Labor Day 2015

Happy Labor Day! Today we pause to honor the contributions of the American worker. Here's to everyone out there who works so hard to build, craft and create all the things we enjoy and need. Your hard work, dedication and perseverance make America great and inspires us.    


pastrana studio | photography: shawn roller 

Pastrana Studio


There is a special joy derived from holding something tangible in your hands that you know has been crafted by hand. Some of the most precious things we have in our homes are the gifts and expressions of love that were crafted by the hands of another. Pastrana Studio produces some of the most beautiful wood work around. Each piece is handcrafted by this husband and wife team and is truly something special. They design what they call "quality heirloom products  that not only will you be able to enjoy, but be able to pass down for generations to come." Once we heard their heart and desire you know we were hooked and we hope you will be also as they share some of what makes them tick. 

Heirloom: Do you have any morning routines? If so, would you mind sharing a few of them and why you feel that set you up for success?

Julian: Typically we'll wake up each morning and take some time to read and relax while we enjoy our coffee. This is important to us to start our day off in the right mind set and not to feel rushed for the day. Then we make a prioritized list of what tasks we need to accomplish and plan out our work day. This allows us to have a tangible goal for the day and sets a challenge for us to complete the list, or as much as we can get done in a single work day. It also helps us stay on track of the different projects and orders we have going on.

Heirloom: Tell us about your journey into wood working.

Julian: My journey into woodworking began when I started working a job in residential remodeling. Once I began learning basic woodworking skills, I decided that I wanted to start designing and creating my own pieces. As amateur as they were in the beginning, i knew my passion would drive me to continue learning advanced skills and different technics that would take my pieces to the next level. After a few years, many trails and errors, and a better equipped shop, my skills were at the point where I felt satisfied enough to put my work out there. Although while working with wood is my chosen medium, I do consider myself an artist.

Heirloom: What inspires you? Where do you turn for inspiration and new product design?

Julian: Our source of inspiration comes from a variety of places, but mostly stems from things in our past that have been staples in  the development our individual style. For example, the 50's era encompasses many aspects of inspiration that both Kate and I grew up embracing. From the music, to the clothes, to the classic cars, and of course the furniture. Design was seemingly more simple back then, more functional rather than just aesthetically pleasing, while at the same time being very well made. This carries over into our design process now, which we combine both functionality and visual appeal into our work. The goal is to create timeless pieces that can work in any type of setting or design theme. We also draw inspiration from the material itself. The quality of woods that we use have such great characteristics that they can many times dictate or guide a  piece into formation just by visualizing the inherent qualities of the material, such as certain grain patterns, imperfections, or color variations. This organic element of our design process allows the wood's natural state to be the focal point. In turn, we don't use paints or stains in our pieces for this reason.

Heirloom: How do you balance work and play? 

Julian: We try to have set days and times during the week that are dedicated to working on our products. However, due to us both continually wanting to be proactive, it can sometimes be difficult to stay disciplined in this area. The key is 'shutting it off' at the end of the day and just relaxing for a change. We are still learning how to successfully accomplish this on a constant basis. But we've been blessed living where we are now though, the scenery and seclusion make that aspect much easier. 

photography: shawn roller

Shawn has previously been featured on Heirloom. See more of his work and learn part of his story here