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furniture

Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio
with Vedat Ulgen

March 10, 2016

Vedat posing on the patio of his Redhook Studio | UncommonGoodsVedat Ulgen outside his Brooklyn studio, photos by Rachel Orlow

UncommonGoods is a place that celebrates entrepreneurs and makers and wholeheartedly embraces creativity. If you’ve spent much time shopping with us or reading our blog, you’ve seen this celebration shine through the stories we tell about our products and the designers who make them. These stories share what really makes the pieces we sell and the artists we work with unique.

While every product we sell meets standards that make it an uncommon good, every once in awhile something comes along that is truly weird. Weird in the best sense of the word: In the way that weird, new music makes you want to listen again and again. In the way that a brilliant invention makes you ponder how in the world someone actually came up with that. In the way that an eccentric person makes you want to get in touch with your own beautiful inner weirdo.

Vedat Ulgen’s Worn Sleeve Vase and Worn Jeans Stool are perfect examples of this type of “weird” design. They are totally unexpected, look one way and feel another, and are as useful as functional products as they are intriguing as art.

Thislexik Designs Products | UncommonGoods

These designs are made from upcycled clothing, so they should be soft, right? But they have a unique texture that’s smooth and doesn’t feel anything like you’d imagine.  It seems like the sleeves shouldn’t stand upright and the stools shouldn’t hold the weight of a full-grown person, but they do.

Like his products, Vedat’s studio, Thislexik, isn’t exactly what it seems. From the street, it looks like a stack of shipping containers. Get a bit closer to the five colorful containers, and it becomes clear that the stack is actually a building with a living roof and windows perfectly placed to let in enough light. Inside, Thislexik is rooted in sustainable practices, fueled by experimentation, and filled with dozens incredible designs.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Red Hook, Brooklyn studio myself recently, and as a proud proponent of the aforementioned brand of weird, I was in paradise. It’s hard to convey how inspiring this space is to someone who hasn’t been there, how cool these designs are to someone who hasn’t interacted with them, and how innovative Vedat is to someone who hasn’t met him, but I hope these photos and this interview are at least a start.

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Design

5 Simple Steps for Entryway Designs Made Easy

February 25, 2016

Home accents from UncommonGoods

Whether it’s a coveted job interview, the cover of a book you want to buy, or even the interior design of your home, first impressions matter. Since your entryway is, architecturally speaking, the first “impression” of your home, it needs to make a statement. Think of it as a snapshot of your unique sense of design and what your home represents to you. And if that sounds like too much pressure, don’t worry. Here are some easy design steps to help you through the process of creating an entryway that screams you.

The first place to begin is simple: look at your space and think about your needs. Is there enough room for a chair and table, or will you need to focus all the attention on wall hangings? Does the area feel small and dark or blank and impersonal? When you walk in the door, do you drop your keys, mail, shoes, and umbrella here, or do you already have an organized spot for your things? Questions like these will help solidify the function of this room, which will give you a list of “must haves”—and from there comes the fun. Time for creativity to take over and start decorating from the outside, in!

The Treehouse: Hallway Turned Mudroom | Design Mom

Photo by Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom
from 
The Treehouse: Hallway Turned Mudroom

 1) Begin with your walls and floor. If color is your thing, don’t be afraid to go bold. Choose a loud hue or even a high-drama wallpaper that pops the second you walk in the door. If that makes you dizzy to even think about, keep it straightforward. White is always classy and never bores when paired with the right accessories. If you go this route, a colorful or textured rug will add warmth to your entryway without being too in-your-face.

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Maker Stories

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Cassidy Schulz Brush

February 2, 2014

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No matter how much I prepare before a Studio Tour, I never know exactly what to expect when I step into a creative workspace. On the way to my most recent artist encounter I traveled up New York Avenue by bus, out of my own Brooklyn neighborhood and into a close by, but unfamiliar, area somewhere between Bed-Stuy and Willaimsburg, I wondered what I’d see when I arrived at Cassidy Schulz Brush’s studio, Urban Chandy. After getting off at my stop, I wandered down a street that seemed to be a mix of industrial and urbane. I walked past warehouses and large trucks making deliveries, but also passed several people who looked like they could be on their way to art shows or coming from trendy coffee shops.

When I entered Cassidy’s studio, I found that same juxtaposition of city chic and industry. Of course, it’s what I should have been expecting all along, considering that Cassidy and her team so beautifully combine mechanical elements (like wires, sockets, and bulbs) and gorgeous reclaimed materials (like barn wood or vintage ceiling tiles) to create her chandeliers–or chandies, as she calls them.

The space is lit by a combination of sunshine pouring in large windows and the exposed bulbs hanging from its many chandies. Stacks of wood, various tools, and spools of wire line most of the walls there, and the remaining wall is covered in chalkboard paint and filled with chalky lists and numbers. Surrounded by so many details, I felt like I could explore the studio all day examining the many combinations of old and new. Here’s a closer look inside Urban Chandy, and some great advice from Cassidy Schulz Brush.

Industrial Chandelier | UncommonGoods

What are your most essential tools?
The coffee maker, I couldn’t live without it! Seriously, it has helped make many a chandy.;) Besides coffee, my three most essential tools are wire strippers, the drill, and the belt sander.

Where do you find inspiration within this space?
I’m inspired by the materials we bring in, every lot of wood is different and brings new challenges and surprises. I have to make time to develop all of the ideas I have between filling orders which is difficult when also chasing after a 3 year old.

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Urban Chandy | UncommonGoods

Where does down time fit into a day in the studio?
There is no down time in the studio! I cherish every minute that I get to spend there so I keep very busy every second, so much to do so little time. It’s not yet a place I can bring my daughter, with all the small parts, power tools, and stain odors, so I make each day count.

Wood and Tiles

What was the toughest lesson you learned as a young designer starting a business?
It’s a tough lesson to learn that others will knock off your ideas. Instead of getting angry, I try to keep looking forward and creating new and better products.

What advice would you offer the you of 5 years ago?
I would tell myself to have more confidence and trust my instincts more.

How do you set goals for yourself?
My one goal is to keep making the best that I can do better. I’ve said many times over the last two years that this business just took off by itself, I’ve just been along for the ride. I feel my role is to just focus on the product and design, constantly improving it.

Getting Organized
Tools

How and when do you decide to celebrate a victory?
I try to remind myself often how lucky I am to be where I am with this business and my career. I’m very ambitious and like to challenge myself, but I try to internalize every achievement as a small victory and appreciate the hard work I’ve done that lead to it.

What quote keeps you motivated? What does that quote mean to you?
There are a few quotes by Thomas Edison that I find inspirational! Edison, an inventor and businessman was quoted as saying, “Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” It’s one of my favorites along with another I have written on our blackboard at the studio: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Thomas Edison QuoteWhat are some new skills you are trying to acquire to perfect your craft?
Right now I’m learning about patinas and how to create different colors on copper and brass with various compounds that speed up oxidation and other chemical processes that tarnish the metal. I’ve only been fabricating for two years now, so I still feel like I learn something new everyday. I studied Business Administration in college!

How do you recharge your creativity?
I like to recharge by playing with my daughter and spending time with my family. I love building things for my daughter Lucy and with her as well. We like to build forts together, it gets pretty involved at our house. Anything is game to become part of a fort…including the dog!

Painted Sockets

Where does collaboration come into play with your craft?
I enjoy sharing ideas with other makers and feel lucky to know a few great people who always inspire and encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing. Matt and Steve Loftice at RecycledBrooklyn, Tyagi Schwartz of Dog Tag Designs, and Chris Harth of NY Cutlery have been great friends and mentors to me the last year.

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Lojo Ball Chair

August 19, 2011

1) Product Name: LOJO BALL CHAIR

2) Background Research:

Currently my daughter’s room is set up with her bed and a child size table with two chairs. The chairs are not very comfortable, as they are hard plastic. I wanted to buy her an inexpensive chair that was comfortable as well as fun.

3) Hypothesis:

To successfully set up the Lojo Ball Chair in Shyanne’s room, so she can have a comfortable place to sit while she reads or plays her video games.

4) The Experiment:

The Lojo Chair comes in its very own carry bag along with instructions and a hand pump. It’s also very light, so you do not have to worry about lugging a heavy item around with you if you choose to travel with it. It took about 1-2 minutes to fill each side up with air. The chair can be used in both the open and closed position.

Shyanne loves to use it in the closed position because she likes to roll it around and play on it.

The seat portion is very comfortable (it has a removable bean pillow btw) and the ball actually supports your back, which I was skeptical about.

5) Results:

I would definitely recommend the Lojo Ball Chair to anyone who has kids. It’s a great fun alternative to a boring regular chair. It’s also great for adults, I tried it out myself and it’s actually very supportive.

6) Conclusion:
I’m soooooo going to get one for myself!


The Lojo Ball Chair is available for $45 and available in orange or blue.