One of the best things about our business is discovering designers we may not have otherwise found through working with them to bring our products to their client’s homes. One such designer is Deidre Webster, whose work we've been watching closely ever since her first Hygge & West order came in.
Both thoroughly modern and respectful of the past, Deidre's work through her Minnesota-based company, Design in Rare Form, is major #interiorinspo. Her love of pattern, color, and quirk have made her a fast favorite around the H&W water cooler, and we can't wait to see what she comes up with next. We caught up with Deidre to chat about how design heals, saving the retro pink bathroom, and of course, what hygge means to her.
Hygge & West: How did you get started in interior design?
Deidre Webster: Slightly impulsively. Before I was a designer I taught drawing. I would integrate art into science curriculum. It was so rewarding and I was in the process of applying to grad school when I took an unpaid internship working with a designer. While there, I met a woman that had just graduated from Iowa State with an Interior Design degree. She showed me her portfolio and talked through the depth of design. After understanding that design is much more than picking pillows, I shifted my focus and applied to go back to undergrad instead of getting a masters.
H&W: What inspires you? How would you describe your aesthetic?
DW: It’s constantly evolving per the client, however a reoccurring theme in my aesthetic is pressing Minnesotans out of their Instagram-influencer-comfort zone.
I am inspired by discovering something new. I think experiences, like traveling and eating at a new restaurant, are similar to working with a new client. In the beginning I am trying to learn as much about them as possible; I might “look at their menu” before I meet with them and then once I am there, I ask questions and make observations to get a sense of who they are. In the end, I pull the stories that reflect who they are and translate them into their design.
H&W: You say on your website: "Design is not simply about the way something looks; It effects how people heal, play, live and how they interact with space." Can you talk a bit more about how you think a person's quality of life is affected by the spaces in which they live?
DW: There is research that shows that people heal faster when near the natural world and how one's overall wellbeing and productivity can be affected by their workplace. I won’t get into all the details because I could go on and on, but in my mind there are so many things the world throws at us in our day-to-day life that I believe your home should be a place where you take refuge and feel safe, comfortable, and at ease. The things that make you feel good could be obvious, like a special stuffed animal from childhood, a comfy chair, or something nostalgic, but it’s also things that one may not notice, like the temperature of a light bulb, acoustics, how a kitchen is laid out, or even the shade of white on your walls. Designers are not here to simply “make it pretty;” it’s about satisfying a unique set of needs and ensuring people are happy in their environment.
H&W: You've used lots of H&W papers in your projects (thank you!). What do these patterns—and pattern in general—bring to the spaces you use them in?
DW: Wallpaper evokes a different emotion for everyone, but in my experience, people love it! I think when you are bold and design your space for you, rather than around what you see on social media, it will leave an impact and get people excited. When I walk into a Hygge & West-papered room, it makes me smile and I usually end up touching the wall!
H&W: We'd like to ask you about two spaces of yours that we shared that our Instagram followers went nuts over: the kitchen with Angelina (Laurel) and the dining nook with Bloom (Dusty Rose). Can you tell us how you worked pattern into those spaces and why you chose those patterns specifically?
DW: Both of these projects were done with Steve Imhoff at Rare Form Properties. He was selling the two houses and enlisted me to make them stand out among the mundane.
The Angelina pattern was used because in the home’s location it felt like every house had a kitchen with white cabinets, white backsplash, and some kind of clear glass filament bulb fixture. Angelina felt relatable and traditional, but the scale of it makes it different and energetic. We pulled color from that pattern for the cabinets, paneled the walls to add to the traditional direction, and swapped out the can lighting for a more dramatic pendant.
Bloom was applied to a seating nook in the most amazing Tudor. Steve’s client was hesitant to use wallpaper when selling a house, but once they saw the pattern paired with the new globe fixture, they understood the vision and loved it as much as we did. We picked that pattern because it related to the garden in the backyard that the nook protruded into, and tied into the curves of the Palladium windows that were throughout the house.
H&W: You also created a beautiful new-meets-retro pink bathroom with our Rosa (Indigo) paper. Why was it important to you to preserve that deco space, and what tips do you have for people who want to preserve history in their own while making it feel fresh?
DW: Ugh, that bathroom is the bathroom of my dreams! Many are quick to tear out their 20s/30s deco bathrooms and at Rare Form we make it a goal to help people understand that there are ways to update and refresh without eliminating the original tile, medicine cabinet, sink, and lighting. We are into new styles and trends, but we are also preservationists at heart. That bathroom went from “a project” to the best part of that house. The feedback was so good after the wallpaper went in. It makes me giddy.
My advice would be to dig into local resources before making a snap decision. Wallpaper can be applied, tile can be repaired, vintage sinks are cool and can be repaired, and new lights are too trendy. If you don’t know where to start, DM me I can help!
H&W: We love your use of Wood (Cream) behind some neat plant shelves for a half story renovation you did. Tell us a bit about this unique space and why you decided to use this pattern in it.
DW: The client is really into strange plants. They lead the charge in creating a space for their collection. We even dropped a skylight in there to ensure enough sunlight would come in. The abstract wood pattern was the perfect backdrop for their plants. It was a nod to the natural world while being graphic enough to not compete with the organic nature of the plants. I also love that that paper is a design collaboration with local Askov Finlayson.
H&W: Hygge is all about life's simple joys and small pleasures. What's hygge to you?
DW: Puzzles. I love to wake up early, get my coffee and take a few minutes to work on a puzzle. I always have one going on my front porch.