Becky Mack (image left), Lea Bryan (image center), and Alexis Phillips(image right),of Sideways Shop, are three friends who share a love of architecture, design, and art. Several years ago, they began collaborating and assisting one another on individual home projects. These endeavors, often fueled by many pots of coffee, ranged from stone retaining walls; bathroom additions; landscaping;deck work; painting; and window coverings. Now, they’ve migrated to salvaging some incredible furniture and designing pillows.
The Sideways Shop’s design team’s professional backgrounds are almost as varied as their projects. Among them they have experience in architecture, interior design, commercial space planning, graphic design, illustration, restaurant management, and facilities management.
Tell us about your business, Sideway Shops.
Sideways Shop is a place where we can explore our design sensibilities, and share our recovered (in all senses of the word) furniture and home accessory designs. As hopeless tree huggers, we can’t stand to see anything go into a landfill, especially if it is well designed and just needs a little love and imagination.
We love using recycled materials, and try to incorporate them into our designs whenever possible. Certainly, we are passionate about our work and hope that our designs bring joy to our customers. More importantly, however, we hope that our business and our products inspire people to take a second look at an old piece of furniture, an old banner, a skirt, or their old curtains before they throw them out. With just a little imagination those items could be remade into amazingly cool pieces of usable art.
Danish Mid-Century Modern Chairs From Sideways Shop.
What inspired you to pursue this business?
Our work began casually as an extension of our other group projects. We focused on creative reuse of materials and staying within a budget. Initially we only worked on pieces for our own homes, but soon found that we really loved designing for our friends as well. This expansion in projects and ideas prompted us to create Sideways Shop.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
It is important to keep an open mind and be aware of what is going on around you. This means inspiration comes at us from every direction…from music, architecture, art, nature, other designers, and bloggers. We’ve had ah-ha! moments at the recycling center, and even at an auto scrap yard. Not only do we get inspired on how to work a piece of furniture, but we are often inspired to create a back story. When you check out our blog, you see what fascinating characters we have listed in our shop.
Tell us about a favorite decorating or remodeling project.
We may not all agree on a favorite, but we can certainly agree on the most memorable… building a stone retaining wall. This landscaping design project was long, hot, and labor intensive. We dug out the entire footprint using hand shovels during the peak of the summer heat in Kansas City. We hand picked each stone from job sites around the city. Once we received permission, we hauled them back to the house in our cars. This project took two summers, and eventually involved most of our friends and neighbors! Once completed, we had manipulated (conservatively) a couple of tons of rock into a beautiful terraced retaining wall. We received words of encouragement from passersby on an almost daily basis, and believe it or not – we remained friends throughout the process!
Frank and Zooey upholstered chairs from Sideways Shop.
What’s your personal design style? Has it evolved over time?
We each have our own unique ideas about design. Working through these differences to complete a project is the fun and challenging part. Put together, our style is what we call “Found Modern Eclecticism”. Of course, our sensibilities are constantly changing…and we think they should be.
Many of us have a product we bought for our home-that now makes us think-"what was I thinking" – do you have one?
No one was really sure what Becky was thinking when she brought home a huge welded wire hoop skirt with leather straps. She thought she could use it in the garden as an interesting sculptural piece or tomato trellis, but it turns out that it was just too big for the yard. Alexis now has it in hopes of turning it into a giant outdoor chandelier this spring. Perhaps she can also find a way to use that hot pink sequined tank top that she brought home at the same time…
Describe your dream room.
Becky: My dream room would be full of natural light with muted olive/gray/lavender walls and long puddled drapery. Of course, if we are dreaming here, all of the furniture would be upholstered in found velvets, linens and burlap…and would be completely dog/cat-proof.
Alexis: I have a tendency to want to see bare materials, exposed wood, smooth concrete and brick. I love the old color of naked plaster on a wall it’s this beautiful white/grey that has an indescribable glow when the light hits it…. I suppose my dream room would have all these elements in it, with tons of upholstered chairs and couches on a random layering of antique and retro rugs.
Lea: My dream room would probably be a marriage of Becky and Alexis’ rooms. I suppose that is why we make such a great team! I am drawn to natural light and I ESPECIALLY like the dog/cat proof wonder world that Becky has envisioned, but I am also infatuated with bare materials and retro rugs. Throw in a random found object here and there, a couple of funky light fixtures, and a lot of original artwork and my room would be complete.
What’s your favorite color or paint swatch?
We currently have a soft spot for Kilkenny Green from Sherwin William (SW6740) and are being seduced by various pinks…. but really, do we have to choose a favorite? We love so many it seems like an impossible task! It just depends on the project.
What are your five favorite pieces of home décor from your home or elsewhere?
- A Danish inspired chair that we recovered using a recycled coffee bag.
- Amazing artwork collections from the likes of Rob Compton, Amy Abshier Reyes, Chris Vance, Hammerpress…along with some great Etsy finds.
- An eight feet tall bookshelf that was salvaged from an old barn.
- A fabulous card catalog that has been repurposed into a wine “cellar”.
- We have recently come across a bunch of flasks and big volumetric beakers that we decant liquor into. They are a very cool way to display our spirits.
French Berge wingback chair upholstered in burlap coffee bag fabric from Sideways Shop.
What’s your favorite room at home? Why is it your favorite?
Lea: My favorite room is the kitchen. It is the hub of action and the anchor of my home. All events seem to begin and end there. As a former restaurant manger and foodie I can’t think of another room that is as important. It really is the heart of our home.
Becky: I like our laundry room. I know it’s odd, but right now it’s full of plants that have been brought in out of the cold. The buttery walls light up when the sun comes shining in. I almost forget it’s winter.
Alexis: It is hard right now to pick. I don’t really have a favorite since I don’t have a house. I’m currently in transition…. But I would say the porch/deck with the fire pit going and the retro metal glider and the growies all around…..
Who are your favorite designers?
Kelly Wearstler, Wary Myers, Jonathan Adler, AvroKO, Dorothy Draper, Droog, James Dyson, to name just a few.
Vintage Jasper Captain’s chairs upholstered in orange floral fabric from Sideways Shop.
Do you have a decorating, design or remodeling tip you’d like to share with thedecoratingdiva.com readers?
Embrace the perfection of your imperfections. Sometimes the best ideas come from mistakes.
What are your favorite blogs or home design/improvement websites-and why?
- We love Poppy Talk because the site is fresh and clean with many great design ideas, and they focus on up-and-coming designers and handmade artists. It inspires us and offers an opportunity to support others in the independent, handmade community.
- Design Sponge is a fantastic site to visit for wonderful "before and afters", and creative "how to" segments. This site is jam packed with all kinds of information from design trends, to city guides and recipes.
- Design Milk features architecture, design, art, fashion and technology… everything we are drawn to. The site is clean, easy to navigate, and interesting. They help us keep in touch with the latest trends in everything.
- Moco Loco is another site that focuses on everything we love. They are uber-modern, help keep us on top of the latest design trends, and offer fabulous interviews.
- Inhabitat, their tag line says it all: "Design will save the world." Amen. They pull green trends from across the globe. Totally inspiring.
What are your favorite design television shows, magazines, and/or books.
We like Domino (so sad it’s gone), and are currently into Lonny, Sunset, Fast Company, Wallpaper and UK Living.
Sideways Shop’s Lea, Becky and Alexis "Favorite Things” (resources)
- Ace Hotel Palm Springs
- Black Bird Restaurant
- Cup Cake Love
- Coco Cozy
- Monterey Peninsula Aircooled Society (Club for Volkswagen Enthusiasts)
- The Roasterie on Flickr
- Website: Sideways Shop
- Shop: Sideways Shop
- Twitter: Sideways Shop on Twitter
- Facebook: Become a fan of Sideways Shop
All images copyright of respective owners.
The Decorating Diva LLC would like to thank Lea, Alexis and Becky of Sideways Shop for sharing their design inspiration – taking discarded, forgotten pieces and using their limitless imagination to give birth to beautiful, new pieces of art for the home. And for giving the design world a newly coined term “Found Modern Eclecticism” to describe artfully recycled eclectic modern design style.