Natural Elements


Rammed earth is another natural material making a giant comeback. From tiny hut-like dwellings in the dry regions of Africa to the wet northern European region—this ancient technique has been used around the globe since 5,000 B.C. Using natural materials such as earth, chalk, lime and gravel—the rammed earth technique can be labor-intensive to construct. Wall construction begins with a temporary wooden frame that acts as a mould for the desired shape and dimensions of each section. The earthen materials are then dampened, poured into the sturdy mould, and compressed into batches that are gradually built to desired size. The result is a solid, durable, sustainable wall of earth.

One wonderful characteristic of a rammed earth structure is its ability to regulate temperature—absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night. Another huge bonus is that rammed earth structures last indefinitely. That’s right—forever. Finally, it’s estimated that rammed-earth structures can be built for around two-thirds the cost of a standard frame home (after all, dirt is dirt cheap).

Today, it estimated that around one third of the world’s population live in mostly low-rise earthen dwellings in less developed countries. However, in more urbanized areas with sustainably-oriented architects at the helm, rammed earth is experiencing quite a revival. Regardless of vicinity—rammed earth is a wonderful earth-centric way to leave a lighter footprint.


Pictured here is a wonderfully modern interpretation of this very ancient technique by Kendle Design. This glorious Quartz Mountain home captures the stark beauty of the Arizona Dessert.   For more visit


With such a huge interest in creating more natural home environments, we thought it would be fun to give you a few specific ideas. Below are a few suggestions on how to bring the outside inside.

Use brick or stone. What could be more natural then incorporating brick or stone into the atmosphere of your home? Brick and stone interiors help to create that relaxed setting that homeowners crave. Not only is brick and stone sturdy it actually helps to maintain interior temperatures. Painted brick brings a cool modern look. For an earthy appearance we love to leave brick in its natural, more rugged state. Natural rocks like fieldstone, cobblestone, and river stone all have their own unique characteristics and all of them are appropriate for creating an accent wall as a focal point. Brick and stone can get costly. Not to worry—most are also available in more cost-effective faux panels.

Include nature in every room. There are dozens of ways to feature nature in every room. For example; hang a birdfeeder from your window. Hummingbird feeders are our favorites. Catching a glimpse of these wonderfully colorful creatures is a real treat. Add a chortling Zen fountain in your office, hallway, or foyer. Use organic bed sheets. Incorporate a few pieces of knotty natural wood furniture into your interior design. Live streaming a backdrop of ambient nature sounds will also help to create your desired chill-out setting. Seasalt Radio on iTunes (listening to it now) and Relaxing Rain on Songza are ideal for bringing nature into your home and creating a constant state of tranquility.

Incorporate lots of natural light. Using natural sunlight in your design creates a wonderful effect throughout your interior. Natural light helps augment interior colors and bathes the entire home in nature’s healthy glow. It also has a subtle effect on our moods. Sunlight actually increases endorphin and serotonin levels in humans which act as a natural mood lifter. One of the best ways to increase your natural lighting is to be mindful of the way your home is positioned in the first place. When planning new construction we do everything we can to maximize effects of the sun.   By placing the longest side of the home facing south we greatly increase the home’s natural lighting. In turn, this also helps to lower utility bills.