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Happy Home Outside: Everyday Magic for Outdoor Life – Review and Interview with Author Charlotte Hedeman Guéniau

An exclusive interview with the founder of the Rice DK homeware brand, and author of Happy Home Outside.

Written by Amelia Gregory

I’ve never thought of using a greenhouse as an outdoor space to socialise in, but this and other unusual ideas form the basis of a beautiful new book by Charlotte Hedeman Guéniau, founder of quintessential Danish lifestyle brand Rice. Happy Home Outside: Everyday Magic for Outdoor Life is chock full of aspirational photography, beautiful ideas and a smattering of simple designs to make… all presented in a wonderfully informal manner that makes this committed Scandophile yearn for a more Danish way of life even more.

The book features lots of lovely tips like the importance of a small table to move around the garden and how to create a lovely tray of treats. At it’s heart Rice is an ethical brand, and I love the little ideas such as pegging the (reusable) glasses up on string with stickers to encourage reuse. Happy Home Outside has a whole section devoted to camper van camping, which of course the Rice melamine-ware is made for.

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There are also the kind of charming makes that I wish I had more time to do, such as decorated lampshades to hang in the trees – all with extremely simple and undoubting instructions that make you think you might actually be able to whip something up in a short time. I particularly like the idea of a palette swing… now to find a garden with a tree big enough to hold it, and space for a fireplace (over which to make my alcoholic crepes on special long handled pans) – my ultimate dream.

Charlotte Gueniau and Family
Charlotte has a lovely chatty style which invites you into her colourful world: I’d love to go to one of her midsummer pizza parties. Or perhaps her infamous yellow themed party, held during high summer when her house is surrounded by bright rapeseed in bloom. The bonds between the ages are clearly very important to her and I love the emphasis on gathering the clan… I plan to take on board some of her tips when I hold my eldest’s 4th birthday party outside in the coming weeks.

Honestly there is so much delight in inside Happy Home Outside I could go on and on, but instead I urge you to take a look yourself. I’ve always lusted after Rice homeware and this book has definitely worked its magic. One day my life will look like this! Read on for my exclusive interview with Charlotte Hedeman Guéniau

Where did you find all the wonderful locations shown in your book and how did you style all the photos in Happy Home Outside? It must have been quite a logistical challenge! 
A lot of the pictures were taken in my own garden – and the rest in some of my friend’s places and gardens… They where all so kind to let me in! It was fun, and yes a bit of a challenge sometimes… but luckily the weather was really nice every time we had to shoot.

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The book is very aspirational, what are your most important lifestyle aspirations and how do you make sure you achieve the things you want in a busy world? 
It’s actually pretty simple for me… It’s all about LIVE LOVE LAUGH… and I try to focus on the mix of the 3 – always. I make time for myself to do the things that give me energy. I get better and better at it as I get on in life… For me I’m getting more and more aware of the importance of living life to the fullest… and I want to be happy while I do it!

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I love the way you mix monochrome and pastels, and pastels and brights (which are such an intrinsic feature of the Rice brand) – when did you begin using these colour combinations and what inspires them? 
I grew up with colours, and I’ve been surrounded by colour ever since… My room was yellow, and my sister’s room was green. My grandmother was always brave around colours. And I am just naturally attracted to colourful people and things.

What does your own outside space look like and what is your absolute must have outside item if you have to pick just one?
My garden is very cosy – I am really not very talented or patient when it comes to gardening – but I am good at organizing… We have some great couches that are designed to be outdoor -we have had them for more than ten years – and I love sitting and lying in them. SO I would say a must-have for me is comfortable seating. I love spending time outdoors, and I really don’t think there is anything you can’t do outside… For me my garden is a slice of heaven…

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You speak a lot about replicating the cosiness of childhood dens – what was your childhood space like? 
As I said – it was very yellow… but we lived near a small forest where we would go and make small dens with branches and so on… I loved that feeling of decorating a small space and just sitting there… For me, I don’t have to do much to enjoy spending time outside… Just relaxing and enjoying the calmness of nature is wonderful… Of course when I was little I was really into making stuff – a cave or something creative, and I’m still like that… it has always been about cosiness and small spaces to enjoy alone or with the ones you love…  
Do you have a private retreat where you like to escape to? 
I have several, and in the last few years I also have discovered and started to enjoy doing sports as well – that is a real treat for me, I do it with a personal trainer and it really gives me an energy boost. For me, sports have become my private retreat!

Can you tell us anymore about it? 
Sports gives me a great release – I am not particularly good, but I have discovered a passion for boxing… you should try it… On a more spiritual level going to the sea, and being in water is also vital for me – I love swimming even in the winter…

Happy Home Outside review 6 Skovdal & Skovdal
What do you like to do if you get a chance to sneak off for quality time alone? 
Go for a walk… make a cup of tea… listen to music… try to hook up with a friend – I am a very social person. 

What goes on your tray when you are feeling like being indulgent? 
Wine is probably my indulgence – nice fat Chardonnay…

I love the idea of making the most of whatever weather there is, such as having a barbecue in the snow – have you ever done this or something else unexpected and if so what was the occasion? 
Yes we did it – and we love to cook over the fire outside. It has been very spontaneous… It always is - we did a barbecue in the snow… no wind – and blue sky… That are actually the only things necessary to make a lovely time around the fire – with lots of blankets and warm clothes on… Once we lived in a house with a small lake in the garden, and we have hosted a few spontaneous skating evenings in the winter. You need to grab the moment when it is there – be spontaneous and just go for the fun… I think we have learned to appreciate this even more since we moved back to Denmark. When the sun is there – you go for it… drop all other projects… and ENJOY Now… you never know how long it will last!

Where did you go camping with your kids when they were little? 
A campsite 4 kilometres from where we lived… they LOOOOOOVED it, and they had no idea we were so close to home. It was their favourite holiday at the time!

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Do you have any other lifestyle books or other projects in the pipeline, and if so what? 
I have just finished wording on a book about cooking together and doing things together… Spending time with friends and family… so mostly food and a few DIYs!

Where can people catch up with your adventures online? 
On my Instagram or on Snapchat – both under Charlotte_rice – I do have a blog too - called Everyday Magic – but it is taking a very long nap at the moment…

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On a more Rice based note, how did you settle on the idea of using Melamine and how has your brand expanded to encompass all your ideas over the years? 
I love fun colours and I always go for function… Fun, funky and functional! - and that is how we landed on melamine… and the rest is history… All the ideas  - it has just happened coincidentally… Something comes up, and I go for it… That’s where the best ideas come up! It has been fun, and still is – at least on the majority of the days… That makes it worth it for me! 

Happy Home Outside: Everyday Magic for Outdoor Life by Charlotte Hedeman Guéniau is out now, published by Jacqui Small.

I have recently signed up as an Amazon affiliate, so if you would like to buy this book please do consider using my link, and help support Amelia’s Magazine. (I don’t run adverts, and server costs for this website alone are huge.) I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.


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