I was hired at the end of last year to redesign The Bold Italic’s new offices. After we agreed that I’d take on the project, I couldn't stop designing for them in my head. Having a fun working environment inspires people and, let’s admit it, gets their minds off of the long hours they’re putting in. In a city of start-ups that offer employees creative hideaways, I wanted The Bold Italic to play ball with the big boys and have an office that reflected the personality of the staff that works there.
The space is so large, I knew I couldn’t go it alone. So I enlisted some up-and-coming makers to participate in a design challenge. They would each get $100 to make something by hand, using repurposed materials, for the office. Their designs had to reflect their individual styles while being something people could replicate at home.
I love what they produced, and the challenge highlights the fun part about design – you can always do it yourself with limited money and resources by reworking and refurbishing existing materials.
Matt is a designer, carpenter, and Freeman's Barber Shop dude who can pull off the hat-and-suspenders look. Matt and I scoured Building REsources for several different styles of wood and moldings with both natural and white coloring. Left in the garage with a pile of planks, screws, a nail gun, a saw, and a Cleveland Browns game on the radio, he emerged with this piece eight hours later. The shelving is perfect for housing The Bold Italic’s store finds, new publications, and design books. Plus, it’s on wheels, so it moves.
Paige has a creative eye that makes me a bit jealous. After meeting her, I stalked her blog and her pottery designs and found tons of inspirational pieces. She’s a jill-of-all-trades who spent five years as a lamp doctor, rebuilding lighting fixtures from flea market finds. For The Bold Italic, Paige created a wooden chandelier inspired by the pulley we found at Building REsources. She used basic lighting supplies from the hardware store, attached them to a distressed board, painted the ends gold, added Edison bulbs, and strung the whole thing from thick sailing ropes.
If you haven't been to Building REsources, you haven't seen creative repurposing at its best: Staff inventions include handmade motorcycles, a car seat rocking chair, and an epic rooftop wind machine. Sergio – manager at Building REsources, maker of amazing things, and all around nice guy – showed me his secret stash of supplies. He pulled out giant concrete beams and introduced me to his industrial planer, which shaves wood down to a new finish. He used it to build a 12-foot bench out of steel and gorgeous reclaimed wood.
Of course, I had to give myself a couple of design challenges as well. After spending months looking for the perfect Mad Men-style credenza to hold records and a record player, I gave up all hope of finding an affordable one. It was time to build my own. Using a set of vintage-style hairpin legs from Discount Builders, two sheets of thick plywood (one slightly stained with tar for effect), I recreated my favorite style of credenza with a modern flair.
Amanda is the creative assistant at Workshop, as well as a photographer, painter, and a donut slinger at Bob's. For this project, I attached two truckloads of recycled oak flooring to the wall with a nail gun, then set Amanda loose. She used a projector to flash this locally-inspired image to the wall (the mural was designed by Bold Italic Art Director Heath Kessler). She completed the painting in one long night by tracing the design, painting the lettering, letting it dry, and distressing everything with a sander.
Nick is the woodslinging muscle, a.k.a. the carpenter, behind The Bold Italic and my new right-hand man. He created the most important part to any home or office: the bar. Not only is this one sturdy enough to hold about 100 bottles, it also moves and doubles as shelving or a DJ table. He made the base using a few sheets of heavy-duty plywood and some two-by-fours, added more plywood to create a box and shelves, and used the same oak flooring from the wall and some stained pieces on top. He completed the bar with a foot rail.
Other contributions came from Erin Fong and Taylor Reid, of Western Editions, who created several SF love-themed letterpress prints for the space, and Malila Young, who created one-of-a-kind caricatures of the staff.
This story originally ran in Volume 3 of The Bold Italic magazine – SF By Design – which is available for purchase as a single issue or with a subscription.
Like what you see? You can find Kelly and her friends' creations in our Shop.
This one-of-a-kind, customizable credenza is hand crafted and built to last for years to come. It was designed by Kelly Malone, in collaboration with carpenter Nick Sass. This simple, sleek credenza is an ode the ‘60s, vinyl, and Kelly’s favorite designers, Charles and Ray Eames, and sized to fit records and record players perfectly.
Also available in "Small and Square" for $400.
CUSTOM RECYCLED WOOD-SLAT WALL
Ever been jealous of places with gorgeous wood walls? Designer Kelly Malone can help you out with some one-of-a-kind, customizable slat walls. Using recycled wood that has been sanded and treated, Kelly will work with you to install a style and size that fits your space and design ideas. You may also arrange for custom lettering or artwork.
$500 and up
FIVE LIGHT WOODCUT CHANDELIER
We love this chandelier created by Paige Russell – a lamp genius, maker, and designer. For this piece, Paige repurposed perfectly distressed wood and added Edison bulbs, cord work, and a pulley system.
We also have a Three Light Woodcut Chandelier available in our shop for $450.