On Donelson Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee, a small group of creative makers are making noise in Music City, designing quality handmade goods that are rich with history for modern homes and businesses. Known as 1767, this fabrication and design studio incorporates Southwestern-inspired patterns and Art Deco influence into its classic tables, wall art and custom accents. One of the best parts? The team uses reclaimed wood from Nashville’s urban decay, saving centuries-old wood from a wasted fate.
Since 1767 began offering interior design services for both home and commercial spaces in 2016, it has since worked on projects like the lobby of a boutique hotel, new bars in the Nashville area, custom wall art for Anthropologie, as well as custom end panels and decorative pieces for Kimball’s showroom that were on display during this year’s NeoCon. The team also recently wrapped up a custom floating bar that displays how creative design can add unique decorative elements to a functioning piece of furniture.
In our latest Maker Monday Q&A, learn more about the growing studio from owner and founder Patrick Hayes as he tells us about his creative process and what led him to design furniture.
interiors+sources: How did you get your start?
Patrick Hayes: I got my start purely by happenstance, if you will. Also by way of having way too much free time. I moved to Nashville in 2014 after graduating from business school, and my intention was to work in the music industry. After spending a few months applying for jobs and working at a restaurant part-time at night, I found myself with a lot of free time during the days – kind of one of those “idle hands” situations. I started making stuff for my apartment because I didn’t have any furniture when I moved here. I had a neighbor who was kind of a hoarder and had a ton of reclaimed wood in his yard, so I offered him $10 for a small pile of it and made my first coffee table. I started to really fall in love with the craft and doing things with my hands, and I took some of my furniture to the Nashville Flea Market that summer and got some good feedback, and it all happened from there.
i+s: What inspires you?
PH: I think a better question is where inspires me. I’m not someone who likes to stay put for too long – I love traveling and I think that getting to see different parts of the world really energizes me and inspires me. I’m mainly interested in architecture and design elements from place to place, whether it’s Mexico or New York or Europe, wherever. Getting to see different textures and construction processes gets the wheels turning and inspires me to create and come up with new ideas.
i+s: What is your most memorable product or collection you’ve worked on and why?
PH: I’m mainly interested in the future of 1767 and where we’re going, because we have some really pivotal projects that have gotten us to this point. The first is probably Urban Cowboy, because it really gave us a stage, which took them believing in what we were doing on a smaller scale and allowing us to do it on a larger scale. The second is The Fox, because that was the first project where we really got to step out on our own and design and build a space from the ground up. With these projects, we started out designing one piece of furniture for the space and dreaming of reimagining the entire space and creating a more immersive form of art that people could enjoy.
i+s: Describe what a typical work day for you looks like.
PH: Well, I’m the founder of the company, but I am by no means the maker working in the shop and getting my hands dirty anymore. With any business, as it grows and expands, it becomes more than one person is able to handle, so I’ve brought people on to help fulfill the vision and continue creating alongside each other.
Most of my day-to-day has changed to being more client-focused. I typically start my day pretty early, get out the door by 7:30 a.m. or so. I might head to a local coffee shop to catch up on emails and roll into things slowly. I’ll run around town visiting with potential clients or checking in with projects that are currently in the works to make sure things are going to plan and that there are no hiccups or there’s nothing that our team needs. In the afternoons I’m typically up at the workshop, touching base with all of our people in the studio and seeing where they’re at with projects, maybe offering insight or encouragement and helping out with any problems they might be facing. A lot of the time I end up just admiring the beautiful work they’re doing.
Depending on the day, I might spend the afternoon doing design for projects that we’re trying to win, in terms of potential business, by hand-sketching furniture pieces or helping our interior designer with floorplans. That’s kind of my creative outlet within the business now – it’s switched from the making portion of it to the imagining and creating portion from a design perspective, then the team brings it to life.
i+s: Name some must-haves you need or like to have on-hand when starting a new project.
PH: I just like to have a space that I can work in and have a clear, creative mindset. Maybe a good cup of tea and some headphones to plug in and get to it.
i+s: What challenges you most during your creative process?
PH: Being able to give myself the freedom to not be stressed about the business side of things, so I can actually be creative and have the brain space to be uninterrupted and focused on creating. That’s not from a hands-on perspective, it’s more from a design perspective nowadays. Again, that goes back to having a good team behind the business.
i+s: What is your favorite thing in your working environment?
PH: My working environment changes because I’m always running around, but at the studio it’s the other creative people. Whether it’s our team or the other people working out of our studio, like Lockeland Leatherworks, Sweet Farm Jewelry and Claire West, just being able to be creative and be inspired by what they’re doing and collaborate with them is really cool.
i+s: What’s your favorite color?
i+s: What is your favorite design era?
PH: Art Deco is definitely my biggest influence when it comes to design, mixed with early 19th century modernism and minimalism. Two completely opposite things, since Deco is so big and loud and over-exaggerated and early modernism is clean, subtle and no-frills. Art Deco has influenced a lot of our artwork up until this point, but the last couple of years, modernism has kind of taken over, and I’ve liked incorporating that into what we’re doing.
i+s: Who has helped you realize your dreams?
PH: I’m not someone who really needs someone else to tell them to do something. I’m someone who has a million ideas and I don’t act on all of them, but the ones I do, I commit to them and I typically make them happen. That’s by no one else’s realization but my own.
There are people who help to facilitate making those ideas happen – my wife being super strong and supportive of me being an entrepreneur and an artist. I know it isn’t the easiest thing to do and I owe a lot of where I’m at to her and her support, especially in times when business wasn’t doing great. That happens with any business owner, and it takes a spouse who really understands it. Also, having people around you on the day-to-day, whether it’s people in the studio or the team that we’ve built around the company, seeing them believe in it and take it seriously and kind of own it with me – that’s the most special. This is just one of the many crazy ideas I’ve had and it just so happens that this one has taken off and gotten us pretty far, and it’s amazing to see other people on the team believe in it just as much as I have.
i+s: What do you think is next for the interior design industry?
PH: I don’t know, but it’s probably something to do with an app, if I were to guess.
i+s: What advice would you give to students studying the design field?
PH: I don’t know, because I didn’t study in the design field. I’m still learning and I’m still intimidated by new stuff every day. Design, business, any field – just keep your nose down and keep working. There’s no magic answer, but you have to work hard and you have to be passionate about what you’re doing. That’s why they say to be passionate about your career, because there will be a whole lot more times when you feel discouraged and want to give up than when you feel like you’re triumphing and want to keep pushing forward. It’s in those times that passion helps you sustain and carries you through to the next high point.
i+s: What’s next for you?
PH: I’m at the tail end of the application process for my general contractor’s license, and I’m particularly excited about that because we just brought on an interior designer within the last six months. She’s kicking ass, and I’m really excited about being able to grow the interior design side of things because that’s something I’m really passionate about. Having that general contractor’s license will allow us to not have to work with an outside general contractor on projects like we’ve done in the past and it puts us in the driver’s seat to control the outcomes of our projects entirely.
i+s: Where can people find your goods?
PH: Check out our Instagram for examples of our custom work, or you can find our series of wall art at www.1767designs.com. You can also email us firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in working with us, whether it’s a commissioned piece, custom furniture or residential or commercial build, we’d love to help.
Like the pictures of Kimball’s showroom? Learn more about the other design elements that went into creating it, including hand-blown glass lighting and hand-dyed leather rugs.
Be on the lookout for more Maker Monday profiles featured every other week on interiors+sources, including more collaborations with Kimball.