If I begin to sound like a broken record, I apologize, but you guys know that I preach that design is in the details, and that couldn’t be more true than when it comes to hardware. When designing your home, door and drawer hardware is akin to jewelry. It’s a beautiful moment that immediately adds a level of detail that just can’t be matched. It’s something I take quite seriously myself, and am always keeping my eyes peeled for unique and inspiring pieces to suit. So you can imagine my delight when Nest Studio agreed to be our next guest in our makers series. Her heart is as beautiful as her hardware, and it’s an honour to have her here today. Read on to find out what it’s really like to launch a line of tiny works of art for the masses.
If there are any other makers or entrepreneurs you’d like me to feature in this series, please let me know in the comments below. And feel free to check out the others right here. It’s an honour to have had so many fascinating and inspiring people grace these pages!
How did you get started creating hardware?
I was working in hospitality interior design and had been designing a lot of custom furniture, lighting and carpets, but one thing I hadn’t done was hardware. A friend of mine who had a lighting company, was interested in introducing a hardware line, so I said, Sure! I would design one. We launched our line at HD Vegas, soon realizing that hardware for hospitality is a niche market within a niche market. Nothing happened but there was a lot of interest in the designs on my end via my blog and Pinterest. When we moved back to the East Coast from LA I decided to invest in a small production run and online storefront. I started fulfilling orders out of my basement and our business has steadily grown to multiple employees, an actual office space and 50+ showrooms that carry our line around the globe.
What was more complicated than you expected when starting your business?
Anyone in manufacturing would tell you production and quality control are a huge and constant issue. Finding suppliers who can meet our quality standards at a reasonable price is a challenge. You think that you’ve nailed it down, and then suddenly something changes. I’m finding that the best thing is to work backwards on designs to make things that fit within the production and finishing parameters so that they are easy to produce. But that, of course, means that they are easy to knock off too!
How do you stay organized?
I have this ridiculous excel to-do list that is a combination to-do list and weekly calendar. I’ve tried all sorts of apps, but in the end this custom document that I’ve created for myself works best. It’s color coded and helps me organize my time into chunks between actual events and appointments and tasks.
What is the process to create one of your designs?
I always start with a loose hand sketch. I design my hardware in suites. So I might come up with one piece first and then expand upon it to create different iterations (lengths, sizes, a drop pull or bail pull, appliance pulls etc). Then I have someone who helps me model them on the computer. Next, it’s on to prototyping. Depending on the item and how we plan to manufacture it, we might do a 3D print or move straight into prototyping in brass. After prototyping we may make some tweaks and do another round in all of our intended finishes. Then it’s on to production. It seems fast but often times it can be a year or two between initial idea and actual launch – especially on the collections that are mixed material which require a lot of sourcing.
What’s the most popular line in your shop, and what inspired it?
This is hard to say. Our heritage collections that have been around for a while do really well, just because people know them and love them and we have lots of examples of great installs for people to reference. Specifically our Classic Series which was inspired by Hollywood Regency and Dorothy Draper, is a great seller because it works so well with both traditional and modern spaces.
What colors, textures, and materials are inspiring you at the moment?
Deep jewel tones and earthy terracottas are my jam at the moment. And I’m loving anything ceramic with a bit of a pock-marked hand-made texture.
Tell me more about your “moms helping moms” internship- I just love this idea! What inspired it, and how does it work?
Everyone on my team thus far is a working mother. It’s hard after you’ve been taking care of your kids to re-enter the workforce, and one of the things Nest prides itself on is supporting mothers and providing a flexible work environment. A friend of ours worked for YCS, which is a great local organization that has a program where in-the-field nurses help moms in need. They do everything from helping teach mothers how to nurse, to helping them with immigration issues, education and finding jobs. We love the idea of showing a young mother that there are so many different career paths and that women can be business leaders and moms at the same time.
When it comes to your own home, what do you like your space to feel like?I love my home to feel casual, a little boho and eclectic and also effortless. I don’t go for an overly “decorated” look. Instead I like my spaces to be collected and tell a story and support the way we live.
What upcoming project are you most excited to work on right now?
On the hardware front, I’m super excited about a collaboration with plaster sculptor and artist Stephen Antonson. And on the personal front, I’m super excited about our house we are renovating in Atlanta! I’ve always wanted to live in a mid-century modern home and finally got the chance! We are doing a full kitchen renovation featuring my new Deco series hardware and amazing tile from Fireclay, and fully functional Velux skylights. I can’t wait – we are just now getting to the fun parts. You can follow along with the insta hashtag #hotlantamidmod.
I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for…
My parents, who have always supported my creative endeavors, from my childhood years drawing back yard renovation plans and submitting them to Southern Living, to deciding to go back to grad school for Interior Design. They haven’t always been rah-rah cheerleaders but they always provide valuable insight and advice and support my decisions no matter how crazy they may seem.
Photos: 1) Nest Studio | 2) LA Closet Design | 3) Jessica Davis | 4) Alisa Rose Design | 5-8) Nest Studio | 9-10) Tracy Lynn Studio | 11) Taylor Anne Interiors | 12-17) Nest Studio | 18) Elizabeth Metcalfe Interiors & Design
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