Hygge was the latest trend to make its way into our magazines and onto our screens at the start of winter and the run up to Christmas. This Danish style of living is about atmosphere, experiences, a way of life, one that we experience naturally without knowing what it’s called. But hygges not just for Winter, it far surpasses cosying up with a hot chocolate, book and your favourite socks. Hygge is not easy to define, it is a feeling that is created through a combination of things but in a nutshell it’s about spending time with family and friends in spaces filled with natural light and textures, living in the moment (not being distracted by mobiles and tablets) and enjoying happy times.
With Hygge in mind, this style of living can be designed into your home to provide quality, more connected, intimate, quieter times. What better place to start than with an exposed structural timber frame to provide a natural form of visual relief that is pleasing to the eye. The inclusion of a timber frame in your home provides a wealth of texture and organic material, it also brings with it a history, a past life, a story, all essential ingredients of hygge.
According to ‘The Little Book of Hygge’ by Meik Wiking there are 10points to make your home more Hygge like. Here are the 10, with a Carpenter Oak twist.
1. A hyggekrog
Every hygge home needs a hyggekrog, a cosy nook in which to snuggle down in for some time alone or a cuddle with a loved one. Timber frames can be designed to fully support the structure of you home, open plan living is easy to achieve, spaces can be separated using the frame to create cosy areas whilst retaining a shared, social environment.
2. Fireplace/Wood Stove
A fireplace is also another hygge essential, an oak frame combined with a fireplace can make a stunning centrepiece and nothing epitomises hygge more than Carpenter Oak’s Seagull House. Its large fireplace framed with an arch brace truss has nook areas incorporated, one housing a piano, the other firewood and if you needed another there is a mezzanine, reached by a ladder, above the fireplace.
3. Wooden things
Things made out of wood are also on the hygge list, that’s easy to achieve with a timber frame. If Seagull House is a bit overpowering on the wood front there are many more designs that give a modern, lighter frame. The introduction of steelwork allows for dramatic, exciting spaces that are less conventional, combined with curved wood you can create barrelled ceilings and curved walls such as those in Barrington and Wilson
Candles are vital to hygge, as is the lighting in general. Warm, subtle, caves or pools of light rather than bright white light provides a welcoming calm atmosphere. Natural light is also key, Carpenter Oak, working with Roderick James Architects have designed several frames for homes where natural light is utilised in the design. Boyden has a particularly striking, glazed, roof shard. The Cruciform House uses floor to ceiling glazing and also has a window light that creates a dramatic centrepiece through the core of the building.
Hygge isn’t all about the inside, nature needs to be included, and designs that bring the outside in can be a great source of inspiration. If you don’t want to hyggify your entire home why not consider a garden room, cabin or extension. From Carpenter Oaks rustic Foresters Cabin or their Modern Eco Cabin through to a frame built for a funky luxury Dartmoor Tree House there is a restful space where anyone can be at one with the outdoors whilst holding on to home comforts.
Books, particularly old ones containing that unique smell are always welcome. From classics to thrillers everyone enjoys browsing a book shelf. Have you ever wanted you own secret bookshelf door? Architect Roderick James included one in his own Carpenter Oak house Tigh Darach. He designed and built the hidden door himself, he sawed and glued each book into place; entrance can be gained by pressing down on the New England Bible.
For the Danish ceramics, a favourite mug or vase can help emulate hygge. If ceramics are not you thing, how about making the room with the most ceramic, the bathroom, a bit more cosy with the addition of an oak frame.
Hygge is not only about the way things look but the way they feel. A home full of textures adds variety to your senses. A blend of fabric, wood, steel, glass and ceramic can add interest throughout your home and help to achieve a particular look, style and feel. Carpenter Oak’s frames can be designed to encompass any style, be that modern or traditional. Frames can be painted, sandblasted, left natural and made in alternative wood such as Douglas fir, larch or glulam.
9. Vintage Items
Vintage items can provide a story, a narrative and emotional value to your home. Past Carpenter Oak client Annie Laing designed her dining area around her reclaimed vintage dining table. The table sits centrally in the room, surrounded by full height, floor to ceiling glazing that reaches the gable end. Exposed beams frame the stunning view out onto Annie’s small holding.
10. Blankets and Cushions
Blankets, quilts and cushions are crucial in providing somewhere to snuggle down when watching a movie or reading your favourite book. Even those who make them can enjoy some hygge style in their studio. Quilt designer and maker Gillie painted her Douglas fir framed studio to create a lighter working space whilst retaining a texture filled and inviting area.
When undertaking a self-build project there are many practical and rational aspects to consider. However, long after the trial, tribulations and stress of the building phase have passed, what remains is the successful creative collaboration between client and designer that gives your home an emotional character and soul. These are the delights that stay with you.
Ironically these delightful details, these thoughtful design touches, don’t necessarily need to cost that much extra to integrate hygge into your home.