For a while now Croft House has become one of our favorite furniture brands, whose minimalist California Modern aesthetic has captivated our whole team. We’ve admired their pieces in several of the projects that we’ve featured in Rue. When a brand this fresh and unique in its designs comes along, we’re always curious to find out more about the people behind it. We chatted with Croft’s House Co-Founder and Director of Business Development, Alex Segal, to dig deeper into the brand.

How did you both meet? Did working together come up early on, or was it something that you came to a conclusion to further down the line?

 Riley and I met through mutual friends (Alex’s now wife being one of those “friends”.) We’d see each other at mutual friends’ events pretty consistently and would almost always just end up talking about this thing Riley was doing in his garage. That evolved into intentionally getting drinks and meeting up to talk about it. Which evolved into helping him out in his spare time (he was working elsewhere early on.) Which evolved into Croft House!

Before Croft House was a full-fledged brand Riley had been working on some pieces of furniture in his garage in West Hollywood – how did he acquire this skill? 

Trial and error mostly. It’s come a very long way since then, some of the early work wouldn’t quite make the cut these days!

How do you both divide up the responsibilities for running Croft House – are you each good at different aspects of the business? 

We definitely have a different set of skills, but realistically a lot of the responsibilities fall to our team. They are the ones that make everything run day-to-day, without them it would fall apart pretty quickly!

Since you decided to open up your store on La Brea in 2010, was there ever a moment of hesitation, wondering if Croft House would succeed? 

Oh yeah. Until about 2016, we were a bit… unfocused on our core competency. We offered lots of design services and really leaned into doing all sorts of different custom projects. They distracted us from doing what we needed to do to build the brand and collection, and it definitely got scary at times!

What drives your aesthetic point of view with your pieces at Croft House?

We try to keep our pieces within the range of our California Modern design influence. California is full of natural, beauty. Striking shapes with very muted, natural tones. It’s easy to draw from. 

Use of negative space is something that you’ve mentioned is key to your designs – can you tell us a little more about it, how you work it into the profile of each piece? 

We try to do so in several ways. In the past, we’ve always focused on oversized horizontal surfaces and thin vertical lines. We love the floating aesthetic this creates.  More recently, we’ve been using small, distinct details to take what would otherwise be a large empty canvas, and turning it into what appears to be negative space. Our Rivera Sofa is a good example of this. The leather and bar detail highlights the back of the sofa and, along with the thin profile, almost cause the body of the sofa to disappear.

Who makes each piece at Croft House? 

We have a terrific team of local craftspeople who each specialize in their own trade – metalwork, cabinetmaking, upholstery, finishing. Without them we won’t be able to bring any of our visions to life.

Tell us about what you think defines Californian design?

For us, it’s the combination of modern design and natural materials. Muted, natural tones and textures, painted (not literally!) across clean, modern lines. It’s a straightforward concept, but we feel it represents California design perfectly. 

Do you have a few Croft House pieces at home? Any prototypes that haven’t made it to the shop? 

We do indeed each have several pieces, and occasionally, a prototype we’re working on. For instance, Riley has a console in his home that we’re going to finally convert to a full-fledged part of the collection toward the end of the month at our next photoshoot. 

How do you both differ in your lifestyle? Are there any similarities in how you set up your own homes and live in them?

We have pretty similar lifestyles – both living with our significant others, both without kids. Riley is a bit more artistic though – he has a studio he can work out of and design in, whileI am in school, have converted our guest room into an office. My wife is also a stylist and has her home office in the house as well, where she does fittings, etc.

And as long time residents of Los Angeles, what is your favorite coffee shop and bar in town?

Riley: Shaky Alibi (Coffee Shop) and Surly Goat (Bar).

Alex: Paper or Plastic  (Coffee Shop) and Stanley’s Wet Goods (Bar).