On a Los Angeles neighborhood street, perched at the top of a hill, there sits a perfectly vintage chateau-inspired house with a clear view of the Hollywood sign, only slightly obscured by towering palm trees. Fuchsia bougainvillea arch over the front steps and up the wall towards the second floor windows, eventually leading back down to the hunter green door of Ben and Jolene Kraus’s home. The husband and wife duo are the creators behind Park Studio, the lighting company that is quickly becoming a go-to for interior designers around the country. Their custom made pieces range from delicate single pipe sconces to intricate double layered chandeliers, all done in a minimal aesthetic that successfully straddles current trends with timeless quality. I visited them on a quiet weekend afternoon to talk about our upcoming shop collaboration, enjoy a backyard picnic, and play with their adorable new baby girl, Arden. Park Studio was a result of both Ben and Jolene wanting a specific fixture for their home, however when they couldn’t find one to buy Ben retreated to his workshop to handcraft their own. What emerged was an organic shaped brass fixture accented with light bulbs at each end reminiscent of tree branches and the leaves that cover them; the nature-inspired Berkeley fixture was born. All of their fixtures are named after places near their childhood homes, Northern California for Ben and Iowa for Jolene. Their intricate Sonoma chandelier casts a mesmerizing upward and downward glow against endless brass pipes, while the delicate Boone hangs playfully from the ceiling like an inquisitive eye on the reader below. The name Park was even influenced by Park St., the road Jolene would drive every day to get back to her house. “Park Street is the most popular street name in the country” claimed Jolene, while Ben jokingly responded, “Look that fact up first”. I did, and it’s true, 9,640 times true to be exact.
As Jolene and I sat on the porch talking about her new ideas for designs and latest interior design happenings, Ben tinkered in the background polishing a new fixture while getting ready to pack up their latest order. Jolene notes that he’ll start playing with extra poles and parts, attaching something here, bending something there and emerge with a beautiful concept for the new design she verbalized to him. In an industry where multiple designers source parts from similar manufacturers, their off the cuff designs truly occur on the spot in the quiet of their studio. A prominent spot in Domino Magazine helped launch their company, but the attainability and approachability of their custom designs are what sustain them. Even watching Jolene walk around the studio with Arden while Ben turned back occasionally to watch them reaffirmed how Park Studio is really a family collaboration and not a corporation. The small studio is packed with works in progress, a floor lamp prototype born from a need for a nursery lamp sat near a clustered fixture accented with oversized round bulbs. Jolene and Ben describe the growth of Park Studio as a go-to for the entire home. They plan on folding in hardware, textiles, and furniture in the coming years, while continuing to build custom sconces, pendants, and chandeliers.
I wandered through their home eyeing a number of fixtures I would have run away with if I only understood wiring a bit better. Thanks to Jolene’s interior design background she’s not afraid to test new things, as evident in the mint green fixture hanging above their patio table or the grand outstretched chandelier hung low above their dining table. Back in the studio, Ben had returned to his bench where he was already finishing the arms and sockets of a new design, I peered into a box packed with colored cords ready for their latest product addition, and Jolene sat near a new floor lamp contemplating adding a marble or cement base. As new parents they are mastering the art of multitasking and have no plans of slowing down any time soon. Our conversation went from what to make for a dinner party that night, to a new writing job, to getting their pieces ETL listed, to design meetings with clients without any break in thought or dialogue. What would seem like an endless task list to most is turning into a list of accomplishments for Park Studio, all of which begin in their little backyard studio where the family of three sit together building their company.
We’re excited to announce that Park Studio are the first featured sellers in the Popover Shop! They created miniature versions for two of their well known fixtures just for Popover. Stop by to pick up a unique piece from the Los Angeles duo.