Ellen and Karen

Because our parents worked together, the two of us spent a lot of evenings sitting around the dinner table listening to stories about the mechanics of art. Sometimes conversations were lofty – what makes an image resonant, the type of work that manifests genius, which photographers are capable of crossing cultural boundaries. But most of the time, evenings were spent on the events of the day and the logistical work that had to get done tomorrow. Even art has rules and demands.

We certainly learned our work ethic at that table, but we also came to realize that a family business has some defining and unique qualities. It demands more than just an underlying philosophy; it’s intrinsically linked to identity. Because we have shared so much of our lives – not only a room growing up but we attended college together as well – we are almost always unified in our search for items that speak to a common goal. Does it bring comfort? Does it provoke joy or passion or strength? Does it elicit nostalgia? But all of these reference points, for us, come back to family – and not just our parents, but our spouses and children and yes, even our pets.

Building a home isn’t just about walls and floors; nor is it just about pattern and texture. It’s always about expressing what we’ve done, who we are, and what we aspire to be. Committing to a paint color is no small feat. Choosing art is an expression of the soul. Even a rug sets the framework for daily life. Memory and aspiration are as important to a home as what’s right in front of us – which is why, years after the kids head off on their own, we’ll continue to punctuate a mantle with their grade-school sculptures or redecorate their rooms for future visits.

There is no right answer when it comes to decorating your home – other than acknowledging who and what you love, and paying homage to both. It’s a genuine thrill to for us to help tell those stories – and to share ours in return. The days are busy and demanding – but there’s always the promise of one small, sweet corner of home that will bring us back to things that matter: a shared meal, an evening in front of the tv wrapped in your favorite blanket, a painting that transports you back in time. They might be small but they’re daily gifts.