We had the good fortune of connecting with Taidgh O’Neill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taidgh, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I first started my business, I worked 12 hour days routinely. I didn’t have any financial backing so it just had to be that way. I’d regularly be eating dinner at 10pm and up and out at 7. My life and identity was wrapped up in my creative practice. Over the years, though, I got married and had two wild children, one of whom really needs a lot of extra attention and time. My priorities shifted, and fortunately that coincided with a growing reputation of a quality designer and builder. My identity is still largely based on my career…but not entirely. I take immense pride in putting my family first. Dropping kids off at school, cooking dinner nightly, being a present dad and husband.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I design one-off and limited-edition furniture pieces. I also design rugs that I have woven in the Zapotec tradition in Oaxaca Mexico. My pieces tend to be expensive for a few important reasons: 1. I build for things to last decades using high quality material. 2. I take my time considering proportions and composition. 3. I take pride in paying helpers a living wage higher than most other shops; the same is true for the family I work with in Mexico that produces my rug designs. We have a strong personal and professional relationship and there is an understanding that I never try to negotiate pricing with them. I’m not interested in cutting corners. The products I produce are luxury items, and everyone involved in the production deserves to be compensated fairly.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A week is a long time to entertain but I’ll give it a try! The best hang-out place is my house. It’s cozy, thanks to the fact that both my wife and I are excellent home makers. Plus, I get to show off all my furniture! The house is in El Sereno, so I almost always take guests to Evil Cooks: an amazing weekend-only taco tent that serves black al-pastor and octopus tacos.
Now that I’m a father, we like to go to the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena regularly. Ascot Hills park (also in El Sereno) is fantastic for sunset hikes with views of downtown.
I also like taking visitors to El Mercado de Los Angeles in east LA to pick up fresh mole brought in from Oaxaca and Puebla Mexico.
Point Dume for the beach.
Blossom in Chinatown for pho.
Drinks at the York, Blind Barber.
I love taking visitors around to meet other creative friends. We all like getting studio visits, and this city has boundless talent.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife deserves the biggest props for where we are right now. Without Stephanie believing in me, having patience through hard and lean times and pushing me, I don’t know where I’d be. She often expresses that she fears she holds me back, but nothing is further from the truth. We both prop each other up.
Marcia Prentice (portrait) Mark Dadlani (Figueroa chair)