And now for a little Q+A with Maureen on Wynne Ware and her process:
1. What is your background and what led you to start Wynne Ware?
I grew up in a home of collectors so I was exposed to design through the eclectic mix of pieces my parents brought into our home. They instilled in me the importance of craftsmanship so every item in our home was well-made and substantial, even my bedroom furniture (even though I remember desperately wanting a red lacquer Ikea dresser in middle school!). My grandmother too had a great influence on me, bringing me along to garage sales and always finding the most unique objects at the best prices. This world sparked my passion for making old things new again. Continuing on that theme, in college I studied Art History at Berkeley. I worked in museums and galleries but after graduation I got a job at Google in their advertising department. I worked closely with small businesses who really inspired me with their entrepreneurial spirit and was able to get a solid understanding of business strategy. However, I knew deep down the corporate life wasn’t for me and after almost five years there I left to go out on my own without my next steps fully defined.
Wynne Ware was created out of a genuine love for design and mixing old with new. I wanted to create a space that offers a seamless collection of interesting and well-made homewares that mixes past and present effortlessly and in a modern way.
2. How would you describe the Wynne Ware aesthetic?
Timeless. Feminine. Eclectic. Artistic.
I want the pieces be able to add interest to any home and be adopted into others’ aesthetics. I really think of home as a form of self-expression so I’d love for people to make the pieces their own. There are items in the collection for those who have a more subtle and minimal aesthetic as well as for the maximalist color enthusiast!
3. Where do you source the objects you carry?
All over! Over the years I’ve bookmarked designers who’ve caught my eye and when the idea to make Wynne Ware a reality began I started reaching out to many of them. I was pleasantly surprised with how encouraging and enthusiastic many of them were to be a part of my new business. Social media has also been a great place to find new pieces, since many designers use it as a portfolio. Word of mouth too -- the Bib & Sola line is actually my sister’s friend from grade school! I find many of the pieces during my travels and at antique stores, estate sales, local and international markets and fairs. I pretty much always have my eye out no matter where I am.
4. How do you decide what makes it into the shop?
My aim is to choose pieces that are truly unique, spark conversation, are made to last, and have an interesting story to tell -- whether it’s a vintage piece or newly designed. I hope the pieces will be a part of someone’s home for years, and perhaps even be passed down.
5. What is your favorite type of item to look for?
I like pieces that surprise me — either in how they look or how they’re made. For example, a few weeks ago I stumbled upon Hein Studio’s modular Ostrea candle holders and I was immediately captivated by their look and how they were a fresh new version of the stackable Nagel candle holders. I started talking with the designer, who is lovely, and learned more about her design process and how they’re made in Denmark. Or the ‘Tallow Candle’ which is inspired by traditional candle holders from the 1800s and made entirely from one piece of wax. Those are the types of items I really enjoying finding and carrying in our store.
I also love finding a unique vintage object, then learning when and where it was made and uncovering the beautiful marks, shades, and cracks that can only happen over time. Older objects carry a certain wisdom and finding them is a real treat.
6. Favorite sources of inspiration for home?
I’m a little bit of a book and magazine hoarder (I kept most of my college Art History books and find it very hard to recycle magazines) so I flip through many of those when I’m looking for inspiration. I enjoy Architectural Digest, C Magazine, I.D, and Cereal to name a few and have a folder of magazine cutouts of inspiration from over the years. Some of my recent favorite design books are - California Design (1930-1965)” and Modern Scandinavian Design.
I’ve been a huge fan of the French website, The Socialite Family, for a few years now — I find it endlessly inspiring and have gotten lost on the site for hours at a time. I love how their homes are not perfectly made up or thought out but a casual mix of designs, decades, colors, etc. I also love Passerbuys for the same reasons. In real life, I find inspiration visiting friends’ homes and staying in Airbnbs or homestays when we travel. I love getting a glimpse into someone’s home and seeing how people live in their spaces and what they choose to bring into their home -- there’s something quite intimate about it and inspiring to me.
P.S. Maureen wrote a little feature about me over on the Wynne Ware journal.
Photos by Jen Trahan