BY CAROLYN CAMILLERI
For Ann Squires Ferguson, CEO of Western Design+Build and the owner of Design District Victoria, spring is about reconnecting with nature.
“Springtime is that time where we are starting to blossom and allow new growth, which is exactly what is happening in nature,” she says. “But it’s also what is happening in our built environments, where we want the curtains or the blinds to be open — we want to crank open those windows.”
For deep inspiration harnessing the idea of how we live in “seasonality,” Squires Ferguson references Dallas Hartwig’s book, The 4 Season Solution: A Groundbreaking New Plan for Feeling Better, Living Well, and Powering Down Our Always-On Lives.
“You can’t be in summer mode all the time, extroverted, eating salads and running long runs — that’s not natural. Your body wants a seasonality to it and, of course, as an interior designer, when I read it, I thought, ‘Oh, that makes total sense,’ ” she says. “Your home, your office, your everything wants a seasonality to it.”
Here are a few simple tips to bring spring into your living space:
Squires Ferguson recalls the days when “having your colours done” was popular. There is still something to that. While summer colours tend toward brilliance and flashiness, spring colours are soft and nuanced, she says. They are the colours you see outdoors in the spring.
“We have these soft sage greens as leaves are just poking through the soil, and we have soft blush tones and the colours of the flowers in spring, the crocuses and snowdrops,” she says.
Looking to nature for inspiration, add soft spring colours to a room with accessories, such as throws, pillows, candles, glassware, linens, art, rugs — even coffee-table books and magazines.
Natural textures — pottery, stone, wood and anything woven, such as textiles, baskets or floor mats — bring the earthiness of the outdoors inside. Often, these items are handmade or have a handmade look to them. Woven items are especially appealing to Squires Ferguson.
“Whether it’s wall coverings or textiles or basketry, why it really appeals to me is that it is traditionally a feminine art and often an Indigenous art or cultural art from around the world,” she says. “Particularly here in the Pacific Northwest, we see those textiles and woven goods representing what can be an underrepresented sector.”
With the region’s rich variety of handmade artisan goods created by local Indigenous makers, as well as those available through international cultures, Squires Ferguson encourages people to seek out connections to these makers who carry that tactile knowledge in their hands.
“Every one of those [handmade] items carries with it an embodiment of creativity and skill and innovation that has come down through an intrinsic way of knowing,” she says. “That intertwining is a really powerful and invisible part of nature.”
While we often think of flowers in the spring, Squires Ferguson says we should be considering live plants.
“We want live plants in the spring — actually rooted in the soil — because the beauty of a live plant versus cut flowers is that live plants are air scrubbers,” she says, adding that some plants are more effective air cleaners than others. “Even at the very beginning of spring, before you can open those windows comfortably, you can bring those air-scrubbing plants in to get that real freshness.”
Plants clean the air by filtering out impurities. “They push those impurities down into the soil and use them as fuel and give us that clean-scrubbed oxygen,” she says.
Research abounds on plants that clean the air. Common examples include snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata), spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum), Boston ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata), areca palms (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens), peace lilies (Spathiphyllum), English ivy — even bamboo and Aloe.
Whether shifting from a neutral palette or adding natural textures or live plants, customize your space in a way that leaves you feeling refreshed for the season.