As the holidays approach, consider the power of a present: five years ago, interior designer Kevin Dumais surprised his then-boyfriend, Charlie, with a pottery class for Christmas. An architectural lighting designer who had once dabbled in wheel-thrown ceramics, Charlie loved stepping away from his computer and learning hand-building techniques. “I fell in love with slab construction,” he says, “you have to plan carefully ahead but improvise during execution.” Months into Charlie’s new hobby the two were browsing in an antiques shop when Kevin picked up a Japanese ceramic lamp and a lightbulb went off in his head. “You know you could make something like this,” he told Charlie. Charlie agree, and then got to work.
Kevin and Charlie have since married and bought a house in Litchfield, Connecticut, where they spend Fridays to Mondays. The rest of the week they’re in Manhattan, where Kevin runs his residential design firm, Dumais, and Charlie (who took Kevin’s last name) oversees the 24-person NYC office of Bold lighting design. In Connecticut, they have a new tandem venture, Dumais Made, a line of handmade stoneware table lamps that they describe as “the product of two perfectionists having fun.” Join us for a tour of their combination studio and showroom.
Photography by Joshu McHugh, courtesy of Dumais Made.
After working for a few years out of a New York teaching studio, Charlie set up his first kiln in the couple’s Connecticut garage. Moving to the new studio enabled him to spread out and showcase his work. The bright L-shaped space is also big enough Kevin has his Connecticut office here. The two collaborate on lamp forms and custom glazes: “mostly very matte but we also do a shiny green so dark it’s almost black and another glaze that looks like wrought iron—all are food safe,” says Charlie.
He sources his clay locally from Sheffield Clay in the Berkshires, and the lamp fittings come from a company in Hartford.
Note the wall-mounted shelving: they used Rakks system standards and brackets; the shelves are wooden boards that they wrapped in canvas.