Ten years ago, Natalie Chanin surprised the New York fashion world with a T-shirt that she ripped to pieces and sewed back together using quilt-inspired stitches. Then Chanin promptly left for her hometown of Florence, Alabama, where she hired local seamstresses to create her first label, Project Alabama. Now she runs Alabama Chanin, a company that produces couture clothing, fabric, jewelry, and home goods from new, recycled, and organic materials by hand, a process that gives each design its one-of-a-kind charm.
Chanin, whose career is famously influenced by her Southern upbringing, often works out of her house, the dining room in particular. “It’s really the soul of the house,” she says. “And it has great light, so it doubles as my office and photo studio. I do everything from folding clothes to hosting Christmas parties in that room.”
The dining room is full of Chanin’s handmade artistry, including the table, made from scrap wood that’s painted her favorite color, white. “It doesn’t compete with all of the things you have in your life,” she says. There’s also a chandelier she rehabbed with paint and a couple of reworked vintage chests.
Chanin’s designs have recently inspired a second craft book, Alabama Studio Style, due out this month, which details how to make some of her favorite furniture creations at home. “People want more value for their dollar these days,” she says. “They’re interested in things with a good story and things with a purpose.”