Inside Job: 8 Interior Hacks We Picked Up From Designer Home and Studio Tours

You know what’s great about getting access to somebody else’s place, besides getting to be all voyeuristic? Sometimes you can learn a thing or two, especially if you’re visiting the space of a super-creative type—like, hey, the designers we feature on this here site. Dive into some of our favorite discoveries that can be translated to you own home, whether or not you’re way-handy with drills and glue guns. —erica

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Don’t feel like you have to tuck everything away.
Those paper towels and supplies look weirdly chic hanging over the sink at Blanca Monrós Gómez’s Gowanus studio. (Think we spy a Grundtal rail and accessories from Ikea?)
Get the deets.

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Embrace low-key overhead lights.
Don’t make things too complicated! Check out how sick (and carefree) the bedroom of Kathleen Whitaker’s L.A. house looks with that pendant lamp.
Get the deets.

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Store things on your kitchen shelves besides dishes.
Asia Ragland keeps her camera collection on display right above her bowls—it makes her cooking setup look as cool as it is utilitarian.
Get the deets.

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Let your books be wall art.
Something your Kindle can’t do: Jazz up your walls. Get a load of what Bridie Picot of Thing Industries did with concealed bookshelves. Adorbs, huh?
Get the deets.

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Have some fun with doors.
At the Draught Dry Goods HQ in Portland, this is what you see when you enter. When you leave, you get this message painted on the other side: Make yourself scarce. (Snap.)
Get the deets.

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Understand the magic of a curtain.
Not just for windows! Sara Barner’s spot looks a whole lot airier with one as a room divider than it would had she constructed a wall.
Get the deets.

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Frame things besides pictures.
See those flags in Nikki Chasin’s space? They’re actually tobacco silks from an antique market (that once came with cigarettes).
Get the deets.

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Think of fabric as wallpaper for people who can’t commit.
At her Bushwick, Brooklyn, pad, Hayley Boyd of Marais USA uses a blanket as a backdrop for her dining table—which makes it feel like it has its own little niche.
Get the deets.

Looking for more projects? Let the GREI. guys turn you into a Home Depot diehard.

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Step Inside Nikki Chasin’s Ready-for-Anything Space

You’re invited.

If you think working from home is a recipe for procrastination, you don’t know Nikki Chasin, who lives in and operates her line from a light-drenched, multi-tasking spot in Chelsea. “Dinners at my apartment inevitably lead to impromptu fitting sessions or photo shoots,” says the girl who has a real way with sophisticated-but-fun clothing. Oh, and she has no trouble getting out of the house: “My days are spent running around to meetings and factories,” she adds. “I get so much done in my studio late at night, so I love that it’s in my apartment.” —alisha prakash

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“My grandmother on my mom’s side never threw anything away. Some thought she was a bit of a hoarder, but I always found the most amazing things when I visited. On my last visit before her house was sold, I found these incredible horns in a corner of the basement—they remind me of her strength.”

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“I keep my current collection tucked away on racks that are really easy to pull out when I need to go into showroom mode and have buyers or stylists visit the studio.”

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“I always have a few boards for current inspiration and projects that I’m working on. Right now, I’m in the design and concept stages for spring 2015.”

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“This table has multiple uses—hosting sales meetings, sketching, and having dinner with friends. I love that the legs double as shelves for my rolls of fabric.”

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“Above the rack is a collage I made my first year in New York and a portrait of my mother from when she was in high school. The white frame contains sewn-together tobacco silks that I found at an antique market. They used to come in cigarette packets and were meant to appeal to women, who used them for quilting and other crafts.”

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“Léon Bakst was a costume designer and illustrator for the Ballets Russes. This illustration went perfectly with my leopard mask. I’m really lazy when it comes to costumes, and I tend to use this mask over and over.”

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“The purses are various vintage pieces that I’ve picked up at antique fairs and shops—the pink one on the bottom right is the most recent purchase from Pippin on 17th Street. I’ve also always loved hats! In the lower left corner is a little sheep that my friend brought back from Chile—it was her tongue-in-cheek way of calling me a black sheep.”

Photos courtesy of Emily Adams Bode.

Get the dress that Nikki designed right at that table—over here!

 

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Work Wonders: Step Inside the Of a Kind Offices—and See Where We Got Our Stuff

Back when Claire and I dove into Of a Kind full-time—um, three and a half years ago, somehow—we worked from our apartments. There were boxes crammed into our closets, packing tape stuck to our kitchen tables, and interns asking for advice about their Hannah Horvathian dramas from our sofas. One co-working space and two sublets later, we have an office—in a historic, cast-iron building in Manhattan’s Financial District—that we’re seriously proud of. So come on in and check it out right this minute. —erica

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So sunny and airy, right?! That’s one of our very, very favorite things about the space—especially helpful since we do all of our photo shoots from our HQ (using only natural light).

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Claire and I sit at a couple’s desk. Which makes sense because we spend more time together than we do with our significant others. Our Wolfum tray comes in handy in a very big way.

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Newest addition: Cheery watercolors by Claire’s Grandma Shirley. They make a fine substitute for Zoloft on rainy days.

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We got ourselves some custom Caroline Z. Hurley linen curtains—that make the ceilings feel even higher than they are.

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This is where the other three members of Team Of a Kind—Keely, Michelle, and Katherin!—hang. These BluDot tables are really excellent, and they come in a few sizes, too.

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Because we’ll take denim any way we can get it.

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Having a West Elm couch = life-changing. And not only because we can throw ourselves on it when we just can’t with the world.

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One of the big goals with our space: to get organized—like, for realz. These Eames Hang-It-Alls are excellent for managing samples of oversize editions…

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And these (um, $5) clothing bars from Ikea are killer for clothing,

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But the real trick—the magic bullet, if you will? Hiring Tidy Tova to whip us into shape (more on that here). Yah, the label-maker came out to play.

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We aimed to keep the the furniture neutral, and we let the art and the greenery on our make-shift plant walls (rolling storage from West Elm) do the talking.

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How’s this for a reminder to not take things too seriously? We wish we made this pom banner ourselves, but we actually got it from the Etsy seller Napkin. It looks so dang happy next to our Of a Kind calendar.

Check out a whole bunch of other studio tours we’ve done!

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Go Inside Blanca Monrós Gómez’s Gowanus Studio

A former textile factory gets a makeover.

It wasn’t long ago that Blanca Monrós Gómez—the way-talented, Barcelona-born jewelry designer—was oh-so familiar with the term WFH.  But as her biz grew, it was time to find Blanca Monrós Gómez the line a home that was different from that of BMG the person, and, in July 2012, she moved her operations to a lofty spot in Gowanus in Brooklyn. “It has gritty charm typical of these buildings with exposed beams, columns, and oversize steel doors,” she says. “It’s a big, open space with lots of windows and light—the perfect mood for a work space.” You’ll see what she means below. —alisha prakash

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“We share the space with my husband’s architecture practice—Office of Architecture—which is great because it has enabled both of us to became each other’s informal support group; a sounding board to bounce off ideas on running a small business.”

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“As the business grew in size, we literally ran out of space. We were ready to move to a place that would house both our work and showroom. So it had to be both functional and beautiful.”

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“We constantly have visitors coming in—store buyers viewing the collections as well as people doing custom jewelry consultations for individual wedding bands and engagement ring sets.”

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“The jewelry is all made by hand in NYC, with the finishing touches done exclusively at our studio. We design our pieces and make all our samples here as well. One of the reasons we chose this space was because of its light. It has become a very productive and inspiring environment.”

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“Our rough utility sink looking amazing with beautiful flowers from the talented Amy Merrick!”

Photos courtesy of Alice Gao Photography.

Blanca’s sparkly new edition is available now–trust us, you don’t want to miss it!

 

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Step Inside Asia Ragland’s Baller Venice Beach Bungalow

The perfect excuse to buy a white couch.

Asia Ragland, the designer behind tough-girl jewelry line Feliks + Adrik, takes WFH to the next level. At her Venice Beach pad—just a stone’s throw from the beach—the washer-and-dryer nook doubles as shipping facility, and a dining table serves as a sketching-slash-assembly station by day. “What I treasure the most is being able to ride my bike to the end of Rose Avenue and jump in the ocean at the end of a workday…or during lunch,” she says. Yup, we’re jealous—and we haven’t even toured the space yet. —alisha prakash

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“This multi-functional table is where I sketch, assemble, and dine. I am a fan of texture and comfort, hence the many throws and rugs I decorate my furniture with. These two sheepskin rugs are from Ikea. I threw them onto this wooden chair to add an element of softness and create some cushy for my tushy.”

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“My jewelry collection has grown over the years. I generally gravitate towards unusual statement pieces, which is evident in my own designs.”

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“I love waking up in this room even though it doesn’t give me a chance to ever sleep in. The guitar was a birthday gift from my musical genius of a boyfriend. He taught me ‘Bird on the Wire’ by Leonard Cohen, but that’s the extent of my guitar playing. It gets more action when musically inclined friends visit. And the ornate jacket hanging on the wall was a gift from my father when he was in India.”

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“When I was on the hunt for a new home/work space in Venice, it was imperative that it be place I could spend all day and night in. Natural light and the ocean breeze flood my windows, living-room skylight, and open doors.”

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“This is our shared courtyard. There are eight bungalows on the property that were built in the early 1900s. We have had barbecues, crawfish boils, and dinners and have celebrated many birthdays parties here.”

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“The moment I signed the lease in Venice Beach, I knew I had to buy a white couch. Granted, it is covered with throws—but it still feels beach-y.”

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“This is the kitchen, where I display my small, yet beloved collection of cameras. The Nikon F50 is a 35mm film SLR camera that I lugged around Europe for four months in 2002. It was my first real camera. In the middle is a vintage DeJur 8mm movie camera I bought years ago at an antique shop in Big Sur. And the last one is a functional vintage Polaroid Land Camera that I bought in Mexico.”

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“I purchased this handmade wall tapestry, the vintage leather shoes, and the ornate umbrella on a recent trip to India with my mother. We returned with new luggage filled with all sorts of Indian treasures.”

Get your hands on Asia’s rad new edition before it’s too late!

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Check Out Chiyome’s So-Cool Long Island City HQ

Where a whole lotta amazingness goes down.

Chiyome—Anna Lynett Moss’s line of so-sleek, New York-made totes, pouches, and backpacks—sure looks good. But it does good, too. “If we can build this company to be anything that we want, why wouldn’t we push the boundaries and see if we can have a profound effect in our community?” she says. Case in point: Chiyome recently hired survivors of human trafficking as creative collaborators in the manufacturing process. “We plan to integrate their thoughts as the designs evolve—many of them have an interest in being designers or working for fashion brands. At this time, the focus is on perfecting sewing skills and thinking about design from the ground-up,” Anna explains. “It’s about actualizing a future freedom for some of the city’s most under-served residents.” So where does all of Chiyome’s magic happen? At 5Pointz, a 200,000-square-foot warehouse-cum-artist’s paradise in Long Island City that’s dressed in graffiti from head-to-toe. Yah, pretty much everything about this line’s mind-blowing. —alisha prakash

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“An exterior shot of our three large windows and our open door on the left. 5Pointz has quite a history, and we are sad to see it go. [Ed. Note: Come September, Chiyome may no longer be in the space due to building turnover—sadface.] You can see this rooftop really clearly on the 7 train approaching or leaving the Court Square stop. We almost constantly encounter tourists in front of the building snapping quick shots. We also have an enormous private rooftop with views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s the perfect spot for a fancy summer beverage at sunset.”

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“I’m not a morning person, but the morning light in our space is really perfect. We face south, but somehow it’s never too harsh. The glass panel on the lower right helps us chart orders, stay on track, and monitor collaborations. Because we have so many people for such a small space, it’s important to coordinate schedules so we’re not all on top of each other.”

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“Here are a few samples in our showroom space from our Hover collection. We love having visitors and have received great feedback from the customers we have been lucky enough to meet in person.”

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“We recently instituted a new policy called ‘Don’t talk to the sewer.’ The level of concentration required to stitch leather perfectly is critically important. This Singer is from the seventies, and we bought it from a charming retiree in Astoria. She had a quiet nostalgia and seemed quite reluctant to let it go, but I told her I would take care of it and that she could come see its new home if she wanted.”

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“This is the workshop side of the space. At the beginning of the summer, it was just me in studio, but since then, we’ve added a COO, a director of social impact, an intern, and four collaborators in design and production. We’ve worked to cultivate a community that celebrates honesty, critical thought, and commitment to craft. Chiyome has the opportunity to subvert conventional power structures through including our collaborators in the design and decision-making process. It’s a transformative experience for us all to share roles and find community in our dialogue.”

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“In December, we launch the first capsule collection created solely by the hands of our newest collaborative partners. In this image, you can see two early prototypes. We chose Lucid as the title of this early body of work. Lucid has clear vinyl and frosted acrylic, and shows the play between opacity and translucency in the bags.”

Check out the fly edition Anna made in her amazing space!

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frieda&nellie’s Sarah Reid Shows Us Around Their Rhinestone Oasis

There’s even a patch of outdoor space.

The frieda&nellie workshop-slash-showroom is a girly-girl’s paradise—think twinkly lights, pink peonies, schmancy candles, and, of course, the colorful thread and sparkly vintage jewels that come together in their rad line. Check out the enviable space in NYC’s Flatiron District below. —olivia seely

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“This is the sign you see when you enter the showroom. I was in Round Top, Texas, vintaging, and I came across these amazing old, rusty letters. And they just so happened to have enough of the letters to spell frieda&nellie! I shipped them home because they were too heavy to carry on the plane. The wall was painted in real silver leaf before we moved in. These are 18-foot ceilings, and the silver leaf is painted at least 7 or 8 feet wide. Stacy and I thought it was perfect because the letters are the same color as the exposed brick. In this picture, you can also see the tin ceiling, which really shows the history of the building.”

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“Here are Bambi and Levi! Levi is my dog, and he’s very calm, cool, and collected. Bambi is Stacy’s, and while she’s half Levi’s size, she’ll protect him from big, scary dogs. They’re like a miniature Stacy and me, and they create a great synergy. They’re best friends, and they’re really funny together.”

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“This is our back patio. We like to sit out on a quiet afternoon and have lunch. It’s a great place to hang out and get fresh air.”

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“Both of us are so into the small details. We’re flower and candle junkies. We spend so much time at the office that the little things help make it a relaxing, creative environment. We need that stuff to keep us ready to create.”

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“This is an old shipping pallet that we found on the side of the street. We took it and made a friendship-bracelet curtain.”

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“I found this Hamilton cabinet in Connecticut. It’s an old printing-press cabinet that was used to hold big block letters. Now there’s a drawer for skinny chains, large chains—a drawer for pendants, broaches. There are 30 drawers total, so it can hold a lot!”

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“This is a map of Japan that we have in the back office. We made custom little flags with a rhinestone on the pinhead. Japan is definitely one of our biggest markets and, when people from stores there reach out to us, it’s important to be able to look and see exactly where we’re being sold. It’s a nice reminder!”

Take a look at the must-have edition that came out of the rhinestone oasis! 

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Step Into Collette Ishiyama’s Super-Airy Chelsea Studio

In a past life, it was home to a fashion photog.

Most BFFs share secrets and clothes, but Collette Ishiyama’s pals are a little more go-big-or-go-home: When Collette mentioned wanting a workspace separate from her East Village home, her friend offered to share hers. It was that easy. Ready for the list of reasons it’s probably better than your office? “It’s a pretty bike ride from my apartment, walkable to the Diamond District—and the owner was a fashion photographer in the seventies,” says Collette of her Chelsea surroundings. “He has since transitioned to travel photography, but there are remnants of his studio’s past life—including photos he took of Grace Jones before she got really big!” Get the full tour below. —alisha prakash

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“This is my bench. I update the board above it each time I’m working on a new collection. There’s a strong samurai theme going on here. I don’t take these images into consideration too literally when making new pieces, but I think they sort of seep in on a subconscious level.”

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“A wide shot of the studio. There’s still a seamless hanging from the ceiling, which comes in handy—we shot the last lookbook here.”

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“This is an oxy-acetylene torch. I use it for soldering jump rings and attaching posts to stud earrings, among other things. Soldering is probably my favorite part of making jewelry. It’s really relaxing when you get a good rhythm going.”

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“The view is awesome.”

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“Here are some castings in tumbler media. The media works sort of like sandpaper to polish the surface of the metal. They go in the little black barrel with soapy water, and the blue base spins the barrel like a washing machine.”

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“The dressing room—this comes in handy when I’m going out straight from work and need to freshen up.”

Photos by Serichai Traipoom.

You’ve seen her space—now wait until you see her newest edition, coming tomorrow!

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A Sick Tour of the Historic Draught Dry Goods Studio in Portland

There’s an elevator that holds 75 people—true story.

Tucked away in the John Deere Plow Building—a 102-year-old warehouse on the National Register of Historic Places—sits 7K Studios, the 2,700-square-foot space where Caesy Oney and his “dream team of designers and artists” create all kinds of leather-y goodness under the label Draught Dry Goods. Check out their very enviable slice of Oregon. —jackie varriano

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“We have a really great view of Portland—which is hard to find.”

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“We found the space about six months ago, and it’s located in the SE industrial area of Portland, Oregon. We travel up to the seventh floor by way of the historic John Deere tractor elevator, which can hold 75 people at a time, or something like 125,000 pounds. When we throw a party, we can ostensibly kick everybody out at the same time in one elevator.”

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“This is my sewing station. It features a sewing machine that has been through a fire, a chair from my mother’s old antique shop, a retired Wallace jersey that I sometimes pull down and wear in the summer, some art I made for an event at the Ace Hotel, a nudie lighter, well-worn leather grips and tassels that used to be on my motorcycle, a Tupac poster that my friends at Blood Of The Young Zine did, a glamour photo of my girlfriend when she was 14 years old, and a couple skateboards that my friends designed.”

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“This is Thomas Bradley’s work wall. Thomas is the co-owner of Pizza Friday, a small branding agency that shares the space with us. You can see the original ‘Summer Somewhere’ illustration that he did for my fourth collection.”

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“These are the art boards of Tom O’Toole, who’s the other owner of Pizza Friday. For the last three collections I’ve cut, I’ve alternated between Tom and Thomas for a brushy illustration that I can use to help brand the collection. Somewhere in here, you can probably find the one we pulled for the current collection, ‘Five Finger Discount.’”

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“This is our conference room. It features another Pizza Friday illustration on the wall and a painting that my mom commissioned of me in Mexico, 20-plus years ago. I didn’t know that it existed until about six months ago, when she found it in storage and gave it to me as a gift. Needless to say, it’s pretty much my favorite thing.”  

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“Here’s a rack of the things that I am currently working on. It rolls around in the conference room to wherever I can most easily smoke cigarettes and stare at it critically.”

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“This is what you see when you exit the space. Having Pizza Friday in-house makes these types of projects really fun and beautiful. ‘Make yourself scarce’ is a good daily reminder that I should spend less time working and more time outside. It also is a pretty effective warning to our enemies—if we decide to make any.”

The edition made in this rad space is here! Get Caesy’s stellar, handcrafted iPhone wallet now.

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Inside Steven Shein’s Super-Industrial L.A. Studio

The tools are something serious.

If you thought that designers worked from sparse, white-box studios, the jewelry designer Steven Shein’s about to disabuse you of that notion. His space: a former auto-glass shop on the east side of the L.A. River that he shares with a few other artists with a penchant for heavy machinery. Here, Steven takes us on a tour through his space, spotlighting the tools that make it all possible. —alisha prakash

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“This is the front door to the space. The whole front wall is a shipping-container wall. I love that the space is a little off-the-grid and away from the main part of L.A. where I live. There are some great Mexican places, and down the road, there is a hall where they have quinceañeras, which is cool, too.”

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“On the left is a chop saw that works really well. On the right is a belt-sander. It’s a replacement for a previous model that was purchased expressly to sand an early piece of jewelry—a stacked and laminated acrylic bangle, to be exact!”

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“This is an Italian-made steel saw. It’s basically a band saw with pipe system that pumps a water-based coolant onto the saw blade. It’s pretty old, so sometimes the pumps have issues.”

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“This is a cast-iron welding table, and behind it is a little Shop-Vac that’s more reliable than the postman. There is a TIG Welder between the table and the lathe that is against the wall. I learned to weld on it last year! It’s incredible to see the electrical current hit the metal and liquify it.”

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“This is a table saw. It’s cool to use because it requires total concentration. It really keeps you focused and in-the-moment.”

Score Steven’s (hyper-polished!) edition now! You can wear this ring *four ways*.

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