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Shopper’s Diary: Formerly Yes in LA

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Shopper’s Diary: Formerly Yes in LA

March 27, 2017

When they founded Formerly Yes shop in downtown LA in 2014, Brad and Jenna Holdgrafer were looking for “an excuse to practice in every medium of design,” Brad says, “and to share our favorite homewares with the world.” He has a background in business and graphic design and she’s worked in fashion and sales, and both have a passion for surrounding themselves with fewer, better-designed things. The pair collaborated on designing the space, Brad sketching the big picture and Jenna refining the concept. “After years and years at a computer, all I wanted was to work with pen and paper,” Brad says. “So I drew about a thousand versions until I drove Jenna a bit mad and she said ‘OK! That’s the one!'”

Photography by Stefan Junir, courtesy of Formerly Yes.

the shop is outfitted minimally, with white walls, wood storage, and concrete 9
Above: The shop is outfitted minimally, with white walls, wood storage, and concrete floors. Says Brad of the white oak plywood screen behind the sales counter, “It’s just about the only decorative thing we made in the space.”
tilt pendant lights by nyta hang above the counter. the countertop is an untre 10
Above: Tilt pendant lights by NYTA hang above the counter. The countertop is an untreated solid white oak slab. “Untreated, because we wanted it as light as possible and to age with use,” Brad says.
a built in shelf holds design books for sale. 11
Above: A built-in shelf holds design books for sale.

The pair cites Super Normal by Jasper Morrison and Naoto Fukusawa at the top of their recommended design reading list. “It’s been a foundation for us. It’s a constant reminder of what to look for when curating products, and it inspired us to design the shop as a product itself.”

in addition to its decorative role, the slatted plywood screen serves an import 12
Above: In addition to its decorative role, the slatted plywood screen serves an important purpose. It allows Brad and Jenna to pack orders and manage inventory in the back while keeping an eye on the front of the shop. It also lets natural light into a space with no windows.
a shop shelf holds three lyngby vase (\$59 to \$\1\19), a wood puzzle by yam 13
Above: A shop shelf holds three Lyngby Vase ($59 to $119), a Wood Puzzle by Yamanaka Kumiki ($48), and Water Carafes in cork and steel by Menu ($54.95 to $59.95).
sean woolsey, a friend of the holdgrafers, fabricated the untreated white oak  14
Above: Sean Woolsey, a friend of the Holdgrafers, fabricated the untreated white oak shelving and tables after fine-tuning their design.

among the formerly yes wares: a series of five japanese cast iron animals (\$\1 15
Above: Among the Formerly Yes wares: a series of five Japanese Cast Iron Animals ($120 each) and Plates, Bowl, and Mugs ($24 each) by Hasami Porcelain.
 brad&#8\2\17;s favorite shop offerings are sori yanagi&#8\2\17;s desi 16
Above: Brad’s favorite shop offerings are Sori Yanagi’s designs, including his iconic stainless steel Tea Kettle (on the middle shelf, above; $175), sake glasses, and cooking utensils.
“[Yanagi’s] quote about making products to be used and not sold translates into every medium of design. We really try to work toward it as much as possible.”

houseplants, happy in the light filled shop, in ceramic white planters by norde 17
Above: Houseplants, happy in the light-filled shop, in ceramic white planters by Norden (sold in store).
brad and jenna holdgrafer of formerly yes shop in la. 18
Above: Brad and Jenna Holdgrafer of Formerly Yes Shop in LA.

Product summary  Item 7 132Item 8 133

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