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Meet the Maker: Akela Hudson-Miller of Akela Designs

Do you ever see those homes in Domino Magazine that are filled with bright sunlight and vibrant green plants, mid-century modern furniture and hand-crafted wall-hangings, and think to yourself, "I would love my house to look like that, but I'm not an interior designer and my house is not magazine worthy."

Well, I recently visited Akela Hudson-Miller in her new home in Colfax, California, just a few miles up I-80 from Auburn and 20 minutes from Nevada City, and it was not like that. I mean it was filled with bright sunlight and vibrant green plants, mid-century modern furniture and hand-crafted wall-hangings, but it was also homey and inviting and warm.

Akela Designs, Northern California maker, natural and healing elements

Akela's workspace in her new home is a bright, airy, plant-filled sunroom.

Akela possesses a green thumb, creative spirit and kind heart and all three of these shine through in her home, her craft and all of her interactions. 

Akela Designs, which Akela started in 2016, provides clients with products that are intentionally designed for living your best life, including succulents in concrete planters she makes with her husband Mark, hand-dyed and block printed textiles, crystals, and sage smudge sticks, among many other heirloom quality natural and handcrafted items.

Akela Designs, succulents in concrete planters

Succulents in concrete planters resting on salvaged wood coasters.

I sat down with Akela just after the New Year to talk about the previous year and her intentions for 2018. With her recent move from the Bay Area to the California Foothills, there are a lot new beginnings for her lately.

What led you to begin Akela Designs?

Akela Designs is a culmination of my experiences, abilities, and expression throughout my life. It connects my love for art and design with the spiritual realm. Through my hardships, I have created a positive outlet that I hope will inspire others through design and healing.

Akela Hudon Miller, Akela Designs, Northern California maker and artist

Akela planting succulents in concrete planters.

What do you hope to provide clients through your services and products?

My intention is to ignite inspiration and curiosity towards the Spiritual in a relatable, as well as tangible manner, by focusing on products that are intentionally designed for living your best life.

You just recently moved to the Foothills, how will you use your experience from Akela Designs to design your own new home space?

Akela Designs is all about balance with a purpose that is curated with Mother Nature in mind for modern living. For me, it's important to create spaces within the home that I can retreat within, places to ground, create and rest. Your home should be a place of refuge and reflect who you are, what you truly love while staying true to yourself. I'm excited to make it our own. 

Akela Designs, concrete planters and healing elements for the home

The process of planting succulents in the handmade concrete planters.

What's your favorite thing about Northern California?

Other than the breathtaking surroundings, I love that the pioneer spirit that remains. That spirit that brought me out here along with countless others, give me hope in the future. Northern California greatness is shaped by the people, of all backgrounds. I'm proud to call it home.

Akela Designs, Succulents in Concrete Planters

The finished product ready to bring some greenery and happiness to their new home.

Do you have any New Year resolutions/goals/rituals?

I view the New Year as a new cycle with new goals and intentions. In the past I would put too much pressure on myself to make radical changes, many of which for superficial reasons. Instead of getting caught up with hard deadlines and unrealistic goals I take this time to reflect on my accomplishments in the past year, release what didn't work or didn't serve me and continue to build on my strengths. This year is all about expansion: pushing myself out of my comfort zone in order to reach success. My biggest weakness is fear, fear to fail, fear of being misunderstood, fear of the unknown, I will be consciously working on releasing fear. 2018 is all about self-care and building a solid foundation for Akela Designs, new website, services, and goods. And of course, connecting with like-minded individuals.

What’s on your 2018 reading list?

A friend gifted me Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin which perfectly aligns with my life right now, creating a home that is a place of love and comfort. I will be doing research on Minerals and Crystals with The Book of Stones: Who They Are & What They Teach by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian and I'm excited for In The Company of Women by Grace Bonney which includes over 100 interviews of inspirational Artists, Makers, and Entrepreneurs that I admire. And many many other books I still need to finish from 2017!

Akela Hudson Miller, Akela Designs, Northern California maker and artist

Akela Designs provides handmade elements that are intentionally designed for living your best life. You can find her products in Poppy and Oak's Repose Box and Hearth Box, on Instagram @akeladesigns and on her forthcoming website www.akeladesigns.net.


  • What a great interview with such a talented person, thanks for showcasing her work. We love your boxes!

  • Wow, Akela (what an awesome name) makes the cutest plant gifts! I have so many couples who love succulents and small, low-maintenance plants, so I’ll have to order some gifts for them!

  • Those pots are beautiful! Gardening is my favorite hobby and I love to learn about plants. The thought behind the brand is beautiful and inspiring.

  • These are so beautiful! I feel like I could learn a lot from her, because my green thumb is severely lacking!

  • Love this! I’ll have to check her out if I’m ever in North California. I’d love to see more of Akela Design’s handmade items!


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