Nest Studio founder Jessica Davis designed her mid-century modern kitchen around Nest Studio’s Deco Collection. Black cabinets make the hardware shine and stand out.

Emily Followill

Nest Studio Hardware Transforms Cabinets Into Works of Art

A dedication to craft permeates the brand's extraordinary collections.

December 15, 2023
Nest Studio founder and creative director Jessica Davis.Aaron Skylar

It’s become a design-world cliché to describe cabinet hardware as “jewelry for a room,” but Jessica Davis, founder and creative director of luxury brand Nest Studio, has a different take. “I don’t think of hardware as just a finishing touch. For me, it’s an integral element, something you might design an entire room around,” she says. Chosen for Elle Decor’s A-List in 2022 and 2023, Davis—a noted interior designer—was inspired to start Nest Studio in 2012 after noticing a distinct lack of modern-yet-decorative hardware in the market. “Everything out there was so simple—literally brass bar pulls and circular or egg-shaped knobs. It felt like it was an afterthought,” explains Davis, who routinely creates forward-thinking custom pieces for her interiors clients (including, most recently, a set of custom burl wood nightstands with floating marble drinks trays). So she stepped into the void to create hardware with a vision—pieces built for designers and design lovers alike.

  • Used in multiples, Nest Studio’s Tubular knobs create a sculptured and functional design in the powder room that Davis created for the 2022 Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Dallas.

    Stephen Karlisch
  • Tubular angled handles by Nest Studio offer a linear complement to the built-in beverage center in Davis’s kitchen.

    Emily Followill

From a business standpoint, Nest Studio’s approach is counter-intuitive. “Instead of thinking about how we can come up with the most economical designs to manufacture, we’re thinking about how we can realize Jess Davis’s vision from a sketch,” says Nest Studio COO Jessica Burne. Almost to a fault: Some of Davis’s early designs were so out-of-the-box, they proved difficult to copy and manufacture. Davis has since learned to work backwards, but the goal of the boutique firm is still, always, to create singular work that directly expresses her vision and that of the artists and artisans with whom she collaborates. And Davis is equally focused on creating pieces that serve designers. “I’m always thinking about how the design of a given piece of hardware would fit in the context of a space I might design,” she says.

Davis creatively installed Nest Studio’s Mod hardware in three different ways in her primary bathroom for a subtle surprise.

David Duncan Livingston

Collaboration is a passion for Davis. In her interior design projects, she routinely partners with local makers—recently she and Georgia artist Brent Warr came together to create a custom plaster chandelier—so it’s a natural for her to do the same at Nest Studio. Her process is quite romantic: She’s doesn’t so much seek out collaborators as she stumbles upon their work, falls in love with it, and gets to thinking about what sorts of magic they might make together.

  • Various finishes of the Pinch Collection designed by Stephen Antonson.

    Laura Moss
  • Rich leather and hand-stitched options enhance the Stitch Collection by Valeriy Khvan.

    Valeriy Khvan

Nest Studio’s Glaze collection, featuring individually handmade ribbed knobs and backplates, is rooted in a chance encounter with New York ceramic artist Jonathan Castro at a trade show. Davis was immediately taken with the shapes, colored glazes and textures of Castro’s vessels. “Ceramic knobs are not new at all, but I thought he could bring a really fresh take to it,” she says. And Davis was already imagining how to incorporate rattan and wicker into hardware when she chanced upon Hawaii-based fiber artisan Iliahi Anthony’s work on Instagram and was immediately drawn to her mix of metal and lauhala leaf, which has a long history as an artisanal material. “I gravitate towards artists and artisans who are doing something unique, tactile, and organic,” says Davis. “My own designs tend to be very hard-lined and architectural and I love working with people who bring a totally different element to the table.”

Davis’s love of cooperation and community also led her to co-found the AAPI Design Alliance, which works to foster visibility, collaboration, and representation among Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in the home and design industries. “We tend to be very underrepresented in residential design,” says Davis. “AAPIDA has allowed me to connect with all sorts of Asian artisans I hadn’t met before,” including lighting designer Rosie Li, whose fixtures Davis used in a recent Kips Bay showhouse.

  • Hardware from the Knot Collection by Katie Gong exudes quiet luxury.

    Brett Walker
  • Davis’s own Atelier Davis design studio cabinets are adorned with hardware from several different Nest Studio collections.

    Aaron Skylar