Architecture and design are no longer leaving nature to the great outdoors. Instead, it’s being welcomed into our homes with elements such as living walls, natural light, and organic materials, colors, and textures. “There are huge psychological and physical benefits connected to healthier, greener homes,” says Edo Mapelli Mozzi, founder of London-based property and design practice Banda.
“Many studies prove that access to, and even a view of, nature can do wonders for our well-being and mental health,” agrees Samuel Pye, creative manager of London-based architectural design and development studio Echlin. He lists benefits including, “reduced anxiety, improved sleep, cleaner air, and help with combatting depression.”
Inspired to prioritize your well-being through your home’s connection with nature? Here, we profile four projects that are doing just that.
1. Taking a Harmonious Approach:
August Moon by SPAN Architecture
This home restoration in Maine is rooted in sustainability, as SPAN Architecture sourced local materials in line with those used in the original cottage and conserved the natural pathways, moss, and mature trees of the existing site.
Located on the rugged coast of Maine’s Western Bay, nature-immersed August Moon was once the summer retreat of New York socialite Brooke Astor. Today, it’s a place for a young family to decompress, with every facet of the property—including the original teahouse and cottage designed by Robert Patterson in the 1960s—having been recently restored and updated.
“The symbiotic relationship between nature and the built environment—biophilia—is at the very heart of August Moon’s design,” says Karen Stonely, co-founder of SPAN Architecture. “Appreciating the surroundings and allowing their magic to flow through the home’s spaces was at the heart of what we wanted to achieve. Ensuring a sense of calm and the ability to enjoy the simple things was a pivotal inspiration.”
Set within a saddle of the landscape, the newly built main residence comprises several volumes including the master bedroom that juts out into the trees and a concealed ocean-level living area. “The house unfolds along the landscape in the same way that several small bridges through the property take people on a journey,” Stonely says. “Nature gave us the most wonderful tools—it was just a question of how to lace it throughout our designs.”
2. Creating Tranquil Opulence:
Penthouse 09 by Banda
For this London penthouse, Banda created a “beguiling mix of rustic look and luxury feel,” with a color palette of natural tones and strong geometric lines that contrast with the overall restfulness of the space. Image: Banda Property/Ben Anders
“As soon as you walk into the space, your shoulders drop and you feel relaxed,” says Banda founder Edo Mapelli Mozzi of the multidisciplinary property practice’s latest project. Located in London’s Notting Hill, this light-filled, fifth-floor penthouse overlooks a garden square and offers an additional 2,300 square feet (214 sq m) of outdoor space through its private roof terrace.
Inside, Banda Design Studio used a calming palette of natural materials, textures, and colors. Along with earthy hues and plantings of moss and olive trees, the walls are finished in a finely textured, highly sustainable clay plaster. “The clay is 100 percent natural and non-toxic,” says Mapelli Mozzi. “Its moisture and temperature-regulating properties contribute to the health and comfort of the environment.”
The tranquil, contemporary space also includes a nature-inspired snug with a green mohair sofa and sage-colored fine wool on the walls. “We’ve thought long and hard about how families want to live right now, especially following periods of isolation,” Mapelli Mozzi adds. “Being at one with nature at home is front of mind more than ever.”
3. Prioritizing Connection:
Trancoso Pool House by Nenmar
At Pool House, Nenmar’s design approach sought inspiration from the surrounding vegetation and local architecture, and shrouded the structure’s guest suite in eucalyptus sticks to create an organic-feeling space.
Inside merges with outside in this pool house with guest accommodation in Trancoso, Brazil. “We wanted to revert back to the basics, to disconnect by reconnecting with nature,” says Gianluca Nencini, co-founder and director of design studio Nenmar. “In the psychology of architecture, a visual connection between the indoors, outdoors, and nature can reduce stress and produce more positive emotional functioning,” he explains.
Nenmar achieved this with the use of large sliding doors that open to a mature garden filled with exotic plants indigenous to the area. Meanwhile, natural light—vital for improving mental health and well-being, Nencini notes—filters into the guest quarters through a screen made from local eucalyptus sticks. This design feature not only increases privacy but also provides an eco-friendly way to regulate temperatures and boosts the sense of tranquility.
The result? A space that “elevates the spirit and consequently the mental health of whoever is using the space,” Nencini says.
4. Unexpected Green Solutions:
Knightsbridge Mews by Echlin
When remodelling this traditional London mews house, Echlin thought outside the box, maximizing greenery in the outdoor space with a two-story high living wall and using natural materials to reinforce a connection to nature within the city.
This redesign of a mews house in London’s Knightsbridge prioritizes nature through the introduction of light, a living wall, and natural materials. “This project is right in the heart of Knightsbridge. Previously, homes like this would have relied on nearby Hyde Park to tick the box when it comes to access to outside space,” says Samuel Pye, creative manager of London-based architectural design and development studio Echlin.
“However, with a greater awareness of the impact of nature on our mental health, we felt it was necessary for the home’s architecture to bring the outside right up to and even inside the house.” This includes an 20-foot high (6 m) living wall for greenery; eight skylights to bring in natural light; houseplants for better air quality; and a material palette that brings in natural textures.
“All these features combine to create a calming home that swaps traditional glamour for a sanctuary-like aesthetic,” Pye says. “That, to us, is the modern feeling of luxury.”
Just Listed on Lake Simcoe: 968 Degrassi Cove Pl W, Innisfil
This custom home direct waterfront home was built in 2000 by the current owner and has served as a sanctuary for family and friends. Over their 22 years of ownership, they have enjoyed the property during every season.
Degrassi Cove is a small and exclusive waterfront community and share the private road. The forested lands on the opposite side of the street provide great privacy. There is no vehicle traffic other than the neighbours, so it is very safe for kids.
Built as a 4-season home and located on the west-side of Lake Simcoe. You will enjoy north-west facing views of the lake and sunsets. There are no stairs to the water’s edge. The water table is level to the lot, which offers a beautiful beach area along the shoreline. There is great swimming and boating. The portable dock is 65 ft long with a 12’ x 12’ patio area. Boating enthusiasts can store their boat in the dry boathouse. Entertaining on the lake is so easy!
The home offers 2,700 sf on the main and upper level. The principal rooms offer generous space including a large private family room, formal dining room, large great room combined with the eat-in kitchen. In addition, there is 1,535 sf of finished space on the walk-out level. There are four generous size bedrooms. The primary bedroom is situated on the main level and overlooks the lake, and includes a five-piece ensuite, a walk-in closet and a garden door to the lakeside patio area. The three other bedrooms are located on the second floor.
The lower level includes a large recreation room with wood-burning fireplace and a walk-out to the lake. A large office with a built-in desk and bookcases can serve as a large 5th bedroom. The 3-piece bathroom is also equipped with a partially finished cedar-lined sauna. There is plenty of storage space on this level too.
Photography by @ishutterphoto
Staging by @chateau_designandstaging
This professionally designed custom-built home embodies a comfortable, vintage cottage feel built with energy efficient maintenance-free materials. This home offers a private park-like setting, with in- town conveniences. It’s a nature lover’s lot…a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. This one in in a million home was showcased in a 16-page spread in Cottages & Bungalows Magazine.
Shiplap walls and wood slat ceilings throughout impart a cabin-like coziness. The primary bedroom is secluded on the main floor overlooking a wooded area that surrounds the property. The front office duals as an additional main floor bedroom adjacent to a 3-piece bathroom. The upper level includes two additional bedrooms that provide enhanced privacy for guests. One of the bedrooms functions as a seating area with a Murphy bed and small kitchenette. It has been designed as a secure space for future rental opportunity.
Located in the charming lakeside village of Bayfield, this property is a stone-throw away from Lake Huron, a short walk to town, the fishing pier and marina, Pioneer Park and the Community playground. This spectacular property backs on to a designated environmental area and surrounded by trees makes it an ideal retreat for entertaining family and friends.
It’s no secret that green has been trending in a major way lately. Not only does the leafy shade conjure the sensation of being outdoors after two years cooped up at home, it also is a versatile (and welcome) alternative to traditional colors like white and gray.
Sweet 3 bedroom home that has a light and airy feel to the interior. Vaulted ceiling with open concept design creates a welcoming feel with plenty of natural sunlight all afternoon. Hardwood floors in bedrooms. Updated interior ready to be moved in to. It is a special place to call home or cottage.
Large wrap-around deck features West-facing views of 2-acre park of which you would be a 1/10th owner. Private dock for all park owners. Deeded Lake Simcoe access is rare to find. Very private setting with mature trees.
Message us today for more information or to book private showing.
staging by @chateau_designandstaging
photography by @ishutterphoto
20 Quiet Heights Lane, Georgina provides views of the lake from all spaces on the west side of them home, including the great room, kitchen, dining area, and primary bedroom.
You will enjoy the morning sunrise from the front covered porch and of course, sunset views from the lakeside. The natural sunlight fills the home with warmth and light all day long. It’s tranquil, serene, and welcoming.
In the design stages, the current owner had some important “must-have’s” including a Muskoka like feel, spaciousness, sun-filled rooms, and an “understated elegance“ carried throughout the home.
Some of the interior features include:
– 3 bedrooms on main level and 2 additional bedrooms on the lower level
– 3 full bathrooms plus powder room
– 10.9 ft ceiling height on the main level and 9 ft ceiling height on the lower level
– Great room includes custom millwork and 13 ft vaulted coffered ceiling
– Gourmet kitchen with upgraded appliances
– Spectacular light fixtures including ceiling fans in each bedroom
– Custom drapery and blinds
– Radiant heated floors in kitchen, primary ensuite and the entire lower level
– Surround sound system both indoors and outdoors
A full list of room features, additional images, virtual tour, and more can be found on our website (link in bio).
This listing is also available on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)
When you combine the attention to detail of a quality builder with the owner’s vision to create a sanctuary home, the result is spectacular.
This home offers a “Zen” feel immediately upon your arrival.
The landscaping is wonderfully appointed with a collection of perennial gardens, shrubs, mature trees and privacy hedges on both sides, which is home to many birds. There are several seating areas promote great conversation with family and friends or a place to enjoy some quiet time when you want to be alone and enjoy nature all around you.
This is a wonderful home to entertain in both indoors and outdoors. The raised balcony includes a covered area where you can enjoy a summer rain shower. The open area provides lots of space for your chaise loungers to get some sun and watch an array of boats on the lake.
The lower deck is covered and a perfect location for the 7-seater plus lounger hot tub along with another separate seating area to enjoy the lake views.
Listing Price: $1,935,000
DM us to book a private viewing.
The full listing can be found on our site & on realtor.ca (MLS# N5657656)