Creating a book is a real labor of love. Before the physical object comes to life, there are countless meetings, phone calls, drafts, revisions, shoots, and endless hours spent mulling over every detail of every aspect of every page. So for this edition of Beyond the Book, we decided to flip the script a bit and give you an inside glimpse of what it's like to write and design a book by having our book's editor, Melissa Andersen, interview us for a change. Keep reading for behind-the-scenes photos and memories (and read Part 1 of this series here)!
Melissa Andersen: What was the process like for creating this book? Was it what you expected or drastically different? How was it working with the publisher to create what you envisioned while satisfying their needs?
Hygge & West: We were lucky to work with a really great team at Chronicle and they did a phenomenal job of breaking down the process for us. We told them when we got started that we are very deadline driven (as in, if we don’t have a deadline, it may not get done), so they helped us stay on track by communicating really clear deliverables and dates. We didn’t go into the project with a lot of expectations, though we were definitely surprised by the sheer volume of logistics—scouting locations, booking travel, providing info to the photographer, reviewing shots and providing retouching notes, tracking and reviewing interviews... the list goes on and on!
Goats and Daydream at Julie Backer's farmhouse
MA: What are you most proud of about this book (other than completing it!)?
Aimee Lagos: That we were able to accurately showcase the lovely homes and personalities of some of our close friends. And that those who weren’t friends before became friends as a result of the book.
Christiana Coop: That it is a true reflection of ourselves and our company.
A serene moment at Angelina Rennell's home
MA: Were there any unforeseen challenges/obstacles during this process? How did you overcome them without sacrificing your vision for the book?
H&W: We didn’t have full control over the design, which I don’t think we realized, so there was more back and forth with Chronicle about different design elements than we anticipated. It basically came down to what we thought looked the best versus what they thought would sell the best. In the end, it all worked out and we love how it turned out, but it was just a longer process to get there than we imagined.
MA: What is your favorite thing about this book?
H&W: Our favorite thing is to be able to share it with our friends and family. We’re both so lucky to have many wonderful people in our lives that have been incredibly supportive of our business, so being able to share this with them feels really special.
MA: What's your most memorable moment of this entire process?
Champagne and (Nethercote) Gold—a perfect pairing!
AL: Not long after we signed the contract with the publisher, Christiana was out visiting for a photo shoot, and we shared a really nice bottle of champagne to celebrate. It was so exciting and glamorous, and because we hadn’t started we had no idea all of the work that we had waiting for us to make the book a reality over the next year and a half. We’ve had a lot of nice milestone moments in our business, but this one was especially exciting.
CC: The first photo shoot at Stephanie’s gorgeous cabin outside Jackson Hole was the most memorable. We stayed there two nights and just had the most wonderful time with her and her dog Paco. We woke up to snow the first day, which took the cozy factor to the next level, and that night we just sat around her table drinking wine, eating cheese, and chatting about life. It doesn’t get more hygge.
MA: Were there any "happy accidents" with the book that ultimately changed some aspect of it for the better?
H&W: The timing for Gemma’s chapter changed several times due to some unforeseen circumstances. It was originally scheduled to be at the tail end of our NYC shoot, which already involved five different locations. We were all so exhausted by that trip (and our photographer was not feeling at all well) that we were not sure we would have been able to do Gemma’s shoot successfully. As it worked out, we flew out for hers a few weeks later with fresh eyes and more energy, and we think that shoot turned out so lovely.
MA: What does the book mean to you on a personal level?
CC: It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so it feels like I legitimately accomplished a goal. I guess I’m not much of a goal setter, but this feels really good now that I’m thinking about it. Should I set more goals? :)
AL: We operate in a very digital space for the most part—our “store” is a website, we both work from home remotely collaborating every day, and our customers know us from our social presence. So it means a lot to me to have this physical thing that encapsulates who we are and what we do. It feels very real, tangible, and permanent.