Shira Abel-Shvo started university as an Architecture major, and after deciding that sleep really is a necessity in life, ended it with a Bachelors degree in Textiles. She is obsessed with interior design – furniture construction, fabrics, hinges, handles, flooring, colors, all of it. After making aliyah in 1998 Shira noticed that Israel is never featured in her favorite home magazines, which she found a travesty. As such, she debated with herself on doing something.
When the design blog concept started years ago (so long ago that Design*Sponge was still hosted on Blogger) Shira debated on starting an Israeli/international interior design blog. However, the two shining gorgeous boys in the above photo decided that they would come first in her line for attention. She finally took the plunge and started Tchochkes in December of 2007.
In her off-Tchochkes life Shira is CEO of Hunter & Bard. You can also find her on Twitter @shiraabel.
Mel Jones spent perhaps too much of her childhood drawing houses and floor plans, outfitting each room with furnishings and accessories from her mother’s catalogs and magazines. However, her inability to do math suppressed any urge to study architecture.
After earning bachelor’s degrees in English and journalism, Mel eventually found her way to an interior design and lifestyle magazine, where she worked as managing editor for six years. During that time she discovered a serious passion for architecture, interior design, landscaping and even antiques.
An on-again, off-again, hopefully soon-to-be on-again, student of kitchen and bath design, Mel uses her own home as a lab of sorts, slowly transforming it from “old lady” back to its happy, mid-century roots, as sustainably as possible. And while she currently works in the nonprofit world, Mel’s design obsession has only gotten stronger, as has her love for writing about it. She started her blog, home girl, earlier this year as a place to document her own home and garden plans and projects, feature her favorite things and talk a little fashion and beauty. When she’s not working, writing or sleeping, Mel also does a little freelance PR consulting on the side.
Mel lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with her husband Matt and their two yellow labs. You can follow her constant stream of sarcasm on Twitter.
You couldn't get in better hands
Patti Boker Elkon
Patti Boker Elkon is a native New Yorker who lived in Tel Aviv, Israel for the past three and a half years and has recently re-located back to New York. She was born to be in the field of design. You name it, she has done it… textiles, fashion, interiors, color & Feng Shui. Patti loves sharing this library of knowledge and making a difference for those who are looking to shift their environments. She is well aware that small changes bring big smiles! After taking care of her stunning daughter, this is what makes her happy.
Patti started reading Tchochkes from the outset and contacted Shira to meet up and shop in Jaffa. The two had such a great time, Patti suggested they partner on Tchochkes. Shira thought this was a great idea – and then had the wonderful challenge of convincing her husband of the same thing. He now agrees. In her off-Tchochkes life Patti has a Feng Shui design firm, Well Used Space.
Judy hails from Montreal, Canada. She is an architectural graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also has a degree in Botany from San Jose State University, California. She moved to Israel with her husband and four (yes, that’s right – four – Patti and I are in awe of her) children twelve years ago from Vancouver, Canada. Until recently Judy worked in hi-tech, though design has always remained Judy’s first love. At this point, Judy is exploring ways to get back to her design roots.
Tammy Nguyen Thiebaud
Native Vietnamese of Southern California upbringing, expatriated in Paris, France, by way of several continents. Technical writer by day, chef wannabe by night, wife to a long-suffering and ever-patient French spouse, and mother to three seemingly adult children (XY, XX, XY). Oh, and Tammy is also a history graduate from California State University in Fullerton and the American University in Paris. She’s been working on the same novel for the past 11 years (she writes her manuscript in longhand) and chronicals her life at Lost in France.
Originally born in the Holy Land, Shelly grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa and came back to Israel alone after 20 years of longing. (Of course the family couldn’t live without her and most of them joined her after a few years). Shelly has always been interested in creating, decorating and design. In SA, she worked as a graphic designer for a publishing house that focused on architecture and interior design publications. Shelly sports a BA in Fine Arts. Her love for global communication and instant gratification lead her to internet marketing. Shelly currently lives in Tel Aviv in a small, sweet apartment and is always on the lookout for beautiful things. She is very interested in sustainability issues and urges everyone to think before buying new things….
Daniel (Dani for short) has been creating art since childhood (his mother was so proud of his fingerpainting). He’s been practicing graphic design professionally since earning his BFA degree in communication design and photography in 2001 from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh PA (for those who don’t know – this is a really good school. insert ooohs and aaahs here). The design education at Carnegie Mellon included a background in both graphic design and industrial design, which sparked Dani’s fascination with furniture and household products. He’s been following interior design, art, and architecture ever since. (which is what led him to Tchochkes)
Dani found the love of his life in David Warga and the two were married in 2004 while on a trip to Massachusetts. In 2007 they moved to Tel Aviv with their dog and two cats. Daniel is now working as a freelance designer. His work was featured in Israel for the first time in 2008-2009 at the exhibition“Desert Life”, which he helped to organize as a member of the independent art group Break On.
Jessica is our regular Saturday-session contributing writer. (For those Shabbas friendly folks she can schedule the post ahead of time – it posts automatically.)
Originally hailing from New York City, where she worked as a picture editor, Jessica is now studying architecture and interior design in Jerusalem. You can catch more of her at her blog, henryralph.blogspot.com.
Because I’m a Jewish Mother I have to add – Jessica is single and looking. You can send your queries into me (Shira) for vetting before being passed on. 😉