Christine Emma | owner & principle designer
I'm Christine Emma, lead designer and owner at Thistledown Nest. I'm excited to be back home, after three decades away, setting up shop on the South Shore of Massachusetts.
A little about my journey...
I grew up in Kingston, MA, not far from the shop. I've spent 30 years studying, apprenticing and working in the design industry. I graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a double concentration in Illustration and Architecture. Throughout school, I worked at a custom frame shop and learned the trade well. These skills proved valuable later in my career. After earning my BFA, I stayed in Boston and apprenticed with Bopas, a prestigious decorative painting company, where I learned classic decorative painting and restoration techniques including architectural gold leafing and gilding. During this time I was also given the opportunity to reside at Boston’s coveted Fenway Artist Studios to practice traditional sight size still life painting. It was an opportunity of a lifetime and one I will always treasure.
When my apprenticeship ended, I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I would spend the next 20 years. I began working with Evans & Brown as a muralist, executing large-scale national and international mural projects for restaurants, hotels and casinos. It was a tremendous professional opportunity, working alongside and learning from some of the most talented artists in the industry. After seven years of working with E & B, the birth of my darling daughter made traveling for work less appealing. I took a part-time job at a fine art bronze foundry. It was a dream opportunity to practice sculpting, mold making and lost-wax casting and add some extreme skills to my Maker repertoire. When it was time to return to work full time, I took a leap. I rented a space and became the sole proprietor of my own Decorative Painting and Design business. Over the next six years, I worked with interior designers, antique dealers, home owners and galleries. As the business grew it evolved a strong emphasis on restoration and decorative furniture. I specialized in restoring and refitting antique picture frames and art objects. I restored painted furniture and designed custom pieces for clients and galleries. As I honed my upholstery skills, apprenticing with a sought after, third generation upholster, I added textiles to my designs and services.
Then in 2020... well, 2020 changed everything... and we're rolling with it. As work stopped and schools closed, life slowed. This strange time gave us an opportunity to reassess. We missed our family back east, the changing of the seasons and New England charm. My daughter and I decided that, in the spring, one year after shelter in place began, we would move, home and business, to Massachusetts. I began to think about what would be next for me professionally. Slowly, the idea of Thistledown Nest was born. The business would offer all the skills I've acquired over the years, a small team of talented artisans, plus a retail showroom featuring the workshop's creations and carefully curated vintage decor. We're very excited!
A brief history of our name. When I opened my first business, my daughter, six years old at the time, helped me name it Thisledow. It was a nonsense word she made up. It never really made any sense, but I liked the sound of it. I'm letting "Thisledow" evolve to Thistledown, a word I've grown to love after years of clients asking me if "that's what I meant to say". The word Nest has become synonymous with home decor and the interior design industry. So we're now Thistledown Nest, for a soft, warm, beautifully designed home.