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Home Upgrade

Inside One Designer’s Airy, Ever-Changing Attic Studio

Home Upgrade BY leah bhabha 09/22/2017

Even in her early days of jewelry-making—before she launched her line Uni for real—Kiersten Crowley worked out of her Portland, Oregon, bungalow. But back then, that looked like sketching and finishing her chunky cuffs and droplet-like earrings in a small corner of her laundry room. After too many years of cold, damp days—particularly during the gray Pacific Northwest fall—Kiersten knew she needed a space that would fuel her creativity and, luckily, she and her husband had a big ol’ attic that ran the length of their home. It was unfinished then...but not for long. 


Though the area was fairly untouched—sans electricity!—Kiersten and her husband Mike renovated it over a couple of months. Hoping for a “rustic, big, open space with lots of light,” she kept the basic layout the same, investing in four skylights. “That was crucial for making it feel bright,” she explains. Another decision to save money and time: sticking with the original plank wood flooring.



One key to making the spot work for photo shoots and anything else Kiersten has going is incorporating statement pieces—like this Demimonde vase—that can be easily moved around to change the vibe or create new scenes. And, big picture, it all comes back to the windows and lighting, which immediately deliver a brightness that sets the stage for whatever she’s creating.




How life- and business-changing has the new studio been, you ask? “I like to think that when I moved into that space, it opened up a little window in the creative part of my mind that I needed more from.” Another stand-out piece—to ring in all those fresh ideas, perhaps?—is a bell from fellow Portland maker, Notary Ceramics.



Thanks to many years as an avid thriftier, Kiersten had plenty of decorative elements to choose from. “I like funkier, edgier pieces,” she explains. Among those that made the cut are baskets to hold everything from needle and thread to scarves, and midcentury leather chairs she's collected on her travels through the Southwest. 



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