MICHELLE OGUNDEHIN

Delving deeper than decor to explore the power of home as a path to wellbeing #happyinside

April 20, 2020

Habitat x MO

In celebration of the upcoming launch of my new book, Happy Inside, I teamed up with Habitat to share a preview of its new SS20 collection! And I’ve picked my favourite pieces. But with so much on offer, how was it possible to choose? Herewith my quick guide to always picking a winner…

Portrait in garden

Portrait in my garden sat on my much-loved Habitat ‘Jambi’ outdoor chair. Photographer Marianna Wahlsten.

The ultimate goal of the #happyinside intent home owner is to be surrounded only by things that have meaning to them. But make no mistake, I am no minimalist. I love things! So, it’s not about getting rid of loads of your stuff. It’s about carefully curating what you own so that everything makes a considered and positive contribution to the whole.

But beyond the realms of individual taste, for me, the following attributes are absolutely key. Four qualities that I believe always contribute to the value of anything that you might buy, whatever form that might take. Turning beautiful buys into something you might just treasure forever.

texture

In our digital age, the things that we touch everyday when we’re not being so resolutely super-smooth screen-engaged, can add great joy and emotional value to our lives. Touch literally connects us back to our essential humanity. So, seek enhanced texture in anything you choose for your home and it will deliver in so many more ways than just the aesthetic. We are after all fully sensory beings, which means that to be truly stimulated we must engage all of our senses. In other words, it’s never just about what something looks like.

the hand of the maker

In addition, when we look at woven rattan or a wobbly earthenware pot we can see, and thus feel, the hand of the maker. We are again directly reconnected to the knowledge that another human being spent their precious days creating the item in front of us. This should prompt us to value that time by only purchasing items that we truly need, or love. To jettison something after a few months because we ‘changed our mind’ is to dishonour the originator.

authenticity

Be sure therefore that you consider the following criteria before committing to any purchase.  Is it the best you can afford? Is it needed? Do you have room for it? Does it adhere to your decorative palette? Will you take it with you if you moved house tomorrow?

Ultimately, while it’s certainly true that we do not need as much as we think to live a meaningful life, if we buy mindfully, we buy once. And the value of being surrounded by such things is immensely grounding.

Sustainability

Materials like rattan, cane, cork, earthenware, terracotta, plywood and hemp are what I term humble materials. They are replete with inherent tactility and authenticity. They also acknowledge important ecological concerns as they are not only affordable but sustainable. If you can adhere to all of the above and include some of these materials, then that really is a win/win scenario for you, and your home. Throw in a houseplant or seven, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming increasingly #happyinside!

The pieces I have at home…

Here then are some of my favourite pieces from Habitat’s new SS20 collection. Pieces I genuinely love so much, I have them in my own home. You can see the full edit of my top twelve SS20 collection picks, and also read an interview with me, on the Habitat blog here.

jambi WOVEN OUTDOOR CHAIR
Habitat Jambi outdoor chair

The ‘Jambi’ woven outdoor chair from the Habitat SS20 collection

https://www.habitat.co.uk/jambi-natural-woven-occasional-chair-with-green-frame-782006

I absolutely adore this chair. I’m sat in it in the picture at the top of the post! It’s sculptural and comfortable. The perfect mix to my eye of retro and modern. And the bright green frame is a clever touch. Note: although it looks like natural rattan it’s actually woven plastic wire so it has a very pleasing ‘give’ when you sit on it. It also means it’s suitable to be left outside. One thing I noticed too, is that no matter how warm outside, it doesn’t seem to get hot or sticky! Jambi outdoor chair, £195 There’s also a two-seater version, a multi-coloured option and a dining chair in the range, with many other great outdoor furniture ideas.

judd BRASS AND GLASS TABLE LAMP
Habitat brass lamp

The ‘Judd’ table lamp from the Habitat SS20 collection.

Habitat lamp and side table

I love to group side tables and lamps, so here you can see the ‘Judd’ table lamp shown alongside another Habitat piece, the ‘Tokki’ marble-effect cement side table.

Elegant simplicity, that’s both useful and beautiful with the added fun of just having to tap the lamp base to turn it on and off. Subtle and silvery when off, clear so you can see the bulb when on. Hours of fun for small people! Judd table lamp, £90. I also have a great Habitat lamp on my writing desk, the Hume light. You can see this below, and more lighting on the Habitat website.

study with Habitat light

Display shelves in my study. Photograph Marianna Wahlsten.

FLOKATI WOOL CUSHIONS
Habitat wool cushion

The ‘Flokati’ wool cushion from the SS20 Habitat collection

You can never have too many cushions! They are the absolute best way to make any sofa into a modern den and an oasis of cosiness and comfort. I’m currently using a pair of these 100% wool cushions (hand-woven in India, they also come with a white background and black flecks) on my Jambi outdoor chairs! Flokati wool cushions (50 x 50cm), £50

GREY TERRACOTTA PLANTER
Habitat clay wood planter

The ‘Awel’ terracotta planter on an oak wood stand from the Habitat SS20 collection

Plants are veritable air-cleaning ninjas, and you are what you breathe so it behoves us all to detox where we live. But we also need good-looking planters too. Awel terracotta planter

WOVEN STORAGE BASKETS
Habitat woven baskets

The ‘Ashkhan’ trio of woven baskets from the Habitat SS20 collection

I use baskets as planters (with a saucer inside), as fruit bowls, for storage and as waste bins. They are superbly multi-functional and a really easy way to introduce consistent texture into your home. Ashkhan woven baskets

UTAH STONEWARE VASE
Habitat stoneware vase

The ‘Utah’ unglazed stoneware vase from the Habitat SS20 collection

With a pleasingly rough surface, this unglazed vase, hand-crafted in Thailand, looks, and feels, unique, individual and authentic. Utah stoneware vase

See the rest of my SS20 edit here.

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Writer, Author, Brand Consultant & TV Presenter

Michelle Ogundehin is internationally renowned as an authority on interiors, trends and style. She is an influencer with expertise and the multi award-winning former Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Decoration UK.