Celebrating Imperfection in Design—and Life—With Paul Lowe (a.k.a. Sweet Paul)
Every once in a while, in this world of perfectly staged everything plastered all over social media, we need a reminder that it's ok not to be perfect. And Paul Lowe, also known as Sweet Paul, is the reminder we so sorely needed. Sweet Paul is a crafter, baker, chef, ceramicist, and maker, as well as the man behind his eponymous magazine for all things handmade, Sweet Paul.
In both his magazine and in his everyday life, this Norway native believes that "perfection is boring" and that people should embrace - or rather, celebrate - imperfection. From food to crafts to interiors, Paul finds beauty in "chasing the sweet things in life" and in looking past the facade to see how people really live, eat, and make. We caught up with Sweet Paul to get a taste of his Scandinavian sensibility in action, chat pattern, and squeal over his adorable pups.
Hygge & West: What paper and colorway did you choose and why? Who is the person (or people) you imagine residing in each of the spaces you've created?
Sweet Paul: I chose Otomi in Navy. It's maybe an unexpected choice for me, but it so reminds me of my grandmother. I feel this wallpaper can work with so many different styles and, as they say in fashion, you can dress it up or down.
The first space is called "I'm so modern." It's a couple in their early 40s, living in a big city, making a good living, and they love quality. I call the second space" Crazy Mama." This is a single mother of four kids. She's fun, crafty, not uptight, and loves vintage and charm.
Paul's French Bulldogs, Hugo and Lestat
H&W: What role does pattern play in your professional and personal life? How do you use it in your home and what do you think it adds to your space?
SP: I'm so on and off when it comes to patterns. Sometimes I love it, and other times I just want to live in a white box. I would use this wallpaper on maybe one wall, as a statement. It would be great with a big couch and large artwork.
Paul with his husband-to-be, James
H&W: Hailing from Norway, you have firsthand knowledge of the Scandinavian aesthetic we all love. What does Scandinavian design mean to you? How does pattern fit in?
SP: It means simple, easy, tradition, and a love of materials. We used only what we had: wood, stone, wool. Everything is functional and there is no extra decor added. I grew up with it, so for me it's just a way of living.
H&W: Your magazine, Sweet Paul, is all about capturing the sweet moments in life through crafting, cooking, and baking. Tell us why creating by hand - whether it's food or an object - is so important to you, and how your 'perfectly imperfect' mentality plays a role.
SP: I feel everyone needs to be creative in their lives. Even if it's just making dinner or making a card, doing something every day helps stress, etc. It's also a great thing to get your mind going and just zone out. Perfection is never anything I strive for - it's simply boring.
H&W: You also just started your own line of handmade ceramics. What is it about that tactile art that attracted you?
SP: For me, it's important to always learn new things. Ceramics was just a thing I wanted to try out, and I'm obsessed now. It's so good for me - I need to be patient, it takes time, and I just love to be able to create something made out of clay.
H&W: You were born with the concept of hygge that has only recently taken the U.S. by storm. How do you find or create hygge in your life?
SP: I'm so over the whole hygge thing. It's honestly nothing you can learn; it's something us Scandinavians have inside. It comes from our long dark winters. Hygge is something to make those days lighter and easier. You can't teach it!
I'm So Modern: 1. Bookends | 2. Pillow | 3. Lamp | 4. Rug | 5. Side table | 6. Sofa | 7. Artwork
Crazy Mama: 1. Round rack | 2. Lantern | 3. Clothes rack | 4. Plant pots | 5. Chair | 6. Pitcher | 7. Rug