Inspired by Nature
For an easy way to bring winter style home, display all the little wonders found outdoors. Nature boxes are the perfect way to bring the outdoors inside in a simple, beautiful way. Just take a printer’s tray or shadow box, hang it on a wall and fill it with any and every bit of nature you can find.
Londen made two nature boxes to hang in the dining room. She spray-painted them with chalkboard paint because it’s a softer black than traditional spray paint. “I love the subtle color and texture, and being able to see our finds every day,” Londen writes on her blog.
Her boxes are filled with goodies picked up during walks in the woods or any time spent outside. Treasures include seashells, small jars of sand and dirt, stones, seeds, nuts, leaves—you name it—if it lives outdoors, it could find a home inside a nature box.
come in all shapes and sizes, from fiddle leaf figs that can grow taller than the windows, to hanging ferns that spill over pots to drape down from the ceiling, to tiny succulents that grace side tables.
“I always bring in different things from the seasons,” Londen says. During spring, for example, she’ll decorate with tulips. And during the holidays, greenery fills the home with color and freshness.
They have two Christmas trees this year, one in the dining room and one in the living room, and go with fresh, real trees every year. It’s a family tradition to go out the day after Thanksgiving to pick out a tree, cut it down and bring it home to decorate. “It makes the house smell so good,” Londen says.
For those not blessed with a green thumb, nature boxes are a great way to bring the outdoors in and bring some natural charm to a space. And the need to go outside to find goodies to fill the boxes certainly isn’t a bad thing either.
TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK
Homemaking is a team effort in the Huffman household. Londen, the designer, says she comes up with the ideas, and Mark does the heavy lifting. “He’s the one who makes all my ideas come to life,” she says.
Small improvements that give the home character are everywhere; in particular, the
kitchen banquette. Mark cut a hole in the door leading to the basement for the cat, since that’s where the litter box is. The banquette itself was one of their larger projects. Mark constructed the built-in bench himself, using plywood from Home Depot to create a shiplap look. The bench includes some much-needed storage space, and the seat has a generous lip to create room for feet, so sitting feels more natural than just perching on a flat bench.
Outside of the family room, Londen says the kitchen banquette is one of their favorite spots in the house.
“We do spend a lot of time there,” she says. “We play a lot of games on that table, and my daughter does her homework there.”
In the living room, a meticulously curated gallery wall displays black-and-white photos from the family’s travels. “We laid out everything on the floor first. We took all the frames we wanted to use and came up with the design. My husband did the math and hung them,” Londen says. “... As far as the photos go, we just take our favorite photos from different places and put them up there.”
While Ethel may have been hesitant at first, the love and devotion the Huffman family has poured into her over the years has paid off. FOLLOW LONDEN ON INSTAGRAM AT @SIXTYFIFTHAVENUE, AND ON HER BLOG AT SIXTYFIFTHAVENUE.BLOGSPOT.COM.
|ABOVE| WICKS AND WONDER. Wicker chairs make the dining room playful, while a black and crystal chandelier brings an elegant balance. Real greenery in the form of a garland and a second Christmas tree provide freshness throughout the season.|OPPOSITE TOP| WEATHERING THESTORM. The steel window in the kitchen is original to the house. When the Huffmans moved in, it had been painted shut; the storm window was in bad shape, and they planned to replace it. Instead, with a little TLC and determination, they repaired the window and kept a piece of the home’s original charm.
HELPING HANDS. The headboard is a handmade DIY piece Londen and her husband, Mark, worked on together. She created the design and shopped for the fabric, and he did the work to put it together. Londen says many of their projects go that way—she’ll have an idea, and he’ll bring it to life.