‘More is more’ comes to mind upon entering Rachelle Hruska’s home. Formerly a butcher shop, Rachelle’s space is filled to the brim with collectibles big and small, from their coffee-table-turned-library, and art-lined walls. A media entrepreneur, Rachelle founded the high society site Guest of a Guest in 2008, and more recently Lingua Franca, a politically-fueled cashmere sweater line sustainably sourced and ethically stitched in NYC.
Rachelle “After the birth of my second son, I suffered from horrible postpartum anxiety and my therapist suggested I find something to do with my hands to help with it. My grandmother had taught me how to embroider as a young girl, and I thoughtlessly picked up an old sweater one cold winter afternoon and embroidered ‘booyah’ across it. I posted the photo on Instagram and started getting requests from friends to do their old sweaters—Lingua Franca was unwittingly born. I loved the juxtaposition between hip-hop phrases and fine cashmere and embroidery, which is traditionally seen as a ‘women’s craft’ and not taken seriously.”
The brand’s name ‘Lingua Franca’ is a term for a bridge language—one that is adopted as the common communication between speakers with differing native tongues—and resonated with Rachelle when starting the business.
Rachelle “I was saying to someone that hip-hop seems to be the ‘lingua franca’ of our times. It sort of kept coming back to me and when I realized the name had never been taken I was shocked. I love the meaning behind it, and absolutely adore the idea of a common language among people. I trademarked it immediately. I also love the fact that each one is done by hand and is the opposite of mass-produced. It’s slow, seasonless fashion.”
“We moved into politics after the election of Trump and the fear I experienced in our staff, which consists of several immigrants and people affected by his policies. He passed the ridiculous travel ban and we started sewing ‘I miss Barack’ sweaters. They really struck a cord and we haven’t stopped using our messaging as a form of resistance since.”
Rachelle’s home has just as much character as her sweaters, an eclectic mix of colours, textures, and old and new finds.
“Piano pages, artworks, books, artifacts—they feed my soul.”
Rachelle “Our house used to be a butcher shop with a store on the first floor and the house of the butcher on the top. My husband transformed it years ago and it’s really amazing to me how he managed to keep the integrity of an old landmarked building using all new materials. Most everything in our home is a hodgepodge of assorted things we’ve collected along the way. I never want to live in a space where it’s a huge deal when someone spills a glass of red wine. We are not fussy people. I appreciate minimalistic design, but it’s not for me. I like having stuff around. Piano pages, artworks, books, artifacts—they feed my soul.”
“Most of the bigger furniture pieces were scouted by my husband when he redid the space. Our kitchen table is made out of an old medieval door and our bookcases are an old French pharmaceutical cabinet he found. As we travel together, we constantly look for pieces that we can bring back to remind us of our trips. Most of the eclectic ones end up in our Montauk house, but the things we use daily have oddly come from our travels. (Morocco: bath towels, Paris: Comforter, St. Tropez: Kitchen towels, etc).”
“Our kitchen table is made out of an old medieval door and our bookcases are an old French pharmaceutical cabinet.”
“As our family changed, our house naturally did. After we had kids, we changed the entire first floor to be more kid-friendly. Our study became our boys’ room and it was particularly fun to design together. We centered them around a Peter Beard print I had made with him in Montauk when Maxwell was a baby.”
On some of her favourite things:
“My husband gifted me a vintage Cartier gold charm bracelet for Christmas seven years ago and we have been adding to it every year. I love when my sons play with it and talk about where each charm came from. It is truly the only real possession that I would be devastated to lose.”
“This photograph is by Yves Klein the artist and it’s titled ‘Saut dans le vide’ (Leap Into the Void). I just adore the image and always have. It hangs in our bathroom now where I see it every day and remind myself to leap, baby, leap.”