Oh Joy

career day / a furniture maker...
16 Jul 2015

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

In our newest Career Day, we visited the studio of husband and wife team, Michaele and Johannes of Kalon Studios. I've been a fan of their beautiful furniture ever since I saw a photo of this beautiful crib they designed. When we use things in our home—like furniture—on such a regular basis, sometimes we forget the people who made or designed them. So it was a fun treat to get to see (and show Ruby) the process of what goes into designing furniture.

Together with Michaele and Johannes, Ruby made a small chair which she had so much fun making and using afterwards. Michaele and Johannes have converted their garage into a beautiful, working studio that their kids love to visit and see what their parents are up to. Here's a closer look into their beautifully designed world...

Career Day / Kalon Studios

What’s your background and when and why did you start making furniture? / We were making furniture for ourselves long before we started Kalon. The company was a natural outgrowth of our lifestyle, practices and needs. We officially started Kalon when we had our first daughter. We were unable to find a crib we liked and made one for her. We were also struggling to find a way to support ourselves in a way that we could be equal participants in the home life. Neither one of us wanted to miss out on the early years with our children and neither wanted to be stuck at home alone. We were making a few other pieces at the same time, and someone suggested that we try to sell them. It was the first time we recognized ourselves as a design team and that we could sell the work we were making together. Those pieces became our first collection.

Career Day / Kalon Studios

How did you figure out your signature style? / Kalon’s style is very much born out of the both of us, a convergence of our interests and aesthetics. It’s a true collaboration but, interestingly, not at all a compromise. A piece designed by either one of us would look very different than what we make together. What we design offers a lot of aesthetic space for different and/or changing tastes. 

Career Day / Kalon Studios

What is your dream for your brand? / For it to continue to support our family and continue to allow us to pursue our interests. For it to offer a way to rethink how things are produced, in the factory and for the consumer. For the pieces that we make to become truly cherished pieces in people’s homes. For the pieces we make to be timeless and to gain more value and meaning for the individual over time.

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Best part about your job? / Getting to make whatever we want exactly the way we want to make it. It’s amazing that we can go down rabbit holes of personal interests and translate that into a project. It makes it so that the job never gets boring. There is always something to be passionate about. Being able to work from home so that we can be a part of our children’s younger years is also very special and rewarding. 

Worst part about your job? / Having the home life, personal life and work life all rolled into one is complicated at times. It’s really difficult to draw the lines between the two. In a way, it’s both the best and worst part. Transitioning to home life, whatever that really means, is difficult. And in a word: production. 

Career Day / Kalon Studios

How do you make working with your spouse work? / We share many interests and aesthetics. We wouldn’t be working together if we both didn’t share a vision for our lives. For us, once we met, it was really about finding a way to shape a life where we could spend as much time together as possible. Now we have children, it’s extended to them as well. Our company grew out of that desire, and from the fact that we’re both incredibly stubborn people with a very strong, clear vision of how we want things to be. So, going our own way was sort of the only way.

Career Day / Kalon Studios

How do you set your work schedules around your family life? / When we started there was no separation. As the company has grown and time has passed, we’ve made a concerted effort to separate things as much as possible. The girls being in school full-time helped, and we try to keep our work day within their school hours. Once they are home, the studio doors are open to them and we make room for them so that it is their space as much as ours. 

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

I loved seeing working, entrepreneur parents in their element and how their businesses fit in with their personal lives. Their home is a reflection of their style and their work with almost every piece crafted or designed by them. It's true reflection of how design comes out of need and the pure desire to make something exactly the way you want it.

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy.}

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