move the rest of your body, the rest of your life.

Ask yourselves this: Is your home your favorite place, your sanctuary? My suggestion is to begin creating your new space by bringing biophilic patterns of nature into your home.

Look to nature – the textures and colors vibrating around you; the shapes and even the expressions, the experiences of nature – of the breeze, the dappling light and shadow, the mystery of what’s over the ridge and the awe of a sunset. Implementing aspects of nature through Biophilic design into your home will bring you beauty, joy, health and happiness.

Let me give you a few examples:

Imagine you have a large, beautiful painting of a road meandering off into the distance through a forest of trees. First, your eye will travel down the road, visually expanding your space, making it feel bigger.

There’s a sense of mystery, of the patterns of biophilic design. We like the anticipation of not knowing everything, we can be curious. Being in the trees provides us refuge, another biophilic pattern, that feels safe and comfortable.

Here’s another example. Say you have a window on your wall, and you want draperies, curtains to close for privacy or light control. Imagine the top of the window is about 15” from the ceiling. You measure the width of the window and install a rod over the window and hang your drapes. When you look at the window now, it looks smaller, you can’t see through it as much because the fabric is in the way. And it feels a bit crunched by the visual weight of the rod.

Now imagine your rod is installed high up, close to the ceiling. And it’s wide enough so when the drapery is open they clear the window. Now you have the full expanse of the window. Plus your eye will be tricked into imagining that the window goes up all the way to the ceiling. It will feel as though the window is bigger and will feel so much better by addressing the BIophliic pattern called our Visual Connection to Nature.

Now let me ask you, how can you use the interior design of your home to best match your energy to that of the story of who you are, and who you might want to become?

I’m going to ask you to do something with me, OK? Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and imagine your home.

Now consider: What is one thing that will make a difference, that will make me happier in my home?

You don’t have to remodel your entire home. But what small thing can you bring into your home to increase your feeling of sanctuary? Will you bring in a plant? Will you reupholster chairs in a beautiful natural material such as cotton or linen? Will you invest in a magnificent piece of art? Maybe you’d like to install a living wall – imagine a beautiful, vibrant wall of plants and flowers. Or you might want to call an interior designer.

Choose just one thing. And to help, download your Free Introductory Guide to Biophilic Design on our website here, so you can start to implement these elements into your own home.

Remember, you ARE nature. We’ve been around in this current human form for about 200,000 years, yet we’ve only lived in built environments for about 20,000 of those years. Our DNA

expects us to be a part of our natural environment. That’s where we’re most at peace, where we’re happiest.

Design happiness into your life through the implementation of Biophilic Interior Design. You can wake up to nature, and still be in your own home!

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

Stacey Lapuk, ASID is celebrating her 30th year with her firm. Named “One of America’s Ten Designers To Watch” by Design Times Magazine, one of the “Top 100 Interior Designer in North America” by Blink Art Resources, and the winner of multiple national design awards.  Her goal is simple: To co-create with her clients the home of their dreams with responsive and comprehensive solutions, and timeless, beautiful results. 

Her full service firm attracts clients desiring the finest workmanship, materials and custom design. Facets of work include partnering with architects on new construction, remodels, kitchen design and bath design, color consultation, custom furniture, flooring, area carpets, wall and window treatments, lighting design, art procurement and antique acquisition.  Service areas include but are not limited to Marin County, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Ross, Kentfield, Belvedere, Tiburon, San Rafael, and Pacific Heights.