What is the ‘True’ Hygge Home Design?

Quick: describe your ideal home in one word.

Is it big? Stylish? Functional?

Forget the extravagance. My ideal home is cozy.

I know I’m not the only one who feels that way, because hygge, which first hit the international scene in 2016, has been one of the top interior design trends this year. If you follow any lifestyle or design accounts on social media, you’ve definitely heard of it. To date, its hashtag has attracted over 1.6 million Instagram posts.

Like all design trends, it’s attracted its share of praise and contrarian dismissal (can you even pronounce the word hygge?), but it’s not exactly a groundbreaking concept. Hygge has been around for a while – we just didn’t have the right word for it.

What is it?

For the official definition, let’s go straight to the source:

“Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word ‘hygge’ (pronounced ‘hooga’) translates roughly to ‘cosiness’. It may be hard to say, but that hasn’t stopped people finding out that hygge might be a recipe for a happier life.

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There’s nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world?”

And in case you were wondering, TIME magazine offers three equally confusing choices for pronunciation: “hyue-gar”, “hoog-jar” and “hoo-gah.”

In terms of home design, the word refers to items and colours that invoke a sense of warmth and coziness. We’ve been doing that for a while across the pond; you don’t have to look far to find beautiful rooms adorned with vintage textiles, warm throw blankets, pendant lights, and candles. Think of rooms that make you want to spending cold nights curled up by the fireplace, or warm afternoons on the patio. That’s hygge.

To me, that pretty well describes the ideal home design. Maybe it’s because I, like the Danes who coined the term, live in a chilly climate and love nothing more than to watch the snow fall on the window from the comfort of a cozy space.

On the other hand…

Are We Ruining Hygge?

I can’t help but feel that the new hygge design trent distills the concept down to material things – and not handmade pieces or treasured keepsakes, but things you can easily find at any Sears store. If hygge is all about warmth and familiarity, how does that square with buying brand-new, mass-produced products to create the atmosphere?

And it ignores something that comes up time and time again in descriptions of the style/lifestyle: the importance of other people.

Search #hygge on Instagram and you’ll find a lot of empty rooms, cute objects, and selfies. What you generally won’t find are people sharing those nice spaces together.

I like that hygge celebrates the kind of spaces I love to be in. And it’s nice knowing that other people feel the same way. But like most things, I think the Internet gets this one wrong.

I like that hygge celebrates the kind of spaces I love to be in. And it’s nice knowing that other people feel the same way. But the idea of what constitutes warm and cozy should be different for everyone.

My thoughts? If you really want to create a hygge space, find a place you’re already in love with – your family room, your study, your backyard patio – and find ways to share it with people you care about. Throw a casual dinner party. Have board game nights. Sit and read a book with your partner.

After all, hygge is supposed to be about enjoying the good things in life with good people. Don’t forget the ‘people’ part of that equation.



Get a Glimpse of the Past with These Time Capsule Homes

Some design trends are timeless. Others, not so much.

Like fashion and architecture, interior design trends come and go as people move from place to place. We take our favourite antiques and furniture with us when we move, but we leave much of our old style behind. And when a new family takes up residence, they change things like wall colour, flooring, appliances, and lighting to suit their personal preferences.

Fewer people are choosing to stay in one home for their entire lives. More frequent moves mean more frequent style changes. Because of this, it’s becoming rarer and rarer to see a home that preserves old interior design trends.

That’s why capsule homes are amazing. A capsule home is a house that preserved the original design elements intact for decades, from the fixtures and amenities to the furnishings and décor. The result? Walking through the front door feels like travelling back in time.

Take this untouched 70’s home. On the outside, it’s a lovely suburban house on a big lot. Prime real estate, right? But peel back the curtain and you’ll find a wonderland of bygone design trends. From the lime and lemon-colored kitchen to the candy-coated bathroom, the home showcases the spirit of the 70’s in a way you thought you’d only see on TV.

This example, from Toronto, embodies an earlier era. From the front entrance to the master bedroom, the entire home is perfectly on-point with the pastel-soaked 1960’s. Pink, purple and baby blue dominate top to bottom, except for the basement, which is sheathed in trusty wood panelling.

There’s something remarkable about how perfectly these homes replicate scenes from the past. Set designers can pull off a convincing copy for movies and television, but this is the genuine article.

Would I live in a house with pink and orange walls? No. But I would hate to see homes like be transformed into just another suburban show home. I’m thankful that a select group of buyers are willing to pay more for a house with a vintage look in hope of preserving it for future generations.

Tiki Huts! Learning more about these amazing structures!

Tiki culture is really quite interesting. There are a lot of different types of tiki design – tiki culture in the united stated began to develop sometime in the late 30’s- southern states with warmer climates saw a couple different tiki themed restaurants and bars open up during this time. It was predominately the mid 50’s when the phenomena truly began. With the return of soldiers during the second world war who fought in the pacific- images of the islands and the tropical southern seas fueled the imagination of the continent. People like James Mitchener wrote stories about the region and this helped propel interest in the pacific and it’s people. The south pacific is an interesting place- the seas are really warm and are prone to tropical fishes. In areas with sandy bottoms and very hot temperatures- microorganisms find it hard to grow. This allows the tropical water to be clear- great for suring, snorkling, fishing, or even just swimming. You can find resorts in these areas with bungalows laying on stilts over the cool evening ocean. Popular amongst wealthy travellers and people on their honeymoon are areas like Bora Bora, Micronesia, The Solomon Islands, and of course Iwo Jima. These are the type of tropical islands that are depicted in Robinson Crusoe, and Lord of the Flies.

Now not all islands are alike – each island has its own respective unique culture that must be respected. Bungalows are the most common form of dwelling for many of these islands. If you ever have a chance to talk to a native, they will be happy to spend some time explaining their unique floor plans for a bungalow because of how it’s shaped their culture and life. Now taking this back and looking at it from a functional perspective is always a good idea. Most of these traditional homes are placed on stilts in the jungle- when you live in a tropical rain forest you want to be as far away from the rain forest floor as possible. Bright insects, snakes, and spiders live there and they tend to be really poisonous.

After traveling in these topical climates I made an effort to speak with the best quality home builders in Ontario about making one of these style homes on my property – of course our climate would not allow it, so I just have to dream about it I guess.


Favourite And Interesting Homes

I’ve always had a knack for cool modern homes, especially really contemporary ones.  I just think that a home made from glass and dark material really makes it feel like a museum.  And who doesn’t want to live in a museum!?  I also love the look of really traditional and symmetrical homes.  Typically, the inside of the house usually reflects the outside, but it is truly a wonder when the inside looks nothing like the outside.


Imagine a very traditional home, made from beige and grey stone.  Then on the inside, everything is made from glass or frosted glass, and the walls are painted a cool blue.  The doors are half made from wood and half from glass.   All the appliances are stainless steal and then counter top has a type of finishing on it that makes it look like steal.  How amazing would that house be?  You get best of both worlds!