Chad Hagerman, L.A.-based lifestyle designer (and surf junky) is a mix of your DYI suburban neighbor who built his California home while your kids watched from a hole in the fence (which he’ll never fix) AND your classic soul surfer who would drop the drill and skip his way to the beach with the saltiest ear-to-ear grin. He is talented too. His pieces are heavy and raw and are conceived with a genuine love for the craft. Chad is seriously one of the most stoked and positive human beings I’ve come across - a rare man-gem indeed.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Bucks County, PA, and moved to a farm in upstate NY in my early teens. From ages 17 to 20 trekked around different countries in northern Europe every few months. Then at 20 I moved to Venice, California. 

 How did you end up in Venice?

I came to the west coast mainly for surf, but I set my sights on Venice for its unique mixture of art and creativity infused with grit and raw style. 


How did you pick up your craft? and What/who were your early influences? 

Throughout my travels, I gained an appreciation for the typical Scandinavian aesthetic - clean, simple and practical. I saw so much more beauty in designs that seemed less complicated. When I was young and had a hard time deciding on a career path, so I worked construction to make ends meet. My mind was always wandering and I began to see a lot of beauty in the early stages of the building process - the raw concrete, exposed wood and hardware, bare steel, etc. By nature it’s hard for me to sit still, so I began building pieces for myself and friends, blending my Scandinavian influences and the raw form of construction. Eventually, I brought natural edge material into the mix and blended the three together. My eyes are always on progress and challenging myself, in all forms.

The raw and modern aesthetic seems rule supreme in Contemporary California design..with the added focus on sustainable practices. Do you feel that your style adds to this specific community or are you trying to carve out something different?

I most definitely think that my style adds to the raw, modern aesthetic that seems to rule contemporary California design, but I am growing everyday and experience major changes in my work quite regularly. I have no set intention of sticking to the norm, nor do I wish to go out of my way to carve out something different. I simply build what I feel like building at that specific time of my life. I look forward to looking back on all my work 20 years from now and seeing how my work progresses and how each piece relates to the different chapters of my life.

Where do you hope to see your pieces in the coming years? And what would be a dream project for you?

I’d like to keep things simple. I’d be more then grateful to see my pieces in local shops and galleries whose aesthetic I can relate to. But beyond that, my goal is to create unique and fully furnished homes at my own pace. I simply want to enjoy my creation and then pass it on to someone who appreciates it as much as I do.  

What comes first : surf or work?

Surf or work, work or surf - a decision I'm faced with daily. I’d say its fairly equal. I try to do both everyday. When the waves are good, I’ll surf more and work less and vice versa. I don’t necessarily enjoy one more then the other. I get a different high from both and couldn’t live without either.

Photos by Shawn Hanna