Meet your merchant: HŌM is where the art is — Rough and Ready artists turns love of travel into a home décor business
Way before they met, Danielle Rubio and Leif Wold were both artists with a strong passion for travel.
Danielle spent five years splitting her time between Oakland and India, teaching yoga and working as a silversmith and jewelry designer. Leif, who had been based in Oakland and San Francisco, studied graphic design and painting before taking off to the likes of Columbia, Guatemala and Chiapas. He was profoundly influenced by folk art and began to see common threads in shapes, patterns and symbols in each culture. More and more, these were reflected in his art work.
Four years ago, Danielle and Leif met at a Lightning in a Bottle festival and discovered they had mutual friends, similar life journeys and a deep love for art and design. Today, the couple lives in Rough and Ready with their daughter, Voa. Their house also includes their studio and base for HŌM designs, a business they describe as “modern minimal home decor, jewelry and wearable art.” Their philosophy, they say, is that “everything is born from beauty and it is how we choose to view the world that makes the difference.”
While each continued to create art individually, the couple’s striking collaborations began to take an entirely new direction and attract attention.
“The home design portion of our business seemed to start when we bought this house,” said Danielle. “I couldn’t find things I liked, such as curtains. So we decided to design our own.”
When Danielle got pregnant, the couple still continued to travel, but with a defined mission. In India they began meeting with master artisans, block printers and jewelry makers. In Oaxaca they built relationships with families that had been weaving for generations. They began to incorporate their own design patterns into the traditional artistry they found. Not only did they want to want to create a home that reflected their worldly sensibility, they had a sense their vision would have broader appeal.
“Our mission statement is, ‘home everywhere you go,’ said Leif. “Learn about others’ homes and cultures and bring back a taste of that.”
Starting with small runs and batches, the couple decided it was time to showcase their home collection under the name of their new business, HŌM. The feedback was astounding.
“It was just incredible,” said Leif. “Then we knew we could keep going.”
Today, the couple has established long-lasting relationships with artists in India and Oaxaca, who have since become extended family, said Danielle. A key part of the philosophy of HŌM, she added, is to combat mass production by investing in traditional artisan methods that have been passed down through generations. For example, the all-wool Oaxacan rugs are made using traditional, natural dyeing methods from the wool of sheep raised by the family and woven on large traditional home looms.
“It feels good to provide for families who are living in a small mountain village,” said Danielle. “Now we’re to the point where we can send them our designs.”
Starting out at one Victorian Christmas in Nevada City, HŌM has now branched into the wholesale market, including trade shows, boutiques, select festivals, and can also be found on Etsy and Instagram (youareHŌM). Popular pieces now include handwoven rugs, wall hangings, block printed rugs and meditation mats, cushions, pillows, duvet covers, curtains and blankets.
Danielle hopes to begin a blog, where readers can learn about their ongoing travels, the origins of their pieces and the people who make them.
Locally, Leif’s paintings on reclaimed wood have been displayed at Heartwood and Industrial in Nevada City, and many of the home goods, jewelry and bags can be found at Element and Loft in Grass Valley and Kitkitdizzi in Nevada City, where Leif and Danielle will soon be designing the front window display.
“The biggest thing we want people to know is that we love to design spaces,” said Danielle. “We love working with people who just bought a home or are re-doing their look. A lot of heart goes into our consultations.”
The melding of two artists’ visions has created something entirely new and exciting, which has inspired the duo to keep traveling, now with nearly 2-year-old Voa in tow, in their ongoing search for inspiration.
“For me, it’s like a dream come true — to work together as a family and see these visions come to life in a physical object — it lights me up,” said Leif. “The inspiration, the traditions, the history, the tactile abstracts — it’s important to live with art. Nothing is more fulfilling than being able to support a family through art.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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“I grew up in Nevada County, in this beautiful place — I now have a love and appreciation for everything I do,” he said. “My goals are to be mindful, keep an open door and be compassionate if someone’s having a bad day. This is a school of fitness — we teach people how not to hurt themselves.”