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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Our rough utility sink looking amazing with beautiful flowers from the talented Amy Merrick!”
Photos courtesy of Alice Gao Photography.
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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
“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.”
“My jewelry collection has grown over the years. I generally gravitate towards unusual statement pieces, which is evident in my own designs.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“This is an old shipping pallet that we found on the side of the street. We took it and made a friendship-bracelet curtain.”
“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!”
“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!”
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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
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“The view is awesome.”
“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.”
“The dressing room—this comes in handy when I’m going out straight from work and need to freshen up.”
Photos by Serichai Traipoom.
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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
“We have a really great view of Portland—which is hard to find.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.’”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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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
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
“This is a table saw. It’s cool to use because it requires total concentration. It really keeps you focused and in-the-moment.”
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Check Out Sara Barner’s Multipurpose Workspace in Portland
Ford used to make cars there. Cool, right?
Now that it’s filled with pretty wood, leafy greens, and carefully crafted leather goods, you’d never know Sara Barner’s Portland, Oregon, studio-slash-showroom was once a Ford auto assembly plant. The cozy space was designed and built by her architect boyfriend—we nominate Ryan Gosling for the rom-com adaptation—and furnished by Sara. Take a look at what she’s done with the place. —koun bae
“The space itself was super raw—a concrete box basically—so the wood is meant to feel warmer.”
“I have a front area curtained off—it’s a small space that is the showroom—and the back area is the workshop and studio.”
“My boyfriend builds furniture, so he pretty much built all my work tables for me and my display furniture. He really helped me figure out the layout of my space. It was so convenient!”
“The studio is also pretty minimal and functional, but then I’ve definitely nested in here a lot—I have my little collections of stuff. It’s probably only about 350 or 400 square feet, so even though the furniture is minimal, it filled up pretty quickly.”
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The 6 Coolest Things in Alice Saunders’s Studio
They’re nearly as rad as the designer herself.
Working from home has its obvious perks—emailing in your PJs, blasting Britney, and steering clear of god-awful fluorescent office lighting. But getting to the office is cake when you have a studio space as amazing as the one Alice Saunders, the rock-star designer behind the utilitarian-cool line Forestbound, shares with another bag maker, Julia Okun of Rennes. Check out a half dozen of the sweetest finds in their Allston, Massachusetts, setup. —alisha prakash
“A bag rack, made by my incredibly talented metal- and wood-worker boyfriend.”
“My packaging supplies, which showcase my relatively new branding, which I’m crazy about. These are done by Ryan Rhodes out of Austin, Texas.”
“An incredible, 20-foot firemen’s banner from the 1930s that I found in Pennsylvania.”
“I use two industrial sewing machines. This is my trusty Juki from the 1970s. The other is an Adler, a German sewing machine from the 1960s. I make all of bags in my studio right now.”
“My favorite little wall plaque that I found at a New Hampshire estate sale.”
“My work table, also made by my boyfriend. When we moved into the space a year ago, it had been occupied by a lawyer who had the walls painted an awful shade of purple with thick purple velvet curtains on the large windows. Now the space gets so much light that we rarely have to turn the lights on during the day!”
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Inside Natalie Davis’s Studio…and Butcher Shop
Yes, for reals.
Recently, the Austin-based designer Natalie Davis moved into a new 300-square-foot studio space—HQ for her unfussy leather-good line Canoe—and she and her husband Ben opened a butcher shop, Salt and Time. But wait, there’s more: Jay Colombo, the architect who designed the meat haven, works for the same firm that did the studio complex, and the spaces have common elements (like polished concrete floors and expansive white walls). Not surprisingly, Natalie’s channeling similar vibes for both spaces: clean, natural, and vintage-inspired. —meghana gandhi
The Inspo: Georgia O’Keeffe and Ghost Ranch
Georgia O’Keeffe’s studio at Ghost Ranch.
Sleek, minimalist stools at the butcher shop.
“Georgia O’Keeffe is a total idol of mine. The way she lived her life and set up Ghost Ranch and her studio are so inspiring because they were so pared down; only the things she needed were there. I still joke with Ben that in my head the butcher shop is Georgia O’Keeffe’s butcher shop—I think she really celebrated where she was living. Part of the butcher shop is this nod to Texas—this idea of it as the West, the range, the cattle. I’m on the prowl for skull heads (lamb, goat, and chicken) to fill up some of the shop’s big white walls—an utterly bizarro mission—and I’m going out with a photographer friend to photograph some cattle on a ranch outside of Austin.”
The Inspo: Tools and Techniques
A damn cool tool wall, for inspiration!
Natalie’s collection of tools.
“One of the overall things for the studio is creating a utilitarian space, where the tools are really the décor in a way. My blog is called Tool and Tack, and I’m obsessed with getting the right tool for the job and building this collection of tools. As for the shop, there are three giant windows straight into the cutting room so that customers can watch the butchers work. There’s total transparency to build trust with our customers.”
The Inspo: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose
A super-slick idea for the studio!
Vintage meat case at the butcher shop.
“I’m waiting for the antique event Round Top to look for the kinds of pieces that have a lot of history to them—the older pieces that have been through multiple lives, like vintage leather tools, old barn wood—that I can re-purpose to make a showroom wall and inspiration board. In the butcher shop, we have a lot of older equipment that we’re waiting to install—equipment that has a story to it. When you’re in this business, you’re standing on the shoulders of giants.”