Will this be the year you take up hand-lettering? Build a she-shed? Perk up the pantry? Well, why not?! Bask in the brilliance of these hammer-wielding, clay-throwing, farmhouse-flipping innovators who epitomize the art of make-ing it happen.
Last year, as the "small space" craze gained big traction, the widely esteemed Birmingham, Alabama, architect teamed up with to "design by the square inch instead of the square foot." The result: beautiful, space-maximizing house plans—including the 464-square-foot "Low Country"—that complement the Southern landscape and are tailor-made for thoughtful, edited living.
Paper has been Lorraine's medium of choice since the origami cranes of childhood, but the Brooklynite has since graduated to a more advanced (but equally whimsical!) 3-D style (shown above and via her paper-tastic ). Achieved with card stock and an Excel knife, her precise creations, now taught via workshops, will soon get the stop-motion treatment.
While the began her career at a desk, she quickly craved a new path. So she carved one, turning solid wood and cork into one-of- a-kind tabletop elements like bowls, plates, planters, and more (coming soon: sculptural furniture). "I'm proud of having a sustainable business," says Melanie, whose book, , recently hit shelves.
The founder of —an Ardmore, Pennsylvania, company that breathes new life into vintage furniture—has always had an appreciation for antiques. (Her grandmother's lace doily even graces her inspiration board.) "My team and I live and work by the motto 'What was once lost is now found,'" says Molly, who pairs timeless silhouettes with bold textiles and fresh finishes. (Custom pieces are also available.)
The Jackson, Tennessee-based, blues-loving owner of uses everything from river rocks to wooden blocks to create unique patterns on eye-catching textiles.
This self-taught woodworker behind —he began learning his craft from watching YouTube videos—makes tables, countertops, and more out of locally salvaged wood slabs, from both fallen trees and damaged buildings. Customers select full-length pieces from his stockpile in Hartsdale, New York, and work with Robert to design custom furnishings that highlight the original wood grain. Beyond furniture, Robert has collaborated with companies like Coach and MoMA to build out their office spaces.
The 's style is nothing less than smile-inducing thanks to her use of whimsical wallpaper, cheerful checks, painted floors, and floral prints. See more of her work in this technicolor, patteren-clad California farmhouse.
The Santa Clara, Utah, DIY-er whose project-and humor-filled blog, , "runs on paint fumes and blind enthusiasm" shares how she makes the old new—including this stunning hex wall. "This honeycomb wall came in at less than $100. I just used 10- by 2- by 1-inch boards (roughly 40 of them) and paint samples." Get the complete tutorial on .
The founder of cooks up "soft and buttery" accessories (hence the company name) from a 100-year-old, shiplap-paneled shotgun house in Homewood, Alabama, and finishes them with a signature flourish: cross-stitches. (Leather-and-canvas table linens will soon be coming to a table near you.)
As the founder of , this former DJ has found a nice niche for himself—a 72-square-foot fiberglass niche. Handmade in California, his retro-inspired wheels can be customized down to every detail.
The Californian's sentimental-not-saccharine musings speak to "the relationships we really have," says Emily. Find her cheeky cards on .
A former museum archivist, the Texan-turned-Californian introduced contemporary design to the sometimes-staid world of embroidery via her company, , which designs and manufactures bold patterns, kits, tools, and textiles. "I'm most proud when a veteran embroiderer tells me they couldn't do a French knot until they read my instructions. That's the best."
Laura's features tons of fun pieces and designs all of which, she makes in her Airstream.
Carolyn is stitching up a modern take on the classic craft with .
This Austin, Texas' hand-stitched, natural-dyed pieces, available at , make for instant heirlooms.
Co-founder of the Modern Quilt Guild (and quilting royalty), the artist is best known for her graphic patterns, which you can buy through her .
Emily's quilts are instantly recognizable thanks to her one-of-a-kind customizable constellation and map designs.
Thanks to Margie's eye for design and the high-quality crepe paper she sources from Europe for her shop, , her paper flowers are so realistic they'll make you look twice. She just got her faux blooms approved for use in her Salt Lake City community's Intensive Care Units (where real blooms aren't permitted), and a larger hospital-friendly line is in the works.
Back in 2010, Sunny and Marianne were working with Texas museums to create crowd-pleasing exhibitions when they had an idea: What if they moved the installations out of the art space and into the real world? Since then, and it's signature giant streamers—made from colorful plastic bags—have graced building facades, sculpture gardens, and yes, plenty of parties. "We wanted to create something people could touch—ceiling treatments, backdrops, photo booths, even costumes, says Sunny.
When event experts Kelly and Maria of event design company crossed paths with Elena of , a designer known for hosting kids' sewing camps and classes throughout the Midwest (including Illinois, Michigan, and Indiana), the trio stitched together an idea: an adult-friendly Ritzy Bee Sewing Bee. Hosted in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (and easily duplicatable anywhere!), their fresh take on the old-fashioned communal crafternoon featured feminine floral decor (most notably designer Lulie Wallace's "Brooklyn" fabric), herb-and-cucumber spritzers (alongside ample white wine), and a buffet of light snacks (including buttery button cookies) displayed on a vintage wooden ironing board. The simple party project—tasseled cocktail napkins—allowed for plenty of mingling along with the making. "It's a nice way for friends to gather together and acquire a lifelong skill," says Elena.
"My grandmother taught me an appreciation for antiques, and my homes reflect my love for the timeworn and handcrafted," says the Franklin, Tennessee-based designer behind and author of , who creatively repurposed stacks of vintage books for a striking accent wall in this Leiper's Fork vacation rental.
If you've recently visited the Music City, there's a good chance you've seen , a 1960s VW transporter truck offering freshly cut flowers. That truck (now three of them, actually) is the brainchild of a former food truck operations manager who, after returning home from a blood-filled trip to Paris, noticed that flowers weren't as accessible around Nashville. "I simply dreamed up a flower truck and took a chance," says Mattie, citing a favorite T.S. Eliot quote: "If you aren't in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?"
When best friends who shop flea markets couldn't find a sturdy, American-made bag to wield their wares, they made one themselves. Now their Brooklyn company, , has expanded into accessories inspired by a "simple, timeless aesthetic and purposeful, sustainable construction," says Shira, who also teamed with Alexandra on Immodest Cotton, an ethically sourced collaboration in India.
An avid "picker" of paper ephemera (textbooks, journals, periodicals), the Ann Arbor, Michigan, graphic designer and owner of hand-prints vintage-inspired pieces outfitted in antique frames. (Your gallery wall will thank you.)
While working for Microsoft in Turkey, the now-New Yorker crossed paths with a family of traditional shoemakers and, behold, was born. Available in 20+ colors, the buttery leather loafer has a comfortably heeled cult following based on word-of-mouth (and, okay, a write-up in The New York Times). Now 25 craftspeople (including female Syrian refugees) keep up with growing demand.
Hilary's repurposing career started with totes made from old dress patterns. Now the Richmond, Virginia, native and owner of (and CL Fair vendor!) breathes new life into a variety of (mostly mid-century) vintage finds (see: old tennis racquets-turned-coffee table base).
A true multitasker, the Sunnyvale, California, mother of three has written books ( and ), is a designer at Google, and is one of the founding designers of , a line of more than 1,000 bright, happy patterns that mix across collections. (Rashida's burst with pattern and color.)
Known for her idiosyncratic design, the and author came by her industrious spirit honestly: Mom's a painter; Dad's a dairy farmer. Soft home goods (pillows, rugs, aprons) and a bedding collection featuring her whimsical motifs are on the horizon.
The flower artist behind and author of says her career blossomed after a day in her tiny Seattle garden: "One day I noticed 'fins' in the orange poppies growing in my yard, so I brought them inside and created a goldfish out of the petals," says Bridget, who arranges her works in her light-filled dining room. "My three boys are always eating their cereal with petals strewn across the table!" And now lets the materials inform her work. "I never sketch anything beforehand because the petals themselves are so moveable," Bridget says. "I like seeing what happens when I put elements on the table. But I do have a palette in mind. I'll be in my mother's garden and her chocolate cosmos will inspire a 'cup of hot chocolate.'"
A fateful trip to a flea market led to the quirky moniker of design firm "Percy was knee-deep in renovating a home; I was bored out of my mind waiting tables," says Tara. "A few weeks after we met, we were at Brimfield Antique Show talking about starting a business, and we stopped at a table of embossing stamps. Percy demonstrated how they worked and—voilà!—a Jersey Ice Cream Co. seal came up." The name stuck. And while Tara notes they struggle to put their aesthetic into words, their beautifully restored projects (many near their home base of upstate New York) featuring authentic materials (reclaimed wood, plaster walls) speak for themselves.