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Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On

An artist’s ideal is realized in 15 gallons of white paint.

Reformed app designer Elle Luna in her live-work art studio.

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The Cobble Mountain hanging chair was purchased at Gravel & Gold. Local design firm A2B built the custom wheeled couch, which doubles as oversize storage for artist Elle Luna’s works on paper.

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“In the morning, light filters through the trees outside, and shapes dance across the canvases,” Luna says.

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Ohio Design created this custom steel- and-oak kitchen table.

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Programmer turned painter Elle Luna spent her 20s designing apps for Ideo, Uber, Mailbox, and Medium. But despite the cushy, creative gigs, her subconscious kept nagging her. “I was having a recurring dream about a white room,” she says. “In it, I would walk into a warm, glowing space with concrete floors, white walls, and a mattress on the floor.” After months of this nightly vision, Luna turned to the place where we all go to find our dreams—Craigslist.

She clicked on a posting for a live-work loft space downtown, and, with that, she quit her job at 31 to pursue painting—and writing—full-time. (Her book about the experience, The Crossroads of Should and Must, was released last month by Workman Publishing.)

Against that stark expanse of white, Luna discovered, everything is art. “A hanging chair against a white wall? Sculpture. A sprawling plant in a white room? A dance,” she says. “When the whole space is white, magical things begin to happen.”


Originally published in the May issue of San Francisco

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