We've all toted home an interesting stone or two from a good walk. We appreciate the eons it took to shape them; we admire the composition, the shading. But the coziness?
Today's rocks - or close facsimiles - are getting all warm-and-fuzzy. Perhaps as a nod to environmental interest, designers and retailers are adding pebble and rock motifs to their home collections. Accessories, rugs, wall coverings and even lamps are fashioned from the real thing, or so cleverly imitative that you have to touch them to know the difference.
Gigantic, soft floor pebbles are an inspired alternative to the family room floor cushion. Or wrap a wall in a stone-printed paper, or cover bathroom walls with squares of natural pebbles. There are luminescent boulders for indoors or out, and stacked rock lamps, each one unique.
Thomas Ward of Stepping Stones Studio in Idaho recently won Bon Appetit's cabinet hardware competition with the knobs, pulls and lamps he makes from glacial and river rocks he finds on canoeing forays. He's mindful of the fact that most of his clientele are city-dwellers.
"Every stone I place is done in a way that will present its natural beauty and dignity to people who've been separated from nature," he says.