Photo by Kate Osborne Photography
Confession: We rarely geek out harder than when we find another style spirit animal - a designer, studio, maker, or retailer that feels like everything they make was practically made for us. And one of our favorite perks of running Hygge & West is that photo shoots provide the perfect excuse to tell our style spirit animals that "We'll take one of each, please!"
Studio McGee and their retail arm, McGee & Co., totally fits into our style spirit animal category. From the breathtaking spaces dreamt up by this talented team, to their endlessly inspiring blog, to their web store that always keeps us clicking "Add to Cart," there's nothing this husband-and-wife run brand does that we don't love.
Hygge & West: Studio McGee is a husband-and-wife-run company, but how did it come to be? Pardon the pun, but how were you able to marry your aesthetics to form one successful brand?
Shea McGee: I studied public relations in college, but soon realized what I really wanted to do was design. A few semesters into design school, I started gaining a waitlist of clients around our neighborhood and growing my following on Instagram. Meanwhile, Syd had spent the previous few years building a startup and was looking for a new project to dive into. As he took some time to figure that out, it was up to me to support us. It was not an immediate decision to join forces (it took me months to convince Syd it was a good idea). However, once we made the decision to launch Studio McGee, we were both fully invested. While my design vision sets the creative direction for our company, Syd and I have always shared an appreciation for good style and branding. I think Syd?s outside perspective and background in digital marketing has served us well.
H&W: The design work you do through Studio McGee manages to somehow feel both endlessly modern and completely classic. How do you design spaces that embody those traits so seamlessly? What inspires the Studio McGee aesthetic
SM: First of all, thank you! We?re all about approachable sophistication. I?m antsy and can?t commit to just one style, so I mix the things I love, plus what our clients love, together. I like foundational pieces to be grounded in the classics - neutrals, linens, marble, etc. Leaving it there feels a bit stuffy to me, so I always add in a few surprises to keep things feeling fresh. I think the mix of styles and eras in a simple, yet thoughtful way is where our signature look is found.
H&W: McGee & Co. is the retail arm of your business, where people can purchase items that will bring the Studio McGee feeling to their homes. How do you source what you sell and what criteria does each product have to meet?
SM: We like a really eclectic look, so in addition to sourcing from many different vendors, we also make sure there are a lot of exclusive products and items designed by us at McGee & Co. The three biggest criteria for our products are aesthetic, how well they?re crafted, and if we would design with them in our projects. I look and touch every single item before it goes on the site, so that our customers get the best design for the price point.
Shea loved our Wood (Dark Night) paper by Askov Finlayson, and felt it would be absolutely perfect for a powder room. To round out her dream space, she paired it with McGee & Co.'s Murchison-Hume Hand Duo, Ballard Mirror, and Hyde Hatch Hand Towel. What a great combo!
We were so inspired by Shea's pairing above, that we decided to do one of our own. We love how Wood (Dark Night) plays so well with McGee & Co.'s Matte Black Lidded Vase and Hand Carved Wood Tray. Talk about a match made in design heaven!
H&W: We used quite a few McGee & Co. pieces in the shoot for our Wit & Delight bedding collection. What is it about the Hygge & West and McGee & Co. aesthetics that you think makes them play so well together?
SM: It?s easy to tell when something is well-designed ? it?s not only beautiful to look at but can pair well with a variety of different design elements. Well-designed pieces with close attention to detail are what?s at the heart of both McGee & Co. and Hygge & West aesthetics.
H&W: What do you think about the final pairing between your McGee & Co. products and our Wit & Delight line?
SM: Wit & Delight chose the product for the shoot. One of the best things about having your own store is seeing how other people style your products. Kate did a beautiful job pattern mixing for the wallpaper shoot! For a lot of people, the main hesitation with adding wallpaper is that they are worried they'll tire of the look or it won't work with the things they already own. By pairing our butterfly blue and white jar with more modern boxes (geometric patterned box and the wide grid box) and layering that over her wallpaper, you can get a feel for how the pattern will work in your own home.
H&W: Hygge is all about creating comfort and finding coziness in life's small moments and everyday rituals. How do you find or create hygge in your life?
SM: I?ve always been interested in how people use their homes, and how they make their life a little more beautiful or happier everyday. To me, hygge is about creating beautiful, well-designed spaces that still feel personal and special.