Hello there. Let me tell you a little bit about us at Happy HQ. We’re Hannah & Ben. We like good design. We also have three kids. We adore them. However, they are generally the reason why we can’t have nice stuff. Or so we thought…
We also live in a nice, very average, very normal mid terrace house on a regular housing estate. Nothing architecturally interesting. No period details, no industrial chic, no anything of stylistic note. And that was another reason we thought we shouldn’t really buy anything too cool, because it wouldn’t go. You know, the idea that you decorate your house in keeping with it’s style and the period it was built. So, that would mean all stuff from the high street from 1990, then. Hmm.
Then of course, there’s budget. As in, let’s just make do with whatever we’re given/inherit/can get really cheaply.
So that left us with flat pack left overs and handmedowns – nothing wrong with a handmedown, let me just add, but after about 6 years in our lovely but ordinary house, we realised that very little in it was actually chosen by us. Very little actually represented, reflected or held any real significance to, us. We looked around and thought, ‘who lives here?’ Not the right feeling to have in your own home.
At the same time, Ben was getting his DIY on and discovering that he was actually pretty good at this woodwork marlarky. He’s always had a eye for a stylish bit of design, and with a background in purchasing, he started picking up more and more interesting finds. With a little (ok, being honest, A LOT) of help from our dear friend Simon, we learnt to do more and more. How to strip, sand, oil and wax. I started learning about upholstery and rediscovering my love of textiles. One day we were sanding back a table top together, and I looked over at him and said, ‘let’s just do this.’ So we did.
We started replacing our high street furnishings with something a bit more stylish. At first I admit, I was nervous about the kids running riot over our new buys, but I needn’t have worried. They make as much mess as they ever did, but this stuff is robust. It’s already survived fifty plus years, it can take a few knocks. Now, I’m not claiming that I upholster everything in white and it stays that way, but it’s all looking good. Right now in our living room we have 2 ercol sofas, 3 kids stacking chairs, an Esavian school table (highly decorated in felt tip and crayon. Nope, it won’t wash off. But when the kids are better at actually getting their art work on the paper, it’ll sand off, and then that table will look pristine again) and a Hans Wegner J16 rocking chair. There’s green felt tip on the paper cord seat. I don’t know how we’re going to get that out. Our dining room table and four chairs have been replaced by an ercol drop leaf and 6 chairs (so we can actually all get around it, and there’s room for a guest!) I know I’m shamelessly name dropping, and I swear I’m not doing it to impress (I also know we have an ercol problem. We’re ercolholics.) – my point is that we can have nice stuff. Be brave. Find the things you like, that work for your home and your family, not just things that look nice on the same catalogue page that everyone else is looking at. You are not everyone else. Your home is not for anyone else but you and yours. We have found that going vintage has given us the ability to create something stylish but also different, and practical. We’d rather like to help you do that, too.
Vintage can be expensive. We aim to change that. Of course you pay for quality, but we don’t think you should pay for trends. So we make things that we want you to use, we want you to buy them because you like them. Because they’ll make you smile, cheer up a corner of your room and maybe, help your home become a better reflection of you.