When we picked up roots and moved our studio from its home in Brooklyn, New York to the relative wilds of Beachwood Canyon in Los Angeles, California, we had a pretty high bar set in terms of expectations. Our studio space in Brooklyn was great—a third floor walkup in a historic, former pre-prohibition brewery with tall ceilings, gigantic northeastern-facing windows, and excellent light for photo shoots and general good moods (you can see pictures of the space throughout older posts in this journal, like this one on the desks we made with Katie’s dad back in 2010).
But, even if we hadn’t moved to the west coast, that area—Boerum Hill—was rapidly changing and rents were starting to skyrocket, so we likely would have moved even if we had remained a Brooklyn-based company.
So when we finally made the decision to head westward, we sought out a different work atmosphere that reflected our desired change in lifestyle, but still met certain requirements, awesome light included.
Making the choice to combine home + office (at least initially), we situated ourselves in Beachwood Canyon, just up the street from where we originally staged our four month trial period last fall. For anyone not already familiar with the area, Beachwood’s the canyon directly below the Hollywood sign where the original Hollywoodland development was built (read more about this history of the area at beachwoodcanyon.org). Though it’s technically part of Hollywood, the neighborhood feels a million miles aways from the Times-Square-esque tourist hub down the hill and abuts Griffith Park, the nation’s largest urban park and a big draw for us. Our home + office is nestled at the foot of a woodsy hill with (no joke) a pack of coyotes living at its peak and the whole neighborhood gives off a surprisingly small town feel, with a small strip of businesses just up the street from us.
Every morning except for those two or three it rains (I wish that were less of a hyperbole), we set up our design studio on our the patio right next to our house. There are a few negatives to doing this—on some days, our wi-fi signal can get a little weak and, yes, we are sometimes startled by falling tree debris—but, most days, it’s akin to working in the midst of a tranquil little forest.
We ordered one of the few solid wood outdoor tables we can find to serve as our daytime work table/nighttime dining and hang-out area. The table’s topped slotted pieces of wood that make it easy to run our power adaptor and a FireWire cable to connect our two computers for a faster tie-in than wi-fi would provide. We moved from two large desktop screens to two 15″ MacBook Pros, which took a little adjusting and can be somewhat limiting with large publication work, but we have a backup gigantic iMac in our indoor office + guest room to use as needed.
In Brooklyn, we employed a realtively large, 1 terabyte (one trillion bytes) G-Drive to house all of our design projects externally, but, when we moved to the more mobile, outdoor office, we purchased a much smaller G-Drive Mobile with a dual USB data + power connector so we could both transport the drive more easily and wouldn’t require a totally separate power source, as with the previous drive.
In terms of overall power source for the laptops, we ran a series of lines of outdoor lights from the utility outlet, through the tree in our yard, across the dividing fence and under the table.
At the end of the day, we pack up shop and return the patio to recreational mode.
Who knows if we’ll keep this setup in the longterm or move to separate home + office again down the road, but, for the time being, we’re enjoying designing in the wilds of Hollywood.
Below, power + data connections to our computers and G-Drive; our decorative-meets-utilitarian power source; straight-up decorative semaphore flag (F for Farmer AND Frichtel, bike-planter, and HAPPY pennants to remind us why we do all this (partial hold-over from Katie’s birthday); nothing says ‘happy’ like fresh flowers from the farmers market!; ditto that for homemade cold brew coffee most days; Allister + Owen posing regally; and Katie, looking cutely studious, along with Owen, in his usual stop directly below my chair.