When you enter Madelynn Furlong’s apartment, you’ll most certainly fall in love. The assistant designer at Target, Hackwith Design House stylist, and blogger behind Wide Eyed Legless lives in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area with her husband and adorable pup. Their home is a wonderful and refreshing mixture of light, wood, texture, and minimalism. Every detail in the Hackwith abode is simply stunning, from the hand-made wooden furniture to the sleek copper clothes rack to the lovely, full-wall window that lets in copious amounts of natural light.
We adore Madelynn—and her home—because of her ability to create a beautiful living space on a budget. She enjoys hunting for affordable pieces of furniture and decor that compliment her home perfectly, so she frequents Craigslist, antique stores, and warehouse sales. And in order to transform her house into a home, she and her husband dove into numerous DIY projects—they built most of the wooden furniture by hand! All of the effort and time Madelynn put into her apartment certainly paid off. She set out to bring as much nature as possible into her home and create a Nordic-inspired space that friends and family would want to linger in, and by the looks of it, she definitely accomplished that. Today, Madelynn opens up her home and shares her design philosophy with The Everygirl. So step inside, take a look around, and get to know this charming young woman!
Full Name: Madelynn Rose Hackwith Furlong
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Current Title/Company: Assistant Designer at Target Corporation/Stylist & PR Rep for Hackwith Design House
Educational Background (College/Degree): BFA in Studio Art from Bethel University
You moved from New York City to Minnesota not too long ago. How was the transition from New York City to the Midwest for you and your family? Did you have a plan when you found out you were moving?
My husband, Caylon, and I found out rather abruptly that we would be moving out of New York. It was a very difficult decision for us—we love that city so much! Transitioning into the Midwest was a bit more challenging than we thought it would be—even though we both grew up in this area. I guess what they say about New York must be true—it really does change a person! However, it has been so helpful and amazing to have our friends and family close to us again. Plus moving out of New York allowed us to get a dog, and we are pretty happy with that!
What was your first job out college, and how did you land it?
For the first year out of college, I worked for a lovely family as their nanny. I spent my days with their two-year-old daughter. To be honest, I was pretty lost when I graduated college. I had a Studio Art degree, so the number of creative fields that I could go into felt overwhelming. That year was amazing for me—I cleared my head and figured out who I wanted to become and where my true passions were. Now looking back, it was so perfect for me to be with that family for that year. I am still very close to them and owe a lot of where I am today to them. The parents were so influential to me, and I feel so blessed to have them in my life.
You’re currently an Assistant Designer for Apparel and Accessories at Target, an Everygirl favorite. How did you land that job? Did your previous jobs help you get to where you are now?
My past experience and connections there definitely helped in getting a job, but the main reason I got my job designing for Target was because I wasn’t afraid to truly be myself. When I interviewed for the position, I included other creative outlets in my portfolio besides my design work, like my personal blog and instagram account. Because I didn’t technically have a fashion degree (just experience), I felt that it was important to show how I was personally pursuing creative growth and fashion on a daily basis.
What does a typical work day entail?
As an assistant, my role is about assisting my manager and my team. I sketch new clothing designs, partner with my textile design team to find appropriate colors and patterns for the designs, and I learn. I’m constantly learning. Most weeks I will find time to grab coffee with a friend on a different team to see how things are going, meet with my mentors to learn from them and discuss areas I am interested in or want to learn more about. It’s actually really exciting because the things I worked on when I first started are just now hitting the floor—it is so fun to see all the products I have helped create!
On top of designing for Target, you’re a Stylist at Hackwith Design House, which happens to be your sister-in-law’s clothing company. What drew you to pursuing your interest in fashion and working with family?
I grew up around so many creative people that were so influential, but I really didn’t know that I wanted to pursue fashion until my senior year in college when I spent that fall semester studying in New York City. That city planted a big seed in my heart for the fashion world—it made it quite hard to ignore after I came back. That was also the same time that I met my husband, and in turn, got to know Lisa (owner of Hackwith Design House) who was just starting her clothing company. It’s been so fun to have had a small part in it from the start! Her passion for designing is contagious, so it made the decision to work for her pretty easy. Plus she is family, which is quite the added bonus!
Designing, styling, being a wife, and taking care of your adorable pup Benzel—it seems like you’re such a busy gal! How do you find the time to update your blog Wide Eyed Legless and the Hackwith Design House blog, Hackwith Happenings?
I’m such an extrovert, so I really haven’t learned how to balance all of this! I would rather spend time with my husband and friends, so my personal blog is always last on the list. I’m recently learning how to use the alone time I do have to be productive. For example, I take the train into work everyday and try to use that half-hour to catch up on everything.
How did you find your current place and what drew you to it? Do you rent or own it?
Minneapolis is full of so many beautiful old homes, but when we moved back we weren’t ready to not live in the heart of the city, so we looked for lofts in downtown St. Paul, which is where our current loft is. Caylon and I tend to fall on the more minimalistic side of life, so we really wanted a place that felt airy and simple with lots of natural light. So when we walked into our now apartment and saw the massive windows, we basically signed the lease right then and there.
What was the decorating process like? Did you encounter any challenges in making your apartment/house feel like a home?
The biggest challenge in putting our home together was learning to work around existing elements that we couldn’t change, like ugly light fixtures and counter tops. I swear, our kitchen cabinets have not been updated since the 80s—they are awful! But you work with what you get, right? So we built a lot of our own furniture and tried to really custom fit it all to the apartment and help mask the parts of it that we didn’t love.
How would you describe your decorating style? Where did you find inspiration for your home? Did being a stylist or working in fashion influence how you decorate your home?
I would say my decorating style is pretty simple—lots of texture and neutral colors. To me, it’s less about having a defined style and more about just going with your gut on something. Our goal in decorating our home was to bring the outdoors in and take most of our inspiration from nature. That way, our home would have a good sense of balance to it. We also love Nordic design, so we took a lot of inspiration from that- especially the interior of the restaurant NOMA. Being a stylist and in fashion influenced my decorating choices pretty minimally, actually. It really only influenced the standard that I held myself too. What mainly influenced how I put my home together was how I wanted to live in my home. My husband is an amazing chef and has a strong passion for cocktails and bitters, so needless to say, we spend a lot of time hosting people, which we absolutely love doing. That said, our main priority was that our home felt warm, inviting, and a place that you would just want to linger in.
How did you create a home that was suitable for both you and your husband (and Benzel)? Do you two have a similar design aesthetic or did you have to learn to compromise on decorating?
Putting together a home suitable for us all was pretty natural. Having a clear vision of how we wanted our home to be used helped immensely. Caylon and I both are very opinionated when it comes to design and how we want something to look. Luckily we do have very similar tastes, so that made putting our home together easy and enjoyable. Now puppy proofing is a whole different situation—let’s just say I found out the hard way that Benzel loves shoes, especially expensive ones.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for affordable pieces for your home?
I truly enjoy a good hunt for the perfect item, so I do a lot of browsing on craigslist and shopping antique stores. Minneapolis has so many great antique stores and midcentury design stores that I typically turn there when looking for a new treasure. I often find my best steals in little shops that nobody thinks to go to! I also tend to be more of a quality vs. quantity type of person, so I would also suggest seeing what large companies might have a warehouse sale in your area. That way you can invest in pieces that will last but spend a fraction of the price for them!
What else did you do the keep the cost of creating your home budget-friendly?
My husband and I literally made the furniture ourselves. It was inexpensive because the cost of wood is very low, but it did require lots of time but because we were doing it. We were not paying someone else for their time, so all of the furniture pieces we made cost us only a few hundred dollars, but if we hadn’t built them on our own, they could’ve costed thousands.
What is the one item a young woman should splurge on for her home?
Hands down, a piece of beautiful art. A good piece of art always makes a room feel complete and elevated. Being an artist myself, I feel strongly that everyone should fill their homes with art that keeps their minds in a creative and imaginative spirit. I’m also a huge advocate for supporting young artists and makers. Plus art only increases in value over time, so it is well worth the splurge!
What does an average day look like for you?
Every day is so different! The only consistent thing is going to work during the work week. Our evenings are usually a mixture of spending time with friends, doing something Hackwith Design House related, trying a new restaurant/cocktail place in town, or enjoying a nice meal together at home. The weekends are typically just as busy with the exception of spending more time outside, picnic-ing, foraging, soaking the fresh air up. Although now that we are heading into the colder months (winters here are brutal!), there will be a lot more hibernating and tea drinking going on.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years?
I would love to be a bit more established in my career as a designer/stylist and in my own personal blog, and have more experience and wisdom to gather from. I would love to have lived in a few amazing cities, hopefully even over seas, and potentially feel close to settling in somewhere more permanently. Obviously I will still be looking forward to working for HDH and hope that the business continues to grow and provide opportunities for the line to really expand. I’m actually really looking forward to being 30—I have heard only great things about that age.
What advice would you give your 23-year old self?
Seeing as that was less than six months ago, I don’t have a whole lot I would say, but I would say to not worry and stress out so much. It always seems to come together in the end, so keep a positive outlook, surround yourself with good friends and family that can give you great words of advice, and laugh. Or, as my grandmother always told me—”bloom where you are planted.”