sneak peek: gwendolyn of dear hancock

When Gwendolyn Mason and Earnest Merritt started Dear Hancock last year, they had to choose between dining space and work space. It was no contest. The couple put two drawing tables on the ends of their dining room table, and in the evenings, when Earnest returns home from his job as a woodworker and an art teacher, they paint right across from each other. They’ve lived in this Los Angeles bungalow for five years, and since meeting in grad school at Cal Arts, the two have made art and design an important part of their relationship. Thanks, Gwendolyn and Earnest! And many thanks to Stephen Chiu for the lovely photographs!Amy A.

The layout of our house is very open. Our fireplace, garden and back yard with a lemon tree, various succulents and palm trees are favorite aspects of our home. When we started Dear Hancock, we transformed our California bungalow into a functional creative work space. As artists, we are comfortable living in an environment that functions both as a studio and as a living space. We also enjoy being able to spend most of the year outside on our backyard patio equipped with cafe lights and a farm table. Our Frenchies are happy, too, because they get to hang out in the yard and bask in the sun as they please.

Image above: Wooden table and fiberglass shell chairs by Modernica. My dream wedding gift from my awesome sister Holly! Painting on the wall: “This Particular Clenched and Floating” by Earnest Merritt. Tulips and green hydrangea are on the table.

Image above: My inspiration board is constantly changing and growing, but some of the mainstays are my painting and illustration heroes: David Hockney, Mary Blair, and Feodor Rojankovsky. Also pictured are the witty contemporary sculptors Rachel Harrison and Isa Genzken. All of the cards that Earnest and I used to leave for each other at our Cal Art’s studios (where our romance for paper correspondence began) are permanent fixtures on my inspiration board.

Image above: We transformed our California bungalow into a functional creative work space by placing drawing tables at either end of our dining room table and by converting our sunroom into our storage room. Earnest works full time as a woodworker and art teacher, but when he is home or on break, we paint across from one another. Before we started our company, Earnest and I hand-painted cards for family and friends for the holidays. Our company allows us to recreate this fun experience all year round.

CLICK HERE for the rest of Gwendolyn’s home tour after the jump!

Image above: Detail of Gwendolyn’s inspiration board.

Image above: A crystal for strength in creativity, figurines and shark book ends from the Rose Bowl Flea market and books. I am obsessed with these Capodimonte figurines, mostly because the same handsome face is used for both the woman and the man figure.

Image above: Shelves in the dining room displaying the original paintings for our cards and stationery.

Image above: House incense burner from A + R and miniature vintage trees from my mom. I am not a huge fan of incense, so I burn sage leaves instead. The smoke comes out of the little chimney.

Image above: Zootsie on the crazy quilt.

Image above: All three dogs from left to right: Zootsie, D.O.G. and Tadpole. Couch from DWR. Rug from Potted.

Image above: Vegetables from our garden and a Nathalie Lete plate in the window. I am in love with all of her work and have a growing collection of her hand-painted plates from Anthropologie.

Image above: Painting outside in the afternoon in January.

  1. Laguna Dirt says:

    i love their home and style–so airy and lovely! they either have a lot of restraint or are strong editors. you can tell they are artists!

  2. Kharina says:

    Zootsie, D.O.G and Tadpole are perfect. Oh the house was amazing too, I’m in love with the kitchen!

  3. It’s wonderful how much their home reflects their art and inspirations. I love the way the more modern, design pieces interact with the organic and handmade elements. Also, the dogs really illustrate how livable the space is…

  4. cait says:

    wonderful house, so bright and open, exactly what i love. your sneak peaks have totally inspired us when re-doing our home!

  5. What a perfect artist set up!

  6. Chris says:

    With such a lovely home, no wonder the cards are so inspiring

  7. Debra D. says:

    This looks like so much fun! Where can I get a patchwork quilt like that??It is really unique.

  8. I can completely relate to rooms that serve several functions…ie, dining room and studio…I kinda live the same way…
    inspiring decor….

  9. Julie says:

    I’ve been wanting to give up our modest dining room for a piano. The kids can easily be persuaded, but not so with my husband. Practically speaking, we need to maintain it as a dining space, but I love seeing others who have opted otherwise.

  10. bridget212323 says:

    so pretty – an oasis in such a crazy city…

  11. ananymouse says:

    The house is lovely but the dogs totally steal the show!!!

  12. annawithlove says:

    this is heavenly. adore it.

  13. Phillylass says:

    Those floor lamp spotlights in the dining/studio room! I must have them! Source info, please!!!!!

  14. Gwendolyn says:

    Thank you so much for the great post Amy +Grace! Your editing and writing skills brought out the best in our little place. @Debra D I got our crazy quilt on ebay! Try searching “Vintage Crazy Quilt” @Phillylass the lamps are clip lights from home depot attached to black photo stands.

  15. Betsy says:

    Lovely! Would love to know about the hardwood floors. Please?

  16. Erica says:

    I love that you paint across from each other. That dining room/creative space is the coolest setup ever.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Christine says:

    I adore this house! So inspirational. And I’m loving Zootsie, D.O.G. and Tadpole!

  18. mrs. french says:

    love, love, love…especially the rug in front of the fireplace. xo t

  19. Dear Hancock is infused with fabulous design style, humor, and whimsy! Their cards, website, and other products are truly some of the best stuff Ive seen lately. The incredible aesthetic is so natural for these two artists – and what a lovely home in which to create! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Gwendolyn says:

    @ Betsy The wider floors are white oak and the more narrow floors are fir..I clean them constantly because of the dogs and swear by this hardwood floor cleaner called Bona

  21. I love the book tower in the living room and the pups! Light, bright and very lovely!

  22. Patricia says:

    This home/workspace conveys the same light , spirit-lifting sense as the Dear Hancock cards. Thanks for the breath of fresh air!

  23. Christi L. Spivey says:

    Beautiful house . . . restful and calm . . . and I love your cards that feature your dogs who are so adorable . . . every thought of branching out to other breeds? . . . I know a little dacshund who would make a hilarious card . . .

  24. LM says:

    I love when people really mold their homes around their lives, who needs a dinning table when you would rather spend your time painting?! Such a happy home!

  25. Archijoey says:

    I love the small shelves you have your paintings on! Are these custom or available to purchase somewhere?

  26. Alyson says:

    Where did you find that purple art with white triangles from the first photo? I love it!

  27. Rachel says:

    That first image just sold me on using purple as an accent in my living room. I have the same colors going on — black, white, and olive — and had been thinking about purple… that photo sealed the deal. Thanks for sharing your home with us!

  28. Gwendolyn says:

    @Christi Thanks we definitely plan on growing our dog line!
    @ Archijoey We made the shelves
    out of 1×3″ Douglas fir. Super easy you just need L brackets from your local hardware store.
    @Alyson The framed purple triangle piece is wall paper designed by my friend Sidonie Loiseleux here is a link to her site

  29. my my what a gorgeous home! i am so inspired by the fresh bright light, lovingly displayed details and that pup! so cute!

  30. correction…. i meant to say THE pups. don’t get jealous puppies! you are so freakn’ adorable!

  31. oh my goodness… what a beautiful studio. It must be a joy to work in.
    Thank you for the peak into this gorgeous home. lots of inspiration…

  32. Barbara Pagani says:

    I can’t wait to see your blog to see current projects. You are both very lucky to be able to do this for your living….I am inspired

  33. Anne says:

    I’d love to know what paint colors you used in your dining and living rooms! You’ve created such a serene, artistic feeling!

  34. I’ve seen your stationary before and really loved it!

    Thank you for sharing your home in the beautiful place you create your lovely work in.

    I love natural, colorful taste.


  35. Gwendolyn says:

    Thank you for the nice comments everyone :)
    @bianca of terri-planty My house would not be a home with out my terri-planty!
    @Barbara our blog is coming soon! I will be tracking our progress as we get ready for the National Stationery Show!
    @ Anne Our living room color is called Swan Wing by BEHR and the dining room color is Mexican feather grass by Ralph Lauren

  36. Elise says:

    So beautiful! Not only do I want this house but I want this lifestyle! This has been quite an inspiring post, thank you for sharing!

  37. Anne Bryant says:

    Oh my! What an inspiring and lovely home—thank you for sharing. :)

  38. Andrea says:

    Very inspiring, and so clean…they obviously don’t have animals that molt.

  39. hinteriors says:

    artwork is fantastic

  40. db says:

    everything just everything about this is so great. the drawing tables facing each other is my favorite idea : ) sweet! the colors, artwork & dogs are just adorable. never mind the painting outside in January bit, oh so envious!

  41. DON’T tell me that is a PAINTED OVER Batchelder tile fireplace!

  42. Gwendolyn says:

    @pamela Our plans are to address the bad paint issues on the facade, but there are so many structural problems (many large cracks) as well that need to be fixed to restore it to it’s original state. Any restoration references greatly appreciated.

  43. Dr. Brown says:

    I enjoyed seeing the continuity between the home and the products of Dear Hancock. Clean and attractive, intimate with a touch of sentiment. The feeling of home is definitely in the cards. Let’s not forget humor, how ’bout them Frenchies!

  44. mipmup says:

    great space! where’d you get the flokati (?) rug tadpole is enjoying?

  45. Suz Cohen says:

    great space. love those like dogs.

  46. A Forster says:

    Oh so lovely!

    Would you share the kitchen wall and trim paint colors?

  47. Gwendolyn says:

    @ A Forster Thank you. The wall color is Eucalyptus leaf by Behr and I think the green color is a Martha Stewart green, but unfortunately I can’t remember the name. I usually paint the main wall color and then hang paint chips on the trim and look at them together for a while to help choose the right color.

  48. Holly says:

    I picked up a Dear Hancock greeting card today at Anthropologie and couldn’t be happier to read more about the artists and see their home here on Design Sponge. Beautiful work they do!


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