As the creator of R24 Studios, Cody Brown has made a name for himself as an artist, furniture maker and house flipper. What started as a side business out of his college dorm room is now a company with five employees and the ability to transform the homes of Kansas City residents.
KCS: How did the painting side of the business start?
CB: In college I needed a way to pay my bills, so I started doing paintings in my dorm room. I had a friend who was painting at the time, and I thought, “I can do this, it could be fun and therapeutic for me.” So I just started doing it, and I started doing traveling shows and art fairs. Eventually I would load up my car and go to interior designers in the area and just say, “Hey, look at my stuff.” They had a revolving door of clientele who would come back to me for more work.
KCS: You also buy and renovate homes in the area. Is that something you’ve always wanted to do?
CB: Flipping was a happy accident for me. Because I started in art, and then I grew into furniture and lighting, clients would ask, “Well, what else do you do?” and I’d say, “Well, I can build stuff.” At that point, I’d go to clients’ homes and they’d ask, “What do you think about this? Can you redo my kitchen?” So we started renovating people’s homes, then doing all the furniture and the artwork for them. It became this full-scale company, where we can do everything for you, or we can just do art or just do your cabinets.
KCS: What do you look for when you’re searching for properties to flip?
CB: I look for homes that are unique and different. The number one way I judge a house is by the kitchen, and whether it can be opened up into a family living space. I love old midcentury homes, but the way they were built then is not how we live today. I want to be able to take something old and recreate it for how we live nowadays, but still keep some of its cool, funky character.
KCS: How did growing up in the country influence your design aesthetic?
CB: The biggest influence probably comes from my mother. She would always harp on me that when I make stuff, it needs to not only look good, but also serve a purpose. That’s why I love this idea of furniture that also acts as art. I grew up in a very rustic setting, but I’m not a rustic, sanded-down guy. I like a little glam—I like clean lines. So I kind of take what I grew up with and what I did like from that area, along with what I didn’t like.
Building a Brand
“My dad taught me how to woodwork, so it’s something I’ve always known and done,” Brown says. “Once I started building furniture, that’s when I thought, “OK, this is a brand now.”
Brown’s designs often incorporate reclaimed wood, a nod to his rural Nebraska upbringing.
“The wood has years of wear and tear that you can’t recreate,” Brown says. “It’s a gorgeous thing.”
In the future, Brown plans to offer a more readily available line of furniture for R24 Studios, though he’ll continue to create custom pieces for clients.
“We’re working on a product line that is designed by me, but is mass-produced so customers can go online and shop our everyday products,” Brown says.