All Beauty Comes From Nature

I remember sitting on the front porch of my grandparents’ farmhouse in North Texas one hot summer day in the 1950’s. I gazed with wonder at what my grandmother called hens and chickens. But these hens and chickens didn’t move or make a sound. They were plants, and they mystified me every time I visited the farm. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

These unusual plants looked like pieces of sculpture, with their thick seafoam-green petals layered in circular rows around a center point. In her thick German accent, my grandmother explained to me that the tiny shoots sprouting from the center of the “hen,” or mother plant, produced duplicates of itself – the “chickens” – that dangled from the hen’s center.  This duplication fascinated me. How could a plant know how to reproduce its exact shape, texture and color so unexpectedly from the center of its core? I remember breaking off one of the chickens and opening its center to smell the fresh moist life inside. Even at five years old, I sensed I had discovered beauty even though I didn’t know the word for it yet.chicks and hens2

That first powerful connection with nature never left me. Little did I know I would grow up to revere the natural world as my muse and mentor in the design work I would ultimately do. Nature is the source of all beauty. It reminds me that good design repeats itself – wave after wave, leaf after leaf, and petal after petal. It is the greatest lesson I’ve applied in creating beautiful homes over the past three decades. Following nature’s example, I repeat shapes, textures and colors to create harmony. The result is a profound and tangible sense of beauty and peacefulness. As the ancient Chinese proverb says:

If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nations.

If there is order in the nations, there will be peace in the world.

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