My partner is one of the few people I know who has as many books as I do. We have bookshelves in several rooms, and a stack on every table – but the most pervasive are my notebooks – which are always within reach. My drawings look like chicken scratch, but some of the designs I’m most happy with have come out of rolling over in bed and scribbling. Most of my designs start in these in an abstract way.
My humble collection of knives
I have one of these guys in my pocket at all times, and they come in handy. They are all made in America (as far as I can tell), and I sharpen them on the same whetstones as my chisels. They include: my dad’s old boy scout knife, an unmarked 4” with corkscrew and a rosewood handle, and two Barlow knives (each has two blades, and nothing else): one I found in a box of trash, and on from Bear MGC that my partner gave me for Christmas.
Platero, a cedar and rosewood flamenco guitar
Naming your guitar might be kind of a dick-move, but I built ‘Platero’ from rough lumber, so laugh away. I worked in the fine-woodworking lutherie shop at Warren Wilson College, and my senior year I built 2 flamenco guitars, one while on the clock and one during the weekends. I would literally walk through 2AM dorm parties on my way back from the woodshop. When I get down on woodworking, I’ll sit down with Platero (named after a donkey in Juan Ramón Jiménez’s Nobel winning Platero and I). It’s a way to remind myself that I’m not wasting my time, but also to slow down and enjoy the process.Buy Now$5,100
My parents work for a non-profit that takes them all across Europe, where they’ve lived for the past 30 years. There was a good deal of moving around and being on the road, but when I was 13, we bought a home in Kandern, Germany; a quiet black-forest town with one cop car and a couple dozen ceramics studios. It’s a quiet town where everyone sweeps the street in front of their shops or homes weekly, with a broom. So I found great amusement and custom-ordered and overpaid for my ‘Kandern Thug Life’ hat at lids.com. Folks there are confused by it, but my kid sister gets the joke.Shop Now$30+
thonet no 14 chair
I’m only able to go home about once every two years, and there are those few places that I wouldn’t miss going to for the world: the local Turkish restaurant, the Vitra Design museum, and a warehouse thrift store just over the German/French border. The lattermost is open twice a week at strange times, and filled with the most eccentric elderly folk. One year I went to the clerk with a Swiss army knife, vintage suitcase and this vintage thonet chair no 14. The price he quoted me for the lot was 2 Euro. This one was made between 1888-1922, but the design debuted in 1859 and revolutionized chair design and furniture production. I had to take it apart, and bring it back in a duffel bag but it was well worth it. I turn to it often when I am working on a prototype chair; it’s beautiful, simple, comfortable, and brilliantly designed.Shop$125+
old-school Creative Zen mp3 player
I’m not very tuned in to the tech world; I don’t have a TV or microwave, and I only joined the Smart-phone world less than a year ago. This mp3 player has been all I’ve needed since I upgraded from a Diskman. It has survived 3 summers in Alaska, 4 years of college, and 6 years of tech-destroying sawdust. Every time I drop it, it breaks into pieces and I have to re-assemble it, but I don’t get distracted by every email I get, and I don’t have to worry about breaking $600 worth of designed obsolescence. Plus, it’s tiny, and when I pull it out of my pocket people assume that it’s some top-technology Japanese phone.Shop$35+
Through college, I spent my summers in Alaska working on a small commercial salmon boat called The Shiloh. When we weren’t on the boat, I shared a campsite with friends who worked on other boats. The work is about as exhausting as you would imagine, and the smell is often worse. So when I got my crew-share at the end of my first year, the first thing I did was buy a bottle of Burberry London. I had to hitchhike to a store to do it and then wrapped it in a dirty coat to keep it from breaking on the rest of the trip. I don’t wear it often (the smell of fresh cut white oak is miles above that of stale fishblood) so the bottle is still half full.Buy Now$75
Collection of Erik Riley Paintings
My sister Kelsey Garrity-Riley and her husband Erik Riley are both incredible artists. We collaborate often and their work is wildly inspiring to me.
I was staying with them in Savannah, Ga when they were getting ready to move to NYC. They were getting rid of tons of sketchbooks, prints and paintings. I made off like a bandit and my house is filled with them.