House Visit - Lisbeth Hansen

My mother, Lisbeth is one of the happiest and most creative people I know.  After a quarter century with three businesses and raising her children on an 1880's farm, she now lives in a sweet little cottage built in 1949.  She has always blazed her own trail and worked for herself.  She was a cut flower grower and designer long before any "farmer florist" hashtag became cool.  She doesn't follow trends and can't stand pretense.

As an avid collector of antiques and furniture, she had to find an outlet for her antiques moving from a large farm to a small house.  Since then has been selling antiques, textiles and her own handmade goods at Summer Cottage, in Petaluma.  

Growing up in Denmark, sewing and knitting is a normal part of childhood and done in school from an early age.  Before buying the farm, Lisbeth and a friend where thinking of opening a fabric shop in St. Helena.  Paths changed and she gave up sewing in her thirties to nurture the growing family businesses and her family.  Decades later, she has come back to her love of sewing.  She is constantly busy with her projects and is currently working on her website.   

Questions with Lisbeth:

How long have you lived in your house?
I have lived in my sweet little house for eight years.

What are some of the things you enjoy most about your house?
This is the first house I've chosen by myself for myself . I like it because it is small and very sweet, like a little nest . I like that it is compact, well built and solid. I love the original vintage kitchen that I just improved upon. It is cozy and was very loved by the family who lived here. I bought it from an older woman who inherited it from her parents. They bought it from a doctor when it was 1 year old. She moved into the house with her two children in 1961 and lived here with  her parents and took care of them until they died. She lived in it for many, many years. Houses become imprinted with the energy of their owners so I feel it is important for me to live in a house that is well loved.  I like that I know the story of the house.

As a Dane, could you describe with Hygge means?  What does it mean to you?
Hygge is hard describe as it is a feeling . I can say that I feel that my house is hyggeligt and Danes say that too about it! It means that you feel good when you are here. Some of the elements of hygge are lots of candles, flowers, a fire and good company. Having something good to eat and drink and good company. I think it is a concept that originated in Denmark during the long and dark winter. People burn a lot of candles to bring in light and I always burn candles because I find it hyggeligt!

How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as very personal and eclectic. I like to come into someone's home and see who the people are who live there. A house should tell a story about who live in the house.  Where you come from, what is important to you. I don't like houses that are decorated and just reflect a style. It is very impersonal and not hyggeligt! I like to see who lives there. Houses also have personality of their own and that has to be a match for the owner!  My style changes but some things are constant. I love light colors , wooden floors and good windows with plenty of natural light. I like airiness and not a lot of clutter. I don't like houses that are done but houses that are a loving container for the people who live in them.  I think the best houses just evolve and become living - breathing and dynamic .

You have lived in some great houses.  What are the most important things for you to call a house a home?
I think that the most important things for me to call a house a home is my emotional investment in the house. I have to feel a connection to it or it is just a house. I have to live the house for a while and have a relationship with it before it truly becomes my home.

You have had a very full and creative life and tend to forge your own path.  What keeps you motivated?
I guess what keeps me motivated is that I love to make things. It is very satisfying to me to make something that I or other people enjoy and use.  I am constantly inspired and love to try out new things. I especially love beautiful textiles and sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the things I want to make and all the beautiful and inspiring people and things I see.  I guess my motivation is that I want to continue to grow and change as a person and I look for beauty in everything. I look for beauty!

As a creative person, what are you working on now?  How would you describe your work at this time?
I am working on making "my making" a small home based business that works for me. I am mostly focused on making simple, beautiful and timeless garments that you can wear everyday and everywhere. Clothes you feel great in, look good in and don't have to think about. I feel clothes should just be the backdrop for the person wearing them. They should not take anything away from the person.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I am a graduate of the Western School of Feng Shui. That I am a proud and happy grandmother.