Jake Knox is the chief designer/builder at 5253 Design Collective. He is a simple guy, but hard to define. Part tenacious lumberjack, part tender artist, Jake is a passionate designer and compassionate humanist – charismatic and easy to like. Cutting edge and nostalgic. Somehow all at once.
Hailing from Neenah, Wisconsin, Jake lives in downtown Cedarburg, WI with wife Tara and four sons. He's been working with wood since he was a teenager and explored art throughout his adolescence. Jake credits his mother and high school art teachers for fostering his creativity and appreciation of the arts, as well as his carpenter father, and craftsmen grandfather and uncles for instilling an interest in building and fixing things.
He has worked for both a nationwide company selling home improvements and also for himself, running a small residential building company. While he learned a lot and felt challenged, ultimately he was missing an artistic outlet.
“In the first 12-13 years of my adult career, I had been in thousands of homes and businesses in Southeast Wisconsin. I consciously noticed and mentally filed away details of construction, finish woodwork, furniture, floor plans, textures, product options, alternative ways to solve building challenges, colors and more. When I wasn’t actually helping someone improve his or her space, I was constantly thinking about it. I continue to do that to this day – I am solution determined!” says Jake.
He began building furniture in his garage in 2012 for fun and selling his work at local consignment stores. Less than a year later, a continued demand for his designs was the push Jake needed to start his first solo venture—Lucky Star Workshop—at the end of 2012.
In 2015, after attending the High Point spring furniture market in North Carolina, Jake realized that the building and design world was limitless. Since then, he has attended other markets like Design Miami, Art Basel and Context Miami as a VIP gallery fixture designer. He constantly researches new design ideas in trade magazines and online, and studies furniture details from designers worldwide to stay inspired and inventive.
His studio/workshop has grown into a 5,000-square-foot woodworking emporium with a small, select staff of artisan craftsmen, industrial equipment and an expansive portfolio of work for both commercial and private clients. From building creative store fixtures for multiple major national retailers to custom residential furniture and artwork for families, Knox enjoys the diversity of his work.
A few recent projects Jake is proud to put his name on are: designing and building the interior of Story Hill BKC restaurant in Milwaukee, co-designing and building the architectural woodwork for three Bel Air Cantina restaurants, the new Fuel Café in Milwaukee, and co-designing and building the finish woodwork and furniture in Cedarburg’s Out & Out Restaurant.
5253 Design Collective—his in-house design studio,—is the current evolution of Jake’s design journey as he continues to create things that are the perfect harmony of form and function – in short, he isn’t satisfied until his clients are inspired and impressed!
“There is no amount of work or effort that is too much work or effort when it means you are creating something incredible,” says Jake.
Jake loves all things tropical and lived in Costa Rica for several months after high school in rural coastal villages playing soccer, hiking in the jungle and exploring. He loves sharing his tales of adventures in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, as well as within the United States. A genuine lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, he is also a fan of dining out and maximizing every free moment on Wisconsin lakes in the summertime. He favors secret handshakes that are known by everyone and hugs.