David and Carlen Arnold inside their Castleberry Hill digs that doubles as their workshop for Host & Toast Studio
You might have seen the work of local husband-and-wife duo David and Carlen Arnold without even realizing it, from the pink subway car at Cardi B’s Bronx Fairy Tale-themed baby shower to the custom “Huncho Day” signage for QuavoHuncho’s birthday celebration at his Lilburn high school. For both, we have the Arnolds’ woodworking talent and art backgrounds to thank—a winning combination that led to Host & Toast Studio, the University of Georgia grads’ online shop.
But what started as a source for chic wedding-day details (think cake toppers and laser-cut calligraphed signs) has since evolved. “We always had a vision of doing something similar to what we’re doing now in terms of installations and big stuff, but we used Etsy and e-commerce to start somewhere,” says Carlen.
Their first big project was with Lemiga Events for rapper and entrepreneur Rick Ross. The pair created a pool float with his logo that was on display at his lavish mansion. After that, similar projects popped up through referrals, including one for current hip-hop queen Cardi B, which was the couple’s most ambitious custom build to date with a short timeline. “When it came to building the [pink subway] train, we didn’t have buffer time for trial and error. We thought, ‘Can we possibly do this even if we stay up all night, even if we have eight people here staying up all night?’ But somehow it always works out,” says Carlen.
While it’s mostly flashy designs and installations for their celebrity clientele, the talented duo’s personal aesthetic is much more minimalist. David’s roots as a woodworker led to the designs of their Marietta-based online shop, which he says combines “laser-cutting with traditional woodworking skills.” In addition to their uberpopular The Muse floating letterboard ($128) and The Columnist magazine rack ($88) currently up for grabs, they’re working on larger pieces that could become family heirlooms, passed down over generations. It’s these simple yet sleek designs that David and Carlen showcase in their own Castleberry Hill loft, which the two share with their pup, Harvey.
It was during a well-deserved vacation that the Arnolds realized they’d arrived. Carlen says, “We’re in it. This is where we wanted to be. We still have goals and things we want to do next, but we need to live like we’re in it.” @hostandtoaststudio; @hostandtoastbuild