Pete, Erika, and Oskar Panciera

Longing for simple and well-designed home accessories yet unable to find much suitable to them, Erika and Pete Panciera decided to create their own brand. In 2014, Norden was born. Based in Southern California, their goods, from candles to ceramics, are inspired by the warmth and nature of the West Coast.

With a mission to craft thoughtful and functional objects made to last, Erika and Pete believe in filling your home and personal space with things that make you feel good. With this in mind, the pair shared with Still House where they’ve been finding comfort and how they’ve been taking care of themselves amidst the spread of COVID-19. 

Have you started practicing a new daily ritual that you didn’t have time for or that you didn’t feel the need for previously?

We have a 21 month old, so just being able to spend time with him, especially in the morning without having to stress about rushing into the office has been really nice. Extended morning cuddles and cartoons are becoming a daily ritual. We have also been able to work on lots of fun craft projects with him, play outside, and enjoy a slower pace of life more.

Did you start reading or watching anything recently that brings you comfort?

I think not watching and reading things has brought me the most comfort to be honest. At the beginning of this outbreak, I was glued to the news and reading as much as possible. Stepping away from the TV, taking a break from news feeds on the phone, and just slowing down and being present and in the moment has brought us comfort.

Staying home has meant more time to be in the kitchen for us. Have you been cooking? Have you discovered any nourishing recipes that are your favorite right now? 

We love to cook at home in general, but we’re finding ourselves investing more time making meals that feel special to prepare. We usually get inspiration from Sunday Suppers, Bon Appétit, and New York Times Cooking. Erika and I recently made pizza from scratch using the Pizza Camp cookbook. We love Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia and we tried to recreate their incredible flavors at home (support their GoFundMe, and other local restaurants, if you have the means!) We also have dipped into the Momofuku cookbook. Many of the recipes in there take a long time, are more technical, or take a lot of unusual ingredients to make. It’s been fun/challenging to try to cook from that book. We might jump on the sourdough bandwagon soon, too. Our friends gave us a starter, so we will see where that takes us!

“Taking a break, going outside to play with our son, and trying to get fresh air is also important. This situation is so strange, and there really is no right way to navigate it, so being realistic and flexible about what can get done in a day helps too.”

Any playlists or artists you can share for focusing while working, unwinding in the evening, or releasing pent up energy any time of day?

We’ve really been into the artist Green-House and their album “Six Songs for Invisible Gardens.” This album is really relaxing, but it’s also great for working from home—when you might just need some ambient music to zone out and get things done. Also the playlist “Ghostly: At Rest (soothing edition)” on Spotify is great.

It can be hard to get exercise when we’re inside most of the day. Have you found fun ways to get physical activity in? 

Erika, Oskar, and I have been walking in our neighborhood. We love the stillness and solitude—and often find inspiration there. The scents of Citrus, Juniper, and Eucalyptus in our area of Southern California actually inspired our recent Jar Candle fragrances. Plus, I’m really into cycling, so I’ve been using an indoor trainer and riding bikes with people virtually, which has been surprisingly fun.

Have you begun any unexpected projects?

For the brand, everything we are doing right now seems like an unexpected project. We are using this time to think outside the box and come up with ways to support and demonstrate value to the shops that support us, and also provide value to our customers. We are also learning how to work with our team remotely, which has been a challenge in itself. We are waiting on supplies still, but we are going to release a hand sanitizer spray very soon! It will be available on our site and we might even give it away with certain purchases. Stay tuned!

If you’re currently working from home, what helps you balance home life from work life? Do you have any boundaries between the two that keep you productive? 

Having a child at home while you work changes everything, especially having a toddler. Separating our workspace and having a defined quiet space to conduct meetings has been key for us since we are trying to stay in touch with all of our employees on a daily basis. Taking a break, going outside to play with our son, and trying to get fresh air is also important. This situation is so strange, and there really is no right way to navigate it, so being realistic and flexible about what can get done in a day helps too.

How have you been staying connected to family, friends, and the outside world?

Way too many Zoom meetings and meetups! We have done a few virtual happy hours, hooked the laptop up to the TV so people are larger, and we also jumped on the Houseparty app recently. This is actually bringing us closer to our friends in many ways, having a shared experience like this. We just hope that everyone can stay healthy and safe during this time. We can get back to socializing in person later.

Any tips for boosting our immune systems and staying healthy?

I’ve read some studies and looked at some research that shows people who engage in exercise regularly have a better immune system overall. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m just trying to get on my bike as much as possible and keep a routine of exercise, and just getting out for a walk helps get your heart pumping. Erika is an RN, so she is overly conscious of cleanliness and keeping our family healthy. She just reminds me over and over to wash my hands, wipe surfaces with disinfectant, and just make sure to be careful when we have to go to the store for supplies and groceries.

Do you have any general/overall advice for remaining calm during this period? What has felt restorative for you?

We of course recommend burning candles and incense :) Scents like cedarwood, sage, vetiver, and bergamot can help you to relax and bring some of nature’s fragrance indoors. Whether you burn candles, incense, or grab essential oils from your local store, take a moment for yourself and create a new routine to find balance.


Images by Norden 
Interview by Ivy Schneider