From the moment they were announced ‘Mr & Mrs White’ on their wedding day, Sasha and Nathan focused on creating a home together. For this couple it took the form of simple, handmade furniture and linens and soon they were crafting their popular designs for family and friends. Then two years ago they took a chance and rented a factory and showroom of their own, aptly naming their venture Mr & Mrs White. We caught up with Sasha White, met their daughter Selah Grace and took a peek inside their newest home: a showroom in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
My mum always made the home a warm and welcoming place. [She] made the home special and this had a huge impact on me growing up… Nathan grew up spending the afternoons with his pop in his timber workshop. His pop made all the furniture for the family – from dining tables to bookcases and coffee tables. Every Christmas he would make his grandkids something special – a timber rocking horse, play tables and chairs. His pop taught him the importance of detail, to never compromise on quality and that woodworking and patience go hand in hand.
SETTING UP SHOP
After finishing university I worked for a publishing company designing book covers. I got bored and tired of sitting in front of the computer so I started messing around with a sewing machine my nan bought me. I fell in love with the ability to create with my own two hands. It was satisfying seeing a lump of fabric become something beautiful, something useful. When Nathan was looking into starting an apprenticeship he was told by a close family friend that ‘shipwrights’ were highly respected in many fields due to their skill in woodwork and the importance of detail and design required in their industry; [that] the trade had the ability to open up many work opportunities in a number of occupations. So with this knowledge Nathan embarked on his shipwright apprenticeship, which eventually led him to the furniture industry.
TESTING ONE, TWO, THREE
Our desire is to bring out the best in the material we use, whether it be timber, linen or leather. In this way, we keep our designs very simple – inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design. We always test out our products in our own home before introducing them to the range [for sale]. In all our shoots, we try to keep it as natural and raw as possible, just like our furniture. People can then see how the piece can fit into their own life and their own home.
SHARING THE LOAD
We play to our strengths. I would be hopeless in the workshop and vice versa Nathan would not have a clue on how to update our website. We are in communication continually about jobs and things that need to be done and we always work together on designs and the future direction for the business.
FINDING A BALANCE
Working together is a huge part of ‘doing life’ together. It’s hard to separate them – especially when you love what you do. It’s all about trying to keep a good balance with all aspects of life – time spent at the factory, at home, with friends etc. We have learned that it’s never going to be perfect and things won’t always be balanced but you just keep readjusting and figuring it out. Communication has been key, and making the time spent not working memorable and fun, for example Sundays are family day. It’s one day we don’t check emails and try not to talk ‘work’ too much.
A SPACE TO CALL HOME
Two years ago we made the decision to sign the lease for our own factory and showroom. Prior to this, Nathan was working out of a small room within someone else’s factory. It was quite a leap of faith to move into our own space – financially the numbers didn’t add up and we had no prospective jobs that would guarantee us security. But we knew we had to do it to grow – both physically and mentally. Happy to say we have now just moved into a new factory and showroom around four times the size of the first one. It’s another leap of faith but life would be pretty boring without those, don’t you think?
Photography: Alex Carlyle, Marika Jarv, Sasha White