Today we are honored to introduce the delightful Annie Selke, multitasking owner and creative force behind Pine Cone Hill and Dash & Albert brands.
Annie, tell us a bit about your company’s history. What was the inspiration for starting your business?
I’ve loved vintage patterns & textiles since I was in grade school and went on to study textiles and art history at the University of Vermont and fashion merchandising at The Fashion Institute of Technology. I also gained experience in merchandising and product development at Saks Fifth Avenue, Conran’s, and Ferragamo. Even with this background it was still a huge leap of faith when I decided to quit my job and start Pine Cone Hill in 1994. I was a new mom with a secure job (including health benefits) with an itch to start my own company. I knew that if it worked I would be my happiest self.
What influences your design and color selection?
A better question is what doesn’t. I believe that part of my success as a designer is due in great part to my innate curiosity for people, places and things. I love meeting people and learning about others and I always ask a ton of questions. I love to travel and take in different landscapes; I carry my camera with me everywhere and use it liberally. I’m a tireless scourer of flea markets and antique shops. I have an enormous collection of antique fabrics and am always finding more. Undoubtedly, I use all of this information when making design choices.
Is there a favorite design or design concept this season?
Clean, comfortable, livable modern. I recently moved from a 5,400 square foot, 9 bedroom Victorian to a 2,200 square foot, 3 bedroom mid-century house so my latest design project has been my own house. I’ve always had a great appreciation for modern design and architecture but the move has certainly pulled the design concept for the season towards a less fussy, but still beautiful aesthetic.
Do you have a favorite design related blog that you enjoy or are inspired by?
It is not a blog, but I am constantly visiting 1st Dibs. It is like going to an Art History class. There is so much to look at and learn about. I’ve been known to have 5 or 6 searches going on their site at a time. Another great website/product that I was recently introduced to is surfaceview.com. They use wonderful images from a variety of sources, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and Natural History Museum, to make prints, murals and window blinds. They are so cool! I also enjoy the Peak of Chic, Eddie Ross and a bunch of others. I don’t visit one religiously but prefer to bob around following the suggestions of the blogs. I call it blog hopping.
What’s new ahead in the way of trends or product features?
It is no secret that we are currently in a recession and the products that will be most successful in the near future are those that make it easy and inexpensive to change the look of a room. Decorative pillows in bright colors or distinct patterns are becoming more popular for this reason as are our really affordable cotton area rugs. This concept works for both living spaces and bedrooms; a living room with neutral walls and furniture can look drastically different based on what pillows are shown on the sofa or what rug is on the floor. On the bed, a white coverlet and duvet can go from beachy to baroque by switching out a few pillows or shams and adding a throw.
Pine Cone Hill has several looks from brights to soothing neutrals. What collection best describes your personal style right now?
You know, there is a part of me that loves it all or else I wouldn’t design and produce it. I like excellent quality classics as the basis for any room, bed (or outfit for that matter) and then I like to add accessories that move me at the moment. So, basically I like to start with a versatile base from Neutral Territory or Urban Tree house and then change the accessories seasonally or even weekly! I really love finding new ways to layer and mix textures, patterns and colors.
What bedding collection is on your own bed at home? Do you change it often?
I currently have our 400 thread count Ruched Sky duvet and shams with our classic hemstitch sheets. Being completely surrounded by top quality, 400 thread count bedding is so luxurious! Not so surprisingly, I have a very full linen closet at home so I do small changes quite often; I’ll add a quilt or put a new blanket on to switch things up. I also love picking up really special pieces that fit my color scheme. I currently have some outrageously gorgeous embroidered shams on my bed from Ananli and some pillows from Ankasa. I appreciate all textiles, not just my own!
What is the most challenging part running the Annie Selke companies, and do you ever sleep?
Pine Cone Hill has grown tremendously in the past 15 years and I feel very responsible for each of our employees. The fact that every business decision I make affects them both directly and indirectly is certainly a challenge and something I am always aware of. I want all of our employees to be happy and healthy and I work closely with our tireless human resources manager to make sure we are doing all we can to make this possible. I do have a very busy schedule but I also want to be happy and healthy and therefore strive to find balance in my life. Having a rich and active life requires a good night’s sleep. So yes, I sleep…I promise!
It’s glorious giveaway time again! One grand winner will be the recipient of a cotton 4×6 woven Dash and Albert rug of their choice. Thank you to Annie Selke for providing the piece! Contest rules are as follows:
- Leave a comment in our blog or in this Facebook posting directly below stating your favorite quality of the Annie Selke companies – Pine Cone Hill and Dash and Albert and why.
- Become a Facebook fan of Layla Grayce
Special thanks to Annie Selke for being a featured poster for us! The winner of the Dash & Albert rug is Lesli Douglass!