Name: Eve Trester-Wilson, co-owner of MAKEatx, and Skylar Johnson
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 1,100 square feet
Years lived in: 11 years; rented
A few weeks back we featured MakeATX, a community workshop with its very own laser cutter. Members use the laser cutter to create jewelry, furniture, and custom engravings on everything from wood to glass. Today we're taking a peek into the home of co-owner Eve and her husband Skylar. It's filled with all the handmade creations you can imagine, as well as a window-full of botanicals and bonsai!
Eve has lived in her upstairs apartment for years, enough time to grow into it and complete a few big projects. As an architecture graduate, she's completed some impressive statement pieces, including a custom chair, an adjustable ottoman, a coffee table, and an entertainment center complete with laser cut wooden panels. It's a functional beauty that houses their computer for watching TV, since they cut the cable a few years ago.
Her husband Skylar contributes to the feel of the place as well — his careful hand and green thumb tend to a wall full of botanicals, and even a bonsai tree. If a plant brings life to a room, then this study (or as Eve likes to call it, "the conservatory") is an entire ecosystem.
The mix of woodwork, organics and authentic mid-century pieces makes for a cozy space with an eclectic style that is all their own — a style that's all the more impressive once you realize that just about every accessory or piece of furniture was crafted by Eve. Since Eve is co-owner of MakeATX, you'll see quite a bit of laser detail on art, cork boards, and even etched into window pulls for drapes that Eve hand crafted and sewed. There's often hidden meanings behind the patterns at play — you'll notice that the simple design on the window pulls and the floor light match precisely the design from her wedding dress. It's often said that the design is in the details, and in this home design is everywhere.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I moved into this apartment my 4th year in college — it was a very lucky find (and my first apartment, shared at the time with two roommates). Some people settle into their apartments immediately and nest like crazy — that wasn't me, and I was content to let my roommates do most of the decorating. I'm embarrassed to admit it took me a couple of years before I hung anything on the walls. In my college and recent graduate days, I amassed a collection of furniture, much of it from Goodwill or consignment stores, and eventually upgraded the crappier pieces with slightly nicer ones from Craigslist. I took a furniture design class while in architecture school and made a chair and a side table. I loved making furniture, so after graduating, I took a few furniture classes at the local community college. Then I started meeting up at a cabinet-maker friend's house once a week for 'shop night.' I've been doing that for about 3 years now and have managed to build quite a lot of stuff using his equipment, including, most recently, the coffee table and entertainment center in the living room.
I like clean lines and clear surfaces, but not to the point that a room feels sterile or furniture is uncomfortable. I guess if I had to name my style I'd call it DIY/Craigslist modern.
Inspiration: I grew up surrounded by a lot of Scandinavian furniture, and those elegant, clean lines definitely influenced my style. I love how Scandinavian furniture manages to be modern, yet warm and approachable and easy to live with. My architectural education reinforced a balanced approach between form and function, which is what I strive for in my own designs and look for in pieces I purchase.
For as long as I can remember I have appreciated the aesthetic and proportions of good mid-century modern furniture and accessories, and I am fortunate enough to have inherited a few pieces (clock and chandelier in the dining room) from my dad's parents. They bought an apartment in New York in the early 1960s which still had a lot of their original furniture and fixtures when they died.
Favorite Element: Architecturally, the windows — we have huge, double hung windows in the bedroom and study, and the light is phenomenal (if you can get over the heat, which is nothing to joke about in Texas). We installed shelves in the windows of the study/spare bedroom to house (most of) our plant collection. I've recently taken to calling it 'the conservatory', which makes me feel all fancy…
Biggest Challenge: Lack of storage! We have two small closets in a large apartment. Despite continuing efforts to declutter, finding a home for everything can be a challenge at times. My friends at shop night tease me because so many of my projects revolve around storage — I've made so many variations of shelves, I've lost track. Fortunately for us, the kitchen has a ton of cabinets, but we love to cook and have most of the cabinets and drawers filled to the brim with cooking paraphernalia.
What Friends Say: You made that?!
Biggest Embarrassment: So many contenders, but I'll limit myself to just one!
Skylar and I lived with a couch from Goodwill for years. When the springs started failing and it grew increasingly harder to get up from (out of), we decided we were officially grown-ups and it was time to buy a new one. We easily made ten trips to one particular local furniture store, even placing an order for a custom sectional before calling back later that afternoon and backing out. We eventually found a more modestly sized sofa on Craigslist, which we are very happy with — but we're way too embarrassed to show up in that furniture showroom again.
Proudest DIY: My business partner, Kristen, thinks it's funny that I'm so quick to compliment myself on things I've made and like or food I've cooked that turned out well, but a girl can't be modest all the time! I just finished building a coffee table and entertainment center that I really love. I run a laser cutting workshop in East Austin, and figured I ought to incorporate something laser cut into the cabinet, so I designed sliding doors with laser cut panels (stained plywood over white acrylic). I think the whole thing turned our stunningly well, and it's a vast improvement upon the 7' tall bookcase that was holding our television before.
Biggest Indulgence: We love to cook (and to eat good food) and have invested in quality cookware and appliances: we have a Le Creuset skillet and dutch oven that we adore and use all the time and a KitchenAid stand mixer and food processor. We have an electric smoker we wheel out onto the back landing when we're in the mood for some good barbecue. We're known among friends for throwing waffle parties (try it, they're really fun for brunch) and currently own 4 waffle irons — it may seem excessive, but things run a lot more smoothly when there are 20 people hungry for waffles in the kitchen and we can set up multiple waffle-making stations.
Best Advice: Take your time to live in a space and let things develop organically, rather than forcing it. It'll feel like home soon enough, what's the rush? There is no need to make yourself crazy trying to do everything all at once. Try to prioritize and tackle one (or two or three) projects at a time. But if you do need a little external motivation, nothing beats throwing a party (or inviting overnight guests) to get your house in order with a quickness!
Dream Sources: Uptown Modern, Copenhagen, Craigslist, IKEA, West Elm
Resources of Note:
• collapsible bike racks: Container Store
• shoe storage: Target
• bookcase: handmade
• sofa: craiglist (by Natuzzi)
• entertainment center: handmade
• coffee table: handmade
• side table: handmade
• mail shelves: handmade
• table + chairs: Ikea
• clock + lamp: belonged to Eve's grandparents
• painting: John Cates
• headboard: handmade
• dressers: consignment stores
• small dressers: ikea
• lamps: handmade
• roman shades: handmade
STUDY / CONSERVATORY
• desk: craigslist
• desk chair: consignment store
• green chair: handmade
• footstool: handmade
• colorful print: misha blaise design
• laser-cut posters, white corkboard overlay: handmade / MAKEatx
Thanks, Eve and Skylar!
(Images: Chris Perez)
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