Heart is at the center of everything Matt and Amanda Eastvold create through their namesake furniture company based in Northfield. The couple has built a loyal clientele largely as a result of their thoughtful approach to design and dedication to a family-first ethos across their workroom. “The culture of our shop is one that we want to feel like a family, welcoming—like home. We want to make space for the whole person,” Matt says.
Pivoting is something the Eastvolds have been adept at doing since they met. Before enduring a tumultuous recession and a pandemic together, the couple navigated multiple career and city changes. The style of their handcrafted desks, coffee and side tables, and bed frames have shifted away from sharp angular shapes to more soft curvature. Today, the couple operates a sustainable business featuring Nordic-inspired furniture largely for commercial clients all over the country. Editor-at-large Nicole Crowder recently visited with Matt and Amanda Eastvold in the couple’s 1918 Dutch Colonial–style home.
You both have had nonlinear paths toward your company. Talk a little bit about where you started.
Amanda: Our backgrounds are both in elementary education and social work. Our passion is in those fields, but we have always had this love of design. Matt was teaching, and I was working for the county on the side, and then I got into graduate school, and that is when serendipity happened. Matt had been working for a home builder in Owatonna and then later in Stillwater before he started with a cabinetmaker. Matt inherited that business in 2006. I was working with Northfield Hospice, and we wanted to buy a house, and as much as we loved Minneapolis–St. Paul, we grew up in small towns. We chose Northfield. I went back to work, but being on call was stressful, and Matt asked me to join the business until it became full time.
Matt: The cabinet business did not survive the recession, and we pivoted into selling furniture on Etsy because that was proving to be more viable. It was about a 10-year span of sharing space with other cabinetmakers, and then in 2017, we moved into our current space.
I’m really curious about your furniture collections. The Mora collection, with its rounded shapes, appears very different from some of your earlier furniture work.
Matt: All of our lines are [informed by] Minnesota towns. Mora is a big cross-country ski place. We built the dresser because those are kind of tough to design but also tough to build because they’re heavy and there’s a lot of moving parts. We did the Mora collection with a furniture designer out of Brooklyn—Joel Edmondson—and he’s a lot of fun to work with. When everything ended with the cabinetry during the recession, we learned pretty quickly we needed to bring on some other designers so we could build utilitarian pieces. One evening, Joel presented us with a stack of designs he came up with, and we loved so many of them, and that’s how we got Mora off the ground. I would photograph the pieces in our driveway and share with retailers around the country, and that helped us gain visibility.
How would you say your brand has evolved over the years?
Amanda: We started with a lot of midcentury modern designs. Aesthetically, our focus has been on functional, solid wood. We wanted to make furniture you didn’t have to throw away. What’s great about Matt is that he’s always thinking about business, and I’m thinking about aesthetics. We work really well in that way. Prior to working with Joel Edmondson, our work was really masculine and linear. But I wanted the collections to evolve into something more feminine and soft, and Joel showed us these designs that were in line with that.
“Aesthetically, our focus has been on functional, solid wood. We wanted to make furniture you didn’t have to throw away.”
— Amanda Eastvold
What is the piece you are most proud to have made so far?
Matt: Our youngest son went to a charter school, and the teacher reached out to us and said, “Hey, we need to keep the kids six feet apart in the classroom, and we’ll be doing a lot of outdoor learning.” I got this idea for a desk I saw online, and we made 180 desks. We had to figure out how we could cut them with cheap materials quickly so that we weren’t taking a ton of time and how volunteers could assemble it. It was one of the funnest projects. It was just five pieces with two screws, all parent volunteers assembling and sanding. And just getting to see all these desks being used was a proud moment. So all during COVID, they were outside learning, and the [pieces] served as benches and as little desks. Designing for a cause and helping people is amazing.
Amanda: Another moment was before we even had a business—when we got married, we built our own bed set made of pallet wood. We lived on a horse farm, and it was just the two of us. We were so proud! We had that bed set for 20 years and just replaced it recently.
See more of the furniture collections at eastvoldfurniture.com