about the company
Huntley Lake is a Creative Marketplace. From wedding and event planning to website design and branding, I offer a menu of creative services that cater to individuals and small businesses.
The act of creation is democratic: of people, by people, for people.Every project we take on is intended to support the creative footprint made by the people and businesses of our community. We believe if you do good work, you will get good work.
We welcome collaborations of all kinds, and look forward to getting to know you.
about the name
Edgar John Rabe was my grandfather. Solid, honest, thoughtful, kind, hardworking, and reliable. He was orphaned, held no degree, wrote my grandmother love letters every day during the war, and had one daughter - my mother - a bohemian spitfire. He was stubborn and strong, with twinkling blue eyes, hinting at the dreamer inside. He had a hard life, but life never hardened him.
My grandfather was a provider, and worked tirelessly to give Butch (my grandmother) and Cookie (my mother) a proper life. Mom always said she never knew they were poor. This always stuck with me, how my grandfather created a life exceptionally rich in love, happiness, joy, and laughter. My grandmother said they were the wealthiest family on the block.
To give his girls a break from the inner city Chicago lifestyle, my grandfather found a plot of land he could afford. It was there, on Huntley Lake in Antioch, Illinois, that he built a cottage by hand. My mom spent her summers there, running barefoot, making firefly rings, being the free spirit she was. I spent my summers there too, picking cattails, reading in the cornfield, and swatting mosquitos from the hammock.
It was nothing fancy. I remember there were crocheted yellow bedspreads with pom pom details, Maury Povich on the television, and Perry Como on the record player. We ate spaghetti-o's in a thermos, and it felt like an absolute treat. It was a little dank and very kitschy, a place where everyone became a happier, more relaxed, version of themselves when they entered the house that grandpa built.
When I think of Huntley Lake, I can hear my mom's belly laugh. I could hear her all the way down the road from the lake, where my dad was teaching me how to dive off the pier. I remember learning my favorite curse words from my grandmother, who would spend the day cooking, cleaning, and "making eyes" at grandpa. I think of my aunts, cousins, family friends, neighbors all making the 2 hour drive north, past the outlet malls and highwayside roller coasters of Great America, never being seduced to stop, because Huntley Lake was fun and freedom enough.
But mostly, I think of my grandfather. He wanted to create a place to make his friends and family happy. A place where he could give his friends, family and neighbors an experience that made them smile. A place he built with his own two hands. A place where he could be himself, kick his feet up, and have a wonderful time in a community that made him happy, with people who were most special to him.
That is Huntley Lake, to me. There would never be another name.
about the owner
Elizabeth Byrne is a multi-media creative producer, based in the SF Bay Area. She began her career working with Elle magazine, Kate Spade, and Donna Karan New York.
Following her time in fashion, Elizabeth segued into marketing and event production at Ocean Drive magazine in Miami, creating programming for luxury clients like Art Basel, W Hotel Group, and Moët Hennessey. After briefly returning to New York before settling in northern California's wine country region, she continued to create and direct a broad spectrum of brand programming, event production, and marketing collateral for companies like Ford Models, Artisan House, and Hudson Grace.
In 2017, Elizabeth founded creative agency Huntley Lake that provides brand strategy, design direction, and event production services to retail, hospitality, and private clients. She currently resides in Cloverdale, California with her partner Wade, dog Mr. Darcy, and an ever growing collection of classic LPs, vintage Vogue magazines, and tropical palms.