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Architects, design students team up to showcase leading home trends

A campfire crackles underneath a glowing crescent moon — or right in the middle of your living room.

While more and more homeowners have been extending their living space by covering and/or furnishing their porches, patios, decks and backyards, there is a new trend to look ‘out’ for in 2017, said Earl Lee, director of environmental design at Columbus-based architecture firm Moody Nolan.

That trend is to mix outdoor elements directly into the home— a concept that lies at the heart of an exhibit created by designers from Moody Nolan, as well as students from The Ohio State University and Columbus College of Art and Design.

“So you may find more natural materials like stone, grass and water,” Lee said. “Really the trend centers on making the walls of the house more transparent, so that the inside-outside transition is lessened.”

The exhibit includes four showrooms — a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom —all of which infuse elements of nature within their design or decor.

The most obvious outdoor-indoor fusion — and what will likely be a visitor favorite — is the bedroom, which doubles as a treehouse that stands four feet off the ground. Other features include an outdoor shower, a half-inside, half-outside dining area, and an indoor fire pit.

It can be very simple, such as having a few potted plants in select locations,” said Chris Humphrey, a fourth-year architecture and construction-systems management student at Ohio State who helped create the exhibit.

On the other end of the spectrum, some homeowners opt to install a “green wall,” or a wall that has a growing medium on the surface, which allows plant life such as mosses and vines to grow and survive indoors, Humphrey said.

“We go outside a lot when we’re children, but we don’t necessarily think that our interior design or living spaces can reflect that,” said Toby Katz, a fourth-year interior design student at CCAD who worked on the project. “But we hope that this show tells people that you can be inspired by plant life and animal shapes and things like that, and that you can show it in your home in a tasteful way.”

An additional area features custom wall coverings designed by each of the six students who worked on the exhibit.

Similar to how vinyl tiles mimic hardwood or stone through modern printing technology, wall coverings can also be made to resemble various textures and patterns.

“It was a way to showcase and explore our interests, while also showing people that you’re not bound to the options that you have in stores,” Humphrey said.

While the exhibit is certainly fun to look at, its core purpose is to demonstrate to homeowners the new and trendy ways that they can enhance their atmosphere.

“A lot of the things we’re doing are definitely doable. It’s just about putting them together in the right combination to make the space what you want it to be,” Lee said. “Sometimes where people fall short is simply having the idea to do it.”

This story was originally published in The Columbus Dispatch’s Spring Home & Garden Show special section on Feb. 17, 2017.