Design Files

Lilah Horwitz

Lilah Horwitz grew up in Seattle and moved to New York when she turned 18 to attend Parsons the New School for Design, where she studied fashion with a focus on sustainable design. The young artist and fashion designer met her photographer boyfriend, Nick Olson, while she was still living in Brooklyn and the two fell in love instantly. In 2012, the duo quit their jobs and set off to build a glass cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. We chatted with Lilah about her awe-inspiring house as well as her eco-friendly fashion designs.

You and your boyfriend Nick Olson built a beautiful house made of glass windows in West Virginia梙ow did you conceive of the idea and was it difficult finding the courage to execute your vision?
We came up with the idea on one of our first dates. I was still living in New York, and Nick brought me to West Virginia. We were sitting up on the hill where the house is now and we started imagining how amazing a sunset would be if you could watch it from inside your house through an entire wall of windows. We made a little sketch and the design grew over time. When we finally decided to go for it and build the house, we didn't even have time to second-guess ourselves!

What was the most difficult aspect of building the house? How long did the entire process take?
We began building the house in July 2012 and finished it in December 2012. The hardest part was that it was just the two of us lifting very heavy pieces. There were a few moments where it seemed impossible梑ut when you don't have another option, you find a way to make the impossible happen.

If you were to do it over again, would you do anything differently?
I would keep a journal. I used to keep many little notebooks and write everyday but I wasn抰 as diligent with writing when we were building. By the time we cooked dinner, we were both so exhausted that we often fell asleep right when the sun went down.

In addition to building houses, you also create one-of-a-kind garments that are sold through ABC Carpet & Home. Tell us a little about your design process. Do you have a design philosophy?
I抳e been making site-specific clothing for almost two years. I wanted to experiment with weaving words and pictures into clothing. My creative process begins by learning to become present in a place梬andering and taking it in without intentionally thinking about design梐nd then I let my artistic inspiration run free.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I lean towards rough edges and uneven stitches. I like to think that the clothes I make look as if they were pulled out from between layers of ancient sediment rocks or from the back closet of a palace.

How would you describe your personal style?
I just embarked on a four-month trip, so everything I wear has to fit into one bag. I抳e also decided to make everything I bring. I hope that the garments get worn in with holes and patches and layers of stitches. The garments will look a hundred times better after wear and tear.

My style is usually a bit of everything. Sometimes I wear no color, sometimes it抯 all color. I wear a lot of Nick's clothes when we抮e working and, in the summer, I wear a lot of white. I try to only wear things that either I抳e made or friends have made.

How do you normally wear your hair?
I抳e been saying that I won抰 cut it until I get married (I only ever get trims). It is usually pulled into a bun when I抦 working. I抳e had the same haircut since I was a little girl卻traight across bangs and long, straight hair. I抳e always wanted to have curls!

Watch the video to see more of Lilah and Nick's glass cabin.

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