The Lightness of Being: The White Company
The White Company founder, Chrissie Rucker, welcomes us into her London home for an exclusive look at the chic, clean aesthetic that inspires her lifestyle brand.
For Chrissie Rucker, white is everything. After noticing a neutral-colored gap in the homewares market, the London-based entrepreneur managed to build a wildly popular furnishings and lifestyle brand upon the foundation of stylishly simple—and white—decor.
Now at Nordstrom, The White Company enjoys global success that stems from Rucker's taste for easy elegance—and she channels the brand's chic yet attainable aesthetic into her own home. Pictured above in the Holland Park residence she shares with her husband, Nicholas Wheeler, and their four children, Tom, 22; Ella, 20; Indie, 18; and Bea, 14, the self-made businesswoman invites us into the life she's created.
What inspired you to launch The White Company—and why the emphasis on white?
The idea for The White Company came from the challenge of furnishing my long-standing boyfriend's first house. We had been together for over four years, and I often joke it was my last attempt to show him what excellent wife material I was! However, when I went shopping, I had a confidence crisis and realized I didn't actually have a clue where to start. So, having worked on magazines for years, I decided to approach it like planning a shoot! I opted to keep it simple and just buy white linens, white towels and bathrobes, white china and napkins.
But it wasn't easy to do, as back then there were two ends of the scale: one was beautifully designed, great quality and very expensive, and the other was lacking design, poor in quality but was much more affordable. Funnily enough, my sister-in-law had also just moved and found exactly the same thing. We were comparing notes one day and she said, "Wouldn't it be great if there was a company that just sold white things?" And that was it!
How is the company a reflection of your own aesthetic?
I have always loved the perfect simplicity of the color white. For me, it's timeless. Wherever you live, whatever your style—white just works. It's the most versatile canvas, ready to be loved as it is or layered up with textures and color. Having white as the primary color within a home has this almost spa-like quality that brings serenity to a space.
Where do you find home inspiration?
Over the years, we have found so many ideas from around the world. Paris always delivers the perfect pared-down coat. Belgium always inspires with a beautiful neutral palette. Japan is of course famed for quality and minimalism. Mexico has the prettiest tealight holders, and Morocco always delivers beautiful tea ceremonies.
What's the best home decor advice you've ever received?
I've learnt that it is important to create a consistent canvas throughout the house, and then build on each room gradually to give each space a change of pace and personality without losing the underlying harmony. Adding texture is essential, and I always love to bring some of the outside in, with trees or flowers.
What are some recent additions you've made to your home?
I've recently been trying to learn more about art and started collecting black-and-white pieces. Some of my favorite artists include Lee Ufan, Louise Nevelson and Cy Twombly. I also love to collect Hugo Guinness; the pieces have a lovely humor and make you smile. Hilary Batstone is also fantastic for antiques and light fittings.
Anything that would surprise us about your home life?
We have a home in the country and four children, so we have the usual mess and chaos that comes with family life, horses, dogs, hamsters and mud. You will also often find four cheeky dogs sleeping on my white bedspread!
What is your entertaining style? Do you have any tips?
We love entertaining, but I'm a great believer in having good, quality time with family and friends rather than spending hours cooking a complicated meal, so quite a lot of cheating goes on in our house! A simple green salad will look fantastic if it's put out in a great bowl. A selection of cheeses looks even better on a lovely board. Cheat with simple food but present it well is my motto.
I love to lay the table and run several small holders of flowers and candles down the center. I keep flowers simple, seasonal and not over-arranged, and I also love using herbs or greenery—rosemary, mint or bunches of eucalyptus. We always light a few scented candles because they just magically make a home feel instantly welcoming.