Launched in November 2011 by designer Emma Lycett, the chic children’s wallpaper company Hibou Home was an immediate success with Liberty London as the company’s first stockist. The company now has seven wallpaper designs with themes that range from pirates to cowboys and enchanted woods to parading animals.
What motivated you to set up Hibou Home? We were renovating our house and I’d spent a lot of time and effort on the interior design scheme, but I couldn’t find any wallpaper I liked for my children’s bedrooms. Everything I came across was just a bit childish and I didn’t like the garish primary colours. It got me thinking about the gap in the market for stylish, sophisticated children’s wallpaper and that’s how Hibou Home was born.
Where does the name come from? One day, I was helping my son with his French homework: Hibou means ‘owl’ in French. I liked the combination of ‘Hibou’ and ‘Home’ … et viola!
Are there any childhood memories that have inspired your work? I get a lot of design inspiration from my childhood memories. I had an idyllic childhood building dens, riding ponies, playing in the countryside around my home, and when I wasn’t doing that I was reading classic children’s books and fairytales. The books I read then – such as Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree, Swallows and Amazons, and classic fairytales (I was fascinated by Rumplestiltskin as a child) – are a big influence on what I design now.
How did the Pirate Seas theme come about? Pirate Seas was born from a love of adventure stories and legends as a child plus a fascination with wonderful old maps and sea charts, particularly those with mythical sea monsters and mysterious islands. I wanted to create a pirate theme that kids won’t grow out of too quickly: I think Pirate Seas is just that.
Which of your current collection is your favourite and why? We launched three new designs earlier this year – Animal Parade, Into The Wild and Secret Garden – and I’m hugely proud of all of them, but I do have a soft spot for Into The Wild, particularly the gorgeous line drawing of a brown bear walking through the forest – he’s adorable!
How important are sustainable design/materials to Hibou Home? Sustainable materials are a big consideration for me. Our wallpapers are printed in the UK using water based inks on paper sustainably and ethically sourced from FSC and PEFC accredited suppliers. Our fabrics are woven and printed in Lancashire, and our manufacturers work hard to reduce their carbon footprint.
What role does colour play in the home? I think colour is key to adding personality and impact to a home – the great thing is you can add as much or a little as you like. When it comes to colour in children’s rooms, children can be a lot more sophisticated in their colour choices than we sometimes give them credit for. That is why I like to choose stylish, muted tones for our wallpapers and fabrics.
What is the best thing your own parents or grandparents taught you? The value of self belief and hard work – a winning combination.
Have your own children influenced your designs? I have two boys, 13 and nine, and they have a good eye for design already. They are great at giving me feedback on any new designs I’m developing and they are always coming up with little drawings or design ideas for me, which is rather lovely.
Your family’s best travel experience? City breaks are a firm favourite in our family, we all love sightseeing, culture and exploring new places. We’ve just come back from Copenhagen which we all absolutely loved, so much so that we’ve started talking about possibly relocating there for a while!
The best thing your children have ever said to you? My nine-year-old recently turned to me with a very serious face and announced ‘ I love you more than toast’ which is a compliment indeed!
Your hardest parenting dilemma? Whether to stay at home or go back to work after each of my children were born. I’ve realised that, as a mother, you always feel guilty whatever choices you make, but I think it’s important not to forget your own dreams and ambitions.
Who cooks and who does the dishes in your household? My husband is a great cook which is very fortunate as I have no talent for cooking whatsoever, so I’m definitely the one doing the dishes (much to the rest of my family’s relief).
If you weren’t a designer, you’d like to be… a landscape historian!
What superhero power would you most like to have? It’s not strictly a superhero power but I’d rather like Mary Poppin’s ability to tidy up and keep the kids in order!
Your motto in life is…If you don’t ask you, you don’t get (all in the nicest possible way of course!)