Powering Down

A stack of swatches representing seasons to come border an oversize window projecting the busy Mission neighborhood below; A jar of cherished pencils sit quietly on a smooth vintage desk that is free of wires and weightless of LCD injected monitors. It is here where Coyuchi Design Director, Laura Jo Wegman, retreats and dilates her fine tune focus of nature’s arbitrations, letting each outside force be heard clearly on the surrendered sketchpad at her fingertips.

Wegman’s home is unique from the mere first steps through the front door. There are no digital faces, electronics, or screens to be found. All tools, appliances, and reference to the outside world are low-tech, manual, or rotary operated. This flashback feeling is sung throughout family activities. Weekends involve baking with simple first steps such as grinding grains and pulverizing oranges over a hand crank juicer. A steeping mound of rich coffee brews over the stovetop while the family rumples through a freshly printed New Yorker. Wegman feels most at home without technology. The low-tech lifestyle leaves the household members more refreshed and present in their every day lives, not to mention the capture more zzZ’s. 

This shift towards low-tech living has received attention in the last decade. The National Day of Unplugging started in 2009, challenging households to power down for 24-hours and reflect on how it affected their lifestyle.

When asking Laura-Jo about un-plugging, it was clear this lifestyle may not be for everyone. However, it is easier to achieve then some may perceive.

Where did you grow up and were your childhood memories with or without technology?

L.J.: I grew up in Washington, D.C. our family wasn’t into the current technology trends. We had a neighborhood bonding that required all of our energy as kids: plays, hikes, creeks.

Do people react when they first visit your unplugged home?

L.J.: People tend to phrase my house as “calm.” They often comment of the art on the walls, or the different textures since these tend to take the spotlight.

Do you influence others to lead a low-tech lifestyle?

L.J.: People often tell me they love how the low-tech lifestyle feels, but they aren’t quite sure how to do it themselves. I always advise them to identify the task at hand, and then find the simplest solution. For example, I want coffee. What is the simplest way to get it done?

So you don’t need an alarm clock, a flashlight, and a milk-frothing wand on your coffee machine?

L.J.: (Smiling) No, you really don’t.

What’s your favorite space in your home?

L.J.: My couch in the kitchen, it frames some of my favorite trees.

Is there anything you always do before you start work?

L.J.: I remove all distractions.

What are you most inspired by?

L.J.: Color!

Favorite item(s) currently in the line?

L.J.: Our Cozy Cotton Blanket and the Color Wheel Pillow- I own both!

Your favorite shop (of the moment) in San Francisco?

L.J.: Arch art supplies in Portrero. 

What’s the one thing in your home you cannot live without?

L.J.: My coffee pot. 

More images of Laura-Jo's un-plugged home can be found here. Photographs by Thomas J. Story.

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