Lifestyle

This 144-Year-Old Rural Cabin Is A Veteran Fashion Designer's Office

It's no secret that we've been big fans of the upstart menswear label Grayers here at Supercompressor. After all, with Ralph Lauren vets at the helm like founder Peter Georgiou and creative director Kenny Thomas, it's easy to be on their side and get excited about the sartorial goodness up their figurative sleeves.

Then, we learned that their creative director, Kenny Thomas, does most of his designing for the brand from the confines of his old-school country cabin in North Carolina. And we fell even deeper in love.

Kenny recently was gracious enough to give us a look inside his unconventional digs, and well, we're not not jealous. We hope you enjoy this as much as we did. 

After launching the brand three years ago, Grayers' founder Peter Georgiou brought on Kenny Thomas (pictured above) to help design and realize his vision for the collection. But rather than do so from the confines of a city office, Kenny designs out of a 300-square foot cabin in the back of his home in North Carolina.

Not just any cabin, though; a cabin built in 1870 by one of the most prolific builders of the time, famous for many great heritage houses in the area from that era.

Kenny and his wife Leeta spent three years restoring their home and the outbuildings in back, which include the cabin. They were fastidious enough in doing so that they're going to be listed on the National Register of Historic places. 

Your cubicle has that too, right?

If you're bold enough to doubt its legitimacy, he's got the documents to prove its origins. This is the letter from the architect-builder Jacob Holt to its original owner outlining the floor plan and particulars of the space.

Though if you'd seen its skeletal remains pre-renovation, you would have never doubted the authenticity. People pay big money in Brooklyn, Portland, and every other hipster enclave in America to dream up interior design vibes that don't get anywhere near as real as this spot.

This is what the fully-rehabed mini compound looks like these days. It's no wonder Kenny opted for this place over anywhere else to get the creative juices flowing. With a brand that pays such faithful tribute to a vintage aesthetic, this sort of tranquil, Americana-soaked environment is the place to be. But enough about what it looks like from the outside, let's step inside.

Step through the door and you're immediately transported to what looks and feels like a meticulous recreation of a room worthy of Ernest Hemingway in his heyday. The exposed brick combined with a working fireplace, sprawling oriental rug, giant sailboat, and a post-and-beam cathedral ceiling? We'll take it.

If you're familiar with Grayers, then you know that their collection draws tremendous inspiration from vintage, something its founder set out to achieve from the beginning. "I've always been hugely into vintage, and knowing Kenny was too I thought his aesthetic would work with the brand," Georgiou told us.

To rouse such inspiration it's important for Kenny to surround himself with plenty of fodder for the imagination, hence walls that are lined with old textiles, books, and more.

Some of the pieces from the Grayers collection, and more specifically the Fall 2014 season's—have some sort of vintage reference, many of which can be found in the space. 

Not to mention an eclectic collection of photography, figurines, toys, and and a few paintings. It's like a painstakingly staged flea market booth filled with anything and everything that Kenny finds inspiring for his process, including Alfred E. Neuman.

Though when you're helping design an upstart fashion label in 2014, you better believe the place is wired to the gills. It's important to surrounded by the stuff that gets you revved up creatively, but it's also important to answer emails and ensure designs are being communicated to the right people at the right time. 

Though those long, hellish, hair-puller days surely suck a whole lot less when the reality sets in that this is your office, and the commute home is only a few hundred yards. 


Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor, whose offices have not been named to the National Register of Historic Places. Yet.