February 2017

Finding Hygge: Danish Coziness, the Garnet Hill Way

Finding Hygge: Danish Coziness, the Garnet Hill Way
By Shawn Anderson, Garnet Hill Copywriter

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah or hoo-gah) is the Danish concept of sublime coziness. It highlights simplicity, nature, quiet moments, and creature comforts as a path to happiness.
As I explored that sentiment for this post, I realized that hygge (though I’d never called it by that name) has always been an integral part of Garnet Hill. It’s not only in our designs; it’s part of our culture.

Today, I arrived at the office a little later than usual due to what meteorologists would call a wintery mix. By the time I pulled into the lot, blue skies and sunlight poked through the silvery storm clouds. It was quiet, still, and calm. Everything was encased and glimmering in ice. I took a couple of photos with my phone and listened to the Gale River as it flows by the lot. The ice on the shallow rapids made a chilly, clinking sound, serene yet haunting.
Franconia, NH Winter
I walked into the office, the original gambrel barn that housed the company when it outgrew the sugar shack down the road. It’s been remodeled, refurbished, and expanded over the years, but its charm is well preserved. It made me stop and wonder how it was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Who occupied my workspace at the front of the building back in the day?

In the reception area, tufted furniture, embroidered Nordic pillows, and a mix of soothing neutral hues — warm beiges, cool grays, and winter whites — greeted me.
Nordic Diamond Embroidered Pillow
I entered the Art Department and noticed a wonderful smell. Moira, one of our web designers, baked this morning, and had placed two ceramic dishes of scones on the meeting table. They were still warm, and their glaze resembled the latticework of icy branches outside the window. Golden scones with raisins and just a hint of orange, they were sunshine on this cold wintry day.
As people came in from the cold, they gathered at the table, savoring their morning coffee and scones. I observed their signature-Garnet-Hill garb: a coworker layered in a thick marled turtleneck sweater, another in sleek black yoga pants dressed up with a rosy cashmere wrap, and yet another in a simple yet chic black shift by Eileen Fisher.

Our spring catalog sat on each desktop, fresh off the press. The cover, simple yet striking, did not feature a product, which is another Garnet Hill signature. This issue was dressed with a cluster of verdigris succulents and fresh lemon to symbolize the coming of spring. The image was an artistic moment, a reflection of things to come, a hint of the tone we wish to set for the season with the new collection.
Garnet Hill Spring 2017 Catalog Cover

The office was a bit chilly, so I lifted the cotton-fleece throw draped over the back of my chair, the throw we have sold forever, and tossed it over my shoulders while my Mac booted up.

I thought about how much I like this throw: its deep shade of blue, its thickness, its softness, and its warmth. So cozy on cold winter mornings like today, and just as dependable in the summertime when the air conditioning is cranked up high.

Cozy. Happy. This is what hygge means to me. This is what it’s like at Garnet Hill.

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