OK, I want to show off my ultra-cool-retro-circa-60s-made-modern-office. Because a lot of risks were taken in this room which ultimately paid off, because this is one flashy room, right? But as with all risks, sometimes they lead to miserable failures. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a risk I guess. I’ve also been talking about the importance of risk-taking with my business-number-cruncher/friend Nick. You wouldn’t think a numbers guy would be into risk-taking, but we both agree that life is sad, boring and stale without taking some scary and thrilling leaps. Or even worse, that life without risks can come to a complete standstill. And that’s not a good way to live.
But let’s be real, I’m not talking about life-altering risks like cashing in your life-savings for a thrilling and most likely the-worst-idea-of-your-life kind of weekend at Vegas. I’m talking about whether to paint a room white or ooooh, let’s get crazy here and go with dark blue–kind of risk.
So let’s talk about these risky dark blue walls in my white-walled house. Shocking, right? The idea was to match the background color of the wallpaper I made on the back wall–the one with the brambly white branches. The wallpaper came into existence after a brainstorming session with Kathryn (my co-designer/architect/friend) about themes that were emerging in the house, and one of them seemed to be trees. That prompted me to take a photo of the branches outside the office window and obsessively mess with it in photoshop. Once I was fairly satisfied with the image (or taken to the edge of my sanity by lining up tiny branches to make a seamless repeat) I called it done and got the design printed onto wallpaper at Spoonflower. I’m pretty happy with how it came out but I think it would be better if the branches were more random looking so you couldn’t see the repeat at all. Still, I think it was a smart move to prioritize my sanity.Moving on, for the shelf insert I wanted to have a collection of vintage cameras. Because I like vintage cameras. No risk taken there.
Then I decided to screen print these long retro pillows. I tried to line up the pattern to be continuous when the pillows are put together, but again I fell short because, obviously, the pattern is not continuous. Don’t get me wrong, I still like these pillows. A lot. In fact, I like them so much that I’m reproducing and selling them as part of my first “product line.” Yep, that’s right, after four years of planning my launch it’s actually happening–in two short weeks.
Anyhow, back to my flashy office…Finding a desk was a major challenge. Mostly because desks are big, imposing pieces of furniture that change the style of a room instantly. So I wanted something with understated personality. Like a party guest that’s polite and kind of quiet, speaking only when moved to add something intelligent and thoughtful to the conversation. Kind of like Scandinavian design: intelligent, practical, individual without a big ego. Plus mid-century and retro. Which equalled Alvar Aalto, the creative force behind bentwood furniture, like the stools at the Apple’s “genius bar” that he designed back in 1935. Anyhow, one night of obsessive eBay searches I found it: this Aalto desk with cool lucite nobs and signature bentwood legs. Score.
The cool orange swing light is from Brooklyn-based company onefortythree, who manufactures each light by hand. The trash “can” is a wire egg basket I painted black.
For the vintage typewriter I again searched obsessively on eBay and found this awesome, working Underwood. The penholder is one of my pottery experiments and the stapler is from Schoolhouse Electric, which has great modern-with-a-retro-feel plus a selection of handmade things (hint hint to any product scouts from Schoolhouse Electric who just might be looking for hand screen-printed pillows, table linens, Cat Owls…)
On the other side of the room I have my bookshelf with the screen printed postcard I made from a vintage Reader’s Digest book cover. The quote “There’s Puddles on Every Trail” reminds me that taking a risk is actually not even a risk, because whichever direction I choose there will always be obstacles and challenges. So I guess that actually means that whatever choice I make will lead to problems…so maybe I shouldn’t do anything at all…or even leave the house cause it’s just going be bad…I guess I should stay inside and do nothing…why risk it?
Wow, my brain hurts. I’m choosing to ignore that line of thinking and go with this: when I try–and sometimes fail–at something new, even if it doesn’t work out the first time I’ve still gotten one step closer to a new possibility. And one step further from living a stale, sad, stagnant life.
And that alone is probably worth the risk.