Nadia Yaron, 29, and Myriah Scruggs, 33, faced a very common dilemma when they moved to New York from L.A. with only a car to their name. Having landed a sweet deal on a great place in Fort Greene, they had a hard time finding things to put in it. Says Yaron, "when we started looking for things and shopping for stuff, the options were pretty limited: it's either, you're going to spend a shit-load of money on something that's OK, or you're going to go to Ikea." Neither end of the spectrum appealed. "So we just started finding shit and making it ourselves." And so Nightwood was born, a home dÃ©cor business which specializes in found wood and resurrected furniture and textiles. Rustic but not cloyingly so, and affordably priced, Nightwood furniture has been a big hit at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene.
Scruggs and Yaron don't cite any tangible design influences, but one big source of creativity has been the very unique apartment that they share. The only building on their block to feature a front yard thick with trees and vines, their building is sort of reminiscent of Big and Little Edie's home at Grey Gardens, minus the squalor. Their second-floor apartment is enviably spacious and filled with natural light. "It made us want to make nice things," says Yaron. Other than that, the inspiration for Nightwood is largely home grown. Scruggs, who does the woodworking, has no formal training, but explains, "Once I started doing it, I realized I could do it." However, Yaron, who does textiles and upholstery, clearly remembers an early experience with fabric. When she was eight, her family moved into a house on Long Island, and she insisted on a very specific decorating scheme. "My bedroom had silver and sky-blue metallic wallpaper, with like, lions and tigers. It was hideous. And I insisted on blue satin sheets." Yaron's edgy decorating scheme had an unexpected consequence -- "all my sister's high school friends used to come over and make out on my bed because they thought it was cool."
Many years later, Scruggs and Yaron met "at a club," and initially merged creatively as a band, which never went far enough to warrant a name. "We thought it sounded like the Cure, a little bit, on its good days," says Scruggs. To make ends meets, Scruggs worked as an artist's assistant, while Yaron was something of a jack-of-all-trades, working successively as an organic food deliverer, a holistic health counselor, and a manicurist to the stars. At the beginning of 2008, Yaron and Scruggs decided to combine their creative desires and start what they hoped would be a sustainable business venture, and Nightwood was born.
The Nightwood team takes pleasure in a good match between customer and furniture. They fondly remember a cute blond hipster girl who bought a cute blond coffee table, one of the first items they sold. "She looked like the coffee table," remembers Scruggs fondly. So, have there been any bad matches? Yaron suggests a man who bought a chair and a little mosaic, but Scruggs explains that, "He wasn't a bad match, he was just kind of a prick... he was very attractive, and the stuff really looked like him." Apparently, this attractive customer was something of a prima donna, and refused to carry the items himself. "And it was a chair like this," explains Yaron emphatically, indicating a very diminutive piece.
So what would Nightwood do if they were to take on a project just for themselves, with no prick customers involved, given an unlimited budget and total creative license? "A house," they both agree. Yaron says, "Yeah, when we have money, we want to just buy a plot of land and start from scratch." Scruggs elaborates, "It's going to be like a boat... and a tree... and a camper... all in one!"