Hygge (hoo-ga) is Danish for cozy

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Pattern Players: Shujan Bertrand of àplat

December 01, 2016

 

It's no secret that we think pattern makes everything better - your home, your wardrobe, and especially your gifts. That's why we're so excited to have just launched our àplat x H&W culinary totes - the perfect (patterned!) present for the host(ess), chef, or wine lover in your life! 

Shujan Bertrand is the founder of àplat and the creative mind behind these chic, modern, and eco-friendly reusable bags, as well as a fellow pattern enthusiast. We caught up with her to learn more about the inspiration behind her totes, the French notion of the "art of living," and why the moment of the reveal is just as important in food as it is in gifting.

Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about your background, your business, and what inspired your totes.

Shujan Bertrand: I am an industrial designer with 20 years of experience in California, Milan, and Munich. I’ve spent the majority of my career designing consumer electronics and lifestyle products. After having children, I purposely moved away from technology and began to focus on soft goods and furniture design. I was approaching my third year at Coalesse/Steelcase when I had the idea for a tote collection.

The first tote in the collection was the à fleur bouquet tote. I was on my way to Renee Zellweger’s gallery opening of Summer School in San Francisco. I wanted to gift her a bouquet so I made a quick stop at Bi-Rite to hand pick some flowers. Much to my dismay, the cashier over-wrapped the once lovely arrangement in paper and cellophane. Not what I had in mind. I felt that the flowers deserved more respect and it actually no longer felt like a gift. This was my moment of insight: that a bouquet should be quietly seen and well dressed. It should also be cherished and reusable. That evening, I began to sew prototypes of what I thought a bouquet tote should be and shared the design idea with my husband and his parents who were in town from France. After brainstorming over coffee, I felt that something good, something new was emerging. The notion of designing a product that would elevate the moment of reveal experience to a higher level, of sharing quality things that we eat and gift was very exciting. Within a few days, not only did I design the fleur tote, I was so inspired that I also designed the complete collection of wine, food, bread, and garden totes. I continued on with my daily corporate life but spent nights and weekends refining the design and searching for a brand name. It was a tie between Sac a Tout (tote for everything) and Aplat (for dishes, is flat, or color swatch).

I finally found the courage to share my idea and designs outside of my family and the first person I could trust and think of who would give me honest feedback was Cathy Bailey, owner and creative director of HEATH Ceramics. She gave me the opportunity to put 100 àplat totes on HEATH shelves within 6 months. From March to September 2014, I held a corporate job while trying to build the brand and get it manufactured with all the core values that I still hold true to this day: zero waste, organic cotton, made in small batches, local, reusable, and reliable.

H&W: Your website mentions your connection to France. Can you tell us a little about that and how life in the U.S. differs from life in France, specifically when it comes to eating, gathering, and socializing?

SB: The French notion of the “art of living” is truly a way of life in my husband’s family. My French husband and I lived and designed in Italy and France for several years before returning to San Francisco. I designed àplat with great fondness and in memory of that happy time and in homage to my family lifestyle there. I often observed rituals of deliciously cooked meals paired with good wine along with great company that my family enjoyed all year round. I guess you can say my life was forever changed once I met my husband, followed by my move to Europe, where I experienced first hand l’art de vivre.

My in-laws' home in Nice, France—which they built from scratch—is perched on a small hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. They have a small fruit and vegetable garden that they pick from seasonally. In the summers, the lavender in the garden is harvested to make sachet pouches and the home is always filled with friends and neighbors who visit to eat and drink homemade wine. Every member of the Bertrand family started their personal wine collection at an early age, and it’s stored in the basement cellar. Each bottle has a special story of where it came from, and when it is finally opened that story gets shared. You may call this old fashioned, but for me, it was totally refreshing and new. It was utterly beautiful and I was in love.

I was from a different world - born and raised in Manhattan Beach, CA - and now, everyday routines take on new meaning, and those things I once thought mundane suddenly felt like art and poetry.

There are many types of tart or pie carriers out there, but the ones I admired most were my mother-in-law’s. They were made by her mother using old linens. An additional source of endless inspiration and admiration were the bread bags and pouches found in every French kitchen, along with the crates and baskets used to carry wine. These are products that have been around for ages—I simply brought them together, made them accessible, and created the àplat collection of culinary totes. This is why I say that àplat originated in France as it was inspired by the life of my husband’s family, and is deeply rooted in a culture of family and friendship, where socializing is a way of life and where generosity is a daily ritual.

H&W: We're so excited about the totes you've created using some of our favorite H&W patterns. Please tell us what attracted you to each pattern/colorway and why you think they work for your bags.

 

SB: I am so excited about this partnership. It couldn’t have been more perfect! The collaboration with Hygge & West was exactly the type of partnership I was looking for. A textile brand that had tasteful design sensibilities and with two women who are delightful and easy to connect with.

The final colored patterns Foret, Otomi, and Diamante were my top choices from our sampled prototypes. I instantly loved the Otomi because of its bold and festive look, and was drawn to Foret for its perfect combination of playful and sophisticated design. Lastly, I think Diamante in Gray really speaks to designers who love subtle accents of design.

H&W: How do you see your totes - and specifically the ones designed with H&W - being used, and by whom?

SB: I really think they make a lovely gift: perfect for the holidays, wedding party gifts, and executive gift baskets.

My favorite gift pairings:

Culinary Tote - good cookbook and a loaf of warm bread gifted inside the tote

Vertical Wine Tote - modern stocking under the tree filled with artisanal food and wine

Horizontal Wine Tote - a good bottle of whisky with 3 bitters and a few tools for mixing

H&W: You often talk about the "moment of reveal." Why is that so important both for food and gifts, but also other aspects of life, such as in the home?

SB: 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.

In my culture, you always offer the finer things with two hands as a sign of respect. You pour your wine with the wine bottle label facing up and in line of site, not turned bottom or sideways.

The àplat tote is also meant to be left behind, to inspire the person who it was left with to have their own moment of reveal with someone else and so on and so forth; sort of like an àplat chain. Entertaining becomes much more inspiring and meaningful this way.

H&W: 'Hygge' is a Danish word that loosely translates to 'cozy.' Where and how do you find hygge in your life?

SB: My Hygge moments are many and I try to incorporate them throughout my day.

What comes to mind first are my children. Hygge, to me, means warm cuddles and hugs from my sleepy kids in the morning. It also means cooking for the family everyday. A quick coffee with a friend is very hygge as well.

At the factory, I hygge my time with the women who sew there. When I sew prototypes at the factory, I get a lot of hygge time that really delights me.

I’m also part of a wonderful supper club that meets every quarter where we cook food from around the world. Perhaps the ultimate hygge is in the company of this great group of friends sitting at a long table with our kids. We can count on a long night of plates and glasses softly clanging, food and wine being passed along, and personal stories being shared with belly laughing in between.

H&W: If you could cook a meal with any person - real or fictional, dead or alive - who would it be and why?

SB: What a fun question! Well, first I’d have Blaise, my husband, by my side and together we’d cook with Barack and Michelle Obama. I don’t have a political bone in me so the conversation wouldn’t be about global affairs, rather it would be more philosophical in nature. We’d talk about the meaning of life, diversity, spirituality, parenting, and things that could inspire an amazing, bright future. And I like the thought of cooking, eating and drinking with them casually. I like to imagine that towards the end of the evening, Blaise and Barack are in the kitchen wearing their aprons while Michelle and I are huddled in a corner sipping our glass of wine, laughing and chatting away about everything and anything.

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Pattern Players: Erin Miller Williams

October 07, 2016

When it comes to art and design, Erin Miller Williams, creator, designer, and producer of visual arts and experiences, does it all. From hand-lettering and murals, to art direction and production design, Erin's unique sense of form, color, and pattern brings a rich exuberance to everything she touches. Though Erin's work ranges from everything from neon, in-your-face street murals to moody, deeply textured weddings, there's a common thread of movement, a profound knack for color, and an undeniable sense of fun and fancy in all of it.

We recently teamed up with Erin on a fun collaboration between words and patterns. Check out the results below, and read on for her thoughts on finding her unique voice as an artist, creating hygge, Neil Armstrong, and more.

Hygge & West: Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to do all that you do, from hand lettering to event design.

Erin Miller Williams: I love doing. I love creating. I love getting messy. I would choose working on a ladder over working in front of a laptop any day. The dirtier my hands are after a project, the better. I also love taking an idea and seeing it to fruition. So I've stayed busy my whole life juggling art, design, acting, and producing. All of these things somehow combusted into one over a period of time and landed me in the career I am today. I would say that the short answer to this question is that I got into all that I do by saying yes to opportunities. When I first moved to L.A. from Memphis, I was pursuing a career in entertainment, but I still had a craving for art and design. Not knowing anyone out here and also attempting to figure out what I wanted to do with my life as a 23 year old started with saying yes to a LOT of different kinds of creative jobs. With each yes, I learned more skills, and with more skills came bigger projects and new kinds of opportunities to explore production and design. I started working on jobs ranging from set design to festival production, to murals and lettering menu boards. I actually got into hand lettering by chance through my church. At the time, I was itching for a way out of my bartending job and joined the design team at my church. During an installation, we were rushing to meet a deadline and the last piece of the project was a giant hand lettered quote on the floor of the entry. Everyone was so tired by the end of the night, the paintbrush was put in my hand and I lettered the piece. It took me about an hour total to complete it and people kept walking by in amazement of what I had drawn. I think I was in even more amazement that they were in amazement. I guess at the time I didn’t realize this was a skill some people didn’t have. It was in that moment that I realized this could be something special. This could be a cool way to reach people and send a beautiful message. From that project, I was asked to do another, then another... teaching myself how to letter along the way. Lettering got me into weddings, which got me into event design, which threw me deeper into a more serious pursuit of installations, art direction, and creative production.

H&W: We're so excited about the hand-lettered quotes you created for some of our favorite H&W papers. Tell us about that.

EMW: Each of these wallpapers is so unique and to me, gives off a very specific tone when you see it in repetition. As with words, you read or hear something and you immediately digest that phrase into your own personal interpretation. There is definitely a specific vibe for each of these patterns, which made it fun to see how different each lettering piece turned out.

Moons: To me, Moons was dreamy and playful, so I got a little crazy and silly with a brush pen. There is a youthful yet romantic feel to this pattern, so I tried to give the font that same look. And the red shoes amp up that wallpaper and give it a little bit of "wild nights" feel… like when you go on date with someone you like and run home, jump on your bed, and kick off your heels dreaming about when you will see that person next. It’s the best feeling. And this is the best wallpaper.

Cosmic Desert: Cosmic Desert was one of my favorites to create. This pattern is so bold and rich, but also has a weird, Joshua Tree vibe to it. It feels modern and cool with the blue and gold, but also has a little bit of an unexpected wildness to it, which is what desert life is kind of like. I wanted these letters to be simple and clean, but with the right amount of interesting and weird… strong and sharp, but free to tilt a little in the wrong direction too. I love letters that aren't perfect. I love art that isn't exact. It gives you something more to think about and experience. Plus nobody's perfect. So my letters shouldn't be either.

NethercoteThe Secret Garden was one of my favorite movies growing up, so when I saw this quote for Nethercote, I knew this piece would be whimsical and wild with a touch of romance and elegance... just like a secret garden. I think the pattern on this wallpaper is exactly that as well. I think Nethercote can be used in so many different settings and live amongst many aesthetics. It can be for a formal dining room or a casual back patio. You could find it in a feminine powder room or a cozy reading nook. It was important to make a lettered piece that also could be found in any of those places - and with the right framing, match that aesthetic. I think the letters look beautiful and free, like a garden growing in all directions, but everything in its intentional place.

Dog ParkDog Park is just straight up awesome. I love that this wallpaper pattern breaks the rules just by being exactly what it is - dogs on a wall. HOW COOL IS THAT?! The pattern works though because it has simplicity to it. To me, the dog illustrations have a vintage feel, which inspired me to go with a "sign painter" look to my letters. It's an amped up, looser version of the actual look often seen on hand-painted signs. Instead of a brush, I used a fat sharpie to create this guy because of the small surface area. It compliments the fun, casual feel of Dog Park and still makes a bold statement.

Cities ToileCities Toile was the very first piece I lettered. I was so excited about this project with Hygge & West, when I first saw this pattern, I immediately knew I wanted a sophisticated, clean, original font next to this rich, dark, elegant pattern. I wanted to give this piece a strong, masculine feel with a little bit of a unique edge. I use this font in lots of my installations. It's a go-to of mine because it works well with so many aesthetics. The setting of this photo was inspired by travel and beautiful stories told in classic books. When I first saw Cities Toile, it reminded me of an old romance story of crossing seas to find love or a new life. My hope was to depict that dreamy, adventurous feeling you get when you read a wonderful book that takes you to a new place and time.

KnotsKnots is one of my favorite wallpapers because it is clean, yet interesting, and has a modern take on a whimsical illustration. The pattern is soft, but still makes a beautiful statement in repetition. So for Knots, I decided to create a lettering piece that would have that same unique quality. One of my favorite things to do is repurpose something old and make it feel new again. I collect old paintings from flea markets and Goodwill and letter on them as a fun side project. It gives these pieces of art an interesting new interpretation. So pairing Knots and an old vintage oil painting with a modern, clean font together achieves a wonderful eclectic aesthetic. This is wallpaper and a lettering piece that would be found in someone’s house who is adventurous and not afraid to take a risk in design. It adds a little bit of quirkiness mixed with a formal elegance that would add a unique feeling to any room.

DaydreamDaydream is just plain wonderful. It is airy and light and has such an interesting visual with the line designs in the clouds. I love this quote because it is simple and honest, just like this pattern. I wanted to make this setting simple and feminine. The letters are my interpretation of the free-flowing lines of the clouds and by adding the bold gold frame, the piece has a very elegant tone to it. This would be great in any room from a nursery to an office or powder room.

H&W: Like pattern design, hand lettering seems to be as much about the presentation of a concept as it is about the concept itself - no two artists' depictions of the same quote, motif, etc. will ever look the same. How do you put your unique spin on every one of your projects?

EMW: Putting your “unique spin” on a project is my favorite part about design! Seeing how people depict things differently... I love it so much. It's what makes design interesting and makes it all worth it! One of my favorite experiences was standing next to some of my pieces at an art show and listening to what people would say about each piece. It was incredible how differently everyone experienced the same thing. It really puts into perspective how unique we each are. I learned the hard way how important it is to trust your own intuition and experiences to guide a project. Use your own life, thoughts, feelings, and inspirations to guide what happens in your design. For a long time, I would look to other artists and designers for "help," not inspiration. And those are two very different things. For a long time, I wasn't trusting that my design interpretations were good... or enough... or that people wanted to see MY work. So I leaned on Pinterest and Instagram to follow the lead of other, more successful designers. And while social media is a wonderful platform to learn and be inspired, I was using it out of fear. So my projects weren't resonating with me. They felt false. So one project, I shut it all off. I turned off my phone, kept my laptop closed, and went back to the basics... a paintbrush and pen. I turned on music and trusted that the ideas and inspiration would come. And sure enough, without the pressure of trying to recreate something that I knew already worked, I created something brand new from my own brain, experiences, and feelings. And it turned out beautifully. And I had more fun through trusting that freedom to just be me and create something I loved than I ever had before. So to answer your question, my unique spin is me. Bringing what I like and think is beautiful into a project. Shutting out the negative thoughts I create in my own head. Allowing myself the freedom to take risks and try new things that represent what I think is a true representation of what a client wants will make my design different from anyone else's every single time.

H&W: How does pattern factor into or influence your work, whether it's in event design or hand-lettering projects? What role does it play outside of your professional life?

EMW: Pattern makes everything better! I love color and craziness and mix-and-matching the two. It doesn't always have to look insanely busy or over-the-top, but it should always be interesting and thought provoking. One of the things I dislike most is looking like anyone else. From haircuts to shoe styles, I will go out of my way to try to make my own statement. Just like art and design, I LOVE when people make a bold statement or take a risk. If someone tells you, "Only you could pull that off," I would say "THANK YOU" proudly. Because that means I'm doing me and I'm living a fearless life. And that's the only kind of life I want to live. I think patterns and color make everything a little more fun and my style will always reflect my mood or the experiences I'm facing at that time. For example, right now I'm wearing floral pants with a striped top. Because I can. And because I know no one else in the room will likely be wearing the same thing. So I try to remind myself to "do you" and have the most fun time being that person, because life is short. Go wild and hang the Dog Park wallpaper in your bedroom.

H&W: 'Hygge' is a Danish word that loosely translates to 'cozy.' Where and how do you find hygge in your life?

EMW: Honestly, I wish my name was Erin Hygge Williams because I want to be known for making others feel cozy and wonderful. When they enter my home, when we talk over coffee, when they see me on the street. I want people to feel safe and comfy and at home when spending time with me... because that's how I want my life to feel for myself. I think time well spent together along with encouraging and inspiring conversations are the best ways to feel cozy. I'm from the South and I'm really close to my family, who is everything to me. I also have a big group of friends I keep up with, going all the way back to 3rd grade, and new friends from my adult life who mean the world to me. So being comfortable and creating spaces and relationships that feel like home are so important to me. I feel full, and fat, and happy in that setting. I feel inspired in a safe and vulnerable space, and that can only happen when you feel safe and at home. My hope is that I can create spaces and build a life that makes others feel like they are at home too, and in turn they also start to create beautiful things. It’s sort of a big circle of cozy inspiration… building a cozy life for myself inspires others to build a cozy life for themselves, which in turns inspires me to keep creating wonderfully cozy things. I also always feel warm and fuzzy inside when I work on projects with my best friends. Their creativity and honesty makes me come alive – few other things can make me feel that happy. Their talents and creativity are constantly shaping me and helping me grow as a designer and as a person, building the kind of life I want. 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.

H&W: If you could create your dream dinner party invite list, who would be on it - real or fictional, dead or alive?

EMW: This question is like when someone asks you what your favorite song is - it's the HARDEST question! For me, this answer is always changing. But one answer that is always constant is Jesus. Give me even just 30 seconds to shoot back an espresso shot with that man and my life would be complete. Other than that, I think I would sit down with my great grandparents, and even their parents. Not a day goes by that I'm not fascinated by the thought of who the ones were before us that shaped the lives we have now. So it would be interesting to hear their stories and learn about who they are. Are there any traits in me that I carry because of them? Who was their first kiss? How did they meet? I would just crumble hearing those stories. I'm not really obsessed with any one celebrity but I think it would be cool to hear from Neil Armstrong what walking on the moon was like. 

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Pattern Players: J & J Design Group

July 12, 2016

Sarah Goodman Photography

Even the most Pinterest-worthy spaces can sometimes lack that certain something, that sense of coziness, that hygge (if you will) that takes them beyond the realm of glossy pages and perfect styling, and into the real-life possibility that you could actually live there. It's in that space, where beauty meets comfort, that the best interior designers can be found - and Jennifer and Joanna of J & J Design Group are among them.

Jen and Jo create spaces that begged to be used as much as admired. Through their use of color, pattern, texture, and careful space planning, the duo is able to build rooms that both capture their clients' visions and bear their own unmistakable twist. Evoking both an energizing cheerfulness and a peaceful sense of home in all of their work, we just had to find out more about the women behind designs.

Hygge & West: Together, the two of you have created some truly stunning spaces. How would you describe your style?

J&J Design Group: We like to describe our style as bright and fresh. We feel that keeping a serene base to our designs makes it easy to pop in punches of color, texture, and pattern. We feel that if you lay a solid "clean" foreground it keeps the design fresh and lets the colors shine.

H&W: What's your approach to interior design? Take us through your process, including inspiration.

J&J: We love to spend hours on Pinterest, just as much as the next girl. We love and embrace other creative people. We think that creativity is contagious. When you see a good idea from someone else it sparks a new idea and thought pattern for you to create something that is all your own. 

We love to bounce ideas off of one another - it always brings the design to the next level where the other person thinks of something maybe you wouldn't have. Oftentimes we both have similar ideas because our styles are so in sync with one another. We pull design boards together and send them to one another to look at and inject their ideas. We often have our own projects that we manage, so we each have the final say on the one we are managing but always welcome ideas from one another. Two heads are always better than one. Sometimes it can be tough to be creative on demand so we rely on each other to spark new ideas when we are feeling like we are having a "designer block."

John Woodcock Photography

H&W: Wallpaper seems to play an integral role in many of your projects. What's your favorite thing about wallpaper and what's one thing you wish people better understood about it?

J&J: Wallpaper is so dynamic, it can turn a design from good to great so quickly. We love all kinds of wallpaper, pattern, texture, large prints, geometric, curvilinear, and everything in between. Wallpaper can bring spaces that don't have a lot of opportunity for pattern - such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and entryways - to the next level... and fast.

We wish people didn't have a bad taste in their mouth about wallpaper. We don't see it as much now as we used to. I think our demographic, which is 30-45 years old, has a picture of what their parents had in their house in the 80s. I know my mom was guilty of some horrible floral paper and even a border (or two) in almost every room, haha! We think the more people are exposed to Pinterest and design shows, they see that there are so many beautiful papers available these days.

H&W: You've used H&W in a few of your projects. Tell us a little bit about which papers you used and why.

J&J: We used Julia Rothman's Daydream in gold in a mud room (which hasn't yet been photographed). We paired that one with a navy and white cement tile that complemented each other so well. A little mud room with no personality is now one of our favorite rooms in the house!

John Woodcock Photography

Jo fell in love with the Daydream paper in blue when she saw it on Pinterest several years ago. She saved it and kept it in the back of her mind until the perfect room popped up to use it in. We love that nursery so much too!

Tessa Neustadt Photography

Laundry Studio's Diamante in turquoise we felt was a perfect backdrop for the L.A. nursery we did for Brooke from What's Up Moms. She wanted a serene, clean, and light and bright look. We love pattern so we love that this one had a white background with the green accents that kept it subtle with lots of style.

H&W: What's one pattern rule you always follow and one you always break?

J&J: One pattern rule that we always follow is to spread the scale of the patterns out through the room. If everything in the room is the same scale, they are sure to compete with one another.

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 Flamingo Wall Decor

H&W: What space is a great place to add wallpaper, but is often overlooked? Why do you think it works there?

J&J: We feel that accent paint is a thing of the past but an accent wallpaper wall is almost always awesome. Inject a little pattern in your room. It can just be one wall, maybe a focal wall. It can work great just as long as it is balanced with other exciting items in the room.

H&W: 'Hygge' is the Danish concept of 'cozy,' whether that's a physical space or a feeling. How do you find or create hygge in your lives?

Jo: I find my Hygge with my husband Dave, my kiddos Marin (6) and Doran (3), and our rescue dog, Lucy. I am such a homebody. I love to spend time in my home office making things, designing on my computer, and being at home with my family. I have currently been working on some new wall décor to sell in our online shop.

Jen: I find my hygge with my family as well. My husband John, my kids, John (12), William (8), and Julia (15 months), and Murphy, our one-year-old Golden Retriever. With the craziness of owning a design business, it's always nice to come home to those smiling faces and just relax. We love to go on vacation (with Seattle and Puerto Rico being our favorite spots) because it's dedicated time where we can focus on our family.

Morning is my favorite time of the day, especially before the kids get up. I love to make myself a delicious coconut latte and take a look at Pinterest. There is so much good inspiration there! I love to pin ideas that speak to me, creating an online magazine that is all my style. I reference it all the time for inspiration for my projects. 

J&J Design Group Popsicle Wall Decor

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Pattern Players: Jennifer Harrison of Flea Market Fab

April 27, 2016


If there was ever an Instagram feed in which we could lose ourselves for hours at a time, it's Flea Market Fab run by Jennifer Harrison. The interior stylist and all around creative super-force behind is known for combining her unique, playful style with some of the most ah-mazing flea market finds around to create spaces that are effortlessly layered, undeniably comfortable, and truly one-of-a-kind. 

Naturally, Jennifer spends a lot of her time playing with pattern and the gorgeous combinations she creates are at the heart of her unmistakable style. We reached out to Jennifer to learn more about her wildly creative approach to attainable design, her tips and tricks for mixing pattern, and how she approached the design for her new grandson's nursery. 

Hygge & West: We absolutely adore your style, especially the way you incorporate flea market and thrift store finds to create something thoroughly unique. Tell us a little about your 'recycled glam' style.

Jennifer Harrison: For years I have been collecting pieces. It started at a very young age with my mom dragging me to every garage and estate sale she could find. It didn't matter what it was, if there was junk/treasure to be had, she was there. Being taught by the best, you tend to learn quick, and that I did. I did go through a phase in my life where I didn't want that "recycled crap," as I would have called it then, in my home. But it stayed in my blood and eventually after I tried to get away from it, the love and comfort just wasn't there. So I started over and began collecting again, going for the "gold" as I call it. What that means is the best, the top notch that NO ONE WANTS. 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?" That thing is so ugly!" That is music to my ears! So ugly, it's cool! Then the process begins. It could be one piece, something as silly as a book, but when I see it, my mind just starts... it's really something I could never explain in words. It just happens and like that, a space is created. The hunt begins near and far. I take my time because you can't create a well curated and inexpensive space rushing to box stores. I created my brand, name, and business from shopping the bottom of the barrel, the "back of the line," and I love it. So you could say my style is all over the place. I love everything: color, texture, and pattern are my top weaknesses. They drive my train and are the most important elements in design. It's a lush, important element in a home to create comfort and bring all elements together. I design my house to how I am feeling at the time, because I do it in phases. I used [re-design] every 5 years, now I have been doing it once a year. It's easy when you can buy thing so cheap, because it makes it even easier to get rid of it and move on to the next. The beauty of recycled glam!

H&W: What's your approach to flea market shopping? Do you go with specific items in mind, or simply see what catches your eye? What are your tips & tricks for finding the best scores?

JH: I get this question so much. It's hard to answer because nothing is ever the same where you go. Every time I hit a flea, I stay open-minded - you have to, or you just set yourself up for failure. I mean, yes, you can go with a list, which for a client you have to, but you rarely find what you are looking for. Because you are looking! It's just like when your girlfriend is looking for a date/guy for her life and she keeps looking. Like the old saying goes, when you're not looking or least expect it, it will happen. Same goes for junking and fleaing. Keep your mind and eyes open and you will succeed. And make sure you love it; as long as you love every piece, it will all come together beautifully, at the least expected time. As I say in my Cruella De Vil voice, "Hahahaha, I conquered!" as I am carrying all my gold (loot) to my van. Make sure you keep yourself on a budget and don't buy huge projects. One project is enough from one sale because they add up so fast if you collect them and never find the time to get to them. So hurry up get fleaing!

H&W: What are your tips for successfully mixing old and new? What about mixing patterns?

JH: I really don't have a philosophy for this. I buy so much old that I focus on mixing new in accents. Curtains, curtain rods, those are new, unless you find old fabric. Recreations, or reproductions, they are so close nowadays. Lighting is a huge new addition to add. Also, it's really important to have a new sofa. Well-made sofas are a key element to a space. Buying one that is basic, simple, and white (preferably slipcovered) gives you the ability to do pretty much anything with a space. It's all in the lines I believe. The look and design can really allow anything to come together. I guess I am saying, stick to classic and add in the funky and it will all eventually come together as long as what you are buying you absolutely love. If not, leave it.

Mixing patterns is one of the hardest things to do. I feel this is a area a lot of people struggle with because they can't allow themselves to see a lot of [patterns] together. It's like the old "stripes and polka dots" theory. As long as the colors and patterns you are working with have some connection - like being in the color wheel - it will work. Think about nature. I use this in all of my design. Seriously, think about a sunset, think about the fall, think about an animal's coat. It all works as long as you can see and respect a natural combination of color. When you see a zebra standing in the green pasture or even dry elements, it makes sense. Black, whites, and greens... yum! Blacks, whites, and neutrals... yummier! This will allow you to see pattern much easier if you think of what is naturally created.

H&W: We love how you used Raindrops wallpaper tiles in your grandson's nursery! Tell us a little about this project and why you choose that pattern and colorway.

JH: When I found out I was going to be a grandmother, not only did my eyes pop out of my head, but the wheels started turning and the vision started to take place. It's a boy, and you have 5 months to have a room together!

We all know how fast kids grow and how long a nursery will be around, then you're into a more growing design. This mindset played a huge part for me, especially since this room is also a guest bedroom, and my daughter's old room. I started doing research and I wanted some kind of crazy mural for behind the crib, then after searching Pinterest I discovered I did not want a "limited time" piece. I needed wallpaper, something boyish, yet playful, and even better, removable. With him not living here I wanted to make sure everything could change easily in time, whether it be for myself or just for him growing up. I kept the design very simple. I wanted the wallpaper to be the anchoring element to the space. So all the major purchases stayed white. That way it gave the wallpaper and any other element in the space it's own standing ground; nothing is competing for the front-and-center. It all makes sense with the wallpaper adding that perfect "boy blue" color, with a simple and easy-to-incorporate-with-anything pattern. When you see the space, it's very obvious that it is a boy, but a visitor that had a little girl would feel comfortable also. Using traditional colors gives you that rather than going one route.

H&W: We hear you're using one of our Justina Blakeney papers in an upcoming project - exciting! Can you tell us a little about that and what about that pattern and colorway spoke to you?

JH: Since last year, when I heard Justina was launching a line, I was stoked because we all know her pattern creations are mesmerizing and beautiful. So of course being the boho junkie I am, I knew I would have one in my home. When they launched, I really wasn't sure which route to take because they are all so amazing. This past January, I visited a girlfriend in LA and Justina and I had a chance to meet. She was sweet enough to have me come to the Jungalow headquarters to see all the different patterns in person because she knew I was struggling with my decision. When I saw the Aja Khaki paper I knew then and there that was my next direction. I had quite a few traveling jobs in January and had to wait to get home to figure out exactly where I was going with everything in the house. Now, if you have been following me on Instagram you would know I was loaded with color, but kept the walls basic and white. So this transition was not easy. I was going neutral, with tons of added peeks of tribal and jungle in it. This direction with the large leaf print was just the perfect drama I needed. The neutral backdrop of the paper with the bold green was the perfect combo with all the wood and brass elements I was going to bring into the space, and of course my giant plants! 

H&W: What are some design 'rules' that should be followed, and which ones should be broken?

JH:I plead the fifth on this question because I believe every rule is made to be broken. I don't follow anything really! I guess in today's time with social media being the interior design driver, there really is a part in this now that plays free-for-all. I think everything and anything today is possible and that as long as you design around your beliefs and what your goals are, you can create your own rules. That way nothing gets broken. I always say design around love and comfort, stay true to you, and be original.

H&W: If you could design a space for any person - real or fictional, dead or alive - who would it be for and what would it look like?

JH:I have thought about this question for a while now, to the point I almost lost an hour. I think if there was a cool, open-minded person in the world, it would have to be the late great David Bowie. I feel his home would cool, colorful, free, and so spiritual with love. He was that person and very passionate about creativity and was a risk-taker. That alone gets my crazy mind moving. He was a very cool dude. I could see lot of color and mid century pieces in one space, for example a mohair sofa with giant lighting bolts as the pattern. Then some calm and very neutral pieces, with a chic twist but lots of texture and patterns. I could see his place being open and cool.

H&W: 'Hygge' is a Danish concept that means 'coziness' - a theme that plays a large role in your style. How do you achieve hygge both in your work and your personal life?

JH: This is one of the most important factors in your home. You have to be able to come home from work and wind down, to come in the door, sit on a comfortable chair or sofa with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and say, "Ahhhh." That is a sign of comfort. It's the same for company - you want guests to find comfort and coziness in your home when they visit. If you can't have that, it plays cold. Those homes don't come with layers and textures and show warmth. Just adding a throw to a chair creates coziness. So I believe holding firm to what I said earlier, adding layers and patterned textiles and textures give you a cozy relaxed "I want to nap here" feel. That is hygge.

Photos by Erika Wolfe

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Pattern Players: Jill Rizzo of Studio Choo

March 17, 2016

If there's one thing that can transform a room just as much as great wallpaper, but in far less time, it's a fabulous floral arrangement. Pair said floral arrangement with aforementioned pattern and you've got yourself a powerhouse combination of color and pop.

Even the simplest flowers can breathe life into a space and give a heartbeat to any home. So what could a to-die-for floral arrangement due to a room decked out in our favorite wallpapers? To find out we tapped Jill Rizzo of the renowned Studio Choo and tasked her with creating arrangements inspired by three different H&W patterns. The results were nothing short of magical - and the perfect way to usher in the flower-filled spring season.

Hygge & West: As a florist, it goes without saying that you're inspired by nature. But what else, perhaps a little more unexpected, also inspires your work.

Jill Rizzo: Of course… I am always inspired by the beauty in the natural world, but I am on the lookout for unique color and texture combinations all around me. Maybe a piece of jewelry with tightly wrapped woven threads (we once made a wedding with colors themed around one of my necklaces!) or a particular vase shape that pushes me to use blooms outside my normal repertoire. I am very interested in how my flowers interact with their place and space - the area they will exist in will often inspire the composition of the arrangement. I also love working on collaborations with other artists! It is a fantastic way to reach outside your comfort zone… it can be very easy to get stuck in a flower rut where all your arrangements begin looking the same. 

H&W: You created three stunningly gorgeous arrangements inspired by three of our wallpapers - Moons Midnight, Cosmic Desert Gold, and Foret Plum. Why did you choose these patterns and colorways and how did they inform your arrangements.

JR: I had a good look at all the wallpaper designs and picked out several that were exciting to me. Then I visited the San Francisco flower mart and scoped out the blooms available that would help me to create an interesting interaction with the papers.

For Moons Gray I was able to make some very direct design references to the paper. I started with arching “crescent moon” shaped vines and branches (acacia, black kennedia vine, and black salvia). I looked specifically for materials with dark blooms, pops of white and yellow, and blue/green toned foliage to match this colorway. I included the acacia and the astilbe to mimic the delicate dotted texture of the stars and the black calla lilies brought in another dark crescent shape. The icing on the cake was the white shooting star hydrangea!

The Cosmic Desert Gold pairing was less about color and more about the playful and unusual shapes. I used tropical looking materials with long skinny stems (French parrot tulips, anthurium, ranunculus) to emphasize the leggy trees. The fantastic stem of dark centered leucadendron, neon protea, and spiky succulents translated the sunburst shapes from the paper very well. The feathery asparagus fern and citrus finished off the piece with some fun texture.

The Foret Plum was all about color! I wanted the arrangement to blend…like when someone is wearing a shirt with the same print as the wallpaper behind them! The paper has so many beautiful details- you can look at it for a long time and keep discovering a new bloom or creature. I made the arrangement to feel the same- a dense bloom packed textural plum wonderland! Some of the players include ranunculus, rose, amaranthus, sweet pea, hellebore, happy wanderer, stock, viburnum berry, sumac, astrantia and more.

H&W: Creating different palettes and mixing shapes and textures in your arrangements is a lot like designing an interior. What's your approach to your work, and how can some of those same ideas be translated into decorating at home?

JR: I actually approach decorating in a similar way to making my arrangements. In terms of palette I start with two colors and look for accents to blend them together. There is usually a fun hotter tone on the outskirts of the color range! Those blending pieces really tie an arrangement, or room, together. It could be a pillow, rug, or even a plant with unusually colored foliage.

H&W: Spring is just around the corner, and for those of us not in the year-round floral business, it's the season of flowers! What are some of your favorite spring blooms and how do you like to showcase them?

JR: Spring! I like the two opposite sizes best - big flowering branches and tiny blooms. With branches you can use just one amazing specimen and display it in a simple glass vase. Depending on the variety they can last for weeks. On the opposite spectrum I love creating tiny compositions in small special vessels. Muscari, lily of the valley, snowdrops, hellebore, and fritillaria are some of my favorites.

H&W: We love wallpaper used in unexpected ways. What are some unexpected ways to use flowers?

JR: I love going outside the norm with floral displays. In our second book, The Wreath Recipe Book we created tons of projects thinking “outside the vase”…chandeliers, wall hangings, and of course wreaths! It is fun to experiment and see how different flowers and branches hold up over time.

H&W: If you could design a floral arrangement for any famous person - dead or alive, real or fictional - who would it be and what would it look like?

JR: My mom was a florist and passed away when I was 15. I’d love to make an arrangement for her, I think she’d be quite into what I am up to now. I’d make a big sprawling California style piece with draping rosemary, big dangling citrus, and eucalyptus to show her where I lived for the last 12 years. And then maybe a little accompanying arrangement with lily of the valley. I used to pick it for her from the park next to our house when I was a wee one.

H&W: 'Hygge' loosely translates to the Danish concept of coziness. How do you create a sense of hygge at home, whether it's with a special ritual, treasured objects, or something else entirely?

JR: Having just bought my first home, I have been doing a lot lately to settle in. I made a big move from California to Rhode Island (where I grew up) so in a sense I have really returned “home." Flowers and plants are a big part of coziness to me - in a visual sense and also in ritual. I set aside a few hours each week to care for my plants and create simple displays with flowers… then sit down and enjoy them. It may seem hard to believe but when you work with flowers every day, you can get a little sick of them! I try and make an effort to not have them be all business.

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Pattern Players: Eric Dayton of Askov Finlayson

March 04, 2016

With one half of our founding team based in Minnesota, we feel a strong connection to and love for this unique part of the country. Although traditionally known for its cold, snowy winters, stunning landscape, and year-round embrace of the great outdoors, this northern territory is also home to a thriving creative community of industrious and highly skilled talent. And with extraordinary talents like Eric Dayton of Askov Finlayson leading the charge, Minnesota and its neighbors in the beautiful American North are taking the design world by storm.

Along with his brother, Andrew Dayton, Eric has perfectly captured the essence of this special region in the carefully crafted and curated Askov Finlayson brand. We're so in love with their nature-loving, adventure-awaits aesthetic that we knew we had to find a way to translate it into wallpaper. The result is quintessentially hygge with a distinctly northern midwest twist. We caught up with Eric to find out a little bit more about what inspired these designs, how he finds hygge during cold Minnesota winters, and more. 

Hygge & West: When we think of Askov Finlayson, we think of the rugged outdoors and all things north, both of which are represented in your new H&W patterns, Snow and Wood. Why did you choose these particular motifs and what inspired the color ways?

Eric Dayton: Knowing that this collaboration would come out in February, I started with our winters for inspiration. I wanted one design that represented the cold, and then one that represented warmth. Both came from a very nostalgic place for me, drawing on childhood memories of snow days and roaring fires. And it's the same experience of growing up in Minnesota, and living here now, that inspires Askov Finlayson. Anyone who has been to our flagship store in Minneapolis might notice other connections, like the deep teal blue of our store's millwork that we used for one of the stacked wood colorways.

H&W: How do you envision your wallpapers being used? Who is the person you had in mind when designing them?

ED: When my wife and I recently moved, we designed our new home together. And there were plenty of conversations about wallpapers and fabrics she liked, but that felt too feminine to me. So I thought about guys like me when developing these patterns, but also my wife. I wanted something that would appeal to women, but that would feel relevant to the guy at the same time. And I think we struck that balance.

H&W: Mother nature is the ultimate pattern player - some of the most beautiful designs can be found in the great outdoors! What clues from nature do you think people can take when using pattern at home, in their wardrobe, etc.?

ED: Too often people are afraid of layering pattern, but if you look at the world around us, it's layer upon layer of color and texture. One of my favorite sources of inspiration is the design firm Svenkst Tenn in Stockholm, which is famous for the work of Josef Frank. Most of his patterns are inspired by nature, and they manage to be bold and elegant at the same time. 

H&W: We love how you've taken the concept of the North as a geographical location and turned it into a symbol for hard work, creativity, and embracing the outdoors all year long. What is it about that cold Minnesota air that you think breeds creativity?

ED: 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.

Wide shot and detail of Nethercote in Eric's restaurant, The Bachelor Farmer

H&W: 'Hygge' (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish word that loosely translates to 'cozy.' As one of the North's biggest proponents, what small pleasures, treasures, or places bring hygge into your (often snowy) world?

ED: I'm very lucky to have a wood-burning sauna at home, and it's one of my favorite places in the world. When I go inside and close the door, I'm completely transported. The combination of intense heat and total silence is very powerful; it clears the mind as well as the body. 

 

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Pattern Players: Emily Isabella

February 23, 2016

When we think of playful pattern, we immediately think of our friend and H&W wallpaper designer, Emily Isabella. Emily is a designer and illustrator based in New York's Hudson Valley, just north of New York City. Her colorful, whimsical, and unmistakable style celebrates the little joys in life and was very much informed by her dreamy rural upbringing. Seen on wallpaperfabrics, books, home goods, and more, Emily's cheerful outlook is wonderfully contagious.

When we approached Emily about creating a collection for us, we knew that she would make magic - and she totally has! From her fantastical Circus to her sweet Strawberries, her playful Sketchbook Floral to her folksy Otomi (a H&W longtime bestseller!), Emily's patterns add a mega dose of happiness to any space they're in.

Sketchbook Floral (Gold)

Hygge & West: Flora and fauna seem to play a big role in your designs. What is it about the natural world that inspires you?

Emily Isabella: I grew up on 40 acres in rural Wisconsin. Half of it is forest and the other half is a wildflower prairie. My parents encouraged us to explore nature on our own and let it guide us. I'm sure that growing up in this environment fueled my love of plants and the relationship they have with animals. I love the Albert Einstein quote, "Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." It's true!

Otomi (Taupe)

H&W: What was the inspiration behind your designs and colorways for your Hygge & West patterns? How do you envision them being used?

EI: The inspiration for my H&W wallpaper is quite varied. In designing wallpaper, I usually think about my audience first and then I backtrack to try to figure out what niche I could fill for them. An important thing to think about when designing wallpaper is that you want the design to be broad enough to appeal to a variety of different markets and spaces. The same goes for the colors. Color choice in wallpaper is so important in reaching different markets. The design transforms itself depending on the balance and distribution of color. For example, my Otomi print looks wonderfully calming in the taupe color (perfect for a nursery)  but bold and wild in the red (perfect to spice up a restaurant accent wall). 

H&W: Your designs and color palette have a very distinct look that's unmistakably you. How were they informed or shaped, and who do you think is the person that they speak to most?

EI: I have a very clear idea of who I am and what I like and I do my best to stay true to myself in my work and personal life. This manifests itself in the way I dress, the colors I choose for my home, and the way I choose to live. Inspiration for my work comes directly from my experiences. It's a pretty simple equation of producing work that appeals to myself and in turn, I think I attract people who have similar tastes. I think those people likes things that are feminine yet classic, soft but with a bit of a wonky edge. They are spirited, playful, and and aren't afraid to take risks. 

H&W: We're all obviously big pattern lovers, whether it's on our walls or in our wardrobes. What are your tips and tricks for using pattern successfully both in your art and in your everyday life?

EI: I love when patterns successfully mix. It makes such a bold and confident statement. Have you ever noticed the way Matisse mixes patterns in his paintings?  He uses so many patterns and colors but they are always grounded with splashes of neutrals and black and white. 

Strawberries (Blush)

H&W: You talk about delighting in the every day - how do you think your work embodies that mentality and how do you practice it in your everyday life?

EI: 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. 

H&W: 'Hygge' is the Danish concept of coziness. Where and how do you find hygge in your life?

EI: My life has been very cozy for the past two years. My husband and I (and cat) live and work in 200 square feet! Our home is basically one cozy nook (some days it's a little too cozy) but I love coming in from a brisk walk to our tiny little space. 

Emily's illustration of her studio

H&W: What are the things that you think every home needs to be cozy? 

EI: Color can dictate the coziness of a house. Calming colors make for a cozy mood. I also think having objects of purpose and meaning help to elevate the coziness factor of your home. A home that is lived in and personal will immediately feel more inviting. 

H&W: If you could live in any other time or place - real or fictional, past or present - when and where would it be and why?

EI: I would have loved to live in small town America during the '30s and '40s. I think of that era as a difficult time for our country but full of determination and camaraderie. I'm sure I romanticize it but I think it would be an inspiring time to live in, especially for women. But mainly, I dream about what it was like to go out dancing back then and the style of that era is definitely up my alley. I love a good pair of high waisted trousers...

Otomi (Red)

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