I'm sitting on a front porch in Savannah, Georgia with Trish Andersen and Maureen Walsh of Domestic Construction, a design company that was started with a simple idea and has evolved into something completely refreshing to the way people approach their home environment. The air is thick and steamy on this summer night; the girls have let me tag along with them on their trip down south to take care of some business for an upcoming project. The bugs are buzzing and the skeeters are biting as we sit and have a chat over a glass of wine about who they are, what they do, and why they do it.
WC: So, how did you guys meet?
MW: We were both going to school together at SCAD where we were both going for our degrees in the Fibers Department.
WC: What is fibers exactly? Is it like textiles?
TA: It's kind of like textiles, but there are different branches. It involves weaving, dying, repeat patterns and screen-printing to name a few.
WC: Did that involve you doing interiors at that time?
MW: I was more on the fashion side where I would screen print and dye fabric, and then make clothing out of it.
TA: I was more interested in home products and accessories where I was doing lights, jewelry and limited runs of handmade products.
MW: We became buddies, and made 250 firefly jewelry pieces together so we could pay for our summer when we were done with school. That was our first collaboration, and we realized right away that we worked really well together.
WC: So how did you guys come about the idea of Domestic Construction, and when did you move to New York?
MW: We both moved to New York at different times, we didn't even hang out for the first year.
TA: I was working on a project with another artist and contacted Maureen to collaborate with us.
WC: What was the project?
TA: It was this huge chandelier for a hair salon that was made out of 50 golden suspended hair dryers.
MW: While that process was going on, we realized how much fun we were having and thought that we could quit our day jobs and take on what we loved to do and make that our full time business venture in… what year was that, Trish?
WC: Is there any one thing that you guys specialize in? Or is that too broad of a category?
MW: I'd say we like to do anything that creates an environment for people. Every job is different though, so it's always a new process for us.
TA: Our favorite projects are the ones where instead of making something interesting to look at with three pieces, we'll decide to make it with a thousand pieces and get all O.C.D. on it.
MW: Like this wall we did where we took vintage fabric scraps we had in our studio and cut eleven thousand one by one inch squares and hand-pinned them to the four walls of the room we were working on.
WC: Do you guys use a lot of vintage materials in the work you create?
TA: Yeah. Totally. We are collectors.
MW: We could find our next inspiration in a garbage pile on the street, or somewhere like Build It Green! in Queens.
TA: We always stumble on materials, and think up a way we could use it for something, somewhere.
WC: I wish my brain worked like that. I saw the storefront of New York Design Room on Bedford Avenue. How did you guys come up with that facade?
MW: It was a collaboration with the shop owner. Our inspiration was Ikat, or the process of various Ikat weavings. We knew we wanted it to be bold and speak to the pieced nature of G. Grippo's clothing line.
TA: We ended up using colored printer paper we got from an office supply store, and some fabric we already had and poly'd that on to the front of the building to seal it. It's always fun to install outside and run into people on the sidewalk.
WC: The results look amazing... It reminds me of something you'd see on Haight Street in San Francisco in the 60s.
WC: What's one tip you would give our readers—something they could do in their home on the cheap, and temporary, if necessary?
MW: You can do really cool temporary wall coverings with a fabric or paper you like or anything that is flat and porous. All you need is a bucket with 50/50 starch and water.
TA: Coat your fabric or paper of choice in the bucket and squeeze out the excess water and starch concoction in the bucket.
MW: Then place the piece on the wall and rub out any creases or bubbles with your hands.
TA: I would suggest making the pieces smaller so they're easier to work with, it also gives it more detail in whatever you decide to do.
MW: It's a great temporary solution to making your apartment more you, without the commitment of having to paint. All you have to do is peel it off when you're ready for change.
TA: A more permanent solution would involve you switching out the starch mixture with wallpaper paste.
MW: Or Elmers Glue and water.
WC: Cool. Any exciting projects you guys are working on at the moment?
TA: We do have something we’re super pumped about, that we totally believe in, but we can't talk about it just yet.
MW: We don't want to jinx it.
WC: Been there. Where do you picture yourselves and Domestic Construction in the next few years?
TA: We’re working on making our work more of a lifestyle.
WC: How so?
TA: I guess focusing more on the fine art aspect of what we do. Really start living a life that reflects our work. Whether that be building a teepee and living a self-sustainable life or traveling the world meeting new people and seeing how they live. A few years is a long ways away though, for now were taking it day by day.
WC: Day Bidet…
MW: Yeah. All I picture is us with bare feet, in a wide-open space, and possibly, maybe pregnant.
To get in touch with Maureen and Trish, or to get more information on Domestic Construction click here.