Biophilia in Design: An Interview With Designer Traci Connell

By Linsey Stonchus

Wellness has been top-of-mind for the affluent consumer during the past few years and has been further exasperated after 2020. The incorporation of nature within the home through biophilic design, in particular, has been popularized for its positive physical and emotional benefits.

In our piece “Nature and Home: Biophilia in Design,” featured in Luxury Portfolio magazine, five exceptional designers and architects provided their thoughts on biophilia, along with their fascinating projects.

Traci Connell, of Traci Connell Interiors in Dallas, Texas, was a source of inspiration for our article after she discussed the popularity of nature in design in our previous issue’s “Millennials: Reshaping Luxury Real Estate.” In our extended interview, Connell expands on how nature is incorporated across generations and the features she’s finding in homes.

1. Why do you think biophilia is having a big moment right now?

In a time where “natural” and “eco friendly” are all the rage, this trend has taken top-priority as it is an easy way to incorporate something inherently natural indoors. It also creates the feeling of outdoors, inside. When many are forced to be indoors and working from home, they surround themselves with elements that evoke a feeling of nature.

2. Are there different incorporations of biophilia among various age groups?

Yes – we have noticed different forms of this trend across the ages. Younger homeowners tend to choose houseplants that require very little maintenance, such as snake plants or succulents. When they use this type of plant, they are always sure to display them in unique and trendy planters or pots, such as wall-hung pots or hanging plants. The older generations love to incorporate more traditional plants such as ficus plants and tend to house them in baskets. Younger generations use the house plants as the focal point of their design and place them in main areas around the home whereas the older generations tend to use them in corners or tops of cabinets.

3. Which design elements are the most popular?

Accessories such as clay pots, pots on stands, hanging pots, etc. are all part of the boho/Scandinavian movement that pushes nature forward.

4. What are you seeing right now in terms of…

Outdoor living spaces? Comfort, function and lots of nature. We see green walls of modern ivy, modern planters with greenery plants and nothing that will distract from the natural view of the horizon.

Natural materials? Rattan and teak continue to be all the rage when it comes to housing these natural plants or forming a furniture plan around the idea of nature.

5. What are your personal favorite incorporations of nature within the home?

I love when nature becomes art. Whether it is a designed accessory that is hung on the wall that holds mini succulents or an elaborate natural centerpiece that exudes modern design. We also love floor planters with mid century bases.

6. Do you have any recommendations or tips for homeowners looking to incorporate biophilia within the home?

Do what makes you feel! IF there is a specific plant that you just love or brings that warm fuzzy feeling, use it. We are all about the evoking of feeling because that is the basis of design!!

7. Do you have any examples of how you’ve incorporated nature in your own design?

In my own personal lakehouse, I have incorporated multiple uses of plants that bring the horizon of the lake, indoors. Through planters and greenery, it brings that warm feeling of home anywhere I walk, even if I’m not outside!

For more on biophilic design, view the latest issue of Luxury Portfolio magazine and check back every Tuesday through April for more extended interviews and check out last week’s interview with Architect Anthony Laney, who designed a “Disappearing Pool.”

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for better readability.

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