If you, like this writer, are a child of the 1980s, you will likely think back on kitchens and living rooms filled with objects procured, willy nilly, from Macy’s, Bloomingdales, JCPenney, and the HomeGoods store. In those days, good taste was something that felt remote and far away, reserved for people with interior designers and spreads in Architectural Digest. Today, thanks to companies like Hawkins New York, things are much different, and good taste is easily within reach.
Founded by Nicholas Blaine and Paul Denoly in 2012, Hawkins set out to offer high-quality, well-made goods for the home. Their offerings include products from their own line, as well as a curated selection of items from brands like Andrew Molleur, Light + Ladder, and Sir/Madam, to name a few. Here, you’ll find quilted linen shams in rich new colors, artful glass jugs and carafes, ceramic bowls, cork coasters, wooden spoons. If it’s unique, intriguing, and made for the home, chances are Hawkins carries it. The perfect shop to, say, put all that holiday spending money you’ve just received to good use.
Stockists around the country carry Hawkin’s effortlessly exquisite wares, from Casa Perfect in Los Angeles to Totokaelo in New York. If you prefer to go directly to the source, Hawkins also has their own brick-and-mortar locations in New York, Los Angeles, and Hudson. Below, Blaine and Denoly talk marigold walls, versatile design, and thoughtful guest linens.
Former occupation and your most notable memory there:
NB: I worked as an interior designer for an architect and then did visual merchandising for apparel brands. My most influential memory is walking into a space I had helped design. The sensory experience of being three-dimensional in a space I had only thus far known on paper was incredible.
PD: I worked as a buyer for many years for various national brands. My most influential memory was fairly early in my career when I worked on an exclusive development. The success of this exclusive product allowed me to shift my career in buying from merchandising to product development and design.
Your first experience with design as a child:
NB: I remember helping my mother rearrange her living room at our new house; I was five years old. I angled the sofa in front of a corner bay window and it made the room feel much bigger.
PD: I can’t remember a moment in my life where design was not a part of my everyday. My mother’s family has always paid particular attention to the home and had an antiques business in which I would spend a considerable amount of time as a child watching—and eventually helping—my mother, aunt, and grandmother.
Were your parents interested in art/design? What did they do for work?
NB: My mother was a CPA and my father was in real estate. My mother had a knack for adding elements to make guests feel welcome. Small flower arrangements on bedside tables, extra towels and blankets. My father has a keen sense of quality and loves antiquing and auctions.
PD: My mother had an antique store and interior design business growing up. We spent a lot of time together going to auctions, flea markets, and dealers. As I got older, I would ultimately run a lot of errands for her and graduated to becoming her go-to delivery guy.
What did your childhood bedroom look like?
NB: My room was a rich marigold color and was inspired from a still life painting my mother and I had found on the sidewalk that I loved.
PD: The most prominent memory of my childhood bedroom is of the French doors that went onto a balcony that overlooked a ravine. I spent a lot of time there as a teenager with friends, and it was a means to sneak out of the house.
What’s the process of a Hawkins piece going from idea to reality?
Generally an idea forms from a personal need. From there, we think about form, material, construction, and end-use. We have samples made, and then we live with the item and make sure we both love it.
What do you look for in the brands that you carry?
We look for items that have integrity and add depth to our assortment. Generally speaking, these are products that we don’t feel that we could personally design better, or have such a niche production method that makes each piece truly unique.
What do you hope a piece from Hawkins brings to a person’s home?
We design simple items that we hope can fit into all sorts of interiors and ways of living. We hope our products enhance our customers lives through quality and versatility.
How do your three places of residence—NYC, Los Angeles, and Upstate NY—influence your approach to design and merchandising?
It allows us the perspective to image how an item can live in urban or rural environments, as well as more formal or more casual spaces. Our best products can easily work in all the above.
Era of design you’re most inspired by:
NB: This may be a cop-out, but I’m fascinated by the cyclical nature of design evolution, the ins-and-outs of fashions that reappear over time, like organic forms versus machined items, minimalism versus maximalism, a love of house plants versus sterility. All in all, if something is well-designed and well-made, that speaks more to me than the style of it.
PD: I grew up traveling a lot as a child, and spent the formative years of my life in Mexico. I believe that this led to my sense of color and continued interest in local crafts and artisans. So my inspiration does not come in the form of an era as much as my interest in tradition.
What brand are you most excited by right now?
NB: I can’t think of one in particular, but we love working with smaller designers, especially obsessive, niche creators. Having HNY stores and website as a place to share these finds excites me.
PD: I am really drawn to the work of Faye Toogood.
What material are you intrigued by at the moment?
NB: Anything ceramic. There seems to be a real resurgence of hand-built forms and experimental glazes that intrigue me.
PD: I am obsessed with glass at the moment. Glass blowing has a life of its own. The process has barely changed in hundreds of years, and no matter how many times I have seen a piece being made the magic never goes away. It is mesmerizing.
Color you are most attracted to at the moment:
NB: Our Terracotta linen color is my current go to. It adds an earthy element to any color mix.
PD: I am currently really attracted to soft pastel colors, especially the pinks and lavender tones at sunrise.
Scent you’re loving right now:
NB: Anything woodsy, particularly pinon and mesquite.
PD: I am always obsessed with any scent that has vetiver.
What book/ film/ work of art most recently captured your attention and why?
NB: Our friend and collaborator Alyson Fox‘s latest personal works of “found” ikebana arrangements have been hovering in my head since she first shared them with me. The act of finding beauty in the discarded remnants of life is an important lesson for anyone.
PD: I went to Houston for the first time this year and got a whole new appreciation for Cy Twombly’s work, especially the pieces where he used color. The scale, movement, and depth really moved me.
Best advice you’ve ever received:
NB: Trust your instincts—whenever I don’t, I always regret it.
PD: Be true to yourself.
Home is ____________.
NB; Home is with my husband and doggies, and ideally a large glass of wine.
PD: A well-set table with friends and family.
Three Hawkins items we should purchase post-holidays: