It’s been just five years since Alexandra Gove and her husband, Koen van Renswoude, brought seriously cozy design vibes to Colorado with the launch of their Vail Valley boutique. hygge life. But around this time, the shop became a mecca for lovers of handmade ceramics, shearling, candles and classic Scandinavian design, and its charming on-site cafe became the place to stop for coffee and a local pastry while traveling along I-70. A recent expansion of the showroom has coincided with a move towards more furniture, lighting and home décor items (just try do not to sit in the sheepskin-padded Tired Man lounge chair designed by Danish design legend Flemming Lassen, pictured above), plus the long-awaited addition of interior design services.
With its serene plaster walls and soft lighting, including constant candlelight, regardless of the time of year, the boutique feels like a welcoming residential space, which Gove had in mind. “We wanted it to be like a house,” she says. “A retail store is, in a way, an artist’s vision; a personal selection of products they love. And often, because we’re all individuals, it comes out as something special and unique.
We wondered where Gove, which has set the bar so high in retail, likes to shop when it’s not sourcing products for its own shelves. So we asked, and she shared the three high country homeware shops that are her go-to.
“Nowadays, when we can access stores around the world just by visiting their Instagram feeds, it’s common to see repeats of the same products. What’s special is when you find something truly unique and artistic. When you enter vintage magnolia– one of the most popular floral studios in the valley – it’s like a feast for the eyes. There are beautiful flowers everywhere, as well as warm, bohemian decor and a really fun assortment of gifts. Think: lots of pillows, blankets, planters and textures. I love the floral designs, which have a loose, organic style. And the most unexpected detail is that right there in the room there is a huge work table where all the florists prepare arrangements – nothing is really behind the scenes. 128 Main Street, Unit C-3, Edwards; 970-926-5000
“This eye-catching showroom is the mecca of ‘modern mountain’ design. Many people are moving away from a more traditional mountain aesthetic, and Collective provides the pieces and resources that can help transition into that fresher, yet still warm and inviting look. The showroom is a large, beautiful space with beautifully displayed furniture and accessories for every room in the house. And best of all, there’s a super-talented, full-service design team ready to help you put it all together. 114 Basecamp Road, Frisco; 970-251-7373
R|D HomeSteamboat Springs
“I was so surprised and delighted when I found out about this store [affiliated with local design firm Rumor Design + ReDesign] on a walk along the main street of Steamboat. It’s big and beautiful, with a chic cafe bar and a round communal table – I think incorporating a place to just slow down and enjoy the space is really nice. But what amazed me the most was the amount of furniture, lighting and decoration on display. There are so many unique and playful pieces, from sculptural lounge chairs to decorative items to specialty upholstery. Koen and I ended up finding a fun roll of Kelly Wearstler wallpaper, which we hung in our powder room, and we also bought an antique dresser. I love the mix of old and new, which makes hunting fun and easy to find something to fall in love with. 912 Lincoln Ave., Steamboat; 970-819-9721
(Read more: Hygge Life Café is the coziest coffee spot on I-70)