December 20, 2017
Who could resist a trip to NYC during the holiday season - especially when Jersey City, Manhattan's neighbor just across the Hudson River, has some pattern playing fun to serve as the cherry on top of this quintessential Christmas sundae? This December, Christiana packed her bags and headed east to check out Mathews Food and Drink, a unique eatery in Downtown Jersey City that brings a unique, thoroughly modern take on Southern-style comfort food to this trendy Northeast neighborhood.
From the stunning digs (walls of windows meet cozy modern meets lots of pattern) to the mouthwatering menu (which has something for everyone, from your vegan best friend to your meat-loving man), Mathews is exactly the kind of local bar and restaurant that makes this city so special. Christiana stopped by for great eats, hygge cocktails, some snaps of our H&W patterns on the job, and a chat with Mat himself to talk food, holidays, and more.
Chef Mike and a perfectly crispy-yet-moist fried chicken sandwich
Hygge & West: Your website says that your food is inspired by "the unique spirit and dining culture of the South." Can you describe that spirit and culture and how it influenced your restaurant and the cuisine and cocktails you serve?
Bloody Mary and deviled eggs
Matuesz Kopec: We were influenced by the warmth of the people, their southern hospitality, the freshness in ingredients (produce, meats, fish), unique spirts, and the use of color palettes on the buildings during our trip to Charleston. We then tried to replicate these into everything we do at Mathews. We sourced great local purveyors - Pat la Frieda for our meat, Balthazar for our bread, Anson Mills for our grains, and local farms for our produce. We tried to hire people who were genuinely warm, experienced, and committed to hospitality as a career. Within the cocktail program, we contracted Cody Goldstein from Muddling Memories to create a fun, fresh, and unique cocktail program.
H&W: Jersey City is a relative newcomer to the national foodie scene - what has it been like being a part of that? What drew you to this city, and Downtown in particular? What does this city offer that other places can't?
MK: We have been in Jersey City since 2005, and its been a great ride. The scene down here had only a few restaurants, but we knew it was going to grow with its proximity to New York City. The original draw to downtown was its proximity to New York City. This city offers a great talent pool, transportation, and access to great purveyors.
Pineapple (Ebony) in the gorgeous bathroom at Mathews
H&W: There's an intimate connection between food and the location in which people enjoy it. What was your goal with the design of your space and how did you achieve it?
MK: Our goal with the space was to create a bright airy and homey feel like how the people of Charleston welcome you to their city. While in Charleston, we noticed beadboard ceilings on the porches, wallpapers in the restaurants, and bright white colors. This translated into the our selections of wallpaper and the use of blues and whites. Also, Charleston has a pineapple fountain which represents hospitality. We used this symbol on the backs of our menus and in the bathroom wallpaper selection.
H&W: You've used our Peonies paper in Pale Blue in the restaurant. What do you think this pattern brings to the space? How does it complement your menu?
Christiana getting the perfect shot
MK: The peonies pattern delivers the feeling of home, warmth, and coziness, but yet feels graceful and refined. We translated this into our menu by delivering fine dining in a simple, approachable menu served in a casual dining room. The peonies complement our dinnerware, our plates, and our flowers on the table. They really do make you feel like you're at home. They're easy on the eyes, and let you know it's time to relax.
H&W: The holidays are all about tradition. Do you have any special holiday traditions either at the restaurant or in your personal life?
MK: Being born in Poland, we have one special holiday tradition at home called sharing of oplatek (pronounced opwatek). Sharing of the oplatek is the most ancient and beloved of all Polish Christmas traditions. Oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water, similar in taste to the hosts that are used for communion during Mass. The Christmas wafer is shared before Wigilia, the Christmas Eve supper.
H&W: How is Mathews celebrating the holidays this year? Do you have any special plans, recipes, or events in the works?
MK: We typically close after lunch on Christmas Eve and close Christmas Day to let our staff spend time with their family. Family is important to us, both inside the restaurant and out. But during this time of year, we try to incorporate comfort dishes into our menus, like braised short ribs, duck, matzoh ball soup, and lamb.
H&W: Our favorite part of the holidays is the food. Do you have a favorite dish you prepare every year for the holidays, in the restaurant or at home?
MK: At home, my mother makes pierogies. It’s our family recipe passed down from grandma in Poland. We make sauerkraut and mushroom and farmers cheese and potato versions. However, my favorite is the sauerkraut and mushroom sautéed with butter and onions served with sour cream. Yummy!
H&W: No holiday season would be complete without a good cocktail. What's your favorite cocktail to enjoy during the holiday season?
MK: Our favorite cocktail during the holiday season is the signature Mat-hattan made with rye whiskey, our house blend vermouth, walnut liqueur, and bitters. It definitely warms up the body after number two.
The TLC (Tequila Loves Chocolate) is hot chocolate, tequila, and ancho chile liqueur topped with toasted marshmallows
H&W: Hygge loosely translates to "cozy" in Danish. What are your must-haves for a little extra hygge during the colder months and especially around the holidays?
MK: For a little extra cozy during the colder months, hot toddies, hot cocoa, chicken soup, meatloaf, and pasta.
filed under: Pattern Players
December 12, 2017
Sometimes the universe has a funny way of knowing exactly what you need and sending it along at exactly the right time. That was definitely the case with our newest H&W team member, Katherine Bildsten. We had just been discussing the idea of bringing someone on board to help with marketing when we received a perfectly-timed email from Katherine. Her experience, attitude, and, of course, love for pattern immediately piqued our interests, and we also loved that there was a Minnesota connection (Katherine is originally from Minneapolis, where Aimee lives!). After meeting her during a trip to New York City, we knew we'd found the right fit for this role and we have been proven right every day since.
It’s been so great having Katherine on board with us. She’s already accomplished so much and we're so excited to see all of the wonderful ideas to come as we continue to work together! Welcome to Hygge & West, Katherine!
Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about your background and what you do at Hygge & West. What drew you to H&W?
Katherine Bildsten: I have a background in advertising and marketing, with a focus on management, strategy, writing, and social media. I have worked for a number of brands in the home decor space, from The Faribault Woolen Mill to Tom Dixon to Ikea.
I was drawn to Hygge & West for so many reasons – I love design (interiors especially), I love pattern, I love working for small businesses, and, most importantly, I was inspired by Aimee and Christiana’s story of following their passion and starting H&W! I am now working on marketing initiatives for H&W, with a current focus on Pinterest and building out an integrated social and digital strategy.
H&W: What does pattern mean to you? What role does it play in your life?
KB: I’m quite New York-y in that I only really wear black, gray, white, denim, and the occasional shade of green – but the exception is pattern. As a little girl, my signature look was a pair of short overalls with ridiculously patterned stockings underneath. Even the tiny glasses I wore as a three year old were patterned.
I especially love pattern because it is timeless (and when not, it represents a very particular moment in time) and always tells a story. A few years ago, I replaced my childhood bedding with a red floral spread, hoping that a more ‘grown up’ pattern would better appeal to my parents’ house guests, then only to be told by my mother’s friend that she had the same exact bedding in middle school. And recently, I bought a wool sweater with a very eighties floral pattern at Antoinette in Brooklyn, only to learn that my mother had the same sweater… in the eighties. (In fact, we’re still not convinced the one I bought isn’t the exact same one she gave away years ago.)
H&W: What is your favorite H&W pattern and why? If you could use it anywhere in your home, where would that be?
KB: That’s not an easy question! I have loved toile since I was a kid so Cities Toile (especially in Parchment) holds a special place in my heart. I am also a huge fan of the men’s store Askov Finlayson (their sister bar, Marvel Bar, has the best cocktails in Minneapolis) – their Wood pattern is gorgeous, especially in Gray and Cream.
I live in a tiny Manhattan apartment so an accent wall in my bedroom or bathroom would be the move – in fact, I may or may not be cooking up a future blog post to document my wallpapering adventures! The plan for now is Otomi (Taupe) removable tiles, but stay tuned. ☺
H&W: What do you like best about living in NYC? What is your favorite season in the city?
KB: I am lucky to live downtown because I can walk to so many neighborhoods in Manhattan – so that’s one of my favorite things, the walkability, but also the accessibility that public transportation offers. I love going to concerts all over Brooklyn and Queens, and spending weekends upstate in the Hudson Valley. Otherwise, I am a big eater-outer (as you can see from my bulletin board) and love going to yoga classes at Sky Ting in Chinatown.
September through December is hands down the best time here. Everybody is back from their summer travels, the weather is generally lovely, and the New York City Ballet Nutcracker is on!
H&W: Describe your ideal autumn day in NYC.
KB: I would definitely spend time outside – maybe gathering friends in Prospect Park or Fort Greene Park to play games and have a picnic. But as is true with any ideal day in NYC, I’d mostly eat. Prune or Fairfax are my favorite spots for breakfast. Lunch would be at The Spotted Pig in the West Village, incomplete without their fabulous Bloody Mary or Martini and shoestring fries. For dinner I’d go to Olmsted in Brooklyn, a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant with a back garden where you can sip a cocktail and roast s’mores (another favorite Brooklyn patio spot is LaRina Pastificio and Vino). All these places I mention are very cozy, and the balance between enjoying the last of the nice weather and being inside a warm, welcoming space is key for me in autumn – it’s the only time of year when you can truly have both!
H&W: If you could plan your dream holiday cocktail party, who would you invite - real or fictional, dead or alive?
KB: My whole extended family of 50 plus would have to be there. Lynn Rosetta-Casper, Julia Child, and Danny Meyer could help cook and entertain. Judy Garland would need to be there, for my grandmother. The Staves, a band made up of three British sisters (who currently reside in Minneapolis), would lead the carol singing and make everybody laugh hysterically. And Chance the Rapper. And the Obamas. Could George Gershwin play piano? How big is the venue? I could go on.
H&W: How do you find or create hygge in your everyday life? What are your must-haves for a hygge night in at home?
KB: I can proudly say that my roommate and I have created ourselves a pretty hygge space in our tiny apartment. It’s in the excessive number of candles, the waft of palo santo incense, the never-ending Beatles-and-Ella-Fitzgerald-heavy playlists, our strategic use of dimmer switches, and an excess of woolen blankets.
But even more important to creating a feeling of hygge is the company that we keep. We live on a busy street in the East Village and like to trick friends to ‘come over and hang out in the East Village’ – only to seduce them into our apartment for cheese and crackers, wine, pasta, ice cream, and conversation. Those are my must-haves – a warm, cozy ambience, something yummy, and life chats with great friends.
I suppose an evening around the fire at the family cabin back in Wisconsin isn’t such a bad way to hygge, either.
filed under: Pattern Players
November 07, 2017
As business owners, we've learned that finding great people to join your team is not always an easy task. So when youÂ come across someone who is not only immensely talented, meticulous, and conscientious, but also just an all-around great person, you hold on tightly. And our amazing graphic designer and one of our newest team members, Ola Supernat, is just that type of person.
Aimee met Ola many years ago when they both worked at a branding agency in Minneapolis, and the two became fast friends during their tenures there. Ola's talent and work ethic really impressed Aimee,Â so she was an obvious choice to reach out to when it was time toÂ develop our branding for Hygge & West in 2008. Now, years later, we had the opportunity to work with Ola once again, and we jumped at the chance. We can't wait to see all the beautiful things she creates for Hygge & West!
Hygge & West: You have an incredibly impressive roster of clients from all industries. What is your design process like, and how, if it all, does it vary by client/niche?
Ola Supernat: For the most part, the way I tackle each project is fairly the same. I like to get to know the client and their industry as well as I can. I immerse myself in their world. Then, I like to take a break to let all the new information settle in my brain. Next, I reread the brief/project ask and dive in. If itâs logo or icon work, I start with sketches; for new brand work, I start with a general mood board, but for existing brands or digital work, I might jump right to the computer; for multipage layouts, I start with a book map; for patterns, I start by pulling inspiration imagery (if not already provided) and then sketch. Iâve been lucky enough to work with visual people, so a lot of the time, I show pencil or digital sketches first to make sure we are aligning. Sometimes you get it right away, sometimes you go through a few rounds of refinements. Every project provides its own challenges and I welcome the growing experiences.
H&W: You're originally from Poland and currently live in Portland, OR. How have those two places affected your design aesthetic? Are there any differences or similarities in the way those two places use pattern?
OS:Â I came to the States when I was 16 as part of a high school foreign exchange program. I ended up staying for college and then some. Before moving to Portland, I lived in North Dakota (where I spent a year on a dairy farm), Minneapolis (where I met Aimee!), and Chicago. At this point, I have lived in the States longer than I did in Poland. Ever since I was a kid, I was infatuated with American culture, so for the longest time I pushed away my Polish roots in favor of the world I grew up watching on TV. It's only within the last few years, probably as Iâm getting older, that I've started to be more nostalgic towards Polish culture.
For me, the common thread for Polandâs and Portlandâs pattern inspiration is nature. Design in Poland has been very progressive, but I tend to be drawn to the simple, folk-style art I remember from my childhood - in book illustrations, my grandmaâs house, and holiday decorations. In Portland, I feel pretty spoiled to be able to be by the ocean or in the mountains in pretty much the same amount of time it would take to leave the city limits in Chicago. My boyfriend and I like to get out of town as much as we can and I always take photos of plants and textures we come upon during our adventures for my inspiration bank.
H&W: Much of your work has a clean, minimalist vibe that gives your designs plenty of room to breath. Why is this important in your work? Does this aesthetic translate into your home?
OS:Â I tend to create minimal work to let the message take center stage. That aesthetic definitely translates into my home! My boyfriend and I bought our house close to two years ago and the first thing we did upon moving in was paint all the walls white. It created a great backdrop for showcasing art and favorite objects, plants (lots and lots of plants), and my Moroccan rugs. Both of us have moved around quite a bit (16 times in 16 years for me!) and never accumulated a lot of stuff, so we very much value bringing into our home only items that are necessary or meaningful.
Hygge & West website and branding circa 2009
H&W: One of the first projects we worked on with you was the development of our current logo and branding. How do your designs capture the essence of the Hygge & West brand? How did the design evolve as you were creating it?
OS:Â From the beginning, there was a clear idea of what you wanted for the brand. We kept everything simple and sleek with hand-drawn touches as a nod to the designers and artists and to keep the brand approachable. The primary colors are black and white so the patterns really stand out.
Over the years, the H&W branding hasnât really changed much. Weâve kept true to making sure the beautiful product is given the most prominence. What has evolved the most is probably your digital appearance - remember this website version from around 2009?!Â
H&W:Â Most recently, you helped us create our cross hatch wallpaper for CB2, and also helped turn Kate Arends' inspiration into a beautiful Wit & Delight x Hygge & West collaboration (coming this January!). How are you able to so perfectly translate ideas and feelings into real-life designs? Do you have any tricks or special processes for doing so?
OS:Â First of all, thank you! It was an amazing experience to work on both collaborations. For Wit & Delightâs collection, I was given a thorough inspiration deck, so I was able to hit the ground running. We also knew we wanted to have geometric and nature-inspired directions. I did a lot of sketching and experimenting and there was a number of patterns that didnât make the cut - itâs all about trial and error.Â
As far as tricks or processes - donât be afraid to experiment. I try to give every idea a shot, because you never know what may end up working. Sometimes, what seems to be a surefire winner in my head will not work out on paper and vice versa. Try different things - even an accident can reveal a new, better idea. For example, the CB2 pattern direction became apparent to me as result of clicking a wrong keyboard shortcut in Illustrator.
H&W: What do you think pattern and repetition bring to the table, both in your work and in a home? Do you have any tips for working with pattern?
OS:Â Pattern is such a versatile way to exude different feelings as well as bring visual interest and texture. It can be a piece of art in itself. Large- versus small-scale design, geometric versus flora/fauna design, or even the same design in different colorways can appear worlds apart as far as the atmospheres that they create.
I am definitely an advocate for bringing pattern into your life (even though I painted our house walls white rather than hang wallpaper, I know!). A good way to introduce pattern is with less permanent items like throw pillows, blankets, rugs, or removable wallpaper tiles. That way, you can test out your pattern personality.
H&W:Â As you know well, hygge is Danish for cozy. How do you find or create hygge in your life?
OS:Â I love that concept. We should seek out more joy and coziness in our lives. Iâve been really into audiobooks lately - I love to curl up on the couch, close my eyes, and get engrossed in a story. Other current hygge favorites include enjoying the incredible PNW fall before the rain comes (probably wonât be true anymore at the time this is published, but there is something cozy about the rain, too); our new marshmallow cloud of a mattress; working on making our home more âoursâ with my boyfriend; sweaters; nature adventures; friend/food dates; and brown bread with salted butter on my recent trip to Ireland (but really, anything food-related).
filed under: Pattern Players
October 07, 2017
This time of year, the changing leaves, dropping temps, and shorter days turn our thoughts to all things cozy - warm, welcoming interiors that we can hunker down in for the cold season ahead. For many, there's nothing more synonymous with cozy than a beautiful farmhouse - and when it comes to creating beautiful, modern farmhouses, Katie DeRario is a force to be reckoned with.
Katie is the founder of Hart and Lock Design, a full-service interior design firm based in Milton, Georgia. From fixtures to finishes to furnishings, Katie's knack for designing high-end, thoughtfully considered, and undeniably inviting homes for her clients is evident in everything she touches. We caught up with Katie to talk modern farmhouse design, pattern, and of course, how to add hygge to your home.
Hygge & West: You came from a fine arts background before migrating into the interior design world. How does that background influence what you do today? Are there any principles of art that apply to interiors as well?
Katie DeRario: Art has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I always loved to draw, paint, and create. In school, it was definitely an outlet for me to express myself, and so following that into college was a no-brainer. Truly learning color, composition, texture, and pattern through my art education has sharpened my eye. Having a blank canvas or a blank room are one in the same. Just like a piece of art, a room is supposed to provoke a feeling, whether it be a sense of peacefulness with a neutral room or a vibrant eclectic style that evokes energy.
H&W: The modern farmhouse aesthetic and equine influences are a common thread through much of your work. What is it about these elements that feel like home to you?
KD: I have always admired horses. I was never a rider, even though I grew up on a farm, but the sense of strength and beauty they carry themselves with is something I appreciate. Their stature is a true statement of beauty and why I often find myself using portraits, paintings, or accessories of equestrian nature. The modern farmhouse style has become, dare I say, “trendy” over the last couple of years. For me, it's such a versatile style, with lots of character in the structural elements of the home to a fun mix of antique furnishings and funky light fixtures. Modern farmhouse definitely doesn’t have to be stuck on the farm!
H&W: Many of your interiors feature a more neutral palette with pops of color and pattern used as accents. What does pattern mean to you? How does it transform a space in ways that other elements can't?
KD: Pattern is like the icing on the cake. With a good base of neutral elements, adding a pop of pattern is what makes the room come alive, especially with living elements, like birds & flowers, which truly give the room life. Other fun patterns can add just enough dimension to keep the eye moving around the space.
H&W: What are your tips and tricks for using pattern? What are some of your go-to ways to incorporate it into a space?
KD: When adding pattern, it's all about the end feeling desired for the room. Choose calming colors and do an accent wall in a bedroom or the back of glass cabinets for just the right amount of pop without overwhelming a space. For a more fun, pass-through room, such as a laundry or powder room, bold patterns can add longevity and make more of a statement to enjoy.
H&W: You used Daydream as a fun accent wall in a client's laundry room, and as an unexpected accent on another client's coffered living room ceiling. What drew you to this pattern and why does it work in each respective space?
KD: The Daydream pattern is one of my favorites, especially with all the different available colors palettes. For the laundry room, it opens up the small space and adds a design element that otherwise could not fit into this space. On the ceiling, the subtle gold draws your eye around the whole room and gives this beautiful ceiling life.
H&W: You've also used Peonies in a beautiful modern farmhouse you designed. What was is about the pattern and colorway you chose that felt right for that space, and what do you think it adds to the room overall?
KD: The Peonies print is nostalgic with a vintage feel and perfect for the modern farmhouse. The pale blue and subtle copper played well with the soft white oak floors and creamy walls throughout the house. I added it on a long wall in one of the bedrooms, which of course became my favorite bedroom in the house!
H&W: Hygge means comfort, coziness, and finding pleasure in life's simple moments. What are your top three elements for a hygge home? How do you find or create hygge in your own world?
KD: My top three elements for a hygge home are:
1. Character - Having dimension in the elements of the room, whether it's wallpaper, a wood treatment on the ceiling, or a vintage mantle above the fireplace, adds character and gives the room life.
2. Simplicity - Too much clutter can make a room uninviting. Selecting fewer, better pieces lets those items shine rather than getting too busy.
3. Personalization - Investing in good furnishings and beautiful decor goes a long way, but adding personal touches turns your house into a home. I have pieces throughout my house from my grandparents, like an old ladder that holds blankets, a worn cowboy hat that hangs on the wall, and a vintage wingback chair I had recovered. The meaning from these items makes me feel secure and at home.
filed under: Pattern Players
September 08, 2017
Pattern, though beautiful to look at, has played a much more important role throughout history than just eye candy. It appears throughout the centuries and around the world in the folk art of nearly every culture and civilization, and has helped tell the stories, traditions, and beliefs of its creators since the earliest days of humanity. Today, folk art lives on in the pencils and paintbrushes of artists like Dinara Mirtalipova, the immensely talented hands behind Mirdinara, whose work - inspired by her Uzbekistan roots - feels simultaneously modern and timeless.
Dinara is a self-taught illustrator and designer who was born and raised in the Soviet Uzbek culture and currently resides in Ohio. From paintings to children's books, bracelets to greeting cards, and even hand-painted eggs, everything Dinara touches has her signature style and bold, yet refined palette. In honor of our launch of Dinara's first pattern for Hygge & West, we caught up with her about what pattern means to her, how the folk art of her childhood home influences her, and how she creates hygge in her world.
Hygge & West: Folk art and the natural world play large roles in your work. What is it about those things that inspire you, and what else inspires and informs your work?
Dinara Mirtalipova: For me, folk art is a way to keep the connection with my roots. It's the nostalgia for the songs from my childhood, for the books I read as a teen, for the textiles that surrounded me while growing up. Being interested in cultures and traditions of different nations, I became more and more obsessed with the naive and genuine way of expressing a feeling though a brush stroke.
H&W: You spent your childhood in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, before eventually ending up in snowy Ohio, where you currently reside. How did both of those places influence your style? In what ways do these two places embrace and use pattern differently or similarly?
DM: It's going to sound paradoxical, but I grew more appreciation for folk art and developed my style after finding myself so far away from the place that was full of it. I guess, as most kids in their teens, I felt rebellious and traditional textiles and songs were my last admiration at that time. As a teen, I couldn't wait to leave the nest, to travel, and to become different. As funny as it sounds, after I became a mother myself I realized how nostalgic I felt for the atmosphere I grew up in. Right now those childhood memories influence my style so much that I don't think I could do it any differently.
H&W: Pattern design is a huge part of your work. What does pattern mean to you? What do you think it brings to a home that other design elements can't?
DM: I love patterns! They have a magical power to set the mood for your home. And they are such an inexpensive way to transform the home atmosphere. For example, by simply swapping your curtains, a table cloth, or a bedcover you create a whole new interior design.
H&W: What role does pattern play in folk art and storytelling? How do you use pattern to tell your own story?
DM: Folk art of any nation is full of patterns and colors. For centuries, people illustrated their habitats and life situations on textiles. Patterns are reflections of your life. I personally love happy bright colors inspired by nature and tend to use a limited palette.
H&W: We're so excited about your first pattern with us, Mermaids, which is available as a shower curtain and wallpaper. What inspired this pattern and its different colorways, and what was the design process like?
DM: I caught the mermaid fever from my little daughter, Sabrina. There was a time when she claimed she was a real mermaid and had been asking me to draw mermaids with her over and over. Mermaids are magical and surreal and very beautiful. Sabrina and I imagine their habitat together; sometimes looking at things through a child's eyes can open your frozen adult mind in unexpected ways, giving you food for the imagination.
Ever since Sabrina was born, we couldn't help but notice how much the girl loves water. Naturally, the bath room became an important place in our home. When this collaboration was taking place, I was excited about the opportunity to create something with mermaids, anticipating how I'm going to transfer our own place.
H&W: What are some of your favorite ways to use pattern in your world, whether at home, in your work, or elsewhere?
DM: I love patterns on home textiles and dishware. I'm not afraid to wear clothes with bold patterns. I'm so happy wallpapers are trendy again, and my husband and I have been thinking of applying wallpapers on certain walls in our house.
H&W: Hygge means comfort, coziness, and finding pleasure in life's simple moments. What represents hygge for you? How do you find or create it in your life?
DM: To me, hygge is simplicity, finding joy in little things. It's the first coffee sip, it's breezy October mornings outside on the patio, it's snuggles under a blanket. Like most women, I love flipping through occasional magazines and catalogs, but when it comes to decorating our nest I still follow my personal intuitive instinct of creating a place that speaks for us and that functions according to our habits.
filed under: Pattern Players
July 07, 2017
From practical design tips to aspirational advice and hard-won words of wisdom, here are 10 of our favorite things that weve learned from the inspiring artists, designers, and tastemakers weve interviewed for our ongoing Pattern Players series:
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
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
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 Im 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
I think its 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
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
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
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
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
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. Whats not to love? Justina Blakeney
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.
filed under: Pattern Players
June 16, 2017
If you've ever watched HGTV or DIY Network (guilty!), you've more than likely seen Anthony Carrino, along with his cousin, John Colaneri, who make up the home-renovating duo known as The Cousins (or, as they were first known to fans, the Kitchen Cousins). Born and raised in New Jersey, Anthony grew up in the home building and design world, restoring and repurposing old industrial buildings. From private projects to life on the small screen, Anthony has created an illustrious career out of his knack for space planning, creative design solutions, and seeing past what a home is, and instead seeing what it could be - and then making it so.
We caught up with Anthony to learn more about his love for restoring and repurposing old industrial buildings, how designing homes on TV translates to real life, and, of course, how we lives and works with pattern.
Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about your background, your work, and what led you to where you are today.
Anthony Carrino: I am a self-taught designer with a business education. I have always loved this duality and found it very useful. My father and I decided to start our company together after we renovated a one-off brownstone in Hoboken, NJ. We gutted the building, and in 12 months had a finished product that consisted of four units. We designed each of them individually, taking the time to add unique touches that would separate our product from the cookie-cutter mold of all the other inventory that was on the market. It worked in a big way; we sold out the entire building in just three weeks, with a list of people asking for more units, so my father and I decided this would be our new business. We ran that business for 12 years together; our focus was on the adaptive reuse and restoration of architecturally significant buildings within the urban core of Jersey City, returning these once great structures to their former glory, while transforming the interiors into updated, well-designed condo apartments.
In 2011, my cousin, John, and I tripped into HGTV, and while we never looked to be on television, it is a part of my career that I am very grateful for, as it has allowed us to share our passion, designs, and knowledge with so many more people than I could have ever imagined; not to mention the experiences we have had along the way!
With the success of our various HGTV series and my father nearing retirement, we closed our construction company, as we couldnt execute the projects we wanted to while on the road. It was at this point that anthony carrino design was born. With ACD, I am able to do site visits when I am home and the GC (general contractor) can make progress when I am not. I have a cloud-based workflow, which allows me to design and have access to all my design materials from wherever I am, so my clients, or their GC, are only a call away if they need me.
H&W: You've designed and built countless spaces on television, often under tight budgets and even tighter deadlines. What are some lessons you've learned from design TV that translate into real life design?
AC: Organization and planning has always been a big part of what I do; television brings this to a whole other level. It has pushed me so far beyond what I thought I was capable of that no problem seems insurmountable to me anymore. It is an oddly sadistic life, where you almost begin to crave that level of insanity. At the height of Kitchen Cousins, we were working seven days a week, 12 to 16 hours a day, for about a year and half straight; I forgot how to downshift and relax. That said, planning for private jobs, anticipating problems before they happen, and paying attention to the details (which is what it's all about) seems like it is in slow-motion now, which makes for a really great working environment.
John and I have recently launched a new podcast, Home With The Cousins, and it is born out of the idea that so few homeowners are actually familiar with the process of a home renovation, that we wanted to give them a true play-by-play to help them avoid the pitfalls and time-sucks that will chew up their budget and keep them living on a construction site instead of a completed project. The podcast will evolve to be much more than just this, but this is going to be our initial series of episodes, and we will be including downloadable templates of different spreadsheets to help folks accomplish their goal of a home renovation with the least amount of pain possible.
H&W: How does your background in building (and the knowledge and expertise that comes along with it) inspire and influence your design work?
AC: The biggest thing my building experience influences is my communication. ACD is a design and construction management (CM) firm, so when you hire us to design your project, we are also interfacing with your contractor on your behalf. This does two things: 1) It takes a huge stress and worry off my clients, who dont know the construction language, the questions to ask, and if they are being told the right answers or not. 2) It makes the contractors happy because they are talking with someone who is used to the process and can get them fast answers in a format that they can work with. Most homeowners are likely to go through one, maybe two, renovations or building projects in their lives, and there is a lot to learn for this process; I love knowing I can take that off their shoulders. In short, I am a bridge - I speak contractor and I speak homeowner.
AC: Foret is probably my single favorite paper you guys make (so hard to have a favorite!). My client wanted a super luxe feeling powder room. As it is a tiny space, I wanted it to have lot of detail one could experience and discover. I find that bold pattern works very well in small spaces, especially when it is a space you dont live in, but a space that you experience in shorter bursts, so Foret was an obvious choice here. I went with the charcoal colorway because of the brass fixtures and accents we were using; grey and brass play so well together. I had my kitchen manufacturer in Italy reach out to a friend to hand-make the sink inside the vanity that he created for us; the subtle grey veining in the Carrera also playing with the charcoal in Foret. I love that this tiny space is packed with design, and Foret has this transportive quality that, for all its busyness, is very calming.
The master suite is meant to be a getaway, and for me there is nothing more calming than passing clouds in the sky. Daydream allowed me to recreate that feeling through pattern, and considering the other industrial design elements within the space, the blush colorway is most certainly a nod to the feminine, with the grey paint to balance it out and keep that cool vibe.
H&W: How do you use pattern in your work? What about in your own home?
AC: My favorite places to use pattern in my work are rugs, wallpaper, and pillows. The biggest thing with pattern is to use it well, as too many competing or clashing patterns can go very wrong very quickly, so I definitely use pattern with restraint.
In my own home, I use pattern in each of the areas I mentioned above. I have large over-dyed rugs on my concrete floors that have vintage patterns on them, but because of the over-dyed nature of the rugs the pattern is very subtle, and almost a background element to the color itself. In my entryway, I have a geometric wallpaper which defines the entry that opens up to the entire loft space. Lastly, the pillows on the living room couch also have a geometric pattern on them, but pick up the colors from the over-dyed rugs on the ground, so each element pulls from the other and all the layers work together seamlessly.
H&W: One of your specialities is layout and spatial design. What are your tips for creating a high-functioning, but also aesthetically pleasing space?
AC: 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. My initial meetings with clients usually last about two hours and our conversation is all over the place. This allows me to get to know them in a more personal way in order to dig into life and how to design the home around that.
As far as advice, everything is a matter of perspective. Photography has taught me to look at the same scene in multiple ways, from multiple angles. I have translated this to my design life and always look at a room or a space in multiple configurations, even if I am happy with the first one I develop.
H&W: Many of your designs have a decidedly urban, industrial-modern sensibility. How do you balance the industrial aesthetic with the comfort and coziness we all crave from our homes?
AC: Guilty, and I love it! This balance is what I love about design. The word "juxtaposition" is used so much, but I guess thats because it is appropriate. The way in which I go about creating this is using the industrial elements in the shell of the space, and then softening up as I layer inwards. This is made much easier by the nature of where I do most of my work. When you are in these great old buildings in Jersey City and Manhattan from the late 18th, early 19th centuries, that shell canvas is present for you. The trick here is uncovering it, as many developers cover these things up. Perfect example: in the Tribeca loft (above), I did a raw concrete ceiling in the living and dining rooms; this already existed, and when I told my clients we were going to scrape their ceiling down they near fell over. But their trust in me, and my knowledge and experience working in these structures delivered an incredible and unexpected result. The home feels incredibly soft and inviting, and because that raw industrial concrete is such a departure from the soft, it instantly stands out as a design element with a storied past from New Yorks bygone era.
H&W: Hygge is the Danish concept of coziness - mental, physical, spiritual, or otherwise. How do you find or create hygge in your home and in your everyday life?
AC: As I mentioned above, I worked for about a year and a half straight, so it took some doing for me to find my hygge. I was on the road so much, constantly working, that the feeling of comfort and relaxation was not a focus for me. As I was nearing burnout, we were just wrapping our second season, so I headed out for some travel, which always fuels and recharges me. Taking some good introspective time and realizing that time away makes me better when I am present. I never let go of this again. I now make it a point to go and do something interesting on almost every shoot, no matter how busy it gets. The camera is my vehicle for this; I absolutely love shooting photographs, so I seek out interesting places to capture, and I make sure I am present and experiencing them for what they are at the same time. I also meditate for 10 minutes every morning. Ok, thats a lie I try to mediate for 10 minutes every morning, with the goal of getting to a 30-minute meditation. I usually do it a minimum of three times a week, but that 10 minutes (usually right when I wake up, before coffee) is incredible. I highly recommend trying the Calm app for iPhone.
My home is truly a reflection of myself and my lifes experiences, so there is an innate sense of belonging. When I designed this space, I took the time to really think about what I wanted and I created it, so I always look forward to coming home. One of the main elements that creates my hygge at home is my hanging fireplace. Sculpturally it is beautiful, and in the winter when we have fires, which is almost every night, the smell of the burning wood and the dancing flames puts me at ease. Aside from that, being that I am in a loft, I have very tall ceilings: 18 feet 7 inches to be exact. This volume of space with the massive arched windows (11 feet wide x 13 feet tall) is always flooded with light and never feels heavy or closed in. The last, and probably most important component of my hygge are the pieces that create the story of my life, whether it be large format photographs I have taken, a stack of Instagram prints of my girlfriend and I on our coffee table, or the myriad items we have from our travels. Everything reminds us of what we have done and where we have gone. We are firm believers that life is a collection of experiences, not things, so while we do collect these little things they are meant to evoke the memory of the experience and that is my hygge.
filed under: Pattern Players