Stephanie and I sat down with Carrie Kiefer and Morgan Georgie of Ampersand Design Studio to discuss the current Golden & Pine x Ampersand collab for our Mediterranean Modern collection. The ladies are keeping very busy lately with International Women’s Month, but we were lucky enough to hop on a quick call to ask some hard questions. Like who has more color in their home decor, what their favorite Golden & Pine products are, and who has a favorite piece of art in the collection. The conversation was so good that our feature story had to be broken up into two posts. Keep reading to find out the answers to those questions and more, then head back to read part two of our interview:
Ampersand’s design style is known for its use of color, bold graphics, and minimal pattern. Does that carry over into your home? How would you describe your at-home decor style?
Carrie: Sure. We probably need to answer separately because we’re different?
Morgan: Ya, we’re totally different.
Carrie: I think I’m a little more colorful at home. A lot of white walls, but a lot more color probably in my decor.
Morgan: I mean you have a bright yellow couch, a cool red shelf, rainbow-colored books…
Carrie: Ya, there’s a little more color happening, a little more vintage, a mix of old and new.
Morgan: I’d say you are a lot more maximalist. You just have a lot more color and pattern going on. It’s so fun in there.
Carrie: It’s a lot of personality I guess you could say.
Morgan: We did a renovation in a portion of the house a few years ago. The parts of my house that are permanent are very neutral. It’s all light wood, white, plaster texture, a little bit of brass hardware but mostly no hardware. It’s really natural and very neutral. But I can’t help myself with adding in lots of pops of color here and there - in the art, in the accessories, in the kitchen pieces…. I get bored with things very easily so I knew I had to have the permanent things neutral and then be able to switch it up with decor.
Stephanie, obviously Golden & Pine spills over into your house.
Stephanie: Ha, and I’m all neutral! But you know what I’m going to say because people say we don’t do color? I love color, it’s just I love muted color. I want lots of different tones, like if you painted a gray wash over the rainbow.
Morgan: I think Golden & Pine is filled with great color.
Stephanie: Ha, a lot of people walk into the store and call us all neutral.
Morgan: I don’t feel that way when I’m in Golden & Pine. It just all feels really fresh and calming. They are lighter, muted tones. But I feel like when you do “color”, like the current stronger pops of cobalt blue, it’s carefully chosen and so well curated with the rest of the palette. It seems attainable to people that are really scared of adding color into their homes.
What feeling would you like people to associate with your home style when they see it for the first time?
Morgan: I feel like your home should reflect your personality. It should be filled with things you love, things that make you happy. I mostly want my home to be welcoming and comfortable.
Carrie: I’d say the same. Just welcoming and warm is what I hope to achieve.
Stephanie: Calming, relaxing and lived in.
What are your current favorite pieces at Golden & Pine?
Morgan: A couple of things I use multiple times a week and every time I entertain are the Striped Natural Mango Bowls. I also have a plain wooden bowl that has a natural edge that I love. We use the bowls for everything. And the Joilette Decanter I feel like if I walk into a party without that filled with a margarita people are questioning who I am. Those are my favorite kitchen pieces for sure.
Carrie: We also have to say that we love the throw our collection with Happy Habitat that you carry. We love how the color is so tailored for Golden & Pine. It was fun making it and playing with the style and color, but it’s fun how much it changes when it was put into a more neutral colorway.
Stephanie: I live and breathe Tatine candles for 6 years now. Any Chill or Super Chill sofa). I love our plush rugs. I currently have the Doukkala and Acacia in my home, along with a new Lyla chair I just purchased for our guest room. It’s becoming my favorite WFH spot.
What do you think is important for people to consider when selecting artwork for their spaces?
Morgan: I think in general it needs to evoke some kind of emotion. If it reminds you of a vacation or the color makes you smile, are surprising to you, or relaxing…I think as long as you feel something when you are looking at it. That’s kind of how you know it’s the right piece for you.
Carrie: Yes. When you are drawn to it and it gives you an emotional response.
Stephanie: You guys are bolder with color, and sometimes I can get caught up on art by trying too hard to match the color to what’s in the room already. Do you think about that at all or do you just totally let it go?
Morgan: When we are designing and creating the pieces of art ourselves, the color palettes just seem to organically happen. Then once I’m in my house I start thinking, I’m not so sure this works in here! It’s totally different once you are placing it in a space. In general, I go with the mindset if you love it then it all ends up working together somehow. Even if it feels like it’s not going to, just embrace it and have the confidence to put the things you love together, somehow it just works.
Stephanie: I honestly discourage people from buying a piece just to fill a wall. It’s nice to feel a connection to the maker, the place purchased, the content in it…. I think that ensures the art stays a favorite piece and won’t get traded up when something better comes along.
Golden & Pine’s mission is to only work with makers and brands that are 100% ethically sourced. How does Ampersand fit that role?
Morgan: Ya, we talked a lot about that with Stephanie when we first started talking about art, and of course, Stephanie wanted to make sure that all the framing and everything was done ethically. It took us a long time to find a frame for the artwork for that reason. Not every single one of our products is that way, but we try as hard as we can to do good things to the Earth, do good things to the people we work with, the factories we work with….
Carrie: We try to keep it local as much as possible.
Let’s dig into the collaboration. What is your favorite piece of the collection?
Stephanie: I can go first because I look at it a lot. My favorite is the Dropping the Ball print. I love the rusty pink and white.
Morgan: I think that my favorite might be the large color-blocked piece, Birds Eye View. It kind of changes every time I look at it. Sometimes it looks like an aerial view from a plane, other times it looks like an abstract cityscape to me. It just kind of morphs every time I look at it.
Carrie: I think I agree with you Stephanie if I’m being totally honest. I also really love the warm colors of the stacked shapes in the Equilibrium piece.
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
Morgan: It’s such a collaborative process. We literally do sit together and cut paper, collage, mix the paints together, get the right colors. We pass it back and forth and collage on top of the other’s work. I think a lot of people assume that one of us is the business mindset and one of us is the creative person. Instead, we have the same brain. We are both artists. We create together for almost every single thing we do.
Carrie: And then once we are done with the by hand portion and make everything digital it’s even more passing back and forth, changing color, tweaking, and fine-tuning.
Stephanie: I’m a visual person so anytime I’m plotting a shop floor plan, a design moodboard or an upcoming collection I start with Pinterest or Canva. I usually plan by using a mix of products we stock or want to stock with inspirational images that convey the vibe.
Color obviously plays a huge role for Ampersand and Golden & Pine is typically very neutral. How did you go about marrying the very different styles cohesively?
Morgan: I think we lucked out because Stephanie was already going for this Mediterranean vibe that had a few pops of color. The color was right up our alley. Then mixing in the neutrals gave it a fresh take for us also. I think when your customers think you are totally neutral, ours think we are totally rainbow.
Carrie: We really gravitate toward neutrals also, but it’s like black and white. We really like the balance of a neutral palette with some selected brights.
Stephanie: It’s like a happy marriage. And I think this is the title of the blog. When you mix rainbows and beige.
Stephanie, how are feeling about the color with the collaboration?
Stephanie: It’s awesome. I think anytime we are going somewhere a little bit brighter with our direction, I think of Ampersand. It’s so nice to have such an amazing company willing to do collaborations like this that is also local to Golden & Pine. I love the way it turned out.
Carrie: We do too.
Shop our Ampersand Design Studio collab now.