How to Become a Bedding Magnate
A lesson in dream fulfillment with Nell Diamond.
Entering an office with a bed in the corner could, under most circumstances, be a little weird. But when you’re Nell Diamond it makes total sense. As the founder of Hill House Home, a line of contemporary, luxury bedding, Nell lives, sleeps (literally) and breathes bedding, an obsession she’s had since childhood.
At one end of her large Canal Street office, a queen bed displays one of Hill House Home’s chic bedding sets. A Gary Hume painting infuses a touch of playfulness above a seating area, and at the opposite end, a turquoise Smeg fridge and ladder bookcase with nothing but a water carafe create an atypical minimal kitchenette set-up. The desks where Nell and her staff take care of all things Hill House Home feel almost secondary.
As one of the chicest girls we know of (and the woman behind a wedding with a dress so large it needed its own room at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc), we were eager to chat with the expectant Nell (congrats!) on her bedding line, making your bed like an adult, and how to create a job that essentially revolves around sleeping. The actual dream, friends.
“I’ve been obsessed with bedrooms for as long as I can remember, I grew up moving a lot and my bedroom was always a sacred space to me—I would figure out ways that I could change it according to the month, day or my mood.
“It was always a sanctuary for me, and sheets were a huge part of that. I was very lucky because my mom was super into décor and sheets, and she used to collect linens that she would then pass down to me, like one pillowcase at a time. I would collect and make these mix and match beds and it was such a joy for me.
“Fast forward to college, I was in a dorm room all four years and loved decorating my bedroom but I was at a point where I had to start buying my own stuff and I went out looking for things that were not only beautiful and the quality I was used to, but also accessible in price point. I was so upset that I couldn’t find anything.”
On investing in something *other* than clothes:
“It’s a really big step into adulthood, putting stuff in your home first. Instead of a designer bag it’s like ‘I go to bed every night in my bed and I want to put that money into my sheets’. I think that’s been really nice to see [other people my age doing]. Even if you have to do it one piece at a time, sheets are something that if they’re made well should last you decades.
“My goal was to create a brand that made shopping for the home fun and easy and simple. We’re moving into different categories pretty slowly. We’ve moved into pajamas and that came from me loving the fabric of our sheets and me wanting to wear it. I was like ‘we have a little bit of extra fabric, can we just make pajamas?’ so they came pretty soon.
“We have a great terry cloth robe and then these mini pillows have been big for us. In the next few months, we will launch a few more gift items. There’s nothing like getting a gift for someone that feels really personal, and is also a good price point. I’m hoping to move into other soft goods, like towels and table linens eventually.”
How to make your bed like a grown up:
“Even at super crazy times in my life, the one thing I will do is iron my pillowcases because that’s something you see right away. It was also important to me to make sheets that look good NOT ironed. We have two fabrics, sateen and percale, and if you’re someone that doesn’t like to iron your sheets then sateen is a better choice for you, because it tends to look a little bit more perfect when it’s fresh out of the drier.
“I’ve gotten into tips and tricks, and with a fitted sheet, because it’s so big and unwieldy on an ironing board I’ll take that out of the drier when it’s slightly damp and put on the bed right away and smooth the creases. That really works!”
Finding a hole in the market, and launching the brand:
“I could see beautiful stuff at the high end of the market that was a bit dated in design, but was thousands and thousands of dollars, which was not going to happen for me. Then at the bottom end of the market, I couldn’t figure out why the quality was so low and it was still in the hundreds of dollars. I’m a crazy millennial, so I was like ‘I can just make it.’
“Hill House Home was born out of this idea that there’s no brand in the home space that’s catering to the idea of the customer I see in my peers. I couldn’t figure out why there’s so many fashion brands I love, but in the home space I wasn’t finding anything that was new and young and fresh. So I set out to create a home brand that was not taking itself too seriously, a little bit irreverent and a bit imaginative, that brings the fun back into decorating your home.
“I wanted to get the product as perfect as I could before we actually launched the business. I went to business school and while there I really thought through the idea and the brand messaging. I designed the product for about two years going back and forth to the factory and making sure the sheets were exactly as I wanted them to be, and making them affordable but also really good quality. We launched six months after I graduated from business school so it’s only been few months but it’s been fun.”
The importance of sleep:
“I’m a huge believer in how the space that you sleep in can affect how you live your life. For me if I go to bed and wake up in a space with uncluttered nightstands, art that makes me feel really good, and patterns that feel soothing to me, then I’m a more productive person 100%. And I sleep better.
“The conversation around sleep is really changing. People are really taking ownership over their sleep schedules and people realize it’s just as important, if not more important than anything they do in life. Food, exercise, none of those things really matter if you’re not getting enough sleep and being attentive to your body and its needs.”
On her personal style vs. home style:
“My personal style is definitely a bit more crazy than my style in the home. I’m like more is more, and I have to look at myself in the mirror and say ‘Okay take off one thing’ because it’s just too much! Before I was married, my home style was like that too. My bookcases in my dorm room would scare people who came over—I wouldn’t use my closet at all for my shoes. They would be all over my bookcase, because it gave me such joy to look at my shoes!
“As I’ve gotten older my home style has gotten a little more classic, but I like to add a fun pop with art. That’s how I get my crazy side out—I love to switch my art up as much as possible.
“One of things that I do in my closet is one in, one out, so if I buy something new I either sell or donate something from my closet. It’s made such a big difference to me to be less burdened by stuff. I feel the same way about the home, too. Less is more, focus on quality and less about immediate gratification. It’s about fewer things that are better.”