To soothe this year of constant chaos, designer Claire Major recommends a dose of nature.

"With the acceleration of technology and the overload of the world's problems, we all feel like we have ADD (attention deficit disorder)," she said. "A touch of the outdoors can create a more calming, more peaceful environment and make us feel good." 

For Major, that means everything from chunky logs to seashells to plants.

In the midcentury modern home she shares with husband Rich in Jefferson Place, Major has included lots of those organic touches that soothe the soul.

Plants, she said, are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to bring nature inside. She uses them in every room of the couple's home.

She also loves the natural look of sea grass or jute rugs, which are now available in lots of different sizes and colors.

Unusual baskets, including ones made in Africa or India, add design and offer functional storage. In her living room, Major filled a large basket with birch logs, putting rustic style front and center.

Major delights in finding new uses for salvaged items, which can create a happy juxtaposition in a contemporary setting.

She fashioned a decorative wall near the entrance to the couple's home with paneling removed from another room.

"It drives me crazy when I go into a house and see an incredibly long wall of nothing but Sheetrock," she said. "You can recycle wood like crazy."

To create the effect of a separation between two open spaces, Major designed a wooden ladder, which hangs across the ceiling of her dining room over the bar and then to the kitchen.

Major is always on the lookout for pieces of sinker cypress, trees that have fallen and naturally aged in water. A large slab was turned into a coffee table in the couple's living room.

"Instead of putting heavy, dark stains on wood, use a semitranslucent stain so you can see the natural wood grain," she said.

Bamboo chairs, jute or bamboo chandeliers and woven shades used in place of draperies all add natural elements to home, Major said.

Shells, which Major has collected over years of travels, are displayed in baskets, pieces of pottery or individually on shelves and tabletops as are antlers brought from Montana by Rich Major.

"You can find antlers in forested areas when they are naturally shed by deer," Major said. "That way you don't have to have the whole head of the animal." 

Animal impact also plays out in an area rug, where a large tanned cowhide is laid over another rug.

"The cowhides are taken and tanned after the cows go to market, so they are not killed for the hides," she said. "It's just nice to have something organically shaped on the floor."

Major is the owner of Artvark, Ltd., an arts and interiors business specializing in refurbished vintage and signature midcentury modern furnishings, located at 3185 Balis in a warehouse transformed into a showroom.