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Hygge (hue-guh) is Danish for cozy

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Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

May 11, 2018

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

What's more hygge than a Mother's Day breakfast in bed? To celebrate all the mothers out there and the launch of our new H&W bedding, we asked two of our favorite foodies - Jenna Park of Whimsy & Spice and Ashley English of Small Measure - to share their favorite breakfast-in-bed recipes. Whip up these drool-worthy recipes this Sunday to thank mom for all she does, or any day that you need a little extra delicious hygge in your life (and keep reading for pattern, coziness, and special Mother's Day memories!).

 Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

JENNA PARK

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about the recipe you've created. Why does it make for the perfect Mother's Day breakfast in bed? Are there any special memories or stories attached to this recipe?

Jenna Park: I love any kind of breakfast food, but for me, a luxurious brunch involves a perfectly poached egg. When we?re short on time, we eat it with toast, but for special occasions?like Mother?s Day?I love it served on smoked salmon and potato pancakes. This was the first Mother?s Day breakfast that my husband, Mark, made for me when he left his restaurant pastry chef job to start our business 10 years ago. Mother?s Day is a huge brunch holiday for restaurants, so he always worked long hours that day and we were never able to spend it together when our two kids were born. It wasn?t until we started our own business a number of years after we became parents that he started having Mother?s Day off. This breakfast reminds me of that year.

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

H&W: Which bedding pattern and colorway did you select? What about it attracted you and why do you think it works in your space?

JP: I chose the Topiary (White) bedding for its bold, graphic, black-on-white print. We have a very minimal and neutral bedroom with white walls and a modern black wrought iron bed. This fits perfectly with our simple bedroom while adding a big dose of personality. I love that it?s a floral print, but the large scale of the blooms make it very graphic.

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

H&W: Hygge is all about coziness and finding pleasure in life's small moments and simple joys. How do you add a little extra hygge to your Mother's Day celebrations?

JP: Just give me flowers and a good cup of coffee and I?m happy! I think every breakfast in bed should have a little vase of flowers or a single bloom, Mother?s Day or otherwise!

 Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

Photo by Tim Robison

ASHLEY ENGLISH

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about the recipe you've created. Why does it make for the perfect Mother's Day breakfast in bed? Are there any special memories or stories attached to this recipe?

Ashley English: My dish is actually a combination of two recipes, Ambrosia with Lemon Verbena and Fennel & Dried Apple Granola. Both are from my new book Southern From Scratch, which just published in April 2018 after working on it for nearly three years. This book is, by far, the most personal work I?ve penned to date. More than a mere collection of iconic Southern foods, it?s really an homage to my culinary background, taught to me by three generations of Southern women, coupled with my nutrition degree and the way my husband, Glenn, and I cook today. Both ambrosia and dried apples are foods I strongly associate with my mom, grandmother Nanny, and great-grandmother Mamaw. Putting my own culinary spin on these dishes was my way of paying tribute to my upbringing while also remaining in line with my fresh, whole foods approach to cooking. When considering what recipes I wanted to share here for Mother?s Day, these just seemed like a natural fit. 

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed with Jenna Park & Ashley English

H&W: Which bedding pattern and colorway did you select? What about it attracted you and why do you think it works in your space?

AE: I selected Wit & Delight?s Topiary pattern, in Garnet. I was immediately drawn to its deep, rich, wine hue. I also love the juxtaposition of such a potentially serious color with the playfulness of the floral motif. Each room in our house is painted a different earthy tone, and is decorated in an eclectic, whimsical style. I knew this bedding color and pattern would fit right into the mix.

H&W: Hygge is all about coziness and finding pleasure in life's small moments and simple joys. How do you add a little extra hygge to your Mother's Day celebrations?

AE: I am all about simple pleasures and coziness (cozy is actually one of my favorite words). In fact, the highest compliment someone can pay me is when they say our home is cozy! This striving for finding joy in the everyday certainly gets extended to Mother?s Day. We have a good deal of both wildflowers and planted ornamentals growing here (we live on 11 acres in a forested cove in the mountains of western North Carolina). I often pick a bouquet or posy for my mom, and my older son, Huxley, frequently gathers together a smattering of flowers for me. I also love to gift my mom with a soft, spring scarf, simple but lovely pair of earrings, or a fragrant flowering plant she can put in her yard to enjoy for years to come. 

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How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

March 29, 2018

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

We're so enjoying this fun series where we look back on Christiana and Aimee's 2017 trip to Denmark - the place that inspired the name of Hygge & West and whose aesthetic and principles still influence everything H&W does. If you missed the earlier posts in this series - Designer Zoo and Pia Baastrup - for even more hygge abroad. 

SHAUN RUSSELL - SKANDINAVISK

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

Who he is: Shaun Russell is co-founder of Skandinavisk, maker of divine, slow-burning candles, diffusers, lotions, and other scented goods. "Started by two English chaps who fell in love with two blonde Scandinavian girls and never left," Skandinavisk captures the smells - and the essence - of Nordic life, from the forest, to the sea, to the fjords, to foster that feeling of hygge and a closeness to nature that's so essential to the Scandinavian way of living (visit Skandinavisk USA for US shipping).

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

What hygge means to him: One of the things that stands out most to Shaun about Denmark is the dichotomy in all things Danish – the tension between your inner and outer life, the balance between nature and cities, the extreme difference between seasons. In Denmark, he says, you’re exposed to nature (both the outdoors and the climate) much more than most industrialized nations. The Danish landscape is dominated by the woods and the sea, and it's his belief that hygge grew out of that tension. To him, hygge is about creating magic (coziness in the every day, small moments) in the midst of the extreme landscape and climate. When he and co-founder Gerry Kinghamn started Skandinavisk, they had only three scents initially: Hav (Sea), Skog (Woods), and Hygge, demonstrating the innate connection between the three.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

In Denmark, hygge is not a trend, it’s a philosophy. When Shaun and Gerry first decided to try to capture the spirit of Scandinavia in a product, the first thing that came to mind was a candle. Candles provide a focal point, soften the atmosphere, and bring people together. They are also a symbol of the past even as their purpose has evolved. The duo decided that a candle was the perfect medium to tell the Scandinavian story. Shaun notes that in Denmark people primarily use unscented candles, as opposed to the rest of the world where scented candles are much more common. He and Gerry decided to make scented candles because the fragrance allows them to more clearly convey their message; each scent is symbolic of a different aspect of Scandinavian life.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

Skandinavisk is primarily known for its Hygge candle – a product that proved challenging. How do you create a scent for hygge? Shaun and Gerry chose to use universally comforting elements. The final scent is reminiscent of baked goods as well as tea, mint, strawberry, and rose – things that everyone can relate to and most everyone enjoys. They view the candle as a way to humbly respect and honor the best aspects of Danish life.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

FAVORITE FINDS

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

Aimee: I may have a bit of a scented candle problem (I have an entire cabinet devoted to them), so our visit to Skandinavisk was one of the things I was most looking forward to. Christiana and I both had their HYGGE candles prior to our visit, and the scent lives up to its name – it’s soft and cozy. After hearing Shaun share the stories behind the ideas and places that inspired their candles, it was really hard to pick which one to take home, so I ended up with a couple. Right now I’m using my SKOG candle - it’s woodsy with pine notes and is a great winter scent.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Shaun Russell of Skandinavisk

Christiana: I love to have a candle going on my desk during the day! I'm currently burning Skandinavisk's KOTO scent. KOTO is old Finnish for “cozy at home,” which is exactly the mood this candle scent creates :) It's a mix of amber, mandarin, and vanilla. I’m down to my last Skandinavisk candle, which can only mean another trip to Denmark is in order!

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How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

March 27, 2018

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

Denmark is the motherland of hygge, and it was this country and its approach to design that inspired the creation of Hygge & West in 2008. So in 2017, with H&W's impending 10 year anniversary, Aimee and Christiana headed abroad to visit with some of the country's most talented designers and brands to discover what hygge means to them and how the spirit of cozy comforts and simple pleasures informs their work. (If you missed the first post in this series, you can catch up here with our first post on Designer Zoo.)

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

PIA BAASTRUP

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

Who she is: Pia Baastrup is a Danish ceramicist most known for her folded, almost transparent pieces. After rolling thin sheets of porcelain, Pia manipulates the material entirely by hand much like one would paper - cutting, folding, and bending.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

What hygge means to her: Pia agrees that hygge is closely connected to winter, but notes that it can apply to any time you enjoy yourself with family and friends, or even when just relaxing by yourself. To her, lighting - particularly candlelight - is an important aspect of hygge – “You can’t hygge in a room with bad lighting!”

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

In the winter, Pia says, hygge is far more prevalent – it’s what you do to create a feeling of coziness despite the weather and darkness. In the summer, she explains that hygge is much more about the emotion without that survival aspect. A bonfire on the beach, for example, is hygge.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

Pia believes that hygge is the counterpoint to another prevalent aspect of Danish culture – “janteloven.” Janteloven, or the laws of Jante, states that one shouldn't think they're more special or better than anyone else. It refers to the Danish mentality of putting society ahead of the individual, not boasting about individual accomplishment or pride, and not being jealous of others. Pia also introduced us to “uhygge” - the opposite of hygge - which translates to scary or an unsettled feeling (like the one you would get if you felt like you were being watched by something lurking in the woods!). 

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

FAVORITE FINDS

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

Aimee: I bought a bunch of Pia’s work because it’s just so stunning. My favorite things are these small glasses. Christiana and I bought some delicious snaps while in Copenhagen, and it’s a treat to drink them out of these handmade little cups. They’re also perfect for whiskey. The tiny snack dish has also gotten a lot of use because it doubles as a votive holder. The porcelain is so fine, you can see the candlelight glowing through it.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Pia Baastrup

Christiana: I adore these little cups and bowls. They're perfect for all kinds of little snacks and complementary drinks, like this walnut schnapps I picked up in Denmark.

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How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

January 30, 2018

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

One of the highlights of 2017 was undoubtedly Aimee and Christiana's trip to the motherland of hygge, Denmark. It was this country and its approach to design that inspired the creation of Hygge & West in 2008, and that same spirit of cozy comforts and simple pleasures is what drives everything the team to this day. So we're taking a look back at their trip-of-a-lifetime by revisiting four of the incredible brands and designers they visited to learn firsthand what hygge means to them.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

Designer Zoo

Gitte Jørgensen and Karsten Lauritsen, Founders

Who they are: Designer Zoo, Denmark's largest supplier of Danish handicrafts and designs, is a two-story designer store with ever-changing exhibits and six workshops. Gitte and Karsten launched Designer Zoo in 1999 and added more Danish designers over the years. They focus on Danish design made in small studios and provide the artists who work there the opportunity to test products and designs. Designer Zoo's unique setup also allows for artists to interact with their customers in a symbiotic relationship where both parties win: designers get instant, face-to-face feedback, and customers get to know and connect with the artists. This relationship allows people to know the story of the piece ? the inspiration and intent of the artist as well as the production method and work that went into its creation. 

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

Karsten only designs and creates tables that can be produced onsite ? it?s important to him that they are built there. This allows him to completely control the process, and also gives him more creative freedom. He feels creating high-quality, affordable items is a design challenge, and would rather see more people enjoying his products than just a select few who can afford more expensive pieces.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

What hygge means to her: For Gitte, hygge is very associated with winter. January in Denmark is often cold, gray, and rainy, and it gets dark very early. As a result, people start to feel depressed, so they need something to lift them out of the mental and literal darkness. As Gitte explains, hygge is a form of survival. She also believes that it is very much tied to a place and cannot be applied to just anything (the south of Spain, for instance, cannot be hygge, according to Gitte). To her, hygge grows out of the setting and climate in Denmark, which is also closely tied to the country's rich design tradition.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

Lars Rank, pictured above along with his work (and his adorable dog!), is ceramicist with a studio at Designer Zoo. He met Gitte at folk high school where both were studying ceramics.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

Camilla Weyman, Jewelry Artist

Who she is: Camilla is a jewelry artist who started her career as an apprentice at Georg Jensen and now has her own studio at Designer Zoo. 

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

What hygge means to her: When Camilla thinks about hygge (which, as she pointed out, is pronounced with a much stronger UE sound, as in hUE-gah), she immediately thinks of candlelight. Candles are a common sight throughout Denmark, seen in nearly every location and at all times of day. Candlelight, Camilla explained, creates a quintessentially hygge atmosphere. For her, hygge is that feeling when you come in from the cold and snuggle up on your sofa with your feet up, the first bite of a delicious cake, and surrounding yourself with good people and good conversation. Unlike Gitte, Camilla doesn't believe that hygge is strictly a winter feeling; a backyard fire on a warm summer evening is also very hygge, she was quick to note. What isn't hygge? Physical activity! Camilla says it?s all about relaxing and enjoying yourself.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

Favorite Finds

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

Candlesticks from Designer Zoo play perfectly with Snow (Gold) in Aimee's home.

AIMEE: I liked these candlesticks because I thought the sayings were cute. The one in English is obvious ("You are the light of my life"), and the one in Danish translates to, ?I?m the type that likes to burn the candle at both ends.? I loved that because when I was young and would go out too much, my dad would always tell me I had to stop burning the candle at both ends.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

The sweetest photobomb by Aimee's chatty pup, Margot.

Christiana and I also became a bit obsessed with candles and candlelight when we were in Denmark, because there were always candles everywhere, at every meal, and any time of the day. It was really beautiful and really cozy. When we got home, I tried to always have candles at all our family meals, but the boys teased me and didn?t appreciate it, so I stopped doing it. But now that I think about it, I may give it another go. I do have a lit candle on my desk at work all day, every day, so there?s that!

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer ZooA Danish plate and Margot are the perfect pairing in Christiana's apartment.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer ZooWhat's more hygge than candles and Foret?

?CHRISTIANA: I got this for Joe, and it is says something like, ?I think we two would be a good idea,? but in Danish it?s even sweeter. The candle, also in Danish, translates loosely to, "Thank you for switching/turning me on.? I thought the dual meaning was fun. Both of these were designed and made by Lars Rank (pictured above), and it was very special to have been able to chat with him, see his studio and process (and meet his sweet pup!), and then take a couple of his pieces home.

How Denmark Does Hygge: Designer Zoo

We can have fun with Snow until the cows come home ;)

The cow stopper spoke to me and basically said, ?Take me with you." Unfortunately, I?ve already broken it and glued it back together, but she?s still hanging in there strong!

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Pineapple Doggies

April 22, 2015

Pineapple Doggies

Pineapple Doggies

Quite often I find myself missing Aimee's doggies (and pineapple wallpaper in her guest room, which I like to refer to as my room). So, I just search around for photos of them as a quick pick me up. The good news is I'm heading back to MPLS on Friday for an exciting week of wallpaper work including a visit to our printer in Chicago!

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Hygge Holidays

January 13, 2015

Hygge Holidays

We were incredibly lucky to be able to spend our holidays in Europe this year - my entire family (parents, sister, sister's best friend and the four of us) traveled to Paris and Barcelona. It was truly something we'll all remember for the rest of our lives. Here, a few highlights and things we learned...

Hygge Holidays

The produce in Paris is to die for. Even in the winter. We stayed in an apartment on Rue du Louvre, and shopped for fruit and pastries every morning. I channeled my inner French chef and whipped up omelettes as well. I adore cooking, and cooking in Paris is just the best.

Hygge Holidays

Hygge Holidays

Photobombing is all the rage with pre-teen boys. Well, at least with my pre-teen boys.

Hygge Holidays

Those Luxembourg chairs really are the comfiest.

Hygge Holidays

Everyone looks classy on the Eiffel Tower. One other thing - I was unable to get a good photo, but the boys went ice skating on the first level of the Eiffel Tower on Christmas day. It was probably one of the most memorable moments of the trip.

Hygge Holidays

Not everyone likes jamon serrano.

Hygge Holidays

They were not this enthusiastic about any of the art museums that we went to, but to each their own...

Hygge Holidays

A lot changes in eighteen years. Last time I was at La Sagrada Familia, it didn't have a roof!

Hygge Holidays

And last time I was at Parc Guell, you didn't need a ticket or a reservation. Both are required now, so we had to peek in from the outside...

We had a wonderful time!

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Paris Pineapples

January 06, 2015

Paris Pineapples

Paris Pineapples

We've been back from Europe for almost a week now, and I'm just finishing unpacking and still dealing with a tiny bit of jet lag. More of our adventures to come, but thought I would start things off with some pineapples. I think that Laduree is on to something here...

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