How to Use Natural Materials in Your Annville, PA, Home Design
Tiny Annville in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, is lush with natural beauty: Quittie Creek Nature Park and Union Canal Tunnel Park both afford its 5,000 residents plenty of places to relax and soak up the scenery. Lebanon County is about 84% rural, meaning you don’t have to go far to see waving fields of corn or small thickets of wood to wander through.
To ensure your home fits in with Annville’s old-school, rustic aesthetic, you should consider using natural materials both inside and outside of the home, particularly in ways that take inspiration from local products like native trees and stone. Whether you are building a custom home or renovating a turn-of-the-century house, consider leveraging these natural resources when accenting your home and garden.
Flagstone and Natural Stone
While smooth concrete may look good in a large city, Annville is a quaint and rural town, settled in the mid-1800s and filled with historical buildings like the Biever House. As such, you should consider using flagstone and natural stone when building walkways or paths, as this gives a more rustic look.
Irregular flagstones provide a very earthy aesthetic, while cut flagstones are safer for those with mobility issues. You can also install stone steps, which will provide a sturdy base for anyone entering your home.
Another great natural stone product is dry stack wall blocks, which can be used to build small garden walls for raised beds. Their chunky shape is both resistant to weathering and reminiscent of old stone walls that can still be found throughout Annville.
Granite counters are a sign of luxury, but they also provide a firm, solid cutting surface that is far more impervious to damage than laminate. In the humid environment of a kitchen, laminate tends to chip, curl, or peel over time, which can leave your cabinets defenseless against water damage or even mold; in contrast, granite is incredibly durable and impervious to scratches or chips. While it is more expensive, you won’t have to replace it anytime soon, making it an excellent investment for those who love to cook.
Natural Edge Tables
Wood is ubiquitous in most homes, but much of it is lathed into perfect uniformity, giving it less of a personality or connection to nature. In contrast, tables with a natural edge look more like what one would expect in a pioneer home, harkening back to Annville’s past as a rugged outpost in colonial times. These are generally made from large hardwoods and only lightly contoured; however, you can also find some with resin insets, which fill in natural knots and holes in the wood.
A natural edge table doesn’t just make an excellent surface for enjoying a family meal, but it also provides a great conversation piece and defines your home as a little different from the rest.
Jute is a versatile fiber that can be used to make a variety of home goods; it’s also very eco-friendly, as it is entirely biodegradable and releases no toxic gases when burned. You may be more familiar with jute in one of its most recognizable forms, which was quite common around the time that Annville was founded: sackcloth, such as that used to store fiber and cereals.
Nowadays, jute is often used as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic or engineered fiber floor mats, as it’s sturdy and stands up well for everyday use. However, as it readily absorbs moisture, you should avoid using it in high-humidity places, such as bathrooms and kitchens. These areas would be best left to bamboo floor mats, which dry much faster.
Wool Throw Blankets
Before acrylic fibers took hold because of their fast manufacturing process and colorfastness, wool was one of the most common materials for clothing, blankets, and other fiber products. It’s warm, naturally flame-retardant, and dries easily, making it a perfect choice for sweaters, blankets, and outerwear. Better yet, it’s incredibly warm, which is quite important during long, cold winters in Annville.
Many are prejudiced against wool, imagining that it’s scratchy and uncomfortable, but this isn’t always true. Merino wool, produced by sheep of the same name, and cashmere, which comes from goats, are both very soft; fine alpaca wool and mohair, which comes from rabbits, are also great choices.
Wool products can be more expensive than mass-produced artificial fibers, but they also last longer and grow softer with extended use rather than pilling or fraying. You can purchase them secondhand at antique stores, along with cotton quilts, to provide a sense of timelessness in your Annville home.
Pennsylvania has a rich history, and Annville holds on to that heritage thanks to its tight-knit community and careful preservation of beautiful buildings. To help your home best fit this aesthetic, consider using a variety of natural materials both inside and outside of your home.