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Meet Handcrafted America’s Artisans Tanya & Dave, Holroyd Studios

Tanya Holroyd Stevenson & Dave Polarek, Holroyd Studios

Raised in London and having architects for parents, it’s no surprise Tanya Holroyd Stevenson spent her youth exploring historic buildings in England and Europe. Later in life, she traveled to the US to study Art History at the University of California at Santa Barbara. After graduation, Tanya worked with architects in the Santa Barbara area, shooting photos and drafting.

Dave Polarek studied fine art and printmaking at the University of the Pacific and the University of California at Santa Barbara, after which he enjoyed a 20-year career as an illustrator and graphic designer.

In 2001, Tanya partnered with Dave to found Holroyd Studios, and each brought their love of vintage and historic design to the drawing table. Today, their craftsmanship can be found in custom houses and commercial buildings throughout Southern California, across the country and overseas. The studio features timeless and traditional designs, re-creating the classic, old-world charm of Europe, styles found in palaces and villas of 17th through 19th century Spain and Italy.

Tanya’s and Dave’s unique Spanish-style lanterns set the studio apart with their carefully handcrafted method of hammering and pressing the copper sheet metal into ornamental shapes and decorative patterns.

The team’s work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Town & Country, and California Homes, among other publications.

Meet Tanya & Dave

What drew you to your chosen craft?

The history, beauty and precision and that it has a purpose other than just looking great!

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

Finding and developing a new historic light from an old photograph or book. It can be a two month long process, but when you finally turn the light on it feels like magic! Bringing a damaged/broken old light back to its original glory!

Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?

There is a huge amount of satisfaction in creating anything with your own hands, whether it be a basket, piece of clothing or a beautiful light!

In what ways are handmade goods better than those that are mass produced?

A handmade item has an intrinsic charm and warmth that a machine made product just can’t duplicate. Slight variations make each item unique – one of a kind, ART!

What does the future hold for your type of work?

As more vintage homes require restoration and new homes try to capture the magic of the old Spanish Revival period, we can only hope that future owners see the value in the details.

 


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