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A Jewelry Designer’s Home Studio Makes Use of Each Bit of Space

by Erin Austen Abbott

What started as a hobby over 10 years ago has turned into a full fledged business for new Oakland, CA resident (by way of Brooklyn, NY, where this home tour took place) and jewelry designer Jaclyn Mayer of Orly Genger. Working from home gives her the ability to be a working mom to her young son, even when it’s not the easiest of tasks to juggle the two. “My child is now 20 months old, and it gets harder and harder to work at home as he’s getting to an age where he needs constant attention and supervision,” she admits. “When I was living in Brooklyn I took him with me everywhere. To all my factories and suppliers. They all loved him. I had to plan work that I did at home around his nap schedule. Otherwise we would be out running around the city.”

Jaclyn’s Brooklyn home, shared with her husband and son, mixed her love of vintage finds with handmade treasures from travels or made by friends while adding a layer of warmth to her home studio — and each piece has a story. “Most of the art is by people I know. It makes the pieces more special to me when I look at them.  Not only do I think about the picture, but I get to think about the friend who made it. The big drawing in our living room above the couch is by one of my closest friends, Orly Genger. She is also my jewelry partner. She gave it to us as a wedding present. So I get to think about three things when I look at it: The drawing, Orly, and our wedding! I love that,” Jaclyn recalls. 

Staying organized when you share your workspace with your family can be tricky. But Jaclyn found a way for the two to blend seamlessly. “By nature, I can be a bit of a hoarder. So I have to do major clean-outs periodically. Moving was probably the best thing for me as it forced me to go through my studio and get rid of things I’d been saving for 10 years. I have to keep everything in labeled bins. Otherwise I wouldn’t ever be able to find anything.”

If this is what Jaclyn and her husband could do with a tiny Brooklyn apartment, I can only imagine how their new home in Oakland is shaping up. —Erin Austen Abbott

Photography by Carolina Mariana Rodriguez

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"The lamp is from my grandparents' house, the bed frame is from Room & Board, the dresser is vintage," Jaclyn notes. The sheets are Coyuchi and Matteo.
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"The print is by David Salle. The twine wrapped around the pole is so that I didn’t burn myself on it when getting dressed. The rug was my grandmother's, the nightstand and mirror are vintage flea market finds."
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Jaclyn and her son, who is now 20 months old, sit among handmade pillows. "I made the indigo ones and the brown ones were a wedding present from my friend Victoria who designed the line VPL."
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The turntable and receiver are vintage. Large painting over the couch by Orly Genger.
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"I found the cork lamp at Brimfield Market years ago," Jaclyn says. "The couch is an old Crate and Barrel hand-me-down."
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A natural light-filled bathroom, with vintage tile and a clawfoot bathtub, give this cozy room lots of character and old world charm.
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"In the dining room, the chairs were my husbands before we met. He probably got them at a thrift shop. I got the table at a junk shop in Bed-Stuy. The flat file is also from an old antique shop. Sadly, we had to get rid of all of these when we moved [to Oakland]. It’s nice that I have these pictures now!" Jaclyn shares.
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The living room and dining room feel perfectly divided here by the music area, without cutting the room down. It joined the two rooms together when more space was needed, while allowing each person to do their own thing, with the placement of the table to the wall.
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Julia Child is the inspiration behind the organized kitchen. "I love to cook, so I’ve got a lot of utensils and our kitchen is short on storage. I saw that Julia Child had all her utensils on a peg board and I thought it was genius."
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Another corner of this Julia Child-inspired kitchen. A peg board wall makes for a simple way to store everything a home cook needs, while still having everything at your fingertips.
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"This is my favorite piece of furniture that I own, the credenza my studio," Jaclyn shares. "It was my grandmother's."
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In the baby's room, Jaclyn explains, "The cabinet is an IKEA hack we made. We bought kitchen cabinets and just put wood on the top and bottom. It’s great for storage. The toys are all gifts. My friend Tamar Mogendorff made my son the stuffed dog. She makes the most beautiful stuffed animals. I've acquired a small collection of hers over the years. The mobile was from my parents, and the rocker is by Bloom and was also [a] gift."
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This home studio stayed organized by doing regular purges and labeling the clear bins of materials. Magazines are always at Jaclyn's fingertips when looking for inspiration, as well as the large mood board, which she does for each collection. The sun-filled room was just steps from her son's play area.
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The vintage features in this Brooklyn apartment are so charming, such as the transom windows above the doorway. Staying tidy is a must when working from home in Brooklyn.
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From rugs to art, it's clear that treasures from travels are very special and dear to this family. "What I love most about my home is our growing family and the different objects from our travels around the apartment."
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The layout from their now former apartment will always be a reminder to them of where their family started, and will help them to look forward to the new chapter in their lives -- now in Oakland, CA.

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