Natasha Chambers Turns Her Vacations Into Textiles

Come on—ya ready to hit the road?!

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Natasha Chambers has been all over the map—for real. And these days, her travels do double-duty: The things she spots outta town feed straight into her dreamy scarf line Lissy Verkade. Just get a load of some of the awesome trips she’s taken—and the textile designs they’ve inspired. —jane gauger

California Coast & Desert

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“For our honeymoon two years ago, Olly and I procured a Winnebago in San Francisco. We traveled through the fog to Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Santa Barbara—all the famous surf spots—down to Encinitas and San Diego. I was obsessed with the skies on this trip.”

image“Afterwards, I compiled all the pictures and montaged them to make the print on my Sky Scarf.”

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“One highlight from our honeymoon trip was getting off the coast and traveling to the desert to Joshua Tree National Park. We had the most amazing time clamoring on the rocks in incredible light. The place has such energy.”

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“When the long shadows come out as the sun goes down, it’s so special. It inspired one of my favorite illustrations, which I also made into a silk scarf.”

India

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“I went to India when I was 18. I traveled all over with my sister, Yolanda.

We first stayed at my friend’s father’s house in a tiny village with a beautiful valley. He hadn’t been there for a few years, and when we opened his house as the sun was going down, we realized in horror that it was swarming with spiders! We got used to them.”

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“My scarves are printed in India now, and the last time I went back was for a month six years ago. I’ve wanted to make a documentary on the craftspeople. I will go back again soon, I hope.”

Costa Rica

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“Olly and I have been going to Costa Rica for the last five years. The southern part of the country, where we have been going recently, has the highest bio diversity in the world, and you are literally surrounded by flora and fauna. The insects are really bold and have awesome patterns.”

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“I love when animals have big markings to warn off predators and make them look fierce. This is where I got the inspiration for my Eye of the Butterfly print.”

Snag that scarf up there right this second—just click over here.

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Weather Vain: Healdsburg, California - 95 and Clear

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It’s getting to be that time of year when it’s hot everywhere. Even lovely, lovely CA wine country. Do you think a bottle of pinot noir would help cool you down? Yah, wishful thinking. —erica

Sunglasses from Raen: also useful for keeping hair off your sweaty, sweaty face.

+ A cotton-and-linen dress from Apiece Apart that allows for some breeze (oof—thankfully).

K. Jacques  sandals, for exploring Fitch Mountain when the temp drops.

+ Earrings chill enough for everyday—but also down for a celebratory dinner at Spoonbar—c/o t.kahres.

+ Ready for wine-tasting at Banshee? This Rennes clutch is.

+ A shark tooth and diamond Dezso bracelet suited to lunch at Shed.

Hey, welcome to the land of “Weather Vain!”

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Explore Annie Costello Brown’s Corner of L.A., Mt. Washington

You ready to soak up the sun?

One Los Angeles ‘hood that should most definitely be on your radar: Mt. Washington. “In the early 1900s, it was a getaway for people living in Downtown L.A. and Echo Park—two of the original neighborhoods in the city,” says Annie Costello Brown, the crazy-talented jewelry whiz who’s all about her increasingly hip (but still serene!) part of town. Just check out its charms. —alisha prakash

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“My son Dion and I are in the garden at the Self Realization Fellowship, which was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. We’re on the top of Mt. Washington. It has beautiful places to sit and meditate or just enjoy the view. We do a lot of walking here, especially on the trails. We often start or end here because we live nearby.”

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“Here I am soaking up the sun at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, which was opened by Charles Fletcher Lummis in 1907. Lummis walked from Cincinnati to Los Angeles in 1884 and collected surveys, tales, and artifacts of the Native Americans—many of which still reside in the museum’s research library. It’s a place to come and hang out and get a great sense of the older ways. There’s an amazing access tunnel from below that generations of Angelenos have taken up into the museum. Right down the hill is the Gold Line Metro, which speeds you to pretty much any part of Los Angeles. We like to ride to South Pasadena Farmers’ Market, North Hollywood Arts District, MOCA, and Exposition Park. No, you don’t need a car to get around this town.”

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“This is me looking out at downtown L.A. from atop Radio Tower Hill in Lincoln Heights. The view here lets you see all the way to Long Beach and the Santa Monica Bay, with the city spread before you in thousands of shapes. There’s a bunch of funky vernacular architecture up here.

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“At the bottom of Mt. Washington is La Tropicana Market on Monte Vista. Inside, there is a sandwich counter called Monte 52, which is one of my favorite spots to grab some food, like the yummiest $5 fried chicken sandwiches with homemade pickles. Just around the corner on Avenue 56 is Good Girl Dinette, which is Vietnamese food that falls within the farm-to-table sphere. My friends run Avalon Vintage next door to Good Girl Dinette, and there’s always something cool to find. Last time I was there, I nabbed a pair of Romeo Gigli linen trousers.”

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“Mt. Washington and Northeast L.A.’s colors inspire. Here’s a burnt orange house with a gigantic fuchsia bougainvillea up against it and a mustard yellow wall with sculptural cacti all around—it’s total sun-bleached California post-modernism.”

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“We stopped by this wall of yellow flowers in Montecito Heights. Across from where I am standing, a couple of old hippies were blocking the road with their old VW bug and were trying to figure out what to do with a downed phone line.”

Annie made some studs perfect for a day hangin’ in her hood—see ‘em now.

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Weather Vain: Santa Barbara, California - 71 and Partly Cloudy

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Now’s the time of year when we’re especially desperado to live in California—to have dependable weather that almost always qualifies as lovely. Here’s looking at you, Santa Barbara. —erica

Clockwise from top left:

+ An Ace & Jig top that you could totally throw on over a swimsuit when things heat up.

+ Perfect tortoise sunglasses—c/o The Row—to have on-hand at all times.

+ Boy by Band of Outsiders chinos—cuffed and ready to stroll throw the AVA Santa Barbara vineyards. 

+ A ring by A Peace Treaty that, with its triangle motif, pays tribute to the pizza slices (prosciutto and burrata, white anchovy and ricotta!) at Blue Tavern.

+ Walking shoes by Marais USA, down to hit Mission Historical Park.

+ An Acne jacket for when there’s a (sigh, perfect) chill in the air at night.

On the hunt for better weather? Start here.

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100xbtr Gives its Lumber Supplier Some Serious Love

This is their wood stock.

Back when Brendan Sowersby and Will Rollins were focusing on building custom furniture and cabinetry for fancy-pants L.A. types—before they launched their home-goods line 100xbtr—they were always pushing back against the excess of the world they were working in. “I think the whole green movement is kind of funny,” Brendan says. “If you’re so interested in being green, don’t have such a big house, or a Range Rover.” Now, the duo gets to go all-in, making chairs, lamps, and bowls from locally sourced, FSC-certified wood from Bohnhoff Lumber. Brendan’s so into his supplier, in fact, that he’s giving us the hookup.

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Bohnhoff Lumber opened in 1910 and is the oldest hardwood lumber company in Los Angeles.”

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“It’s still family-owned and -operated, and Charlie, the grandson of the original Mr. Bohnhoff still actually works there.”

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“I’ve been buying wood from them for the last 15 years, and besides supporting local small business, I work with them because of my sales rep Walt Maas. I consider him more of a friend, and he is the most knowledgeable person concerning wood and the lumber industry I have ever met. He’s always willing to go the extra mile when we are searching for the perfect material for each job.”

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“My favorite types of wood change all the time, but right now they’re ash & walnut.”

Brendan and Will made some wooden bowl and boy are they beauties. 

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6 Super-Important Possessions that Make Allison Heutsche Feel At-Home

Including one very adorable doggy.

Allison Heutsche of the L.A. jewelry line Artasan loves her Larchmont Village apartment-slash-studio so much that she gave it a nickname: The Tree House—a shout-out to its foliage-filled views. But what makes her abode most special are the meaningful things it holds. Get the stories behind the half dozen things she values the most. —serena qiu

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“Right before I moved to L.A., my mom found me this antique watchmaker’s bench that she thought could be a perfect workspace for making my jewelry. It was one of two things I brought with me in my move. It’s one solid piece of furniture except for the drawers on the backside. I made some modifications, and now it’s where I do almost everything for jewelry-making. When I’m sitting on my bench behind the glass, it’s like I’m looking out a window into my world at all the things that inspire me.”

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“In 1996, I’d gone through a bad breakup, and my parents gave me the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Legend was that if you made 1,000 paper cranes, you’d be granted a wish. I wanted peace of mind, so I made a goal to fold 1,000 cranes that year. I would make five or ten every morning as a meditation. My kitchen was filling with bags of birds, so I started stringing them and hanging them across windows, walls, doorways—I went way over my goal! When I moved out, I kept one strand to remind me what that year meant to me.”

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“Each of my sisters had an antique trunk, and I was the only one who didn’t. Right before my move to L.A., my grandma wanted me to have hers—to have a part of her with me. It and the watchmaker’s bench were the only two things I left with. She was a pretty spectacular woman.”

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“I remember the dressing screen in my parents’ bedroom as a kid, and how my sisters and I would play dress up. Eight years ago, my mom shipped it to me as a surprise because she knew how much I loved it.

The sheepskin I use for meditation and Kundalini yoga. Both are so instrumental to my work. The idea of the sheepskin is to help with the electromagnetic currents and to ground you.

Harold & Maude is one of my favorite movies, and I needed a Maude in my life. Maude is all about living to the fullest! When I went to pick up a dog seven years ago, I saw him. I couldn’t name him Maude, so I named him Harold. He’s saved me so many times. He’s a total people-person—and I’m not usually—so he makes me get out of my bubble.”

Now take a look at the special piece Allison made for us!

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Weather Vain: Berkeley, California - 72 and Clear

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THIS WEATHER! Berkeley, you sure know how to make an East Coaster jealous. Here’s how to take advantage of all that Alameda County’s serving up. —erica

+ Shades, by Thierry Lasry, ready to take in the Tilden Park views.

+ A linen shirt from Organic by John Patrick that’s as understated-yet-perfect as a cup of coffee from Philz.  

+ The West Is Dead chinos the color of some Donkey & Goat syrah. 

+ Anniel flats—because there’s something confusing about sandals in January.

+ A Baggu tote fit for some serious produce hauls. 

+ Kathleen Whitaker earrings that feel like new classics, Chez Panisse style.

+ This Anndra Neen necklace + a tequila flight at Comal = a pretty fantastic night out.

Come on and check out the “Weather Vain” archives.

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See Everything Amanda Blake Gets Done in a Day

She works hard for the money.

Multi-hyphenate Amanda Blake—owner, designer, and sole employee of the classic-with-a-twist line Calder—has multitasking down to a tee. Here’s a peek into Amanda’s ruthlessly scheduled life that makes space for running a biz, being a mom, and everything in between (you know, like taking taco breaks!). —genevieve ang

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“In the morning, I get up at 6 A.M. to have some tea and some quiet time to myself. The family—my daughter Calder and my husband Chris—wakes up around 7 A.M., and we all have breakfast in the kitchen. We’re really strict about not having computers come out right away.”

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“After dropping my daughter off at school, I prepare for the day’s appointments and head out to my first stop of the day—L.A. Air Line, my printer. They have a really cool workspace—it’s a converted airplane-manufacturing warehouse. It’s a great creative zone to work out new ideas; they do other stuff besides screen-printing, like sponge-printing, airbrushing, and all these other techniques that give me ideas.”

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“My next stop is a trip to the dye house—I’ve used these guys since the beginning of the line. I look over production of the spring line and samples for next fall.”

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“All these spots are kind of all over the place, so I get a ton of mileage on my car. Along the way, I like to stop to get a little fruit salad with Mexican lime, chili powder, and salt. Or tacos! Tacos Baja Ensenada makes the best baja fish tacos—I’m drooling now just thinking about them.”

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“I then head over to Hollywood to visit Tenoversix, which is a store that debuted my T-shirts [Ed: They’ve also done an Of a Kind edition!]. They have great style and believe in a lot of L.A.-based, local designers. I’m popping by to have lunch, to take a look at what’s going on in the store, and to get some feedback from them because production for the spring line is dropping soon.”

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“I then come back home to do a fitting, work on the fall sample line, and style the lookbook shoot for fall 2014, which is happening next week. This is super-fun, and I love getting to play with the clothes. The fitting will be in my home office, the shoot will be in my house—my home is Calder central. The bedroom is filled with fabric, my guest room is for shipping, and there are samples all over the place!”

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“End of the day! I pick up Calder from school, go for an evening walk on the beach, and have dinner with my family.”

See the two striped beauties Amanda whipped up for her latest edition.

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Hello, S.F.! Baggu Goes Bi-Coastal

This company is not choosing sides.

When Emily Sugihara and her mom Joan launched Baggu back in 2007, they were shipping orders out of a family garage in San Diego. Soon enough—after Emily’s bestie Ellen van der Laan joined the team—they moved cool-bag HQ to Brooklyn, and, in November 2012, they added a second studio in San Fran’s Dogpatch ‘hood to the mix—with lots of light and plenty of space to spread out. “It’s cool because there are a ton of creative businesses in the building—photo studios, a place that gives cooking classes, another with sewing classes, a chocolate maker, a granola company,” says Ellen. “It’s actually a lot like our street in Brooklyn.” Ellen shows off their new digs below. —alisha prakash

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“The front door is Baggu blue!”

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“There’s an amazing plant store near to our office called Flora Grubb. We’ve gotten a ton of plants from there—both for the office and for photo props that have turned into office plants. They remind us that we’re in California now.”

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“Here’s me, Kabir Fernandez (product designer and photographer), Joan Sugihara, and Emily Sugihara. We love these huge columns, the light, and the white walls. We have identical columns in our Brooklyn studio.”

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“We searched high and low and just kept coming back to this desk set-up. It’s the same one we use in our office in Brooklyn. It’s an oak butcher block from IKEA, on top of two of their white metal screw-in legs and a white set of drawers. They’re big but great.”

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“When we ordered vinyl lettering for our front door, the company included this weird SMILE lettering. Now it’s our mirror flair.”

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“Our office in Williamsburg is jam-packed to the brim. When Kabir needed to photograph something, he would have to come in early or late once the store was closed, just to be able to have the space to unroll a seamless. Our studio here is big enough to have a seamless to photograph with at all times. So luxurious!”

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“We have this huge table. It’s probably a quarter of the size of our whole office in New York. It’s really amazing to be able to spread out and work together on it, but it’s a constant struggle to keep it clean and cleared off!”

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“We have these huge windows that look out over the bay, downtown San Francisco, and Potrero Hill.”

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“Emily knew about these water heaters from Japan. It’s a Zojirushi—it permanently keeps water at tea-making temperature. And the rad circular cutting board, we got from Mociun in Brooklyn.”

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“Another great feature of our office—the industrial sewing machine! There’s finally space for it here.”

We can’t even with Baggu’s latest leather edition—it’s that good.

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Lauren Wolf’s Double Desert (Wedding!) Adventure

Because two cacti-filled getaways are better than one.

When the Oakland-based jewelry designer Lauren Wolf and her boy decided to get married, the desert called out to them—twice. “My husband’s family has celebrated Thanksgiving in Death Valley for over 30 years—it’s a special spot for them,” says Lauren of picking the spot for the ceremony, which went down in April. Six months later, the newlyweds headed to Oaxaca—an easy trip for them from the Bay Area—to honeymoon it up. Get the scoop on (and stunning pics of) both adventures below. —alisha prakash

Wedding – Death Valley

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“Patrick and I grew up together in Atlanta—we’ve known each other since we were five years old and reconnected later.”

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“We got married at The Inn at Furnace Creek. To come across the inn in the middle of nowhere is pretty dramatic. It’s a hotel that’s been around for almost 100 years that was really popular in the twenties and thirties with the L.A. Hollywood crowd. It has this old-world glam aspect to it, but it’s obviously very dated. There’s a lot of history to it.”

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“The ceremony was outdoors. It was just about the last weekend you could be there comfortably. It was 90 degrees—but a dry heat—and it cooled off during the night. We got married outside in the oasis garden, which is so lush—and the contrast between that backdrop and the desert is also pretty amazing. The ceremony was really simple. My sister and Patrick’s brother stood beside us. One of my best friends from New York officiated for us.”

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“This is a place called Zabriskie Point, where they filmed Star Warsit’s about a quarter mile from the hotel. For my dress, I definitely didn’t want to wear white. This was not a traditional wedding by any means. I didn’t want something over-the-top and wanted something that was comfortable, simple, and a reference to the hotel where we were getting married. There’s a little bit of that twenties/thirties throwback with the lace. It is Tadashi Shoji dress that I got at Neiman Marcus. I splurged on the shoes though—they’re Christian Louboutins.”

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“The watch is my grandmother’s. It’s a really cool piece from the fifties. She passed away, so it was important to me and to my grandfather—he’s 93—that I wore that piece. The earrings I got from one of my diamond dealers. They’re made in India. And the bracelet I wore for my something borrowed—it’s by my friend Rebecca Overmann, who’s a jeweler in San Francisco.”

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“This was an impromptu thing. We had just cut the cake. The photographer said, ‘Everybody get out there quick—we’re going to do a line in the desert.’ It turned out to be a really cool photo. So many of our guests had never been to Death Valley and probably wouldn’t ever be inclined to visit. It was neat to bring all these different people to that one spot. Everyone had a blast.”

Honeymoon - Oaxaca

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“Oaxaca is one of the culturally richest parts of Mexico as far as textiles go. Patrick is a graphic designer, so he’s interested in patterns and design, just as I am. We stayed at Casa Oaxaca. It is an old colonial hotel that has five rooms that are pretty simple—ours had a nice traditional Mexican bed with Oaxacan woven sheets.”

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“This is called the Jardin Etnobotánico. This particular botanical garden had these amazing cacti that are probably 12 to 15 feet tall.”

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“Throughout Mexico, you see these ancient ruins—this is Monte Albán. It’s amazing that these places still exist just outside of the cities. I minored in anthropology, so I have a strong interest in cultural history—as far as the way people lived and dressed and the jewelry and everything.”

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“This is the cultural center in Oaxaca, and this photo doesn’t do it justice. The two towers are the cathedral, and attached to it was a monastery that then became a prison.”

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“What’s so cool about Mexico and these colonial towns like Oaxaca is that everything is happening on the interiors of the buildings, architecturally speaking. Because of the climate, it can all be open. This is the interior courtyard of a museum we went to that I can’t remember the name of!”

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“This is a library. Every public place, even the coffee shops, has these amazing interior gardens.”

Wedding photos by Ro Agents; Oaxaca photos by Patrick Dunaway.

Holy pearls—see what Lauren made for her latest edition now.

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