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it's Jimin from Smallville studio

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 by Irene Hoofs


A little while ago I wrote about smallVILLE ... the small design studio from Jimin and I immediately invited her for an Open House Tour ... and I'm very glad she accepted the invitation and opened her doors from her beautiful house for us ... Jimin makes the most beautiful and unique and extraordinary clothes for minis and grownups. She is such a creative women and her blog is just a feast for the eye!

Jimin_studio  {Collage of Jimin's home studio}
1.) Where do you live, what kind of house and with whom? And of course what it is you love to create and design in this studio?

I live in a small California Bungalow style home from the 1920’s with my husband Ethan and his daughter, Jaymes [9], our son, cole[2]. Our house is located on the San Francisco Peninsula. It is a beautiful neighborhood with many family homes, but also has many shops, restaurants, and parks within walking distance.
I’ve always enjoyed making clothes, accessories, and home furnishings. I love mixing different textures or patterns, colors, details. Right now, I am working on mostly children’s clothing. Dressing my children with clothes made by me is the greatest pleasure.Jimin_studio_details

{Jimin's home studio}
2. ) Can you tell us a little about yourself, your background and roots and the influence it has on your life and work?
I started taking art classes when I was 5 years old. I continued to study fine arts in my junior year of college when I transferred to the Academy of Art College, San Francisco. I majored in sculpture, where I studied there another two years. During my college years, I took many design classes including apparel, interior, and graphic. It was also tough time for me. I was young and wanted to go in a different direction to earn money. I was always afraid to be a starving artist. My biggest regret was not graduating from school. But, I am blissful with what I do now. I value all the time I studied art more than regretting.

My life and work are definitely influence by my family and art teachers. My parents used to own a small men’s tailor shirt factory. I often visited the factory after school, and watched how workers make the shirts. There were about 30 to 35 workers. Most of shirts were made by hand. I wasn’t allowed to go near the sewing machines, but I loved watching them and was fascinated. I often played in big fabric scrap files. I also witnessed my parents working hard and checking every detail by hand. Fine craftsmanship was very important to them.
{wooden bench in livingroom}
3.) What kind of house do you live in, with whom, where and are you happy here or is there another dream house you one day would like to live ?

..see answer 1..
{dining table in front of world map}
4.) Such a great idea to wallpaper your wall with the world map … how did you come up with this idea and who is collecting the trumpets?
It was my brother-in-laws’ idea. He is a carpenter, so he has a great deal of decorating and building ideas. My husband and I were thinking about putting it on our kids’ room, but the wall wasn’t big enough for whole world. We love looking at them. It’s an easy and fun way for the kids to study geography.

My husband played the trumpet when he was in high school. His Grandfather was a great trumpet player. Most of trumpets are passed down from him. He has about 10 trumpets in the storage room now. He often likes to play his favorite pieces, either on the weekend, or teach kids how to play with, and are scattered all around the house. Of course, he leaves one here, and there, all over the place. I like to be well organized with everything. It’s been very challenging with kids. So, I had to create a space for some of his favorite pieces.   I knew it had to be the most convenient place to reach, but difficult to reach for my children, and still looks well together with other things. They are on the mantel now. I think they look good with the other items in our living room.
{coffee with gorgeous ceramic pieces}
5.) I just have to ask you where the ceramic pieces come from on this table? Are you a collector of vintage pieces and if yes what kind of pieces do you really like? Where do you find them, can you give some online sources?
They are all vintage pieces from Pyrex. I take pleasure in hunting for a vintage pieces at the flee market, second-hand shops, estate sales, etc. I love Victorian Jewelry, 60’s Danish furniture, ceramics, and unusual vintage modern piece from the 60’s and 70’s. I also love repainting, or reshaping very old country style piece. I often am looking at etsy shops, sweetshorn vintage,  and blue bell bazaar,  I also like to browse at Twentytwentyone,  and Vintagelooks.
{small impressions of Jimin’s kitchen}
6.) Do you love to cook and are you very health conscious … I always assume that people who are living in the San Francisco area are very food - organic minded isthis true? What places do you like to visit in your area for good food?
I enjoying cooking. I find it very relaxing and creative, too. I wouldn’t say I am very health conscious, but I do believe that it’s very important to eat healthy food. I try to give my kids a lot of fruits instead of juice and avoid junk food, and sweets. I get frustrated when my son does not eat vegetables, but I don’t like to force anything they don’t want to eat.

You are right, Irene, people would rather go to farmers markets to buy fresh organic veggies and fruits.  Every grocery store has organic food sections now. I don’t remember seeing many organic sections a few years ago. We are very fortunate to live close to the most diverse city in the world. There are restaurants from all over the world. We love eating at Cha Cha Cha [Tapas] in Haight-Ashbury, Deep Sushi [Japanese] in Noe Valley, Betelnut [Asian Fusion] in Marina, Suppenkuche [German]
Restaurant in Hayes Valley, Slanted door [Vietnamese] in Embarcadero, and many more...
Above all, my moms Korean cooking food is still my favorite.
{daughter’s bedroom}
7.) This silver grey is so beautiful, did your daughter choose it or did you do it for her? Where do you get your inspiration from when decorating your house?
My husband and I make a decision that will be permanent, and that will last for a long time based on her opinion. Most of times, we agree, or come up in the middle. I get inspiration from everywhere- Books, internet, movies, my childhood, and friends or families homes. I love looking at peoples nests. It’s like going to museum. That’s one of the reasons why I am a big fan of Irene's Open House Tour. It’s a great honor to be a part of it.
{daughter’s bedroom with mattress on floor}
8.) What are important ideas for you for when raising your children? What kind of toys do you prefer to give to them and do you encourage them to play with?

I miss my childhood dearly. I still remember first doll dress that my mom made for me, fishing trips with my dad, and playing in the front yard with my friends until the sun went down. I often wished my mom was home spending more time with us. She has always been very creative, and had a huge impact on my sewing skills. I want my children to have a plenty of those memories. It’s also very important for them learn how to respect others and appreciate what they have. I think the best way to teach them is be a great role model.
I am not a big fan of battery operated plastic toys. Children immediately get attracted to those toys first, but also easily get bored of it fast. You can’t do much, or be creative with something if it’s already moving by itself. I tend to buy similar toys that I played with when I was child or teach them various arts that I have learned.Jimin_c&jroom_details

{daughter’s bedroom with desk against wall}
9.) I love the vintage desk and chairs … and knowing how to create a warm atmosphere seems so easy for you to do … where did you learn to do this … or do you follow your instincts? 

Everyday, I get new ideas to create a practical, yet whimsical space in their rooms. When I have ideas, I get very excited to see the result right away, so I spend all day long rearranging them. After I finish it, I get great pleasure out of it. That cycle goes on and on every 3 to 5 months. My husband often thinks he is in the wrong room!
Taking different art classes definitely influenced the many things I have done. There are no rules, I just follow my instincts and that makes me feel like I am home.Jimin_samples


{little felt hearts and yellow felt socks}
10.) These little creations look so perfect … for whom do you make them and what would be the best advice you can give to anybody who would like to start selling their handmade products too?

I used do everything by myself, designing and making the garment tag, bag, and other packaging things. As my business grows, I couldn’t do all that. I think creating new things for the customer is the first priority. I occasionally make a little ornament for my customers. I want them to feel special when they received the package.
I think you have to be very passionate about what you are selling. If you think your product is not good enough for you then others feel the same way.  Start with small scale items to see how much you enjoy selling them. Creating and selling are two different things. It takes a lot of dedication and hard work.  But, in the end, it’s all worth it.Jimin_bedroom

{Jimin’s bedroom}
11.)  Can you tell us a bit more about this beautiful bedroom, I love the color on the wall? Does the internet inspire you to be creative and decorative in house?

It was hard to create a bedroom that we both enjoy. I like a romantic, feminine, and sensual room, but my husband likes traditional American style. We had to compromise with each other. He picked out most of the furniture, and I decorated with things that I love. I don’t settle for one look. I change things around very often. I love organizing. It’s very therapeutic for me. Lately, the internet is huge part of my life because of  my business and working at home everyday.  I am regularly looking at others’ work when I have time.  I am very inspired by The Selby, The gardner & Marks, Office for Word and Image.


{some jewelry and treasured pieces}
12.) What is your most treasured belonging and what souvenirs did you bring back from your last trip?

I worked as a makeup artist for 6 years until my son was born. I used to collect makeup,  and have treasured my collection so much.  One of our storage rooms is filled with huge collections of makeup and perfume. I know many of them need to be thrown away from being so old.  I don’t even wear makeup anymore, but I am having hard time letting it all go. This year, I am going to keep some of the unopened packages and let the rest go.  The last trip we went on was going skiing in Lake Tahoe. I usually bring back little souvenirs from the places I visit, but I was so exhausted from skiing, that I stayed in most days. My body did not respond the way I wanted it to!
I think I need to exercise more.Jimin_garden  

{the garden}
13.) When you sit in your garden and think of 2009 … what ideas, dreams or things would you love to accomplish?

I will continue to make children’s clothing. Also, I am planning to create a couple items for adults, and maybe some for home furnishings. I’ve been sketching a couple of new characters for the shop. It has been very hard to let go with whole sale orders last year. It was hard to produce a large number of items by myself. It would be nice to find a great seamstress this year. I am always dreaming of having my own company someday. Right now, I’m just taking small steps, for a better future for smallVille.

..Smallville blog..
..Smallville shop..
..Smallville on etsy..
..previous work by Jimin..

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