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At Home with Hygge Life

Discover the essence of "hygge" through the captivating journey of Hygge Life, as shared by founders Alex and Koen. From the charming ski towns of Colorado to the intimate streets of Amsterdam and back again, their story embodies the warmth and coziness of Northern European living. Through thoughtful curation and a deep appreciation for soulful design, they invite you to explore the art of creating meaningful moments within your own home.

FF: To tell the story of how Hygge Life came to be, can you first start with your guys’ love story, how you met and how you ended up living together in Europe?

HL: Our story started in Vail, Colorado— We met and fell in love in this charming ski town and a year later moved our lives to Amsterdam, Koen's hometown. I became fascinated by the warm and cozy intimacy of Northern European homes – a discovery that planted the seed for Hygge Life. Following an adventure in our “Hygge Bus” selling poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes).

In 2017, the Hygge Life showroom opened in its original Vail Valley location. As hygge pioneers, we have become nationally recognized experts in this design and lifestyle movement, with features in The New York Times, Dwell, Colorado Public Radio and dozens of other publications. In 2019, I also published my own guide to meaningful living— Dwell, Gather, Be: Design for Moments — a book that captures our daily practice of hygge and our thoughtful home design practices.

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FF: In your own words, how do you define the Danish concept of hygge?

HL: In Danish, hygge (hoo-ga) is an adjective, a noun and a verb—both a state of contentment and the opportunity to invite small moments of comfort and connection into your day. Rather than the common translation of “coziness,” we view it as a larger appreciation of the people and places that make us feel at ease. Hygge design is not about perfection – it’s about creating a space that engages your senses and fosters a feeling of intimacy and warmth.

Fun fact: Hygge is a verb in the Danish language so you can actively pursue these cozy, warm moments – invite your friends over to drink wine by the fire and hygge!

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FF: How did your combined experiences and backgrounds shape the concept and vision behind Hygge Life?

HL: Koen has a background in hospitality so he really enjoys the experiential aspect of hygge – Hygge dinners, Sauna Saturday’s and the Café are his brain children. He views retail as a hospitality experience – he really treats our guests as if they are entering our own home when they visit our shop. I have a passion for design, hygge and finding beauty around the world so I do most of the sourcing and creative direction for the store. We spend a lot of time together but it works for us – we still love each other! ☺

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FF: How do you ensure that the furniture, lighting, and decor you curate for Hygge Life align with the principles of hygge and promote meaningful moments in everyday living?

HL: We are very thoughtful about the product we bring into the store. Everything that we select has a story and soul – it isn’t just a pretty object but it is created with thought and intention usually with consideration of both function and beauty. We love sharing the design inspiration behind each piece and our hope is that you truly fall in love with something and feel connected to it before bringing it into your home.

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FF: Beyond architectural elements, how do you believe the furnishings and decor in a home contribute to the narrative of one’s life and experiences?

HL: We believe that a fulfilled life is made up of meaningful moments, and that moments can be cultivated by spaces and by the company we keep. By creating hygge spaces, which takes time, intention and thought, we can set the stage for hygge moments. Spaces come alive with intentional, soulful product, that is thoughtfully designed and purposefully produced.

Therefore, we select the brands and products we carry on the same principles; thus, our collection of home decor and furnishings is soulful, timeless, thoughtful, and tells a story. We value the relationships we have made with makers and vendors around the world.

It is not about decorating your home to perfection, but instead about finding things that speak to you, inspire you, remind you of wonderful moments and that you can share with all the people you love in your life. A hygge home is not about having a perfect home - it is about finding the home décor that speaks to you personally and creating a space that cultivates hygge.

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FF: What aspect of your work excites you the most on a daily basis?

HL: It brings us so much joy when someone stumbles upon our Showroom and Café or visits for the first time and is completely surprised and taken aback by the beauty and quality of the space and products inside. And then to see them linger for an hour (or two) in the space enjoying the shop and sitting down for a coffee moment is such a gratifying feeling for us. We have experienced this in our own lives – stumbling upon an unexpected but wonderful experience –we love creating this moment for people.

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FF: Do you foresee any changes or exciting new projects coming down the pike for Hygge Life?

HL: Hygge Life was our first love child and now we are expecting our first real child the end of this month! That is our biggest project coming up but we also have a container of new product arriving from Copenhagen in June with some exciting new brands and pieces, so the shop will be refreshed and fully stocked this summer!

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FF: Okay, it’s an especially cozy Sunday morning around your home, what type of music are you playing? What artist, album, or playlist?

HL: Hermanos Gutierrez, Jose Gonzalez and Tallest Man on Earth are on constant rotation at our house right now. Jack Johnson is also a Sunday morning regular in our home, especially while making pancakes. ☺ We love his laidback, positive vibes.




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