Sunday, July 29, 2012

Styling with Nature

Whether collecting acorns, drying flowers, or framing herbaria, I think it is charming to bring nature inside. There are many easy ways to style using nature. Grab some pine cones for an empty bowl, for example. Such an interesting way to fill a vessel. I love displaying bowls but sometimes an empty one looks a bit lonely. Filling it with pine cones or seed pods adds warmth and texture. 

So take a stroll through the garden or neighborhood and happy gathering!
 No, this is not scented potpourri :-) I placed poppy pods from a friend's garden in this antique marble bowl. I love the way it picks up the color of the metal plant stand I use as a table. The antique barrel back chair is Swedish.
 Mini pine cones and pods (from Flamant in Brussels) on 19th Cen Swedish Gustavian writing table.
 Antique books on North American birds and eggs. The quail eggs are from eBay.
 Sorry, I'm hoarding these books....they are not for sale :-(
 If you do not like using real eggs, try terra cotta or wooden ones. I found these terra cotta eggs (not old) in Sweden.
 Annabelle hydrangeas from my garden are tied with grosgrain ribbon. The Swedish Gustavian chest has reeded top drawers.
 Antique English majolica dishes inspired by nature.
 The acorns are from Terrain.
Dried lilies of the valley and vintage botanicals on Swedish writing table
Mocha on the lookout for squirrels who are also searching for acorns. Mocha would like to remind us that birds and other wildlife rely on nuts and seeds for food, so please be mindful and leave some for her friends.  


  1. Hi Loi - This post was so beautiful (like all your others!), that I didn't want it to end. Thanks for sharing your ideas. They are so simple but add so much. I'm going to check out eBay for quail eggs. Happy Sunday to you!

  2. Loi, Mocho is one cool "lookout-er"!
    Love the Hydrangeas and the pine cones. The plant stand with the bowl of poppy seeds is beautiful.
    OK, I am in love with the antique Swedish Barrel chair!

  3. Lovely pictures and great styling tips. I love those Quail eggs, and I don't blame you one bit for hoarding those books.....I would do the same. That picture of your dried Hydrangeas on your Gustavian chest is simply dreamy. I'm a sucker for Hydrangea 'anything' ha ha.
    Have a great week.

  4. The natural materials add such delicate tones and fantastic shapes.
    In Taiwan fried quail eggs are sold on the street, and I have noticed in a random way that the spent shells, mounded high in baskets, look quite striking. You have inspired me to try to take a picture of this next time, although they might think I am crazy.
    --Road to Parnassus

  5. Very charming, especially the spotted eggs. I will have to hunt down a few of the terracotta variety.

  6. 1. Mocha kills me! This is sooo my dog! 2. Great texture 3. Why can't I photograph like you???!!! 4. You need to come to California:-) Have a great Sunday! I love your work! xoxo, K

  7. Hi Loi,

    Such beautiful photos - very artistic vignettes. I especially love the poppy seed pods. And, need I say it again, I want all the Swediish furniture.


  8. Oh Loi, each takes my breath away! I'm a nature gatherer and love to display and enjoy. Every image is art and I'm so with Deborah not wanting this post to end. A good note though, hello wise Mocha -so cute with his summer cut!
    Blessings to you my friend!

  9. Loi where do I start. I love it all - divine styling. It just goes to show that you do not have to pay a fortune to make your home look beautiful, natural items have an elegance and simplicity that is hard to replicate. I love the writing desk, I would love to be able to squeeze one in somewhere. I shall have to put my thinking cap on.

    As for Mocha, she is one gorgeous little lady, Prince would be totally smitten!

  10. Lots of lovely ideas you have kindly shared here Loi. I am very fond of poppyseed heads, and will be gathering a new supply when they will have finished ripening - but of course, after I have scattered their seeds. Mocha is gorgeous, what a delightful little lady she is.

  11. Dear Loi, its high time for a Tone on Tone book now I think. Love every single picture but my favourite has to be the first Flamant, beautiful.

  12. Dearest Loi, you are elegance personified. I find myself wanting to "Tonify";) my home; but alas, could never be, as your gestures are truly authentic. I agree with Paul, a book is next. PS...I can send you some quails eggs "gratis" them poached and served on fresh asparagus with that bad;)?!! Thanks for the beautiful post. Brenda.

  13. Great reminders to go out gathering. The antique marble bowl is stunning. Agree w/Magical Christmas' comment about the book!

  14. Exquisite Loi!

    The vignettes with the gilded frame and hydrangeas and the dried lily of the valley are beautiful.

    Love the quail eggs...!!!!

  15. Your photos are always so pretty and your posts educational. I did not know that Lily of the Valley could be dried. I will definitely be adding this to my list of things to try.

  16. Darling Loi,
    Each of your vignettes is like an old masters masterpiece. Perfect placement of items. Exquisite use of hues and palate, I am totally in awe. You are truly an artist and all around nice bloke! Hope you are enjoying the Olympics and hope you had a nice visit with Meg recently. She visited with me on her last trip to the UK. She's a darling!

  17. Look at sweet Mocha! I love all of your beautiful nature inspired vignettes, and I never thought to dry Lily of the pretty! I'm just letting you know that if I should ever come for a visit and you notice those two books missing after I leave, I have NO idea what happened...honest! ;-)


  18. Loi...I love the nature and the texture! such lovely photos..thanks for visiting my blog and your advice on the chimney pots. I did notice yours before so I knew I could use in the garden if I can't find a brave soul to put on the chimney. I'll be happy either way!

  19. You're adorable. I love Mocha's haircut, looks like a larger version of my shaved Shih Tzu, Nicholas. I love those poppy pods and how they mimic the table they're on. I think I need to order quail eggs asap, they are so beautiful. Thanks for getting us out of stores and into nature. That's where we belong anyway! Have a great week friend. Thanks for the compliment on My Best Friend Craig's comments! You're a dear friend.
    Stay tuned for the ORC reveal Wed. We have put it all together this weekend.
    XO Nancy

  20. Beautiful cool and refreshing on a hot summer day. Going to copy your bundle of dried Annabelle as soon as I stop typing! Held on to my blooms this year waiting for an inspiring idea...found it

  21. Each photo here is such a lovely work of art. What an eye you have, Loi! Mocha is gorgeous!

  22. Such beautiful, beautiful images. Nothing prettier than Mother nature! Thank you for sharing such beauty,

  23. How beautiful Loi....a naturalist's dream decor. I love the stunning (I visited Flamant in Paris). You know, it reminds me when I was a child that I was always bringing things from the outdoors in to decorate my room - flowers, pine cones, branches. It is certainly how sensitive souls like us in the country must have decorated their homes, with lovely found things...!
    xo Terri

  24. Loi, I have been struggling with drying the hydrangeas in my garden (I want them to fill those woven iron baskets we both love) and was wondering if you have any advice. so far I have tried in and out of water, but neither seems to be working! And as always, everything you touch is beautiful - love the positioning of the antique botanicals with the real things!!!!

    1. Thanks for asking about the hydrangeas. Sometimes I do have problems with hydrangeas wilting. It helps to hang them upside down in a cool location. Good luck :-)

  25. Loi!
    You're brilliant... I love bringing the outside in! I love your comment (No, this is not scented potpourri) hahaha... I struggle with that stuff!
    I love how you never miss a detail. The simplest details make the biggest difference! Fabulous post!

    Best wishes!

  26. What lovely ideas you've shown here. Great styling! Pods and cones add such interest when displaying a beautiful vessel, and the best part is that they are free! It does help, though, when you have such beautiful Swedish antiques such as yours to display them on! x Sharon

  27. What gorgeous ideas Loi. Thank you for this. It has given me a new way to look at nature inside the home. I love the look of autumn leaves piled inside a vase or sitting in a beautiful dish surrounded by candles in the same hues. A close girlfriend of mine and I did this recently and it was so effective. Your styling as always is divine.
    Jess x

  28. Such a serene post, Loi. You continue to remind me darker antiques may be passe.
    Love styling with nature and even save some pods from year to year.
    And your Mocha is ever attentive. No worries of squirrels intruders with Mocha on duty.
    Have a great day,

  29. Hello, Loi - I enjoyed seeing that marble bowl and all your natural elements, especially the pods from Flamant. I live in Pinellas County, and have several large pines in my yard. My squirrels eat the pine cones right down to their cores, and that's what I put in a glass bown. It always surprises and delights guests.

  30. Loi,

    Your botanical prints are gorgeous. I am on the look out for a pair! Natural elements are a must in the home. We have lots of wild life on our property (bear, deer, etc..) that feed on the indigenous plant life.. and my roses! We have to be careful what we put out for feeding wildlife because of the bear. Over the years the American Gold Finch population has dwindled. There is an organization that will "certify" you as a (safe house!) bird sanctuary for these little creatures. I keep meaning to look into that.
    I love pine cones and they are a must during the holiday season. Also like the dried lavender and hydrangea!

    Cute pup!!


  31. Truly an inspiration.... as always! You have amazing taste and style!


  32. So beautiful! Finds from my garden are my favorite accessories.

  33. Great post. I think that I'm going to make a search for those Swedish terra cotta eggs. What breed is Mocha? She's gorgeous. Have a wonderful week. Mary

    1. Thanks for asking, Mary. Mocha is a Tibetan Terrier. She is in her summer cut :) Loi

  34. Lovely post Loi. I also love a bit of nature inside. I display pine cones in a bird bath underneath my vintage coo coo clock. I absolutely love your dried hydrangeas and your Gustavian chest.

    Mocha on squirrel duty... so sweet. We have an apple tree filled with ripening apples and our local squirrel gangs are getting very fat helping themselves! It's so funny to see them knocking apples down and hauling half eaten apples up into the oak trees.
    Have a great day!

  35. It's interesting how the poppy pods mimic the radiating lines of the table as well as the color.
    Nice collection of brown & white quail eggs! I got my start on eBay by collecting brown & white Lettered Cone shells. It's fun to hunt & gather!

  36. Gosh, I love your collection of bowls and urns. I'm often at a loss to know what to put in my own decorative bowls, so this is a valuable tip. Mocha looks incredibly chic - what a fashionable and Summery hair cut she has - and she always knows her best angle!
    Paula xx
    p.s. How did you dry your Hydrangeas so perfectly - and at what stage did you cut them?

    1. Hi, Paula - The hydrangeas were cut in full bloom, and placed in a jug with a small amount of water. They dried naturally in that jug. Thanks! L

  37. Loi,

    I could not agree with you more. Pine Cones and Acorns, pods and seeds are always in style. Natural decorating adds a beautiful touch to any home.

    Of course my favorite are your little acorns. Unfortunately they are no longer available or at least not online. Love them

    Have a great week!

  38. Loi,
    You are so right!! Nature provides us with the most amazing, textural elements that bring life and energy to our interiors!! One of my favorite summer additions is the vacated robin's nest where I was able to watch those gorgeous eggs hatch, grow and fly away. Now, it sits on a set of books in my hallway. And, a constant reminder to take note of nature!

    Happy Monday!!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  39. I loved all the accessories you made from nature and the ones inspired by it!! I will be on the look out for my own home!! Great post!! xo Leslie

  40. Each image is perfectly styled! Well done! I share the love of collecting natural objects for our home too. What pretty tabletops and cute little Mocha with her swishy tail!

    Pretty acorns on the Wedgwood plates and the Flamant pods are gorgeous! Love their shape. I dry our hydrangeas too, cutting them at the perfect faded green stage if possible.

    The light in your home is so natural and perfect for your lovely vignettes. When I photograph our house, way too dark and I hate using a flash. Have a nice week, show us what you purchased on your last trip to Sweden soon!

  41. So pretty, I love decorating with found natural objects. thanks for sharing.

  42. Loi, you absolutely have a magical touch with your decorating. If I was to leave seed pods on my sideboard it would look like they were begging to be swept up and thrown in the bin, but yours look like they were meant to be there!!! Your home is such a delight, thanks so much for sharing :)

  43. Hi Loi,

    Great post! Using natural elements in design always looks right to me. Of course... having the skill to arrange those elements in such a pleasing and balanced way is an art. You have shown us all some great tips!

    Cheers and happy gathering!

  44. Loi, my gosh these are beautiful images. I also love to bring nature into my home. I think you should write a book and use all your beautiful images.

  45. If I want inspiration, I come here, Loi. I love everything thing here, and the special touches are so lovely. The pods are my favorites,and I also love the dried hydrangeas. The chest is stunning too.
    Happy Tuesday.

  46. Ditto what everyone else has said-amazing styling, gorgeous photos, and one very cute doggie-
    I like her responsibility reminder :)

    The Lilly-of-the-valley is a fave because om hubby's and my May birthdays.

    And yes, it's time for a book!

  47. Loi, your tabletop displays, with their natural elements are beautiful but even more than that, they seem to tell a story, your story, love that. The photography is
    stunning...a book, is definitely a must! Love the pup! Monica

  48. Thanks Loi for sharing your post which I loved especially the intro to Mocha~-)xx

  49. I'm not exactly sure how I missed out on seeing this post when it first came out! I make it a point each day to see if you've posted something because I love your posts so very much! This is so beautiful! I'm glad to know you share my love of antique botanicals and bringing nature in to enhance our lives! I love all of your seed pods, eggs, etc…and if you ever do decide to sell your books with these fabulous prints just let me know! Hope you are doing well!

  50. Hey Loi - if you ever get fed up with interiors you could always get a job as a photographer! these photos are STUNNING!!! particularly the third one - it's sublime, I just want to frame it! You're so right about the lonely empty bowls, seeds and pods are a great idea. I'm also in love with your Swedish chest with the reeded top drawers - very tasty!!


  51. Hi Loi, Those bird books are amazing...I would surely hoard those too! I love to decorate with natural elements as well...your vignettes are beautiful and your photos are fabulous. I love each and every visit here to your beautiful blog...your talents are beyond compare.
    Take care, Laura :)

  52. Dear Loi, I so agree! Nothing more exquisite than nature....oh my goodness, everything here is so beautiful.
    Those poppy pods! Love it all...
    Thank you so much for your visit, I too thought it was such an unusual production...I'm still a bit on the fence about it...but I loved how the blossoms of the cauldron came together at the end...very touching.
    Have a beautiful day!
    - Irina

  53. What beautiful inspiration, as always, Loi. Adore the use of the natural pieces from the yard and the pods are wonderful. I can't quit looking at all of your beautiful Swedish the antique barrel chair!!

  54. I love the eggs. I have seen some lovely terracotta ones at big box craft stores in case anyone else is looking. I think quail eggs are quite yummy too! You take beautiful photos Loi, this makes me want to commune with nature.

  55. You are gifted my friend!
    Love the simple elegance of all your vignettes and then of course, your photography! Amazing!

  56. Unbelievable images here, Loi. It's no wonder your blog is so popular. Beautiful staging too.

    So glad you're able to comment on my blog now. I found a new commenting system that I hope will work beautifully!

  57. Thanks for visiting Inspired Design! How adorable is Mocha?! I am a HUGE dog lover. I agree, that elements from nature are awesome in any space. I've often seen branches artfully arranged but when I've tried to replicate it is just a hot mess!

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  59. oh gotta love Mocha! he is SO cute. i love your stylings, Loi. you are most talented :)

  60. Sometimes the simplest things from nature artfully arranged are the best! What a great've got me thinking about fall...Does Mocha like to chase squirrels? Tell Mocha Beau says hi!!

  61. Love such simple beautiful elements from nature...fabulous vignettes. Mocha looks like he is dying to get outside...How cute! Mona

  62. A true example of how beautiful nature is! And hell what is cuter than a puppy at the window. I have a feeling Mocha knows that:)

  63. Hello Sunshine, I understand that the books aren't for sale.... but how about sweet Mocha? She is so precious! Love all the beautiful pictures. Nature is our best accessory. Thanks for your always thoughtful and beautiful posts.

  64. Hi Loi,
    I came here via my friend Debra at Acquired Objects and did not realize you had a blog-I've been in your shop though! Your displays are just beautiful and when you mention acorns, etc...naturally I was smitten as they are among my favorite things to decorate with too. Look forward to visting you!

  65. Oh Loi, you are speaking my language!
    My favorite decorative treasures come from nature, I call them "God's Art"

  66. ....é bello lasciarsi ispirare dalla bellezza della natura!
    Un post bellissimo!
    Ciao caro Loi e grazie per aver condiviso con noi tanta arte e tanta bellezza.
    Felice weekend!

  67. Just LOVE This setting and pictures.

    Greetings from Holland.

  68. All the vignettes are fabulous, Loi (no surprise to any of your devoted readers). I'll wager there will be a run on quail eggs on ebay. I searched Terrain for the lovely wood acorn. Alas, they do not have it, but your combos of antiques and items from nature are inspiring...and I love Mocha.

  69. So simple and so beautiful, also it is so much easier than arranging flowers and they last longer too. A beautiful post, Loi.



  70. Hi Loi,

    This post inspired a purchase, and a blog post. I hope it is ok that I referenced back to you and used a couple of the inspiring photos...


    Revi -

  71. Hi Loi, I like your styling and pictures very much, I also following you on Pinterest, cause gardens and flowers are my inspiration, you can also following me on Pinterest, Anmazine
    and I have a blog in English,
    Happy gardening or reading about it, greetings Anmazine from The Netherlands


Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi