Inside a Brooklyn–Based Design Studio Where Two Former Models Are Setting the Scene


When Jordy Murray met Nora O’Neil in 2017, their fates seemed a bit different. They were in their early twenties living in New York while in bicoastal relationships with roommates, who before they even met insisted that they would get along—after all, they were in fashion and held similar interests. Although both relationships eventually faltered, the exes had been right about one thing: The duo was meant to last.

Sure enough, Nora and Jordy became fast friends, spending much of their quarantine together occupied with many hobbies; the most decisive among them being thrifting and flea markets. “I love a good deal,” Jordy mentions, citing her love for the hunt in all things vintage, from clothing to furniture.

As their modeling gigs dwindled in light of the pandemic, the opportunity arose to pivot the leisure pursuit into a full-time side hustle, flipping some of their furniture finds on Instagram and housing the collection in Nora’s garage. They recall how the pieces would come and go, and, as they realized that there was a real market for this, decided to uproot from the West Coast to Bushwick, New York. Since then, the page has grown into a full-on studio.

A color-coordinated array of tan goods in a corner of the studio.

On the left, a checkered stool designed by Nora.

Today, Nora and Jordy operate out of the same loft space in Brooklyn brimming with an eclectic array of 20th-century treasures. While they’re still sourcing furniture, the studio has organically grown into a multidisciplinary operation, with a host of other projects underway, including interior design gigs, custom-furniture commissions, as well as studio rentals.

“Interior design is more the end goal,” Nora remarks, as they discuss their new project doing the interiors for a home in South Hampton. But due to the particularly frantic nature of the industry post-lockdown, they’ve had to be especially savvy, skirting lead times by sticking to vintage and custom for sourcing. “A store in SoHo gave us a one-week notice to design their new showroom,” Jordy remarks, noting that not everything includes a generous heads-up.

White Air Lounge chair by Fabio Novembre stands in the center. A pair of Mies van der Rohe Cantilever chairs in the back.

Although their new creative ventures have taken them to projects all around the city, they have also brought them back to their lovely Bushwick outpost, and even back to their roots in fashion. Prominent designers including Cuup and Rag & Bone have spotted their eye-catching page on Instagram, renting out their location for photoshoots and blowing up the page with their large following.

But it’s not always easy renting out a studio that constantly changes: One brand, they recalled, based their whole photoshoot around one rattan chair they saw on their Instagram page. It had sold a while ago but hadn’t been picked up. As fate would have it, on the morning of the photoshoot, the customer finally came, slung the chair over his back, and walked out, prompting a moment of panic.

“The truth is, we love it all,” Nora remarks of their proud finds. “They’re all our babies.” Amidst the revolving nature of their business, one piece is there to stay: a vintage Ikea coatrack with feminine curves catches the light in the corner. It’s Laurids Lonborg’s Postmodern Figural Female Valet from the 1980s, one of the hot, vintage Ikea tickets everyone seems to be chasing nowadays, fetching upwards of $700. The piece has become their “logo,” in a sense, still gracing their website’s home page. It’s one they won’t let go, despite the numerous requests, and is sure to journey with them to their new location come fall.

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