At the top of a Brooklyn brownstone, there is a small pink room. And in this room, there’s a rainbow of fabric nestled on a tower of shelves, a closet overflowing with fringe, a wall full of colorful threads, and an array of metal structures. Together they will become bespoke Victorian style lampshades designed by Ivy Karlsgodt for her company have shades.

Karlsgodt moved to New York in 2018 to become a costume designer and, working in a costume shop, helped develop clothing for Broadway, film and television. But when it all came to a halt at the start of the pandemic, like so many others, she had plenty of free time. Sitting at home, she became more aware of her surroundings and began to understand her personal style as it appeared in interior design. It wasn’t as minimalist as she thought; instead, she turned her gaze to maximalism and vintage finds, and soon began to crave a Victorian-style lamp, one of those intricate fabric structures shimmering with fringe and embroidery.

The only problem was that these treasures often come at a high cost. Karlsgodt therefore decided to use his skills as a designer to create his own. “It’s a bit of a process similar to making hats,” she says, which she was familiar with from her costume work. As we speak, she sits on a metal stool adorned with a fluffy white pillow, a tiger-print rug at her feet. Her platinum blonde hair is tied back with pearl barrettes, and there’s a tattoo of an 18th-century lady on one arm and a 16th-century French crest on the other. An ace of spades symbol dots his right wrist; she thought it would be fun to use a pun as the name of her company.

While there aren’t a ton of resources for lampshade design, Karlsgodt found DVDs of Victorian lampshade artist Mary Maxwell and created a few practice pieces. For her bedroom, she made a small tulip lamp, accented with pleated black chiffon, red velvet and black fringe entirely by hand, and chronicled the process in a video she posted on TikTok. Maybe it would be a new hobby or a side hustle? She hadn’t expected the response she received. “They just jumped out right away,” she said. Posted in December 2020, this video now has over 61,000 likes. She has up to 374,300 followers on the platform and 172,000 on Instagram; some videos on TikTok have up to 2.8 million views.

And it’s no wonder. With fringe and shimmering fabrics, florals and embroidery, Karlsgodt’s sleek and intricate lampshades are a feast for the eyes, too bothered by cat videos and car karaoke. Watching them come together in fast motion is a kind of magic, and people have taken notice. She started getting DMs on lamp shade orders and started making them while working in costume design, but combining what became two full-time jobs was taxing. Since the summer of 2022, Karlsgodt has been working full-time on Ace of Shades. She even had to close commissions: With her current customers, she is booked until January 2023 – because it takes her between five and 27 hours to make a single lamp – and will reopen for commissions afterwards. (You can sign up for it newsletter to stay in the loop if interested.)

In the ordering process, Karlsgodt customers can choose from a catalog of shade options and share their vision for color and style. “Sometimes they’ll have very specific ideas about what kinds of textiles they like,” she says, explaining that common requests include pleated chiffon, velvet, burnt-velvet or appliqués. “Or can we put floral images in it? Can we put a bird on it? Sometimes they’re just like, ‘I don’t know, I like blue’,” she laughs. From there, she comes up with a design – on her iPad she is able to stick photos of textiles onto the lamp design – and sends the mock-up to the client, ensuing a collaborative dialogue until the design is finalized. final be approved. Karlsgodt also started manufacturing stock lamps and one of a kind designs for sale on her online store if custom ordering isn’t possible – they’re all currently sold out, but she’s always making more.

Working on Ace of Shades allows Karlsgodt to participate in both the production and the design of the object, using exquisite and luxurious fabrics while doing so. Usually in costume design, she says, you can do production or design, or you make clothes like leotards that need to be strong enough to withstand multiple quick changes every week behind the scenes. “With this job, I can use all the beautiful things that I’ve always wanted to use,” she says. “Being able to use these more delicate, vintage textiles and trims and things that I don’t typically use in costumes has been really exciting.”

Karlsgodt’s lampshades fit perfectly with style’s return to maximalism in an increasingly post-pandemic world. Along with that hot pink Valentino, a proliferation of platform shoes, a return to nostalgia, and a revival of Art Deco opulence, it’s like a lot of people are looking forward to leave behind their sweatpants and fleece blankets literally and metaphorically. . Why bother with beige when you can have blue? Why settle for polyester when you could have pleated chiffon? If there’s a time when we have to be stuck at home again, why not make it as fabulous as possible? Karlsgodt’s Ace of Shades also asks this question, while offering a charming and luxurious answer.