4 Natural Materials That Tell a Story

Design, Wellness

A healthy mind and body start with the environments we are living in, and we feel that good design starts with natural materials and curating mindful + sustainable design practices all with the intention of bringing well-being into your home. Home should always be a sacred space – one that brings you healing emotionally and physically. That’s why your built environment matters + that’s why we approach design for our clients with a holistic vision and work to use as many natural materials as possible. In today’s post, we are talking about the 4 natural materials that have the ability to tell a story by the way they show life through their patina and age over time.

Project Alcott from J.Reiko showing the use of natural materials

In recent years, there has definitely been increased interest in sustainable design and utilizing organic + natural materials, but for us at J. Reiko, it is the foundation of all of our projects. When coming up with our concepts and design presentations we are always incorporating our tried + true natural materials. There are four specific ones we gravitate towards most often because of the history they have, the story they tell, their inherent natural and organic qualities and the connection they can provide between nature and the indoors.

Related post: Live-Well Series: Why Wellness is Important

Natural Stone

We love using natural stone wherever possible in our projects because of its timeless appeal, beauty and longevity. Naturally created by the earth, it has been used in homes for centuries. Using natural stone won’t release unwanted chemicals into the air and because it is naturally occurring you don’t typically need any additional materials to take it from nature into your home. We love how it gives an organic look to any space. Some of our favorite stone materials include marble, quartzite,  limestone, granite, and soapstone.

Natural materials and using a stone countertop in the kitchen at project Alcott


Nothing warms up a space quite like natural wood. We love using wood elements wherever possible in a home to bring in that outdoor element and include a feeling of nature in the home. Wood is a renewable and recyclable product in comparison to other building materials making it sustainable and environmentally friendly. Some of our favorite wood species include oak (white and red), walnut, and teak.

Using wood as a natural material in this kitchen island design


When it comes to textiles there is no comparison to the unrefined beauty of linen. Linen is known to be one of the most sustainable fabrics because the entire flax plant is used when creating the fibre leaving little to no waste. We love the imperfection of linen and the texture it provides whether through upholstery, bedding or draperies. It creates that lived-in, casual look if you leave it intentionally wrinkled, or it can be steamed for pressed for a more refined/elegant look.

Dining room table with natural material linen draperies

Unlacquered Brass

Brass has had a real moment over the last few years, showing up in most designs and rightfully so. Its warmth and beauty can really add a special touch to any space. Everything from faucets to cabinet hardware and door handles, we love unlacquered brass on elements that will be touched by the human hand creating that beautiful patina we all know and love.

Because this type of metal isn’t sealed it will tarnish and darken over time as it oxidizes, so for those that prefer something that stays in pristine condition this may not be the best choice, however, we love the story it can tell and how it shows that true sign of life in your home and space.

Bar sink in historic Denver home showing unlacquered brass faucet

We always like to be as conscious as possible about the materials we use in our projects and there are numerous others that we use consistently, however, these are some of our non-negotiables when it comes to our designs and materials you will see used over and over again. Their natural beauty, storied nature and genuine ability to show human patina that builds and changes over time bring spaces to life.

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