Although there are many of us who keep our personal lives separate from our professional ones, Ekiuwa Evbuomwan took her chance and teamed up with her husband, Osayame, to become partners in life — and in business. With their love for colors and their eye for design, they founded House of Evbuomwan, a successful husband and wife design studio that focuses on working with talented entrepreneurs to create a new look or implement a rebrand.
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While Osayame manages the studio projects, Ekiuwa exemplifies her role as the lead designer by not only using her design aesthetic to personalize client experience, but to perfect her mid-century home with Osayame. From the comfortable workspace incorporated in the living room to the handmade shelves mounted on the wall, their two-bedroom apartment in Atlanta is a beautiful combination of cozy and conventional. Here, she shares what all aspiring entrepreneurs should know, the key to maximizing the functionality of a space, and her favorite area in their home.
What was your first job and how did you land it?
Our first job would be with our long-time client Arian Simone CEO + Founder of Fearless Mag. A great friend of ours at the time referred us to her when we first settled in Atlanta, GA. We got the phone call that she was interested in working with us and we were floored, we knew she was pretty darn major, but we truly didn’t know what we were in for. She challenged us beyond our capabilities and pushed us past our comfort zone, she was the client that helped us to see how far we wanted to go with design.
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur and when did you know it was time to take that step in your career?
We dabbled in design, it was something fun to do while pursuing my psychology degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and my husband was serving active duty in the Air Force. We’ve always been creatives, but it was 2014 when my husband was being released on a honorable discharge from the Air Force that we had the ah-ha moment. “So what are we going to do now?” My husband had the genius idea to start our own graphic design studio while preparing to move from Hawaii to Atlanta, GA. I was great at logo making of course, but to think I was great enough to make it a full-on career, he was out of his mind. But we did it, and it has been the most rewarding decision.
How has being business partners with your husband affected your marriage?
Working with my husband hasn’t always been easiest, but we have one common goal. CREATE AN EXPERIENCE FOR THE CLIENT, no matter what. We bump heads, but not as often as we did in the beginning. When we first started out we both designed and there wasn’t oneness with the brand. My husband understood that is was my design aesthetic that our clients were gravitating toward. So he took a step back and became project manager and oversees each project. We now have a happy medium.
As a creative director of a husband and wife studio, how do you make projects personal for every client while staying true to your brand?
This was hard in the beginning, but it’s truly knowing who your IDEAL client is. We work with passionate entrepreneurs that have been in their industry for more than 5-10 years that are either looking to establish a new look and develop a rebrand. We sometimes know with the initial phone call if it’s a great fit, our client trust our direction and specifically come to us for a facelift. Find clients that trust what you do.
What should all aspiring entrepreneurs know before setting out to launch their own small business?
Know what works for you, know what you want to serve. The early stages of being an entrepreneur aren’t easy, so if you are going to do it it has to be something you are completely passionate about, otherwise, it will feel like exhausting work.
Why did you choose your two-bedroom apartment in Atlanta and what makes it home?
The lighting and the area was perfect, it’s a fun and creative area in the metro Atlanta area. We surveyed other places but this one was the perfect fit for us. We made the space our home for the next two years.
What was the original vision for your space before the decorating process and how does it compare to the current version?
I am a fan of mid-century modern. We creatively put our heads together and thought about each room and how we wanted to style it. My husband is very handy, I did the shopping and he put everything together including the handmade tables and shelves.
How did you decide on a decorating plan for your apartment and what were the first steps in the process?
I knew that I wanted each room to have its own feel. The living room was to have a mid-century/botanical garden feel. So we mixed and matched our favorite pieces of furniture and made the vibe flow with the accent pieces. In our bedroom, I wanted to have a relaxation spa/beach vibe, so I kept the colors very calming. It’s one of my favorite rooms to relax and binge watch Netflix.
I truly just believe less is more and also my favorite store, West Elm, makes no mistakes. LOL.
Were there any areas of your home with unique design challenges? If so, how did you overcome them?
But of course, the shelves on our bathroom wall, gah! They were octagon shaped and the way my husband styled them on the wall just didn’t work for me, I immediately asked if he could remove them. They were a complete eyesore to look at. We then decided to take the distressed shelf idea from our living room and style our bathroom and it came out perfect. Needless to say, I am in love.
Along with the fact that your husband handmade the shelves and end tables of your home, how did you merge your design style with his to create a space you both love?
My husband trusts my aesthetic, and for that I am thankful. There are some days where he looks at me with a bit of a side eye, then will later see how I am completely on trend. Lol. Over the years with being married we have come to develop the same style and can agree on a lot of home decor pieces.
We love how you’ve cohesively incorporated a workspace in your living room! What advice do you have for people who are trying to maximize the functionality of a room?
Thanks! My top piece of advice is to maximize on your space. Every inch of your space matters and needs your attention. Before moving in, visualize where everything should go. Then when you move in test out those areas and style accordingly. Don’t leave anything bare, it will stick out like a sore thumb, but don’t overcrowd either, leave enough negative space so that everything flows.
The greenery in your home makes it so cozy! Where are your favorite places to buy home decor?
Gah, greenery makes your space come alive. Thank you. I love to shop everywhere, mixing highs and lows in your home is just as important. Make your space beautiful, but you don’t have to break the bank. We love West Elm, CB2, Crate and Barrel, Home Goods, Article, Ikea, World Market, and Target.
Do you feel like the space is finished? If not, what’s in store for the future?
Yes, and no. I feel like your space is ever evolving. I have restyled some of the areas when I am inspired to do so. So I will change our a shower curtain, then I will then realize the greenery that I now have doesn’t match, so now I am on the hunt for the perfect replacement plant. It an ongoing process.
What’s your favorite area in your apartment and why is it special to you?
It would have to be our bedroom, it’s so relaxing and the sun that shines in on a spring/summer morning makes me feel like I am on a summer vacation. Also our son’s nursery (which isn’t pictured, he wasn’t born at the time of this photoshoot) his room was styled by my husband and we love incorporating nature into every room of our home to feel connected to the outside world.
What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?
Everything will okay. You may not know what tomorrow will bring, but tomorrow will work itself out. Live life and live it on purpose.
Ekiuwa Evbuomwan is The Everygirl…
Caramel Macchiato with Soy
Show you love to binge?
Grace & Frankie
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Gahhh, can it be two? Viola Davis + Issa Rae