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From the Land

STUDIO89's modern handmade furniture promotes intentionality and wellbeing

For Nondas Iacovou and Melissa Fuller, the creative partners behind STUDIO89, woodworking started as a hobby and quickly became a passion. “Our excitement with the creative process never stops,” says Fuller. “We design all day, from our morning coffee until we sit down to rest at night. We love the process, and we hope our love and excitement for what we do comes through in our pieces.” The couple, who met at the University of Vermont in 1989, followed clinical careers in physical therapy and audiology to Hawaii, New Mexico, and Alaska before settling back down in Maine with the dream of designing and making furniture full-time.

STUDIO89 follows three guiding principles: make things that last, limit negative environmental impact, and create a network that benefits Maine's economy. “Having lived in a part of Alaska with no trees or access to wood, we learned to appreciate even the smallest piece of material that we could find,” explains Fuller. “We try to bring forth the beauty of the material through thoughtful use—time-tested, traditional joinery ensures the piece will live at least as long as the tree that gave us the wood, allowing it to have a useful presence even after it's been cut down.” 

Iacovou and Fuller draw inspiration from their respect for the materials they use, which are sourced from local sawyers, lumberyards, and fabric shops, for their thoughtful designs that place an emphasis on authenticity and intentionality. “When creating STUDIO89 collection pieces, we look to balance function, the material’s natural beauty, and durability,” says Iacovou. “We ask ourselves: how can iconic shapes be made fresh and new? How can we make this STUDIO89? For example, we recently found an old stone fireplace mantel, turned it upside down, and discovered the shape for a drawer handle,” he adds.

When a client approaches STUDIO89 looking for a custom piece, the partners present various design elements while honing in on the desired function and aesthetic. “We ask whether the piece feels heavy or light, if it blends in or stands out in the room, and what type of flow it creates in its space. Everyone’s imagination is active and co-creative, and the process becomes a true collaboration with the client,” says Iacovou. “The final project holds the client’s intention, excitement, and energy as much as ours, so that once in its place, it resonates with the space and feels like it belongs, as if it has been there for a long time.”

See more of Iacovou and Fuller’s work at studio-89-design.com.

There's a humble quality of life here where hard work is rewarded by the beauty that surrounds us. The feeling that Maine gives us, and the reason that we came back, is this relationship with nature.

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