ARTICLE Nicole James PHOTOGRAPHY Han Starnes
American-born Han Starnes and husband set off to Wellington in New Zealand for graduate school. While, there, Han spent a lot of time learning about textiles and fashion, particularly hard-spinning yarn. Now, after the duo flew back to the inspiring and creative community of Nashville, 'Han Starnes' - their fashion label - has blossomed. We take a look at the beautiful raw, clean and minimal space in their very own backyard where the action takes place.
Did you build the studio yourself?
Basically. The previous owner used the space to work on his cars. Before we touched it, the structure was just a concrete slab, four-corner metal beam frame and an old metal roof – we took it from there. For a while we were debating what to do with it and decided it was the ideal size for the studio so we got started. We self-contracted the whole build out, and had friends participate in different aspects.
What made you choose to build you studio at the back of your property?
Well, we had this existing structure, our lease at our previous studio space was up, and after we took some time searching, we concluded that it’d be great to build out the studio on the property. Now that we’re in it, it’s really nice to have the convenience of being close to our kitchen, especially when guests are coming for a visit. It also just supports a better work/life balance. We may have children one day, so this set-up would allow me to continue working while the kids nap, etc.
How did you decide on the materials to build it with?
We worked with several friends who knew a lot about sustainable building materials, and went with their suggestions. We also got creative, using mis-measured windows that were just going to be thrown away by the manufacturer, for example. We chose other elements for its features and what it brought to the space. One example of this is the aluminium sliding door; we love how minimal it is and how much natural light it lets in.
What were your ideas when planning the studio?
I really wanted an open space that I could move around when needed – sometimes we use the studio for photoshoots, so everything is easily moveable. I wanted a lot of natural light, so wanted big windows, a glass door and everything to be as white as possible to help it feel even brighter.
Did it turn out the way you had imagined?
Yes, it mainly turned out how I expected. The two small windows in the back arrived a little smaller than I had visulised, but worked out fine. In time we may add a few more features, like a bathroom!
How would you describe the style of your studio?
I think the studio reflects our brand, Han Starnes, quite well. I designed both projects, so I think it’s naturally pretty connected. The space is fairly minimal and functional, yet has a lot of character due to the nature of the story of this building. At the core of the label is the desire to explore the space between raw beauty and a clean silhouette. I haven’t really thought of it until now, but I guess that’s what this space has become.
Do you have any advice to give to those who are wanting to create their own space?
This whole project seemed really daunting at first, and wasn’t easy by any means. But it became a really fun and rewarding project to see come to fruition. And, we are not contractors, so working with different construction crews was not as easy as we thought either. As for colours, I always suggest white even for the floors. It does show all the dirt and dust, but makes you keep it cleaner. And make a plan, and a budget!
What would be your most favourite piece that you have designed?
Hard choice! I would say my favourite piece thus far is one we have released in August called the Knit Jumpsuit as part of our FW16 collection. It’s a knitted jumpsuit made from 100% Alpaca.
Take a look at the fashion pieces designed and created by Han Starnes on their website.
All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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