Christiana Coop and Aimee Lagos, creators of Hygge & West designs, know how to make the home a retreat, a soft and charming space that really embraces hygge, the Danish design term for a cozy, sweet environment. We spoke to them about creating hygge in the home, and how they introduced this in their new book, “Hygge & West Home.”  

1. I’d love to know how you both met, and how your early careers shaped your lives today.

We first met in preschool in the small town we grew up in, Los Alamos, NM. But, we became close in elementary school and have remained pretty much inseparable since. Our early careers as attorneys shaped our careers today in that they very clearly defined what we did not want our professional lives to be like. It became apparent early on that neither of us thrived in an adversarial, competitive environment. We enjoy that our work now is highly collaborative and creative.

2. What exactly is hygge? And what does it mean to you both as designers?

  1. Hygge is a Danish word that roughly translate to cozy. But it means so much more than that. It’s really about living in the moment and appreciating the small joys in life. Our favorite definition of hygge is from Alex Beauchamp in our book. She says “There’s a huge misconception that hygge is just about home or that it can be bought. Hygge is really the act of being present enough in your daily life to recognize moments that feel cozy, charming, good, sweet, and special. And that’s what’s so important to remember – that creating hygge is just recognizing it.” 
  2. 3. How did you both westernize hygge and make it yours?
  3. In some ways, we westernized hygge by making it ours. So much of the western psyche and aesthetic is about individualism, and one of the things that attracted us to hygge was that we felt it could be applied differently depending on the person and the context. Hygge, to us, invites you to define what makes your home and your life feel cozy and welcoming. That may mean one thing to us and a very different thing to you. We believe that the act of evaluating things and actions through that lens is what’s important because it leads to an outcome that is uniquely able to create happiness and comfort for each individual.
4. Talk about working with FERM LIVING, the Danish wallpaper company. Why were you first attracted to the brand, and is it still a part of Hygge & West today?

We initially discovered Ferm Living about 12 years ago when Aimee was searching around for wallpaper to make a headboard. She reached out to them to purchase but they didn’t have a US Distributor at the time as they were just starting off. We were both looking to make a career shift, so thought “why not?” So, we sent them a proposal letter and before we knew it, we had invested in a couple pallets of Danish wallpaper and a whole new adventure. We deeply admire their design aesthetic and attention to detail.

Everything they create – their products, their photography, styling – is truly impeccable. After about a year of being their distributor, we realized that we needed to pick up more brands to become financially feasible which neither of us wanted to do as there’s not a lot of creativity in that role. We then decided to start our own brand. But we were lucky enough to stay involved representing Ferm Living through our site, Clever Spaces. We recently shut that down after it became clear that we just didn’t have the bandwidth to run it properly, but we still keep up with what Ferm Living is up to and are always excited to see (and buy things from) their latest collections.

 

5. What is Hygge & West embracing today, and what are plans for the future?

We’re in the middle of a lot of change, so we’re embracing quite a bit right now! We’ve expanded our product offering into shower curtains and bedding, so it’s been exciting to learn about producing and marketing new products. We’re in the middle of developing our second bedding and shower curtains collection now and can’t wait to see it come to life. Our book is also keeping us very busy – we spent the majority of 2017 shooting and writing it, and now we’re in the middle of promoting it. It was a labor of love, and we hope that people enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed creating it. As for the future, we’ve got some exciting new partnerships in the works for 2019, and we’re always open to new projects and challenges!

 

6. Favorite part(s) of your jobs?

We both truly love our jobs and feel so fortunate to be able to do what we do. Some highlights include working with each other (not a day goes by that we don’t make each other laugh), collaborating with some of our favorites artists and designers to create new patterns, seeing our products used so beautifully in our customers’ homes, and working from home and being able to set our own schedules and business travel destinations.