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hello there.

Well, whaddya wanna know?  Here's the plain and simple truth:  My name is Rebekah Tennis and I love design.  I love paper, the way it feels, its weight and texture.  I love extra special touches on little things: homemade tags on gift-wrap, old stamps on an envelope, and twine on nearly everything.

My husband, business partner and all-around solid rock Matt would probably tell you that he likes tools - lots of 'em, finding the perfect way to do something, taking things apart, and precision in everything. 

So you might as well have guessed by now... we are the perfect match for an old letterpress studio. Together we farm rice and have three adorable and active boys ages 5 and under.  This keeps us fairly busy, but whenever we have a spare moment, we crank up our 102 year old Chandler and Price platen press and pull some prints, or whip out a card line on the Heidelberg. 

There's more, oh yes, there IS more - but that's what this blog is for.  Take a look around, get to know us, our great town of Chico, California and our beautiful presses.


our letterpress studio.

Happy Friday, friends!  Here is the promised mini-tour of the Wild Ink Press studio. Yay! So excited to share it with you!  Let’s start with the outside, shall we?  Our letterpress studio is a little two-story building detached from our house, located in the backyard.  It has its own driveway/street entrance (usually this is our bocce ball court) which sure made it handy when we had to move in our 1800 lb presses.  There’s a manual roll-up garage door and also a regular entrance door. The original owner of this house was really into cars, I believe, and this served as a very, very nice shop.  Here’s a before photo:

first tour: outside beforeVery promising, right? But kinda Beige-y Mcbeige.  Plus, that roll-up door was blocking a ton of wonderful natural light. Here’s the after:

first tour: outside afterWe painted it the same color as the main house and replaced the garage door.  Originally we thought we were going to have to shell out big bucks for an all glass pane door (like the cool modern ones here) but then we called a local garage door shop (Sharp’s) and found they could install a standard door but just order regular glass panels all the way down.  The fellow who installed it said he had seen two panels of glass before, but never four full panels.  He thought it was definitely cool, and so did we!  Plus, it cost under a quarter of what a fancy glass door would have cost. Score!  Sharp’s (Chico and Oroville) is an excellent shop by the way, very friendly, well-priced and they supplied and installed both this door and our carriage house garage doors in front.

But let’s go inside, shall we? First, the before:

first tour: inside beforeOkay, positives: nice, big space.  Tall ceilings. Smooth walls.  Relatively unscathed cement floor.  Negatives: box fluorescent lighting.  Boring gray walls (I know, normally I love gray). O yeah, and filled with our junk. Seriously, six months after we moved in this thing was twice as full as you see it above, filled with unpacked boxes and painting projects from our main house remodel. You doubt?  Observe:

first tour: inside before 2And lastly:

first tour: inside before 3first tour: inside before 4Wowsers.  Just looking at that photo makes me so glad I am done painting the kitchen cabinets.  And gives you a full view of how much we like Benjamin Moore Paint, and what a cluttered mess the studio was.  An M-E-S-S – mess.

And here’s the after:

first tour: inside after 1Now, I may be biased because I love letterpress so much, but isn’t that just the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?  There’s our two presses and our paper cutter, and their combined ages are more than 300 years old, about a hundred each.  Sweet, huh?  This shot was taken by the gloriously talented Eikon Photography right before our grand opening.  Our two white parson’s tables (from West Elm) don’t usually have flowers and displayed stationery on them, rather they usually have stacks and stacks of printed and unprinted work, plus makeready, etc.  But it sure looks pretty this way, right?

first tour: inside after 2Looks a lot better without the cabinet paint job all over the place, huh?  This is our sitting area, and you can see the new garage door lets in tons of wonderful natural light. Yet it’s also shaded by two big trees so it doesn’t increase the heat of the shop at all. The love seat (a jewel from Urban Outfitters) and coffee table (industrial from Wisteria) comprise the studio sitting area for meeting with clients and/or friends. We’ve since added two beautiful Louis the-whatever-number-can’t-remember-XVI-maybe? chairs from the lovely Nantucket Home here in Chico.  We picked them up at the Slice of Chico sidewalk sale for a bargain! You can see a tiny corner of them peeking in the photo below:

first tour: inside after 3first tour: inside after 4

We tore out the white pegboard built-ins, which were a little automotive and industrial for our taste, salvaged them and reinstalled some of them in our garage – which worked out great.  The new cherry desk and cupboards you see were actually a built-in set from the office/study in the main house.  (You’ll see the original later when I get around to a home tour.) We pulled them out from the office, removed some of the top cabinets and all of the molding from the set to keep it from looking too top heavy, and changed the dark green marble-looking formica that used to be the counter top, replacing it with a clean, thick white counter top from Ikea. It was cheap and looks awesome. The biggest change of all, however, was replacing the dated shiny brass handles with antique bin pulls and cool door pulls with ornate backing.  It made the cherry look older and warmer and was just what we wanted. Oh, and the icky fluorescent box lighting?  Gone. Matt did all the electrical for that and did an awesome job.

first tour: inside after 5We used warehouse/farm lighting (it’s cheap!) but dressed it up with ceiling medallions.  Over the desk are we used chandeliers, from Pottery Barn Kids, actually, because it was the best deal. And we installed the whole system on a dimmer so we can have lighting control in the studio.

Here’s the real eye candy, though:

first tour: pressesOur Chandler and Price Old Style, Golding Jobber No. 7 and Chandler and Price Paper Cutter.  They are beautiful, old and sometimes cantankerous, but they all still function like they were created 100 years ago! Our C & P just got new rollers yesterday, so exciting. Here’s a few vignettes from wandering around the studio…

first_tour_13

A few of our prized Goines prints…first_tour_14

first_tour_15

Our old Tubbs type cabinet, furniture and reglets…first_tour_16

And to round it all out… Mr. Cam goofing around the shop.  He loves the mirror and sofa!first_tour_17Hope you enjoyed our mini massive tour of the studio!  Come and visit us soon!

09/19 update: A complete tour is available on facebook (99 photos). Probably more than you need to see!

September 18, 2009 - 7:25 pm Kathryn - Looks awesome!

September 18, 2009 - 7:31 pm rebekah - thanks, Kathryn! I'm so flattered you would even drop by the blog!

September 19, 2009 - 12:29 am erica - oh...your studio is so beautiful! I LOVE the paint color...the presses are amazing and where on earth did you get that mirror?! You must get a ton of actual work done being in an environment like that =D

September 19, 2009 - 7:50 am Marci - Love, love, love the new with the old look combinations in furniture and lighting. The detailed thought behind recycling the cherry cabinets was a mark of creative genius! Super envious of the natural light/garage doors. Love the green. Perfect in every way. What happened to the wonderful fridge--I'm assuming there's a food bar area? The fridge is what got me to this site.

September 19, 2009 - 9:39 am rebekah - Erica, thanks so much! The mirror, strangely enough, I found for 60% off online at Horchow. Though I usually think their stuff is way expensive and overstyled, in this case, it just worked and was the right price. I'm hoping to get wireless internet in there SOON, so I can do some designing in there too. It's a great thinking space, with all the samples, etc.

September 19, 2009 - 12:01 pm rebekah - Marci, that's so kind! The fridge is there, it's to the left of the mirror, you can see it the huge and comprehensive facebook tour of the studio. It's next to what used to be a small kitchen island (it had been removed from the kitchen and was sitting in the garage) which we painted black (it has a butcher block top) and have a coffee/espresso maker and a few other sundry kitchen items there. I'll be able to use it more once we get the ugly utility bathroom next to it remodeled!

September 19, 2009 - 12:41 pm Lisa Ridgely - Your studio is fantastic! I love the glass-front cabinets, the lighting fixtures, the furniture...every bit is perfect. Beautifully done!

September 21, 2009 - 6:44 pm melissa - love the green. so chic and unexpected!

November 17, 2009 - 11:34 pm Lisa Fitts - I love your studio Wow!

December 4, 2009 - 2:54 pm Dee - Hi, I just love it! You have indeed inspired me to turn our back junk room into a letterpress studio. Thanks for sharing! Dee

January 9, 2010 - 8:06 am Emily - Love the green. What's the color called? Benjamin Moore?

January 11, 2010 - 10:30 am rebekah - I sent you an email, but it's a mix between BM Jalapeno and BM Stem Green. :-)

September 19, 2009 - 11:56 am { a whole new… fridge. } » Wild Ink Press - [...] of the studio, we’ll have a mini-tour / before and after of the place within the week, I promise. I’ll leave you with a sneak peek through my favorite [...]

October 19, 2009 - 3:12 pm tick, tock, homemade clock. » Wild Ink Press - [...] you might have taken the letterpress studio tour a little while back, but since that time we have managed to put up a little pizazz on our walls [...]

July 8, 2010 - 3:18 pm bits and pieces. » Wild Ink Press - [...] know you’ve all seen the studio tour (on here and a huge one on facebook, as well), but I thought you might like to see a few recent [...]

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