Karie Reinertson and Rob Maddox: Beyond Yestermorrow

“… [Prior to coming to Yestermorrow] Rob was a designer at an architecture firm and Karie was an environmental educator. She traveled the world for her non-profit job, using mud and clay to construct buildings where people could learn about their native ecosystems. In 2009, Karie took an internship at Yestermorrow. Rob arrived less than a year later, and they quickly found themselves drawn to each other.

Four years later, after they had moved to North Carolina, they were married beneath a timber frame they had made together, a symbol of the things they had built and would build side by side. They climbed up either side of the A-frame and ‘whet the bow’ by placed springs of pine and spruce on the gable end of the roof. It’s a traditional show of thanks to the forest for providing the construction materials.

Over the years, the two of them have worn many hats. Rob planned and built structures in New Orleans, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Asheville. Karie was a painter and illustrator who showed her work in galleries from San Francisco to Portland to Washington, DC, before she became involved in non-profit environmental work. Now, she makes bags and dresses under the moniker Shelter Protects You. Rob is the principal of his own design-build firm, Shelter Collective. ‘All that [stuff] people say about life being about the journey instead of the destination, that’s real,’ Karie says.  

Their trail together keeps winding, and sometimes it takes them back to Vermont, where Rob teaches the Home Design/Build course at Yestermorrow each summer. For the pair, it’s a regular reminder of how strange – but also how rejuvenating – it can be to return to a place that once housed a version of yourself that you are no longer.”

Rob and Karie worked together designing and producing the “The Architect’s Case” for their line of leather accessories. Says Rob, “as a designer, there are two things you always want with you: your camera and your sketchbook. And if you’re someone who wants to create your world, you must be constantly taking note of the one you already occupy so that you can transform that invisible language into a real thing. And a pencil and paper are rudimentary things that typically won’t break on you. They offer you the power to annotate your world.”

Excerpted from Collective Quarterly, Issue 2