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Studio Tour: Abacus Row

by Lauren Chorpening

When looking at pieces created by ‘s Christine Trac, it’s hard to imagine how she makes her gorgeous jewelry in a designated space at home. Her delicate line of gold and silk cord jewelry is designed and crafted at her dining room table and in her spare bedroom. Christine and her fiancé, Devon, have made themselves a peaceful, beautiful home in San Francisco, CA that can accommodate daily life, Christine’s business and overnight guests. Their sun-filled studio space has allowed Abacus Row to grow so much bigger than Christine and Devon could have ever imagined.

Christine made the transition from Indonesia to San Francisco four years ago to move in with Devon. She was unable to find a job in her previous field of environmental conservation and ethnographic research. “I didn’t have any intentions of starting a business. Employment opportunities for positions that seemed more in-line with my background weren’t materializing, so I made a handful of decisions that led me back to some of my more natural strengths. A little over a year after moving to San Francisco, I launched Abacus Row,” Christine says. “Abacus Row reflects my minimalist aesthetic and my attention to detail. My work balances bold colors and materials in delicate proportions to create refined and understated jewelry.” Her minimalist aesthetic is also seen in her workspace.

Christine and Devon’s architecturally detailed space sets the perfect backdrop for their minimal, modern furniture. Light-colored walls in the dining room workspace highlight the form and design of the solid wood furniture. The wooden ledge in the studio/guest room is functional and visually lifting. “The transformation of our space is both a gradual and a continuous process,” Christine says. “Making space for the studio is only a relatively recent development. My work was mostly contained in the dining area of our home and I have worked in a million different ways with storage and obsessive organization to make that possible. As the business has grown, my work has started to take up more physical space in our home, which led us to reworking our guest room into a space that could still host guests (neither of us are from this area, so we love houseguests), but would also allow for me to work out of [it].” In peeking into Christine and Devon’s airy and inspiring space, it’s no surprise that her incredibly crafted necklaces, bracelets and earrings are made right in the midst of it. Beautiful things come out of beautiful spaces. – Lauren

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Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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Christine's central workspace is the dining room table. The minimal, clean style lets her work on her designs without clutter. Her complementing space in the guest room allows her to move her materials out of sight at the end of the day.
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Christine crafting her intricate pieces in her beautiful workspace.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"Jewelry to shoot for the online shop. Designs here are of the latest collection, ARCN, a collaboration with my friend and fellow SF jewelry designer, Christy Natsumi," Christine says.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"The biggest challenge is creating a space that allows me to balance our home life and my studio life. I love our apartment and I think that it serves as a conducive space for me to work in and for us to just experience our home lives, but it's most definitely a balancing act," Christine says. "There have been periods where boxes of boxes and other packaging materials have dominated our space and I've had to get creative about rearranging spaces and organizing our storage areas to contain it. The business is still growing and our space isn't getting any bigger, but I know there are still better ways of making this all work. I make the littlest things so I feel convinced that it's possible."
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"My main goal with having a studio life in the apartment was actually to keep it as invisible as possible. I still want that for our main living room where I carry out production and design work. It's a big room with lots of windows that we keep pretty minimal. Keeping the space minimal gives me the clarity to focus," Christine says.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"I'm thankful for having a corner unit in our building. We have walls covered with windows and our apartment fills with natural light every single day. It creates an incredibly conducive environment to work in. It makes the living room where I do design work and production feel light and open. When it comes to more visual creative work, that openness gives me the space to focus."
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Christine and Devon's home reflects their personal, "just-enough" approach to design.
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This rolling cart in the guest room/studio stores a significant amount of Christine's materials. She can access it easily and it conveniently fits under her standing desk when guests come to stay.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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Christine uses two desks in her studio, a standing desk and a computer desk.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"Reworking the guest bedroom into a part studio is a recent endeavor and the decorating for this space is just beginning. I decided to start with a little pillow mountain to make the bed feel a little more lounging and less bed-like. I work in this space, so I figure it's best for it not to just look instantly like [a] place for sleep," Christine says.
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Christine uses the standing desk to process and package Abacus Row orders. Christine and Devon have made their home fit all of their needs down to the details.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"To give a bit more space between the bed and the desks, we created shallower-depth desktops. Reinventing the guest room has allowed me to still keep the work that I do in the main room of the apartment mobile and pretty much out of sight," Christine says.
Studio Tour: Abacus Row | Design*Droits-Humains
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"What I love most about my home is all of the natural light and the view of the bay."
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Christine and Devon's floor plan with studio space color-coded.

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