Interview | Walk Around the Block with Eric Trine
Eric Trine is the founder of Amigo Modern, a design studio in Long Beach, California specializing in modern furniture and home decor with a California feel. His work is sleek and sophisticated, but, just like the skateboard ramps he made as a teenager, are always made with the user in mind. We love this practical sensibility of Eric’s, off-set by his adventurous and playful nature, and were especially endeared by his thoughts about being a dad.
I think I was a pretty typical beach city kid
I am full Southern Californian, born and bred. I started in The [San Fernando] Valley, and when I was ten, my parents moved us down to Orange County. I think I was a pretty typical beach city kid—wore rollerblades for three years straight, played soccer, spent a lot of time at the beach, and went through a phase of spraying “Sun-in” in my hair.
I kept applying my skills to more practical projects
My dad worked in the tool industry, and I always liked making stuff—my career has been an aggregate of a lot of time spent making stuff in my parents’ garage that continuously led to more formal business models. When I was in high school I made skate ramps for the kids in my neighborhood. At the beginning of college, I screen printed t-shirts for my friends and my siblings’ friends. Towards the end of college, I kept applying my skills to more practical projects, eventually landing in furniture.
All of it finally came together
I’m DIY to the core, but with a degree in fine arts. When my wife and I got married in 2008, all of it culminated when I realized we had no money and had to furnish our first apartment. All of it finally came together! I can make stuff! For us! And it just snowballed from there. I kept making stuff—for friends, and then friends of friends, etc. I enrolled myself in a grad program focused on craft and design and cultivating a small business, graduated in 2013, and I’ve been running a full time design studio ever since.
The everyday, pedestrian stuff of life—that’s the stuff I love
This is always a hard question to reconcile—because, what doesn’t influence me, aesthetically? I’m a big fan of keeping my muses unnamed. If I know where my ideas come from, I feel guilty. That being said, my biggest joy—where I think the most, where ideas pop up—is when I’m driving. I see things, innocuous things: peach-colored stucco houses, flood control channels, old church buildings, and fake grass lawns. Like, normal everyday stuff. It’s the stuff outside of the conventions of “cool,” or museums, or cultural institutions—the everyday, pedestrian stuff of life—that’s the stuff I love.
Fatherhood is the best
Fam jam is the best jam. My wife, Heather, and I have two young girls. Evie is five, Ginny is two. My five-year-old is all me—super creative, super sensitive, and often wakes up at night because she has ideas in her head that she wants to get out. My two-year-old is a professional cuddler. She’d rather spend her time cuddling and snuggling with us than anything else. We try to run our house in a casual and fun way—spurring adventure, curiosity, and play. Fatherhood is the best—I love having 2 girls. Culturally, being a creative, hetero male, I feel like I wasn’t supposed to do “girly stuff” growing up—but now, as a dad, it doesn’t matter anymore—I get to do all this fun, girly stuff with my daughters all time!
It’s an abundant place—there is something for everyone
California is its own thing. It really is its own micro-country within the United States. California thinks differently, acts differently, because it is different. It’s among one of the most diverse places on the planet—from population and race to geographic regions. My favorite California story is when I was twenty years-old and I snowboarded and surfed in the same day. It’s an abundant place—there is something for everyone.
I’m on the lookout for long-term usability and versatility
After having two kids and watching them grow a little, I’m on the lookout for long-term usability and versatility. We don’t live in a very walkable area, so we’re always packing a stroller in the car to take wherever we are going. It’s nice to have a stroller that doesn’t take up too much space in the trunk!
Eric is using the Poppy stroller in Daffodil.