Nell Diamond just wants you to be happy. So much so that that was the starting concept for the brick-and-mortar debut of her bedding brand, Hill House Home, whose kicky blue-and-white-patterned walls you’ve likely seen scattered throughout your Instagram feed in the days since it opened last week. That, and one very lucky flea market find.
“We built this company on the thought that there shouldn’t be any negative energy in your home; it should make you happy,” Diamond says. “There’s no one correct way to decorate your home, so we had an organic way of figuring out how this would look for us, and that’s what we want our customers to do. Start with something that inspires you and connect that thread to the end. Don’t listen to what other people tell you is correct—go with that makes you happy.”
For Diamond, the starting point came via her close friend and longtime collaborator, designer Martin Brûlé, who chanced upon a scrap of 19th-century fabric while shopping in Paris.
“I’m always looking in weird places for unexpected things, and this was in Paris at a fabric market just outside of Montmartre,” the designer recalls. “I go often and am always looking for fabrics; there are some great things mixed in with, you know, neon spandex or whatnot.” This time, the great thing was a blue-and-white print featuring palm trees and birds—both recurring motifs in Hill House Home designs. He immediately sent a photo to Diamond.
“We spend so much time together as friends and collaborating I feel like we have our own language in terms of design,” Diamond laughs. As expected, she was smitten as instantly as Brûlé had been. After having the fabric reprinted by one of Brûlé’s contacts in France, the duo set about swathing nearly the entire surface area of a Bleecker Street boutique in the pattern.
“One thing that was very fun about working on the store is that very rarely are clients willing to go all the way, and one of the best things about working with Nell is she’s willing to go all the way,” says Brûlé. “And that was a blast to do.”
Walls, ceiling, and custom valances bear the beloved print, as do a bed skirt and an ironing board that Brûlé hand-sewed (“Martin has a talent for using color and pattern without making it feel busy,” Diamond gushes). Against this lush backdrop, punctuated with modern art and high-gloss furnishings from the Lacquer Company, Hill House’s crisp sheets take center stage while still feeling contextual—and, somehow, relaxed.
“I spend so much time thinking about how I can make bedrooms sanctuaries, so it might seem weird to have such an intense fabric, but the repeat is so specific that it’s almost meditative,” says Diamond. “It’s transformative.”
That’s not to say it’s to everyone’s liking—and Diamond welcomes such an idea. “It’s incredibly empowering to figure out what you like and don’t like, and to realize there’s no right and wrong,” Diamond says. “Even if what you take away from this is that it’s not your style, you’re leaving more informed.”
Not only does the shop represent Diamond and Brûlé’s sanctuary, it serves, through its design, as an aesthetic representation of Hill House Home’s foundational principles.
Diamond has been outspoken from the launch of her brand that its concept is a balance of “high-quality old-world materials paired with Amazon-style efficiency.”
“Our speed, our monogram visualizer, our checkout process, is the Amazon style,” she explains. “In the store, that’s mirrored in the modern art and the lacquer furniture. That’s 2017. The Old World is our manufacturers, who have been creating bedding for centuries—and that’s represented here by the print. So we brought that Old World plus modern efficiency to play in the design.”
All told, it’s a showstopping jewel box of creativity that stands out even in today’s era of Instagrammable, experiential shopping destinations. And though Diamond’s unapologetically confident style might seem all fun and personality, she has the business savvy to match up to it. “It’s a new age of retail,” she says. “If you’re a brand in 2017 and want a brick-and-mortar space, it needs to be more than just an online shop in person. I want to reward people for coming into our store by giving them an experience they can’t achieve online. I want to give them the gift of inspiration.”
Hill House Home is open now at 395 Bleecker Street. hillhousehome.com
This content was originally posted on architecturaldigest.com