A Peek Inside is our new series where we chat with friends about what makes their home warm (besides a Happy Habitat throw, of course). First up, Chentell of Convivial Production.
Meet Chentell, my dear friend and the owner of Convivial Production. I am a big fan as I have her work all over my house!
Chentell, tell me in your words about Convivial:
Convivial is a “shoot for the moon” type of dream that I began thinking about as a highschool student. It’s a daily challenge and a daily joy. A sense of purpose and an opportunity to live out principles, vision, community and creativity. Or, in business terms...Convivial is a design and manufacturing company that creates handmade, ceramic wares for the home, table and garden. It is ten talented and resilient creatives that come to work everyday to bring back jobs in the arts. It’s the wares that spur on, inspire and bring conviviality to life.
And why do YOU think I (Karrie/Happy Habitat) wanted to interview you?
I think YOU wanted to interview ME because we have a unique synergy when it comes to how we think about and approach business principles and practices. We’re both motivated to do well, but only in a way we can truly be proud of. Nothing kitschy. Nothing gimmicky. Only thoughtful, authentic products.
What object/item (s) do you most like to show off and talk about at your house? (I mean besides your happy habitat throws, of course!
This question made me giggle a bit, because to be quite honest, besides the base set of furniture and Convivial wares, we ONLY have Happy Habitat in our living spaces (no joke). In college I read the book Architecture of Happiness, which held an underlying theme of how the design of one’s home centers them. That those who have a chaotic life outside of the home (works, family, etc) tend to need a home that is simplistic, declutter and stress-free. And the opposite, someone who feels a bit underwhelmed in life, may seek to create a full, vibrant home that reflects their sense and desire for a little more wild or adventure. I think you can guess where I land on the spectrum. I am someone whose visual surroundings really impact how stressed or at peace I feel. I live a dynamic life at work, often leaving me mentally and emotionally needing simplicity and rest at home. SO, our home has been stripped to the bare essentials, quite literally, furniture (bed, tables, seating), convivial planters, plants, kitchen supplies and...Happy Habitat.
I wouldn't say I show off anything in my home. The idea of showing off makes the shy, “be humble” (words from my mother) side of me would never be like…”look what I have”. BUT when guests are over and we’re sitting in the living room, I secretly love the opportunity to get them tea in our mugs and a beautiful, cozy happy habitat throw to cuddle in.
How and where do you use your happy habitat throws in your house?
Here are the real, fun facts about how our throws (we have 4) get used…
The most obvious - one for the couch, one for the chair! For us, for guests, for fancy looks.
Our bed - when we wash out sheets at night and forget to put them in the dryer in time to remake the bed before needing to go to sleep!
Our pup. Never in a million years would I have guessed that i would allow my dog to have his own HH, but when we got Yonce (dalmatian) as a 5 lb puppy, what was ours was his. He was so sweet, so snuggly-fresh, so clean. Then he grew up (ha!) and now he has a “dedicated” throw.
If you were a throw—which one would you be and why?
If I were to answer this question two years ago, I would have, no question, said the Reverse. Sharp contrast of black and linen, simple, geometric. This is the first one we got! Now, however, because we create so many architectural, geometric shapes within Convivial, my eye has been really craving more organic shapes in complementary products. So, I’m torn. Some days I am The Reverse, others the Mod Leaf in Ochre, and some the simple cotton Puff Balls. Makes sense we have all of these =)
Throws: folded or…thrown?
I reeeeaallly love the sharp look of a folded throw. When we get our HH in the mail, I really try to learn how to refold it as I am unfolding it. I’m a “ everything has its place” type. Folded. Stacked. Uniform.
If you had to describe your design style in terms of food/drink— what would it be? and why? (i know you won’t say pb&j with a side of water
Cappuccino… warm. refined. sharp. classy.
Yonce is your cute dalmation, do you have any design tricks for living with a black and white pup?
Gray! Our furniture was selected long before deciding to get Yonce, but ironically, it’s the best color for his endless amounts of shedding (it’s one of the main cons listed for selecting the dalmatian breed). Thankfully with gray furniture you can’t necessarily see the fur on the furniture (sorry if this is grossing anyone out) but because I know it is there and want to maintain a clean couch, I actually now lay out our Reverse HH across the main couch cushion so that it will protect the fabric and look fancy in the process. Then when we have guests coming or simply feel like it needs a refresh, we wash the HH. We used the underside of the HH, which shows no hair due to the pattern.
What are you most embarrassed about in your house? it’s okay, come clean here, it will feel good. we all have something.
Closet. Always the closet. I think I have dreams of wooden hangers, wooden shelving for shoes, NOTHING ON THE FLOOR, and a perpetual color-gradient organized closet. Some day.
Got any hacks for us? how do you hide clutter or disguise above mentioned stuff?
Hide clutter? No. Get - Rid - Of -It. This was the first year that I made an intentional choice to tell people perishable or experiential gifts only moving forward, unless they feel very confident it is something I have been searching for (like a beautiful copper watering can my mother in law spent years trying to find for me at every thrift store she drove by). Every year we have been married, I always end up donating the majority of our non-necessity items. We truly believe that our lives feel happier, simpler and more efficient with less. So, no tricks, just a brutal commitment to not keping what we don’t absolutely love or need.
Collections. What do you collect? What’s your display situation?
Puzzles! I have been on a puzzle kick this winter, but to keep a minimal space I finish a puzzle and then bring it to the Convivial Library for others to enjoy.
Do you have any lifelong design obsessions, something you’re always on the hunt for? the perfect this, or another one of those?
I think wooden objects always steal my eye. Cutting boards, serving bowls, drafting tables, etc. We have mostly new wooden items in our home because we had nothing when we got married and decided to just get what we needed from what we could find easily vs trying to really search for each item over a longer period of time. But I think as certain items we have ware out, finding unique, wooden items that feel nostalgic, old and atesan will be my focus.
They say hygge. we say cozy. what captures that concept best in your home?
Balance. Feng shui. Simplicity. Everything having its place. Feeling fresh and clean, so that the family can sit back and relax. Valuing everything we have but never anything too much so that it can’t be enjoyed. Sharing the space with friends. Playing hide and seek inside with the pup. Candles and books in the bath. Puzzles by the fireplace...kidding we don’t have a fireplace but my husband stephen often turns on a netflix fire when we sit at the table...always causing me to break a laugh.
Make the bed every day? Or only when people are gonna see it?
A little bit of both, but mainly make it! I am gone before my husband is up and he has been very diligent about making the bed. I think year one of marriage we made a rule that whoever got up last was responsible. Haven't thought or bickered about it much since.
Imagine you’re out at a party and have to describe your entire decor style to someone you just met by showing them one possession. what would it be?
This one really stumped me because I think my style is achieved by a balance of modern and nostalgic. For example, in our studio, we have bright, white walls throughout the space, complemented by 13’ dark walnut doors and a wooden cash wrap built from salvaged architectural siding. And in our home we have dark, wooden, paneled walls that feel historic and nostalgic, filled with sharp-lined, modern furniture and white ceramic decor.
SO I’d have to share a still-life polaroid (if that counts as a single item). I’d show a handmade planter by convivial, specifically the minimal sand planter with a lush, towering palm, next to the watering can from my mother in law Maria and maybe a piece of coral gifted from my sister (as an omage to where we’re from).
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and home with us Chentell, love you sweet friend. -Karrie