Doub Hanshaw: Garage Rock

Free People's easy breezy Creative Director takes us on a whirlwind tour of her latest endeavor: her renovated loft in Philadelphia's Old Kensington district.

Articles // India Nicholas // 07/05/11
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Doub Hanshaw at home

Doub Hanshaw is about as California as you can get without actually being from California. Part of it is surface – both Hanshaw’s undone blond hair and freckled, makeup-free face look as if they’ve been naturally brightened by the sun. Perhaps it’s her Southern upbringing. Her childhood in Virginia was spent in a converted barn. Or, of course, it could be her day job. As the Creative Director for Free People, the Philadelphia-based beauty carries herself with an air of West Coast cool.

It is with this kind of relaxed beauty that Hanshaw tackled her biggest design project to date: the construction of her current home. After twelve years spent shuffling back and forth between her squished apartment in Manhattan to the Free People office, Hanshaw decided that she was ready for the move-and for the space.

Two years ago, while on a walk with her three bulldogs, Hanshaw discovered what she deems “the garage”: a 4500-square-foot carport, filled with oil tanks and greasy car parts, with a glossy FOR SALE sign on the door. Within a few weeks, it was hers. And only a few weeks after that, the bulldozer arrived. The garage was gutted, new cement flooring was poured, brick walls were painted, shelves were put in, and a year and a half later, Hanshaw had her dream home.

The garage is a solid balance of clean lines built with recycled materials, a modern design with an urban, unpolished feel. The space is kept mostly open, with clutter found only in corners in the form of art supplies or collected trinkets. No walls separate the sleeping space lofted above the living space; the flow of the room swirls naturally, as do the echoes. This, combined with the two 25-foot-tall walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, allows for little privacy, but that’s the way that Hanshaw likes it. “It’s industrial living! It takes getting used to, but sitting curled around the wood stove, watching the snow fall down through the big windows…is cozy in it’s own way.”

So what do two (very busy!) people do with all that open space? “I paint massive murals and have huge dance parties,” she says, grinning. The disco ball over the living room reminds us of her last fete: a prom-themed party complete with bad vintage dresses and a backdrop for posed couples photos. Hanshaw also often opens the space up to friends. “I had an artist friend come by before he had a gallery opening. He laid out all of his paintings on the floor, stood up in the loft, and then had us move the positioning around till he found a layout he liked for the gallery display.” But it’s not all fun and games. “Free People shoots a lot of their Vintage Love photos for the blog here,” Hanshaw points out. “I share the space!”

Read about Doub’s jewelry line in her FOAM guest blog HERE!

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