Hygge (hoo-ga) is Danish for cozy

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Wishing you Hygge-filled Holidays!

December 23, 2015

We'll be back to blogging after the New Year and can't wait to share with you all the new things we have in the works! Till then, wishing you Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

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Eating and Napping

December 23, 2015

Part of Thanksgiving at Aimee's this year involved a new Foret table runner! Nice work, Aimee. She's kind of a DIY champion in these parts.

And then we ate homemade chex mix for days...

Yep, we ate them up at the cabin too between naps and catching up on magazines.

It was extra fun to run into our Nethercote wallpaper in the December Better Homes and Gardens! Holiday bonus points.


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#HOWIHYGGE: Aimee's Holiday Hygge

December 22, 2015

For us, hygge isn't just a concept, it's a way of life, and that's no more evident than during Christmas. So today, we're doing things a little differently around here, and instead of interviewing the talented designers we know and love, we're interviewing each other about how we find hygge during the holidays (and beyond!). 

Next up is Aimee, who shares her secret to instant (furry) hygge, her favorite holiday foods, and how she embraces the cold Minnesota winters.

The boys enjoying life at the cabin

H&W: Hygge is at the heart of everything you do at H&W. What does that word mean to you?

AL: It’s just that feeling you get when you’re perfectly content in a simple, everyday moment. For me, it’s laying on the couch in front of the fire and reading magazines all day up at the cabin, snuggling with the dogs, watching a movie with my husband and boys, eating my husband’s “homemade” popcorn, sitting around the dining room table with friends for hours after dinner’s over, visiting (and drinking).

Mom's Christmas tree

H&W: What are some of your favorite ways to add a little extra hygge to your holiday

AL: Most of them involve food or drinks! I’m not a big holiday decorator, so I focus on making special meals and enjoying more cocktails with friends. I always cook a New Mexican Christmas Eve dinner – being from New Mexico and living in Minnesota, I love that our kids still get a taste of the food traditions I grew up with. I make a big pot of posole, and we get great tamales from a local place. And for dessert I fry up sopaipillas – yum! Last year we spent Christmas in Paris, and I fell madly in love with hot wine. It was available EVERYWHERE and was delicious. So this year I plan on making and serving lots of hot wine during the holidays.

The boys with mom's reindeer

 Our annual Holiday Singalong Jamboree

H&W: The holidays are all about tradition, which is exactly what makes them so special. What's your favorite holiday tradition that hasn't changed over the years? Do you have any traditions that you've updated or put a special twist on?

AL: My mother is an amazing holiday decorator – she puts fancy department stores to shame! Every year, she puts out this reindeer stuffed animal right by the fireplace and stockings because my dad gave it to her the first Christmas they were together. I just love that this sort of shabby reindeer takes center stage amongst all the beautiful decorations for sentimental reasons. And we’ve created our own holiday tradition with our annual Holiday Singalong Jamboree. We’re very lucky to have friends who are incredibly musically talented, so we all get together one night for dinner and to sing Christmas carols with our families. At some point, it devolves into the kids escaping downstairs to watch a movie and the adults singing Wilco songs rather than carols, but it’s always a fun evening!

Ice skating at the Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day 2014

H&W: We all have a special holiday memory or two that makes us feel warm and cozy inside every December. What's yours?

AL: My favorite one is a bit more naughty than warm and cozy – when we were little, I convinced my sister to unwrap and then rewrap all of our presents while my parents were gone! We almost got away with it, but my mom noticed that the tape didn’t match up exactly on some of the presents and we had to come clean. My favorite recent memory is watching the boys ice skate on the Eiffel Tower on Christmas day last year – it was a beautiful evening, and the tower was all lit up – it was so wonderful that it felt completely surreal. I know it’s something I will always remember, and I hope the boys will, too.

H&W: Hygge isn't just for the cold winter months! How do you add hygge to your home all year round?

AL: We have three dogs who are pretty much instant hygge!

Ice skating on the Lake of Isles

H&W: Where do you go around where you live when you need a little extra holiday hygge or spirit?

AL: Ice skating on Lake of the Isles is a favorite thing to do around the holidays. It’s such a lovely setting and it makes the cold feel cozy and charming which is a pretty hard thing to do! And our cabin is our most favorite hygge place. In the winter, we just hunker down with books and play cards. The boys play outside on the frozen lake, and I cook huge meals. It’s the best.

H&W: Lastly, if you could have holiday cocktails with any three people - real or fictional, dead or alive - who would it be?

AL: Definitely my Grandpa Ed and Grandma Frances who sadly are no longer with us – I miss them all the time, but especially during the holidays as we always spent Christmas together. I’d love to be able to tell them all about the boys and share everything that’s happened in the past few years with them. And then, I’d have to say Bono, because I was recently very, very close to him (at a U2 concert in London with Christiana) and I’m in the midst of a pretty serious Bono obsession episode. Plus, I think that he and my Gramps would totally hit it off. Actually, the best would be if they could all attend our Holiday Singalong Jamboree!

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#HOWIHYGGE: Christiana's Holiday Hygge

December 22, 2015

There's nothing we love more than sharing the stories of the crazy talented designers, artists, and tastemakers in our Pattern Players series, especially the ways they find hygge at home. But this holiday season, we decided to turn the tables a bit and find out what it feels like to be in the hot seat with a special #howihygge holiday mini series where we interview... each other! 

First, Christiana talks about her favorite Christmas traditions, how to find hygge all year long, and holiday cocktails with Jimmy Fallon.

H&W: Hygge is at the heart of everything you do at H&W. What does that word mean to you?

CC: Hygge means creating coziness and comfort and being mindful and appreciative of all the positive and joyful things in life. Nothing is better than a night surrounded by friends or family, enjoying delicious food and drinks and making each other laugh. It’s hard sometimes not to compare your life to others that seem to have more of one thing or another, but whenever I start to do that, I always focus on the hygge concept and quickly realize how lucky I am and how rich and good my life is.

H&W: What are some of your favorite ways to add a little extra hygge to your holiday?

CC: Definitely candles! With the days getting shorter, I’ve started lighting candles around 3 in the afternoon and enjoying their glow well into the evening. Candles are such a quick and easy way to create coziness. I’ve also just began to make fires in my fireplace since it got a little cold out and that immediately doubles the cozy vibe!

Opening presents with my nephews

H&W: The holidays are all about tradition, which is exactly what makes them so special. What's your favorite holiday tradition that hasn't changed over the years? Do you have any traditions that you've updated or put a special twist on?

CC: The holidays are all about food for me. I’ve been fortunate to spend every Christmas with my parents which means enjoying lots of my mom’s traditional English cooking. I can’t think of a Christmas that we haven’t enjoyed her candy cane rolls, trifle, sausage rolls, and we always have a huge and delicious meal on Christmas day. We also passed along a lot of the traditions we had as kids to my nephews – the most exciting being my dad's family tradition of opening one special present on Christmas Eve.

H&W: We all have a special holiday memory or two that makes us feel warm and cozy inside every December. What's yours?

Shopping in Santa Fe Plaza

Traditional luminarias

CC: Most of my favorite memories stem from spending a lot of Christmases in New Mexico, I think. Walking around the Santa Fe plaza with my mom doing last minute Christmas shopping and popping in to a bar for some bubbles, driving around the neighborhood on Christmas Eve looking at the traditional luminarias and listening to Christmas carols before heading home for dessert, eating massive amounts of green chile…

Getting festive with Foret (Midnight)

H&W: Hygge isn't just for the cold winter months! How do you add hygge to your home all year round?

CC: I really try to surround myself with only the things I love to see (or things I really need), so when I look around my apartment it really does make me happy. For example, almost all of my art work is by friends or gifts so it all feels very meaningful. And, I keep out nice blankets to snuggle up on the sofa since it gets pretty cool at night in SF. I also have this thing with different types of cups and glasses that I’ve collected over the year. I always choose a nice coffee cup or wine glass, etc. depending on my mood and they make me happy. It’s pretty simple stuff. Oh, and installing my favorite wallpaper patterns on almost every flat surface also heightens the hygge!

Wreath shopping at San Francisco Flower Mart

H&W: Where do you go around where you live when you need a little extra holiday hygge or spirit?

CC: I actually just did a little Christmas shopping in my neighborhood on Divisadero Street on brisk afternoon and it felt so very holiday happy! I met a friend at The Mill for a quick coffee and then stopped in at The Perish Trust and Rare Device to pick up some gifts. I became friendly with the owners of both places over the years and so chatted with them, randomly bumped into another friend as well, and then picked up some yummy groceries for a dinner party at Bi-Rite. It just felt really hygge and I’m sure that’s because the most hygge places to go are those with familiar faces and, of course, places that have amazing food and drinks or pretty things to see.

Christmas Eve with mom, 1977

Christmas Eve with mom and my nephews, 2014

H&W: Lastly, if you could have holiday cocktails with any three people - real or fictional, dead or alive - who would it be?

CC: At this very moment, I’m obsessed with the podcast You Talkin’ U2 to Me, so I’d have to say Adam Scott, Scott Aukerman, and of course Aimee (who’s obsessed with U2). Aimee and I like to think we’re hilarious so we’re pretty sure we could keep things extremely entertaining.

If you caught me not in the middle of that podcast, beside some older relatives I’ve heard a lot about but never got to meet, I’d have to say Madeleine Castaing (to chat about Paris, interior design, and life in the 1920s; three of my favorite things!), David Attenborough (to hear about what he really thinks about our environment and where it is heading and just listen to his soothing voice), and Jimmy Fallon (he’d keep things light and lively and hopefully come up with some games for us all to play).

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Carved Ogee and Cocktails

December 18, 2015

I recently helped a good friend of mine put up some Carved Ogee (Gray/Gold) in her kitchen!

Here are a few action shots... Went up so smooth :)

And then afterwards, it was all ready for a party!

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Feeling Like... Shopping at Eden & Eden

December 14, 2015

Inspired by our Eden and Eden collaboration, I put together a little holiday shopping list for all the things I'd like to find under the tree from said store. The trees wallpaper has me craving all things black and/or gold, and, you know, if you just want to get me one thing, I'd happily settle for just those earrings!

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Pattern Players: Kerry Lemon

December 10, 2015

One of the best parts of our job is getting to rub elbows with some of the most creative, talented, and inspiring people from all over the world. Recently, while on a trip to London, we had the immense pleasure of meeting UK-based artist Kerry Lemon, whose paintings and illustrations are as visually stunning as they are thought-provoking. And we're not the only ones who've noticed - her work has attracted the attention of retailers and brands from Heineken to Harper's Bazaar and has appeared everywhere from Los Angeles to Edinburgh.

What's so striking about Kerry's work is her unique approach to color, her wide array of subject matter, and her striking sense of composition. But naturally, what we love most are Kerry's patterns! From furniture to flowers, Kerry can take just about anything and turn it into a wallpaper-waiting-to-happen. Now that's our kind of woman! 

H&W: You have a very distinct aesthetic that we find fascinating. As an artist, what inspires and excites you most?

KL: EVERYTHING! I keep sketchbooks and scrapbooks, and each week I visit museums and gallery shows. It’s really important that I stay inspired and so I invest lots of my time into day adventures and solo travelling to ensure that I remain open to all the incredible things around me. This year I’ve been to America, Morocco, India, and France and I always return full of new shapes, forms, and colours just waiting to find their way into my work.

Photo by Jake Fitzjones Photography

H&W: We see so many potential wallpaper patterns in your work (we just can't help ourselves!). How do you use pattern in your work, at home, and in the way you dress?

KL: I’m really lucky as my work and my home are the same place, in a quiet village just outside London. In the studio the walls are COVERED in imagery, torn from magazines and endless postcards, and there’s always a wall covered in current paintings that I’m working on (and lots of paint drips!). The rest of the house is less manic, but I love our bedroom wallpaper by House of Hackney and the wallpaper on our living room ceiling by Mockbee & Co. We worked with Bhavin on our home renovation and really enjoyed creating a space that reflected our personalities. As for my clothes, I’m miniature (4 foot 10 inches) and so I get all my clothes made in Brighton by Dig For Victory. Lots of them are covered in my illustrations and I love wearing my art!

H&W: We love how you can make a bold statement with traditionally soft colors. What's your approach to color? Do you have any color- or pattern-mixing tips?

KL: I love soft muted tones and I normally use quite a restricted palette, introducing just few colours rather than many. As for pattern, the more the merrier! When I draw I’m always attracted to the details and textures so my drawings tend to look highly patterned - there’s dots on EVERY drawing and you can’t go wrong with a polka dot! 

H&W: In addition to color, your art also embraces classic black and white. How do you decide when to use color vs. black and white, and how do you think that may apply to home design?

KL: I love black and white, used in drawing, photography, fashion, and interiors. It’s bold and graphic and feels clean and timeless. My approach to colour is often led by the subject or the mood I’m trying to convey. The lovely thing about being an artist is that you don’t have to stay true to reality and you can depict things in whatever colour takes your fancy! In home design I think it’s important to be instinctual with colour, try not to be too influenced by others and surround your self in the colours that make you happy. I find white very calming in interiors, but I like to enliven it with art and textiles to give pops of colour and character.

Photo by Emma Brown

Photo by Emma Brown

H&W: When setting up shows and installations, artists have to think about how their 2-D art looks in a 3-D space. How do you ensure successful space planning for your installations?

KL: I like to spend a lot of time in the space, getting a feel for it, planning the logistics, and of course, endless measuring - checking and double checking. I find it quite easy to envision what a proposed installation will look like in 3D, and I love to work BIG - the bigger the better!

H&W: Much of your work seems to focus on iconic symbols and designs, like typewriters, bicycles, and the pieces you created for BBC's Antiques Roadshow. What do you think makes a design (or art) iconic?

KL: I think things are really only iconic in retrospect. A design can be successful but to become iconic requires the passing of time. Lots of things can contribute to an iconic design, composition, colour, subject, etc. but for something to move from good design to an iconic design it needs recognition and popularity. I think it’s important to not be swayed too much by other’s consideration of what is good or iconic, only surround yourself with the things that YOU love!

Photo by Emma Brown

H&W: If you could throw a holiday cocktail party and invite anyone you want - dead or alive, real or fictional - who would you choose?

KL: BEST… QUESTION…. EVER. Ok, I think I want a mix of people, and I DEFINITELY want to have fun. As this is fictional I will not be doing any cooking, and there will be lots of people to help serve, pour drinks, etc. so I can just join in all the gossip! Right, I would like….

Me (obviously)

Helen Sharman (Legend - the first Briton in space and the first woman to visit the Mir space station)

Pierre Bonnard (I will grill him about colour and get him to arrive 2 hours early so I can have a private colour lesson with him)

Helena Bonham Carter (LOVE her - can we sit next to each other please?)

Beatrix Potter (a huge inspiration, influence, and motivation for me)

Grayson Perry (I love the way he speaks about art)

Zaha Hadid (Astonishing, exciting, and innovative architecture)

Aziz Ansari (We’ve just finished watching his new show Master of None - he’s hilarious)

H&W: The Danish word 'hygge' embodies a concept of warmth and coziness. With the holidays knocking at our door and the cold, dark winter just behind them, we want to know: what do you do or where do you go to find hygge at home and around London?

KL: At home we have a huge footstool containing a RIDICULOUS number of blankets. Quite a few of them are from my trip to India, and are hand stitched in beautiful colours - I love to snuggle up under all of them. In London, the South Bank along the Thames River is lovely, lots of cafes, families, couples arm-in-arm, and twinkly lights in all the trees.



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