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Welcome home, Mother Nature

Tuning in to the environment is the latest architectural and interior- design trend.

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Every day the Cedarquist family lives out on a limb. Several limbs, actually. In the woods of Vermont, their two-story house is suspended in the trees.

During winter winds, the home creaks and sways. When buds burst in spring, branches inside the house grow green too, because the black-cherry and maple trees that hold up the house also grow through it.

"We're very outdoor people, and wanted to raise the kids close

Not many families have befriended nature as closely as the Cedarquists have, but others, too, are finding ways to blur the boundary between inside and outside.

Both architecture and interior design are developing more in tune with the natural environment. People are becoming less rigid about what they consider indoor vs. outdoor furniture and materials, and gardening is becoming a domestic art.

"People are becoming more attuned to bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out, so there's more of a flow," says Mara Seibert, co-owner of Seibert & Rice, a New Jersey company that imports fine terra-cotta pots that customers are cozying up to inside their homes as well as out.

As soon as John Danzer, founder of outdoor furniture company Munder-Skiles in New York, started making wooden garden furniture based on updated historical designs, people started putting the pieces indoors. "It gives you a sense of calm," Mr. Danzer says. "I think everyone has memories of running around outside in summer, and this reminds them of that, so they bring it inside."


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