Use the Elements of Tuscan Design – Stone, Earth, Wood, Water, and Light

Making a statement -

Are you prepared to break away from current decorating trends that emphasize ‘global’ or ‘universal’ styles and which are intended to appeal to the broadest possible range of home buyers? If so, get ready to add character, personality, warmth and the Tuscan design feelings of security, comfort, and ‘destination sanctuary’ to your home.

The Keys for Success

- Functional furnishings with a sense of solidity; rustic finishes and textures

- Balanced use of the elements – Stone, Earth, Wood, Water & Light

- Warm, nature-inspired, color palette

- Simple, uncluttered spaces without ostentatious or pretentious décor.

Understanding the pieces of the puzzle -

Designing “simplicity” can, paradoxically, be a complex undertaking. So, before diving in, let’s review the components and principles of Tuscan design so you can create a little bit of Tuscany in your home.

All found in nature, these four keystone elements . . .STONE – EARTH – WOOD – WATER… provide a foundation for understanding how one may replicate the beauty found in the hillsides of Tuscany. They comprise a true harmonic quadrangle and are the beating heart of Tuscan design. By drawing upon this quadrangle of natural elements, you may build your own haven of comfort, warmth and style.

A fifth unexpected ‘element’ – LIGHT – is also fundamental to adding the warmth of Tuscany to your home.

Stone is the ubiquitous foundational element used for building, for decoration, and for statuary. Types of stone used in Tuscan design will generally include brick, marble, limestone, quartz and granite. The most democratic of all building materials, stone can be found in humble farm structures as well as in elaborate castles, villas, churches, and cathedrals.

Soft, warm woods balance the strength of stone, creating harmony within the Tuscan home. The predominant woods found in traditional Tuscan furnishings, from antiquity to modern times, will be those that have always been a part of the Tuscan landscape; cypress, fir, chestnut, pine, walnut and oak…

This third essential element of Tuscan design is perhaps most easily and readily incorporated through the use of clay – bricks, roof tiles, and pottery. Terracotta (literally baked earth) is seen throughout the Tuscan region of Italy, easily recognizable by its earthy, rusty red hues.

There can be no life without water. It both sustains life and threatens it; that duality making water the most intriguing of the elements. How does water fit into the scheme of Tuscan design? Subtly, discreetly, and naturally. Water may become a strong element in your design plans through the use of decorative fountains in landscaping forms, or via a large ‘villa-esque’ swimming pool. The translucent qualities and movement of water act as a balance to the stronger (stone and wood) elements of Tuscan design.

When one thinks of Tuscan design, often a golden wash of light is the first image that comes to mind. Thus, light has been added as an element, even though not traditionally thought of as part of the elements of Tuscan design.

We know, intellectually, that stone, wood, earth and water are the key elements, and yet it is that ever-present golden light that draws us into its warmth. It is the light that we desire. It is the light that will wash over our stone, wood, earth and water design elements, and provide comfort within the walls of our home.

How can one achieve the light that is so strongly associated with the Tuscan landscape, especially in northern climes and regions not in any way similar to the hills of Tuscany? Perhaps one cannot achieve the light itself, but one can recreate ambient light in a room or even an entire home through the judicious use of color and lighting fixtures (and attention to natural light).

Excerpt from Decorating in the Tuscan Style, the 162-page eBook packed with tips and techniques (and lots of photos) to help you transform your home and garden into the heart and soul of Tuscany. To learn more about Tuscan décor, visit http://www.intheTuscanstyle.com