ISSUE 36  |  Get to Work

Live/Work in Echo Park: A Designer at Home

September 07, 2012 10:30 AM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

We've been tracking furniture and lighting designer Brendan Ravenhil's upward trajectory for a while now. He and his wife, Marjory, recently moved into a midcentury modern house in Echo Park, where they share a studio. We recently asked for a tour of the new digs, and they kindly obliged. Come along.

Photography by Mimi Giboin for Remodelista.

Remodelista: Tell us about your new space.

Brendan Ravenhill: The light is amazing; there's a big bay window with great views. It's a calming space to create in. The sun chases me out of the studio in the afternoons, but it encourages a migratory pattern of sorts. I love having different hours and working late at night. It's magical living in LA if you work at home and don't have to commute.

Above: Ravenhill's work table with an Angle Stool, one of his own designs.

RM: Is the work table your own design?

BR: In my last year at RISD, i designed a table made from a piece of sugar pine from the Manning Rare Woods Collection. It's kind of a big deal. You have to apply to earn the privilege of working with wood from the collection. The table top is a 16-foot-long piece of sugar pine without a single knot and with more than 300 growth rings; the table's height is adjustable, as I like standing to work. The window lines up perfectly with the table. Complete accident.

Above: A vintage Jielde lamp illuminates the work table.

BH: I bought this from a friend who collects Jielde lamps. He knew I liked them, so he gave me a great deal. It's a total inspiration.

Above: A set of drawers from a metal-working shop; "I've been lugging these around for years," Ravenhill says.

Above: A view into the studio.

RM: What's on the wall behind the table?

BH: The gray and yellow hanging piece is a wooden pattern mold; I collect forms that remind me of masks. I grew up in a house full of African art and masks (my father was a curator of African art at the Smithsonian), so this speaks to me.

Above: A view into Marjory's work space, with a sign from a hair salon found on the streets of Brooklyn.

RM: How do you and Marjory share the space?

BH: We had separate work spaces in our old house, so this is the first time we have shared a space. We can close it up, so it's like having two separate studios if we need to.

Above: Marjory ( a consultant for an NGO) also makes hand-lettered signs. This one is headed to a storefront in Los Feliz.

Above: Ravenhill's work tools.

RM: Do you just work on design here?

BH: I do some fabrication. We do our own prototypes for the lights, and when the design is done, we shop it out for manufacturing.

Above: A large spool of cloth-covered electrical wire that Ravenhill uses on all his lamps.

Above: Ravenhill's cord chandelier with a surf board stored above.

Above: Ravenhill's latest lighting design: the Hood Sconce, made from white oak with a bent white matte polystyrene shade.

For more on Ravenhill, check out his site: Brendan Ravenhill, or see Brendan Ravenhill in Los Angeles.