Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interview with Catherine Hug

I am very excited to present today's interview: Catherine Hug of Hyggelig. I first found her amazing blog about a year ago when Ohdeedoh wrote a post about her DIY play kitchen. In addition to posting about her own projects, she often features great ideas from other people. She has a very modern sense of style with a bit of nature and rugged repurposing thrown in. Her blog is written in German but the Google translator does a good enough job that you can read the content even if you don't know the language. I could spend hours reading her blog. Each time I look for something, I find something new that I missed the first time.

Can you talk about your day job a little bit?

I work as a freelance editor and writer. I have a three-year old daugther and a dog -- and they keep me pretty busy apart from my job and my blog Hyggelig, which I started in 2008.

Note from PROJECT:project -- Catherine also makes and sells some really interesting home decor pieces like these throw pillows and fabric bins/totes from upcycled army gear.

The nursery you designed for your daughter is clean and simple without feeling bare. How has that worked for you as she's grown up and needs a "big girl" space?

As more toys have been moving in, it is getting more difficult to keep it light and airy. I didn't design the room to go from a nursery to a "big girl's room" -- but changed things here and there a little with her getting older so she can reach most of the toys herself. For example, I put magnets on the inside of the doors of her closet so she can open and close it herself easily. Every time she gets new things to play with, I look for practical storage at the same time. I like sewing little bags for marbles, etc. so everything has a place to be stored. And regularly we look at her toys and she gives some of what she thinks is "for babies" away to younger children we know. I think it is important for a child to have room for imagination and to be creative which is quite difficult in a kids room full of plastic toys that make some kind of noise.

Your photographs are amazing. Do you have any professional training? Any art background?

No, nothing, just trial and error. I have no idea how to take pictures; I just know how they should look, so I try and try...

I love the projects you have made for your daughter -- the play kitchen and the dollhouse furniture. What inspires you?

Sometimes it is an old piece of furniture I see or a material (like the old hifi-rack in my mother's house which I turned into the play kitchen) that I want to turn into something new. Sometimes I know exactly what a certain toy or storage should look like and I can't find anything like it, so I try to build or sew it myself. Apart from that, it's so much fun to make things and show my daughter that you can actually build so many things with imagination and a little material.

So much of what you feature on your blog mixes form with function. Is this an important part of your aesthetic?

Yes, things you can find in our home all fulfill a certain function. I don't like things you call in german "Staubfänger" -- which you can translate as dust-gatherers and I'm not a collector. I like to repurpose old things in a new surprising way and I love industrial design and the bauhaus era. Except in my daughter's room it is more playful and colorful.

Thanks so much to Catherine for the interview and for providing us with such great inspiration. Check the previous dollhouse post for more links to her tiny projects. And, of course, add Hyggelig to your Reader. It's not to be missed.