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Hygge (hoo-ga) is Danish for cozy

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10 Design (& Life) Lessons Pattern Players Taught Us

July 07, 2017

From practical design tips to aspirational advice and hard-won words of wisdom, here are 10 of our favorite things that we’ve learned from the inspiring artists, designers, and tastemakers we’ve interviewed for our ongoing Pattern Players series:

1. Design for how you actually live.

“You need to consider how you are going to use the space, and you need to do it honestly. You might think you want to throw a lot of parties or cook big dinners, but will you actually do that? You want to design your home for a great everyday experience, which may be very different from how you would see if for a party. You can always rearrange things so they work for an event, but you want to design for life.” - Anthony Carrino

2. Use pattern to add warmth.

“Neutral patterns are a way to infuse personality without marrying a bold color. My style errs on the side of minimalism, which naturally has the tendency to feel cold. Pattern has the power to diffuse the austere with cozy warmth." - Melissa Coleman

3. Design for experiences.

“My designer approach has always been focused on the user experience, design, and emotional connections. As a designer, presentation is everything. Personally, I’ve always tried to show respect and care to the person I’m offering good food, wine, or a gift to by presenting it well. The ‘moment of reveal’ then becomes a memorable one - an experience that inspires more moments of togetherness.” - Shujan Bertrand

4. Surround yourself with love - and campfires.

“I think it’s so important to surround yourself with people who believe in you, challenge you to be better, and inspire you. These people and the experiences we share together make me cozy. And campfires. Love me a good campfire. The smell alone sends me into a tailspin of happiness.” - Erin Miller Williams

5. Rules are meant for breaking.

“One rule that we always have to remind ourselves is that there is always an exception to the rule, to push the envelope and try new things. You never know, it could be the next coolest thing. We always try to push the boundaries just a little.” - J & J Design Group

6. Don't follow trends - start them.

“Stay ahead of the game. When you are chasing what everyone wants you are keeping with the trend, right? Well... not me. I chase the unwanted, the passed over. I go to the estate sales on the last day, when it's bottom barrel cheap and it's what everyone passed over. Because I want to be ahead of the trend, start something new, keep the ball rolling and the minds wondering, ‘Why in the heck did she buy that?’” - Jennifer Harrison

7. Turn constraint into creativity.

“There's an old adage that creativity is born out of constraint, and I think our Northern culture is a great example of that. There's something about living in a place that presents you with challenges that brings out the best in people, which in Minnesota manifests itself as creative thinking, work ethic, and a sense of camaraderie. I can't imagine living anywhere else.” - Eric Dayton

8. Appreciate small moments.

“I think it's important to appreciate small moments. We live in a tough world with a lot of sludge to sift through and I find strength in taking time to indulge in ordinary tasks and find significance in the mundane.” - Emily Isabella

9. Surround yourself with plant life.

“I find everything about the plant world inspiring. I love to touch plants, to smell them, to keep them in my home as (low-maintenance) pets, to admire them like sculptures, and I even love to eat them! Plants are so diverse, so alive and endlessly captivating. Also, keeping plants in the home has been proven (by folks like NASA!) to increase the quality of life, help with air quality, and caring for them is therapeutic. What’s not to love?” - Justina Blakeney

10. Let comfort reign supreme.

“We never shy away from color and pattern and always ensure comfort is the number one priority. Nobody wants to live in a museum.” - Tilton Fenwick

Read more great Pattern Players interviews here.

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Nana (Pink) Dining

June 30, 2017

We were so excited to see this beautiful modern/vintage dining room designed by Jessica Brigham!

Using our Nana (Pink), she mixed in modern and vintage elements with a subtle Boho twist.

Here's the before and after.

So good - thanks again, Jessica!

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Paz Veterinary

June 28, 2017

We're all about #dogsandwallpaper and #catsandwallpaper, so this veterinary office installation in Austin, TX truly warmed our hearts.

So fun!

And a daydreamy bathroom too? Yes, please. Thanks again, Ashley!

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Wallpaper Two Ways: Sabrina Smelko

June 26, 2017

There are some people who are so wildly productive in their lives, and have created so much so quickly, that they seem to have figured out how to cram extra hours into their days. Sabrina Smelko is one of those people. Sabrina is a "designer of pixels, places, and things" and Creative Director of Wild and Light. From graphics to interiors, art to advertising, everything Sabrina designs has a sense of whimsy, light, and curiosity. And now, she's taken her playful aesthetic, passionate drive, and inimitable style to TV as co-host of HGTV Canada's Save My Reno.

We asked Sabrina to show us how she would design two different spaces with the same Hygge & West wallpaper. The results are exactly what you'd expect - full of life, color, and, of course, pattern. Check it out below, and then continue scrolling to learn more about how Sabrina uses pattern in her professional and personal worlds, the latest on her home renovations, and how she hygges.

Hygge & West: What paper/colorway did you choose and why? Who is the person (or people) you imagine residing in each of the spaces you've created? 

Sabrina Smelko: I chose Otomi (in pewter) because it’s both bold and versatile. I love the graphic nature—it almost reminds me of a Scandinavian, illustrative toile.

The living space would belong to a vivacious creative-type whose style is unfussy and evolves a lot, but whom partners thrift store finds with pieces they’ve been saving and holding out for. I imagine the bedroom belonging to someone older and more established. Perhaps they own a few felines and enjoy the finer things in life! So the first space is me now, and the second is me in 30 years?! 

H&W: As a designer of both pixels and places, pattern is a part of your every day. What inspires you both in your work in general and in your use of pattern in your professional world?

SS: I like to look to fashion, nature, culture, movies, art, and music for inspiration as much as I look within my disciplines. I think the more you dilute your sources, the more unique your voice will be. Be it patterns or brush strokes, anything can inspire anything. I once picked my palette for an art piece based on a photo of plated food in a cookbook. 

H&W: What role does pattern play in your personal life? How do you use it in your home and what do you think it adds to your space?

SS: Pattern transcends style—and I think of it more as art than anything. It can tie pieces together with common colours and add drama to otherwise boring spaces—but it can also sit back and offer some subtle visual interest and texture. There’s arguably a pattern for any application: just adjust the scale, contrast, negative space, colour, etc.

H&W: As someone who understands pattern on a deeper level because of the work you do, what tips do you have for incorporating pattern into a home, especially when other patterns are already present?

SS: I personally love mixing patterns, but the key to pulling that look off is making sure you maintain consistency and continuity. That can either be in the materials used, colours, motif, or even the subject matter. I also think it helps to choose patterns of differing scales. A tight floral pattern and a tight toile may look messy, but pair either of those with a large-scale ikat or massive polka dots and they look deliberate and divine together. Opposites attract! 

Sabrina's adorable pup, Piper, shows off her newly renovated kitchen.

H&W: We love following your renovation adventures as you slowly makeover your own home, room by room. What has been your proudest accomplishment so far? Your biggest challenge? Any lessons you've learned along the way?

SS: My proudest accomplishment has been pulling it off—not having to sell! I bought my home at age 22 at an auction and felt way in over my head. I immediately had to sink $15,000 into a new roof, air conditioner, hot water heater, and windows, and I hadn’t even started on the interior design yet. I think the fear of meeting monthly bills lit a fire under my butt to work hard and fast-track my career. With every leap of faith I’ve taken in life, it’s paid off, so the lesson is: fear not. You only have one life, so just give it a shot!

H&W: You just shot your very first TV show for HGTV Canada (congrats!). How does designing spaces for television differ from designing homes for the real world?

SS: Thank you! It’s been a wild, fun ride to say the least! For TV, you can go a bit bolder with design—which I am a-okay with as my personal aesthetic is quite eclectic and layered. It’s a show, after all, so the transformations have to be ka-pow! Often, that means decor is uber statement-worthy and colourful, rather than what’s most practical. And timelines come into play more than ever! Typically, filming each renovation would begin and end within about four weeks, so choosing in-stock and quick-ship is necessary. In real life, if a project goes a week too long, or a certain item doesn’t make it until the final week, that’s cool. In TV, we schedule our shoot days around when we anticipate certain things will arrive and be done by. But too often, renovation reality hits, so everyone has to come together to make it work and problem solve on the spot. Design for TV is a lot more moving parts, but also a lot more team work!

H&W: Hygge is the Danish concept of coziness. How do you find or create hygge in your world?

SS: Through the senses! I think lighting is one of the most notoriously overlooked components of designing a space. We’re good at choosing a pretty fixture, but what I’m talking about is creating atmosphere. Think about a lightbulb's temperature, brightness, etc. Installing dimmers is a quick fix, as is using at least two or three sources of light in any given space, putting you in control of the mood. Besides sight, smell for me plays a big role. At night, I throw on my dim, warm lamp and a good-smelling candle. Pair that with a blanket and your better half and pup, and that’s my daily hygge.



Collected Cool: 1. Chandelier | 2. Art | 3. Candle | 4. Black & white pillow | 5. Pink pillow | 6. Stool | 7. Book | 8. Chair

Lush & Luxe: 1. Chandelier | 2. Art | 3. Lamp | 4. Dresser | 5. Stool | 6. Rug | 7. Side table | 8. Bed | 9. Pillow covers

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Elle Decor x 2

June 23, 2017

We loved seeing our Strike (Mist) in this lovely home tour over on Elle Decor.

We see you, Strike! Via Jaclyn Johnson; Monica Wang. Read more here!

And, we loved seeing our wallpaper in Elle Decor's cool wallpaper mix as well!


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Feels like summer!

June 22, 2017

Hope you enjoyed the longest day of the year yesterday! What about a yellow wallpaper for that summer feeling all year long?

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Serengeti in Brooklyn

June 19, 2017

We are totally digging this renovated brownstone as seen on Apartment Therapy. The green velvet sofa, white walls, and...

fabulous application of our Serengeti (Ebony) wallpaper!

Love how they did the cabinets too!

And... we spy some Knots in the entry, bonus points! Read more here.

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