At Home with Mariah Nielson at JB Blunk House
We are excited to share this project that brings together a love of craftsmanship and nature...
Built in 1959 by Californian artist JB Blunk, using timber and stones that were found nearby, this iconic handcrafted cabin's aesthetics were guided by material, using river stones, ceramic and wood. Curator and design historian, Mariah Nielson, JB Blunk's daughter, spent her childhood here, a space that she now shares with her own family, raising her son in the same environment that deeply informed her eye of form and material.
Softening the unique entrance and book-filled living room, our rugs echo the warming tones found in the home's locally-sourced redwood timber. Greta van der Star visited Mariah at home, photographing our bamboo silk + wool blend rug in brick and our braided jute entrance rug in natural. It is an honour to see our handcrafted rugs living inside this gentle private residence.
Have you noticed any shift in the space, as in how it is utilised, since you laid the rug down?
My son loves to play on the rug, and I now have a place to lounge so it’s brought a lot more life to this corner of the home. Before, that area was basically a gallery for several of my father’s pieces (a chair and side tables); the addition of the rug created a little room for it. Visitors are also engaging more with the library because it’s a great place to sit and read a book.
Why is it important to you to seek out and be around handcrafted objects?
The handcrafted objects in our home each tell a story about a place and a person. I can look around our home and tell you the story of each object in the room: who made it, where it came from, and how it ended up in our house. This adds so many layers to the space, visually and energetically. In a way, I feel that I am continuing my father’s legacy by living my own life and assembling my own objects here, as opposed to trying to preserve his life as a static, past moment.
How would you describe the feeling and energy of your home?
Familiar, nurturing, humble, layered
For me, the home will always be familiar and nurturing, not just because I was born and raised there but because each part of the home was thoughtfully handmade and assembled. There's humility, too, because of the small scale and because almost all the materials were salvaged. In every space I see layers of my father, his first wife Nancy (whom he built the house with), my mother, brothers, myself, and all the artists who have spent time and lived in the home.