Building Blocks

The first prototype of the Building Block furniture system is finally complete. The goal is to create a modular system that can be used to create virtually any piece of furniture you can think of. The system is based around the use of "building blocks" (15 & 30 inch metal cubes) that can be fitted with wood inserts to accomplish a variety of tasks.

The system is ideal for retail projects as well as home living. The Blocks are an easy way to fit your real space with a cohesive style and color pallet. While the customization makes them ideal for mechanizing changes, moving, and changes in taste. 


In January 2017 I started working as a Digital Fabrication Technician at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. 

Spade Studio Fall 2016

I have come up with a new CAM heavy product line to offer at Spade Studio. Featuring the Saddle Chair and Nest Lights. All of which are laser cut from birch plywood. The fact that they are laser cut make the production easily to scale up and offer bulk discounts. An added benefit is that they can be stored flat until they need to be produced. 

One of the issues I have with the 2015 line is the shades require a lot of storage area and where quite delicate. Now I can store about 10 Nest lamps in the same area it would take to store the shade one of my mid-sized wall lamps. With all of the components on hand, the Nest Lights can be assembly in less than 30min. They are also very durable when assembled and since there is no need for a plastic backing to the shade, they cannot be punctured or dented. 

The Nest lights use a piece of yarn wrapped around the birch ply skeleton to create its shade. I find many lights now (especially laser cut ones) have mostly exposed bulbs. I personally feel like this is bad design. Either you are getting to much direct light to your eyes, or the light relies on the use of special and often expensive bulbs. Using yarn was my way to create a shade that still has the flat storage benefits of a laser cut lamp while also defusing the light from the bulb. 



Yolk – Laguna Beach

The home goods store “Yolk” in Silver lake is consistently one of the best sources for Spade Studio sales. CY, the owner, has approached me about building out a second retail location in Laguna Beach.

Spade Studio Fall 2015

After a handful of local sales events. We have come up with our fall 2015 product line. I set up connections for production of components. things like shades and concrete components, So they no longer need to be produced in the wood-shop. It helps to make the operation scale-able in prep for increased sales through the holidays and beyond.

The current priority will be to stream line our website online purchasing. There have had some great sales days at the Rosebowl Flea Market, but I think events like Unique and Renegade Craft Fairs bring more of the demographic we want. Going to these events are crucial for maintaining direct sales but I believe the focus will need to switch to online and sales driven by marketing at these events. One of the best contacts made at the last Unique, was not to a direct customer, but with a representative for the drop-shipping company Houzz. We are now selling on their website and have already generated unsolicited sales.

I am happy with the line so far but am excited to revisit our offerings next year. I feel like it is going to be hard to find labor cheep enough to take much of the wood working off my hands when scaling up some of these products. If someone ordered 50 vinyl tables today, which is the goal, I dont think I would be able to offer them at the same price because the production costs of additional labor to get it accomplished, wouldn’t leave much profit for Spade Studio or myself. I could also raise the price but right now it is important to generate as many sales as possible. Increasing the price may scare off some individuals.  

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves We must focus on the Holiday markets that are fast approaching. In addition to the web prep needed for these events. We are going to need to get ahead of component production. To be ready for what is hopefully a jump in sales. 

Back to work,

Spade Studio

It has been a wonderful experience working with Brendan Ravenhill, but one of the biggest lessons I learned from him is. To succeed you must first try. So I am about to try my hand at starting a company. 

Right now I have a couple light and furniture designs I have come up with over the years and am going to start producing and selling them at local events. The idea is to see how people respond to my existing designs and to come up with new ideas by interacting with users, and taking on custom projects. At the beginning I will be making pretty much everything myself but, eventually the focus will be to set up a network of local manufacturers to take over production of components.

The goal is to move from direct to consumer sales, to wholesale and architectural services. This will require a flexible production line, and a plan to have my products UL tested and listed as needed. Once we have figured out the logistics for production we will focus our sales efforts on presenting at  ICFF (Inter continental furniture festival). This even was immensely successful at exposing Brendan to the wholesale and hospitality sectors. I saw one of his struggles came from being ready to take on these larger orders. 

The hardest part will be to remain profitable until we can exhibit at some of these larger furniture shows. Direct to customer sales is a difficult model to sustain in furniture design, but  if we don’t growing. We will not have the resources to set up larger scale production. 

I have worked for many small businesses and have seen the struggles first hand. I know the statistics about starting a small business. I have failed at fulfilling smaller and grander dreams. I am definitely scared, but that is better than bored. I would rather be challenged than underutilized.

This will definitely be a challenge,

Brendan Ravenhill Check In.

Working with Brendan is great!! It feels so good to be working with my hands again and I am learning a ton. Learning about both, small bath production, and coordinating; manufacturing, budgets, and sales. At American Apparel I dealt with inventory management and sales, but I mostly felt like I was just checking boxes. Now I am much more present.

When I started it was pretty much a non stop rush to ICFF (the Inter Continental Furniture Festival). Brendan was exhibiting for his second year and showcasing a new set of lights. As i got trained on production, I also jumped in to lead the creation of the new look book and editing photos for the website. 

The event appears to have been a smashing success because we have been in full scale production mode for a month now. I am happy to be off the computer, or at least on it much less. Most of the time I am constructing and wiring lamps but I have also gotten to do some 3D modeling and prototyping of new parts. I taught myself Solidworks for this job and it is definitely my favorite 3D program.

The craziest thing I have learned about so far is UL (Underwriters Laboratories). It is literally everywhere. You can find their logo on pretty much any electronic you will encounter, and if you want to sell lamps it is a big deal. 

Over & Out,

Bye Bye Miss American Apparel

After 2 years in the factory, and 4 years with the company I am excited to be moving on from American Apparel! It was a good run. I am thankfull for the friends that I made at the company, and the fact that it brought me out to LA, but it is time to move on. 

Presentation design was okay, but it was not exactly challenging. Also I feel that I was working myself in to a corner. The more I excelled as a presentation designer. The less likely I was to move in to a production roll. 

Now I am finally back in product design!! In a couple weeks I will start work as an associate designer for Brendan Ravenhill. He is a lighting and furniture designer working out of his home in Echo Park. I enjoy his designs and cant wait to be working with my hands again. 

My primary responsibility will be to assemble and wire lights. Including myself the company will be 5 people. So my presentation prowess and Photoshop skills will come in handy, because I will also be responsible for much of the company graphics design needs.

American Apparel… It has been real, and it has been fun,

Senior Presentation Designer

I had my one year review this week and was promoted to Senior Presentation Designer!! It is now my responsibility to manage any presentation and graphics used by the retail department for company communications. To be honest it is mostly just a title promotion but it comes with a bonus so I’m not complaining!! I will still personally be making most of the presentations and sales lists, but I will have greater authority to contact the graphics department with needs and requests.  

I continue to hope that eventually I will be able to transfer to a job in production. I have done a good job connecting with people in those departments. Part of what got me this promotion was my willingness to communicate with other departments and provide them with graphics and presentation assistance. It is nice to have my hard work recognized, but some times I am worried my success in this roll may make it harder to transfer into production and manufacturing. 

Ultimately the thing that is most surprising about my one year review. Is that I have already been living in Los Angeles for a year!?! I think it has something to do with the weather. All of the days look the same so it is hard to feel the passage of time. Also time flies when your are having fun, and to be honest. I have enjoyed Los Angeles more than I ever expected. Though one of my favorite parts of LA is leaving the city to go camping. When I am done camping, coming back feels like I am coming home. 

Keep on Keeping on,

Go Top