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names: Natalie and Caleb Ebel
Activity: co-founders of background.
What time do we start:
Natalie: 9:30 a.m., after school.
caleb: Our 1 year old daughter gets up at 5:30 am, but you can probably find us in the studio around 9:30 am.
What time do we clock out:
Natalie: Never. I really like what I do and find it hard to log out.
caleb: There is always more to do. But we try to prioritize family time in the evenings with our two young children and then often do the standard working parent session with a little more work later in the evening.
How do we work:
Natalie: We drive. When we lived in New York City, we took the train and purposely boarded several train cars. Our rule now is that we can’t talk about work until we’re in the office, trying to set boundaries.
caleb: By car. Los Angeles traffic is no joke.
Three words that describe our space:
Natalie: Colorful, creative and fun.
caleb: Eclectic, light and open.
The most important in our office/studio:
Natalie: The light! When we chose this space, we did it because of its incredible proportions and large windows. When we do color work, this is so important. We have an open office, but have designated a specific area where we do all our design work on Backdrop’s wallpaper. This is another incredibly important part of the space, as each design is created from original, handcrafted artwork in our downtown LA studio. It is full of mood boards and samples and is always a center of creative energy.
caleb: We’re a distributed team, so we’re always making video calls together in different locations.
What’s on the walls:
Natalie: We used Backdrops cool moon on our studio walls. We also have a full color wall of samples and layers of paint everywhere. Something that is very important to us when designing wallpaper is living with it for a while. We always try to print the wallpaper to scale so that we can see it in repetition and imagine how it would work in different interior spaces.
caleb: Lots of colors and coats of paint, plus wallpaper designs in progress.
Our current creative fuel:
Natalie: Each other. I really like our team and we all feed off of everyone’s points of view. There is a lot of dialogue and collaboration. I like the question “What if?” and ‘Let’s give it a try…’ lead to the best ideas.
caleb: music, travel, Ghia’s lime and salt spritzand Stumptown coffee beans.
What we look at when we’re stuck:
Natalie: Time away from fencing and long walks around Silver Lake.
caleb: I’m a big fan of long walks to clear your head.
How we stay organized:
Natalie: Write it down and become a label maker.
caleb: We use Asana, Slack, and Google tools to help the team work together and keep it organized.
Natalie: I am very passionate about my writing implements. The best pen in the world is the one from Pilot Hi-Tec-C gel pen.
caleb: Pilot G2 in black.
Natalie: Unlined and XXL Moleskine.
caleb: I’m still very attached to pen and paper and flip through dozens of Blueline Hardbound Notebooks.
Technology we can’t live without:
Natalie: Our fancy scanner and huge printer for testing wallpaper samples.
caleb: I don’t know how teams worked together before Slack.
Office chair that we could (and do) in for hours:
Natalie: I’m always on the move and never actually sitting at my desk. I like sitting this chair in our lounge area.
caleb: I just upgraded to a IKEA office chair.
How we fight the 3 p.m. slump:
Natalie: Open a Ghia Lime and Salt Spritz.
caleb: Afternoon coffee is a secret weapon.
Ideal office snack:
caleb: Rod, our head of operations, is known for always bringing in Filipino sweets.
Natalie: A lot of jazz is always played in the studio. We’ve also created custom playlists for some of our paint colors on Spotify. Our current go-to is Backdrop’s Disco Nap Playlist.
caleb: Wallpapers Silver Lake Dad playlist on Spotify.