The first word Elise McMahon uses to describe the aesthetic of the furniture, fixtures, and the objects she creates for the home is “joyful.”
“Everything is designed to have a very joyful take on home products and the things that will occupy your house,” she told Visit Hudson NY in a recent interview. “I want people to feel uplifted.”
McMahon recently relocated her store, LikeMindedObjects, to a new location at 344 Warren St., where we were given a tour and granted some insight into the designer’s thought-process. Having previously shared a space at 2 Park Pl. with the similarly-minded Hudson-based fashion designer, Enky Bayarsaikhan, the new LikeMindedObjects is a kind of mash-up between design studio, retail shop, and showroom.
McMahon told us that she’s been a designer and entrepreneur since she was young, but that she formalized her practice at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she learned furniture design. It wasn’t until graduate school at Parsons School of Design where she received a Masters in industrial design, that the concepts of sustainability and circular economies became largely the focal point of her life and work.
“The circular economy is focused on answering the question, ‘how do you turn waste into a resource during the design process,’ so that things can be more circular as compared to the more typical ‘take-make-waste’ structure,” she explains. As an example, she’ll take second-hand clothing waste that’s produced as part of the fast fashion industry, shred it, and use it within her upholstery, rather than the less-healthy petroleum-based foams that traditionally dominate mass furniture manufacturing. When it comes to thinking about materials more generally, McMahon explains, “if the object is going to have a longer life span, maybe you can justify using virgin materials, like steel or powder coating, whereas with something more disposable, the question is, ‘how do we make that something that will compost or decompose?’”
It should come as no surprise, then, that the new LikeMindedObjects store is designed to fulfill not just one function, but three: to serve as a headquarters for McMahon’s design studio, where she can gather with clients for design consultations, and organize that aspect of her business; and to have a retail presence on Warren St., where she’s able to showcase her more accessible products, whereby folks can walk in to the store and walk out with something to take home with them; and finally, to serve as a showroom for her furniture design. “I built this raised platform,” which McMahon points to, “which I see more as an installation for the higher-end furniture pieces and more sculptural pieces, and those that can be ordered custom or with a lead time. I’ve mostly been in love for a long time with furniture design.”
McMahon prides herself on her ability to connect people looking for furniture, construction, or design services with local and regional producers and providers, all within about 30 miles of Hudson. “There’s such a desire for things to be made for people’s homes, and they might not have the knowledge for who is here and who is a woodworker, or a great metalworker, or a great fabric worker. I like being the bridge for people to have access to regional producers.”
On the topic of being an entrepreneur in Hudson, McMahon had this to say: “Hudson is a town of hustlers- there’s this independent spirit here where people make their own small business dreams happen, because they are always thinking about how they want their life to be, and how they want their business to relate to their life. There’s no stagnant energy here- if you can build it, you can make it happen.”
The new LikeMindedObjects (344 Warren St.) is open Friday through Sunday, 11am to 6pm, or by appointment.
Stills and video by Allison Valiquette.
Proper distancing and health standards were maintained during the production of this interview.