A home full of hygge
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Home story: A home full of hygge

The home of Vanessa (@hyggeliges.zuhause), her husband Johannes and their two daughters Emilia (4 years old) and Matilda (2 years old) in the wine-growing region Deidesheim is the epitome of hygge. In 2016 they moved into their upscale city house. Since then, Vanessa has been turning it into a minimalist yet cosy Scandinavian-inspired space. Their four-legged companions Bahiya, a Rhodesian Ridgeback dog and Lou, a British Shorthair cat are also an important part of the family. The centre of family life is the open-plan kitchen. To find out more about this home full of hygge, read our interview with Vanessa:

1. What do you think defines the ‘hygge’ trend and how did you decide it was right for you?
For me, hygge means cosiness in a clean, straight-lined atmosphere. I spent time looking into interior design even before we moved into our home and mainly got my inspiration from Instagram. That’s how my passion for beautiful, high-quality decoration and furniture grew. I think the pivotal point for me was our backpacking trip through Iceland in 2013. 

2. Is your personality reflected in your interior design?
I would say yes. Personally, I love spending my leisure time at home. I love giving my family a home where they feel safe and secure. Decorating and working in our garden lets me relax from my time-consuming job. I love using candles in beautiful candle stands or flowers in vases to create a cosy atmosphere. Early in the morning, when I make breakfast, I like to grab a lighter and light a scented candle.

3. What does hygge in the kitchen mean for you?
For me that means lighting a nice scented candle, brewing some coffee and serving breakfast or dinner on beautiful plates. In my mind, beautiful Scandinavian dishes, stylish spice grinders or a nice dish towel all play a role. These things make everything much more fun. Oh, and of course my favourite piece, my incredibly practical rug for a pure Scandinavian feeling!

4. What role does your kitchen play on your Instagram account (@hyggeliges.zuhause)?
A huge role. My kitchen photos actually get the most likes. Kitchen-related raffles or cooperative projects have also been incredibly popular. That clearly shows that the kitchen is a centre of life for many other families, too. 

5. What’s the ‘kitchen Sunday’?
The ‘kitchen Sunday’ (#küchensonntag) is the hashtag I came up with and that other bloggers and followers have picked up to post their kitchen images. It has created a big community that is the perfect source of inspiration for kitchen designs.

6. How do you add cosiness and warmth to a clean white kitchen?
You use calm colours like beige, grey or anthracite, scented candles and beautiful textiles! I like sticking with a single colour family. You should avoid making your decoration too colourful and wild if you want to create a true hygge effect.

7. What is the role of the kitchen in a home’s hygge ambiance?
The kitchen is essential. As our kitchen is an open-plan design, I can see everything at all times and can cook and bake while being around my children at the same time. I love when they interrupt their games because the kitchen smells so good and they want to try the food or help. Then add some nice music on top - simply a wonderful experience!

8. What are some of the greatest kitchen moments for you?
When my girls climb onto their stepstool to watch me cook. I also love getting up in the morning and taking my time brewing coffee and mixing up a healthy muesli in a large bowl. We consider healthy, unprocessed food just as much part of the hygge lifestyle as beautiful coffee mugs!

9. What role did your kitchen play when you were planning your interior design? Did the kitchen influence the design or did you have an overall image in mind?
We wanted our kitchen design to be “clean” and our kitchen to play a central role. We also considered it important that guests can “take part” in meal preparation. When our friends visit us, we usually all sit together at the kitchen island and drink a glass of good wine, while I prepare the meal. Our children play in the living room, so they are also part of the action. A closed kitchen was never an option for us. Many people don’t like food smells wafting through the whole house. I don’t share that opinion. I love it, especially when our home smells like healthy, freshly-baked bread, for instance.

10. Do you have personal “do”s and “don’t”s of interior design?
Yes, personally I don’t like designs that are too colourful or too dark. It’s important to stay true to yourself and feel good in your home!

11. How did your children influence your kitchen design?
I wanted my children to always be part of the action. That’s why I chose the open plan. And I wanted the kitchen to be practical, so that’s why I added elements like the pull-out cabinet, which the children can open on their own and which gives them a good overview of everything if they want to help.

12. You love animals and have pets. Did your pets influence your design? Was there anything you had to consider because of your pets?
My pets don’t influence my design. For instance, I wouldn't buy a black leather couch, just because you don’t see any stains or it’s easy to wipe clean. But my furniture style affects the pet products we buy. The scratching post or dog blanket should absolutely match the overall image. That’s not always easy ;-)

13. What does life in your kitchen look like? Are you team interior organisation or team creative chaos?
That’s a funny topic. I would say my husband and I complement each other pretty well. “Exterior” organisation is his job - everything is always polished to perfection - while “interior” organisation is my task. I love sorting my spices or putting different nuts, grains and flour types into beautiful storage boxes! We also have a “junk drawer” - I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t have one of those in their kitchen!

14. A bar counter by the kitchen island and a TV in the kitchen. Is the kitchen the centre of life in your home?
Personally, I like to watch the morning news sometimes while sitting at the kitchen island when I’m on my own. Yes, it’s definitely the centre of my life!

15. In your opinion, what are the 3 most important things to consider when planning a kitchen?

  1. Do you want high gloss or mat fronts? We have high-gloss fronts, but nowadays we would be happy to have mat fronts, because that’s just more practical when you have children! And these days I also think it’s more “modern”.
  2. Add a kitchen island to your plan! That will create an amazing feeling of cosiness and make your kitchen even more comfortable, because it’s a place where you can get together and you can decorate it beautifully!
  3. A window lets in the light and a pantry is an absolute must-have for me!

16. What does life in the kitchen mean for you?
Spending lots of time with family or friends that have come to visit and preparing good, healthy meals. That’s our hygge lifestyle!