I’m so excited for you to meet my friend Hannah today. Not only is her taste next-level awesome, I’m also obsessed with her style — it feels minimal and clean but is still curated and beautiful. Hannah is a designer, her husband is a fabricator and a metal worker, and their home is a really amazing fixer-upper they’ve reinvented in smart ways. Hannah’s also got some really beautiful things to say about our daily rituals and the way we live that I am excited for you to hear. Welcome, Hannah!
We are the Olagues! I am Hannah. I am 29 years old, a designer and a native Salt Laker. My husband is Irving, he is also 29. And we have an adorable son named Remi.
Irving was born in Mexico but came to the US when he was young. Irving and I own our own small business, HI Co-operative. We are a custom fabrication shop and interior design studio. We have a two year old son, Remi, and a dog named Pepper. Irving and I met in high school where the only thing we had in common was we found each other cute.
When we started dating I began to realize how creative and talented Irving was. For special occasions Irving would hand make cards for me — Get Well Soon cards, Happy Birthday cards, Valentine’s Day cards. He cut out each letter individually!! Who does that except for a kidnapper writing a ransom note? I had never seen anything so beautiful. To be honest, that’s probably one of the reasons I fell in love with him. Seeing how much time and energy he put into a card, I knew he was special.
We recently bought a 1950’s 4 Bedroom 3 bath tri-level fixer upper in the Salt Lake City neighborhood of Rose Park. Rose Park is in the northwest part of the city. It is a diverse neighborhood with many schools, parks and community centers. Salt Lake can sometimes feel a bit homogenous in the types of families that live here, but the Rose Park area is much more diverse. It’s a great place for young families to buy homes because it can be less expensive than other parts of the city. The people who live in Rose Park love Rose Park and are very vocal and loyal about it! It’s wonderful.
This is our first home and in our search we didn’t think so much about the right neighbors as much as we thought about the right house for us. We got really lucky, though. Our neighbors are the best. We live right on a golf course which has been a huge treat. We take summer night walks to find stray golf balls, and in the crisp fall morning we watch the geese warm in the sun. We are loving our first home and what surrounds us.
We bought our house under a specific first time home buyer loan. The process was tedious and long but we had a great team helping us. Utah is in a housing boom and home prices are going up. We were lucky enough to buy before they got too high. When we were looking for homes, our check list was very specific.
Before we moved we decided we were going to operate our business out of our home verses renting a shop, which is what we had been doing. To run our business out of our home we needed a shop space on site that Irving could work out of to do his custom metal and fabrication work and an office space for me where I could work on my design projects. So those were high on our list of “must-haves” in addition to the standard things like number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, etc.
We looked all over the Salt Lake Valley and the home we eventually bought checked all of the boxes. Our home is a definite fixer upper. Every room needs to be updated in one way or another but we are pacing ourselves. This first year we have taken paneling off and painted the whole house, pulled up carpet and refinished the original wood floors, fixed a plumbing issue and painted the exterior trim. The next projects are the big ones like the kitchen and baths.
Irving’s family came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was a small child and worked hard to build a better life for themselves from the ground up. I am from an upper middle-class close-knit family and was able to have some great opportunities as a kid. Our backgrounds can be very different and those differences can, at times, be a little bit hard. Money, and the value it has, or should have, in our lives is something we talk a lot about.
We don’t always see eye to eye at the beginning but sometimes seeing things differently forces both of us to compromise and stretch ourselves. Luckily, even though Irving and I have differences, we also have many similarities and many things that we do agree on so we can always come together and work through our problems. Irving is also an amazing and attentive father. Remi can’t get enough of him!
Irving and I decided to start our own business several years ago when an opportunity to take over a fully outfitted work shop fell into our laps. Irving was apprenticing with a wood and metal worker when the shop owner said he was getting out of the business and asked Irving to take over all of his clients. We have learned so much from where we started in that first shop to where we are today.
The feeling of completing a project you feel good about and that your client loves is the ultimate high for us! And on the flip side of that are those times when a project goes wrong and communication breaks down; these moments are when you need to gather your inner strength to keep going and push through. We call ourselves “starving artists.” No, we are not starving but we do sacrifice some things to do what we love.
When I started thinking about what I wanted our online presence to be, I wanted to do something more that just standard before and after photos of design projects. I love thinking about the every day rituals in our lives and wanted a way to highlight that, so we decided to make a series of short videos. RITUALS by HI Co-operative is a concept that illustrates our design philosophy. We find beauty in everyday moments easily passed over. When we take note of small details in our day, like the texture of sheets when making a bed, our lives fill with conscious moments of beauty and gratitude.
The RITUALS film series is just beginning. We hope these movies inspire you as they inspire us at HI Co-operative to be present in the everyday, to slow down the small moments in this fast paced world and deeply take them in.
My absolute favorite thing about living with Remi is the moments I see when I peer around a corner and catch him making his own discoveries and play. I love his little voice calling me when he wakes up in the morning or from a nap. I do miss the snuggle times we would have when he was a little baby but I really have enjoyed each stage Remi has gone through.
I want Remi to have a joyful, whimsical and magical childhood. Growing up in the world today can be tough but I hope he can find magic in the little moments of life like watching the geese gather together in the sun and then burst up into the sky in an instant, or finding the biggest puddles and splashing until he is completely soaked. I know I’ll always remember his fresh morning face when I come to get him from his crib and he says, “Hi! How are you?” I hope the morning light coming in the window of his room will always bring him warm memories of our house.
I hope that Remi remembers how we danced together in the living room and loved to be silly. Maybe our children won’t remember my passion for creativity and self expression through art and design but I hope they will feel it in the home Irving and I have created. I know that Remi will look up to his dad and want to be exactly like him. He already knows his way around the shop.
I wish someone had told me —and I had listened— that you don’t need to be who you are right away. Does that make sense? It takes time to find yourself personally and professionally. The trials and errors and picking yourself up off the ground is just as important as the triumphs and successes in shaping the person you want to be and the life you want to live. I don’t think I realized, until after getting married, that I had an expectation of how my life was going to go. It was unbelievably painful and also wonderfully freeing to break down these expectations to enjoy my life and the path it was naturally taking.
Thank you, Hannah! What an absolutely charming home. I love the bright light coming through the windows and all the gorgeous details. I’m absolutely positive that Remi and any child growing up in that home would be able to sense all of the love and care that has gone into creating it. What a lucky kid!
And I am in love with what Hannah has to say about paying attention to the rituals in our lives. Making the bed can often seem like just another chore to get through before moving onto the next one. There is something so beautiful, however, about focusing on the ritual of it all and the meditation. How the little things we do as parents on a day to day basis are the building blocks that our lives are built upon. Those rituals are what makes our house a home and those chances to be mindful as we perform them will help make the work of parenting seem more beautiful
What are the rituals you have in your daily life that are part of the makeup of your home? Do you speed through parenting sometimes? Or are you able to take the time to focus on the little things? What ways do you find to slow down and be in the moment?
Living room planters
Star in Remi’s room
You can follow Hannah on Instagram here. See more of the the great Work Hi Cooperative is doing on their website or on Instagram. Living With Kids is edited by Josh Bingham — you can follow him on Instagram. Would you like to share your home in our Living With Kids series? It’s lots of fun, I promise! (And we are always looking for more diversity in the families we feature here. Single parents, non-traditional parents, families of color, gay parents, multi-generational families. Reach out! We’d love to hear your stories!!) Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.