Beach House Inspired Brooklyn Apartment

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For many people, summertime means heading out to soak up some rays in the Hamptons, taking a dip at the nearest idyllic borough beach, or hanging out at a backyard BBQ. But theater producer Kate Russell and her partner Colin Moneymaker share a year-round beach bungalow — which just happens to be in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood. Car horns and street chatter can’t be heard form this garden-facing abode, so there’s no disruption of the home’s island-getaway vibe.

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The couple found the main room’s mounted drift wood on a trip to Maine and affixed it to the wall to remind them of their travels. It acts as both keepsake and one-of-a-kind sculpture.

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Below it, a small antique school desk plays DJ, holding a modest but well-played record collection. Tucked inside are a few favorite titles and a seashell, a memento of a day by the water.

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Kate and Colin’s combined design aesthetic is cool and collected. Colin works in downtown Manhattan, and Kate is a freelancer who works from her home office.

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A simple desk in the living room is where she’s put into motion her most recent project: launching a theater company, and fundraising for its first production. Coincidentally, given Kate’s seaside-inflected home decor, the company’s inaugural season kicks off with an original adaptation of the classic maritime novel “Moby Dick.”

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A laidback look

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The Moroccan and tie-dyed pillows paired with colorfully patterned rugs against blond wood pieces and a modern couch help to communicate a relaxed style. The combined textures are thoughtfully chill, and reminiscent of overlapping beach towels on the sand. White shelves, built by Colin, hold photographs capturing time spent with family, intermingled with artifacts found along the way and quaint stacks of treasured natural elements like stones and driftwood.Colin takes great pride in his city garden.

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Plant life along all the windowsills evokes images of a beautiful reef or cliff-side bluff. Some of the couple’s favorite plants are sourced at nearby Homecoming on Franklin Street, a charming cafe and lifestyle store, and a haven for the neighborhood’s urban gardeners.

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When trying to achieve this look, remember to balance color and space. It’s a memorable home because it’s personal, but still minimal. In the absence of clutter, there are keepsakes.room

Taking a lead from nature itself, only a handful of simple pieces make the space sing. But Kate and Colin manage to bring the staycation home, and set a course to the welcoming space where they’ve dropped anchor.

Tabletop Trends for Fall Dinner Parties by way of Zillow.com

Excited to share these trends and entertaining tips for your next Fall dinner party. If it’s a casual lunch, fun dinner party, or holiday potluck I’ve got you set with 2 very cool very different table set ups. Share this video as a cheat sheet if you’ll be co-hosting a cozy dinner soon!


 

Shot thanks to some amazing production sponsors in The Queer Interior studio we put together two really rad tables that combine some classic Fall favorites and fun retro-cabin vibes. Table settings and accents that help to create a cozy vibe are showcased in this video staring yours truly as the host. So funny watching it back for me. It was a great day of shooting and I’m so pleased with the outcome.

Shop these looks! Here are some of the rad folks featured:
Patina Rental: Brass glass candle holders
Foxy and Winston : Tea towels
A&G Merch: Flasks and animal plates
Jill Lindsey: Blankets

Stay tuned because I’ve got move videos coming!
Excited to help you entertain with style!

THE GET THERE: Unsolicited Advice to a Freelancer

Credit: Michael Popp Studio
Credit: Michael Popp Studio

I haven’t done a post in a while and I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned in the last 10 years in New York. Seeing everyone “get there” in business or personal life is something that starts to happen when you hit 30 in New York. Either folks are having babies and buying houses or peers start to find a niche for themselves professionally.

Recently, out to coffee with my friends I’ve noticed all are in varying stages of either realizing or investing in their own professional success in non-profit sectors and freelance capacities. Some are expanding their businesses, some are starting new bigger/hairier projects and some are packing-up and heading west. My own philosophy for a long time was to find money. I took every gig under the sun and that nomadic freelance lifestyle always paid, sometimes not with actual dollars, but always with a lesson or a scar. That philosophy has served me for as long as it could. I have survived in New York and now I gotta get there.

Below are 3 things that continue to work for me and that I learned from folks further down the road than myself.  Some or none of these will apply to your experience.

1. Ask for what you want

This is something I learned from my parents and something I really take for granted. Everyone has goals they’ve either sketched out on a map or keep tucked away til’ something magical happens. You can’t bank on that magic and often times the map you’ve laid out doesn’t include the whole picture. The conventional ways modeled for creative people “getting there” haven’t proven useful to me. The way I’ve gotten to a fair majority of my professional success is by asking people for exactly what I want and working backwards. The truth is that people want to help other people and it’s made a whole lot easier if the people in charge have a full understanding of what you want.

2. Better done than perfect

There are jobs where things have to be perfect. Doctors, judges, architects all require a monastic commitment to details and perfection. Luckily the jobs I’m good at don’t. I work in interior design editorial, fundraising, events, styling and other creative industries and I know we aren’t saving lives, we’re making things pretty. There are tons of logistics and attention to detail and those moving pieces are very important, but not science. The personal experience someone has is the only part of the job that should be perfect; the getting there doesn’t have to be.

3. You are doing it wrong

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I’ve messed up on projects or left things uncompleted and had to experience the consequences. It’s in those hair-raisingly awkward interactions or dramatic emails that you learn the most. You have to do it wrong. I learned way more from my slip ups than I did from my successes. The caveat here is that you want to be doing wrong less and less of the time.

What are the tools you use to “get there”?

Where these tips useful? irritating? Comment below

Escape With Manuela, A Small Marvel Designed for an Urban Patio

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MANUELA is a small folded steel shelf to perch a coffee or wine on during your fire escape hang out. It comes in treated wood or hydrualic tile. I love the straight-up design of this friendly little space saver. It’s a real hero and can make even the bleakest of fire-escapes cheery and chic.  Designed by NIMIO  in Madrid, the small showroom produces elegant and simple solutions to tight urban living. We included it in our tip-sheet for outdoor entertaining on Zillow.com. Check out more tips for your next party on the deck here! two patio

 

 

 

Subtraction, Not Addition Design Tips Featured on Zillow.com

before side tableIt’s Spring which means it’s time to tidy up our living spaces and edit our winter hoard. I  shared some tips of the trade when it comes to using what you already have and looking at your space from a different angle. I rarely share images of my own space but decided since it would prompt me to clean up a little why not. For the first time ever I shot on location in my Park Slope brownstone and  I was thrilled with the results. It’s always exciting to see your very own stuff being shared and liked online. Enjoy and turn up the music and take on the clutter, here’s a hint, most of it’s trash!

Check out the full feature on Zillow.com today! 

Here’s one of the quick tips:  End tables often become a magnet for magazines, keys, office supplies and more. Get rid of the debris, then discourage it from accumulating again by grabbing a few favorite titles with color-matching bindings and stacking them to create a sweet, concise arrangement. Add interest by introducing an item with personal significance, like a camera (found this one at Housing Works in Brooklyn) or vase. You’ve already got the materials for this easy update, and even a small edit can have big impact. Your space will instantly look bigger and cleaner.

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ASIDE: It’s Spring which means open garage times at Atelier Roquette

Red Hook brags one of the sweetest event spaces around, Atelier Roquette. Here is a #ThrowbackThursday shot of our time their with Kristen Blush last Spring! Book them for your fab shower, intimate wedding or for a creative project!

credit: Kristen Blush
credit: Kristen Blush

THREADBARE THEATRE WORKSHOP GETS ITS SEA LEGS AT WORD BOOKSTORE.

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pictured: Threadbare Founder Kate Russell credit: Michael Cinquino

Longtime friend, Kate Russell (a fellow at ELNYA) is producing a staged reading of her adaptation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick entitled “or, The Whale.” As founding member of Threadbare Theatre Workshop she’s hustled together some really talented actors and creatives who will all be hanging out and drinking wine  from local sponsors.

Mark your calendars for an Earth Day (April 22nd) at 6:30 pm at WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint Brooklyn.  After the reading there will be a creative conversation talk-back with one of my other favorite creative ladies in N.Y .C (and sometimes L.A) Jen Tullock.

Get into it! I’ll see you there! GO THREADBARE.

ASIDE:#YourStoryByKristenBlush featuring Kelli Galloway

A BEHIND THE SCENES MOMENT CAPTURED BY KRISTEN BLUSH DURING OUR SHOOT A FEW WEEKS AGO.
Credit: Kristen Blush #YourStorybyKristenBlush
Credit: Kristen Blush #YourStorybyKristenBlush
KELLI GALLOWAY OF HOPSPETUNIA IS KRISTEN’S NEW CREATIVE FEATURED AS PART OF HER WEEKLY PHOTO-SERIES #YourStoryByKristenBlush. 

@ARTS&QUEERS MARKET, NETWORKING AND DAWGS

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Made it a point to hit up @Arts&Queers at Little Field in Brooklyn today to meet some talented vendors and take in some tunes. It didn’t hurt that Yeah Dawg was dolling out their addictive vegan hot dogs. Founder of Yeah Dawg Marina Benedetto and I kicked it for a while and she fixed me up an inspired snack with all the fixin’s. Ran into the always darling Dakota Bracciale. We used to hang back in the SouthPaw/Bar Four (R.I.P) days when I was hosting Gender Bender/ Queerespondence in partnership with BrooklynTheBorough.com. In other words, A LIFETIME AGO!

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We spilled the tea, mostly on me, because  she read my cards and let me tell you it was church #selfcare #balance. After my reading, I handed out some totes and got lost. It was a lovely beginning of spring hang and I hope it’s a sign of my getting out into my community more and more. Have fun y’all!

 

A Throwback to our FIRST ISSUE: ED ROTH (STENCIL 1)

EDROTHIn honor of the spring refresh we’re doing on the site I thought it would be neat to post this look from our 2012 prototype issue. We built it on ISSU.com and Colleen and I spent the launch day drinking coffee and cursing at her desktop making sure everything was just so. This shot is of Ed Roth and his right-hand lady who had just stenciled the big bear with chalk paint for our fundraising party in Brooklyn. He was a big shot then and now he’s basically a famous person. He recently won Product of the Year 2015 for new line of stencil wallpaper. He’s got you covered  from wallpaper to crafts to textiles, all highly versatile and  reusable featured in his books published by Chronicle Books. 

PHOTO CREDIT: MICHAEL POPP STUDIO

4 Rad Bar-Carts on Zillow.com by The Queer Interior

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The Queer Interior Team is psyched that we’re featured on Zillow.com today. Big ups to the amazing folks who chipped in to style, decorate, and capture these enviable bar-carts! 

We put together 4 distinct bar cart set-ups for your Mad Men viewing party, house warming or just to impress your next one night stand. The fabulous shoot for Zillow.com was made possible by a talented team of Brooklyn movers and shakers! Kristen Blush who we’ve worked with before got effortlessly stunning images of each cart on location at Patina Rentals. The floral designs by Hops Petunia captured the mood of each bar-cart. Guest staring: Foxy and Winston bottle openersVan Brunt Stillhouse booze, and lemons and limes from the Park Slope Food Coop. Below are just a few of my favorites!

Head to Zillow and comment on your favorite and spread the love! 

aw!The above shot is one of my favorite. The pink accents bring the 60s Shoshanna out in me. The flowers by Hops Petunia are spot on! #GIRLS
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This vintage guy is the hot nerd in the bunch. He’s got a twee thing going, but he’s butched up by the trophy and oil painting. Highly dateable.

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On set we were calling this set up the modern painter and it ended up having a very new-money feeling that I love in the final look.

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This was everyone’s favorite look of the day. Maybe because it evoked so much Summer vibes. We’re itching for the west coast and this little piece of heaven could really scratch! LOVE!

Paris: A Tiny Tour of Boot Cafe

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It’s been really lousy in New York (and anywhere north of Washington) for the last few weeks and I figured I could brighten your day with a cyber jaunt to Paris for some pour-over coffee at Boot Cafe!

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I didn’t discover Boot Cafe. Everyone has scooped it, I mean everyone. The New York Times and Vogue have blown its tiny cover. You can’t but help feel like you’ve discovered a well-kept secret. That might be attributed to the size of the cafe, it’s probably standing room 10 people and even that would be a tight fit.

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It’s a departure form the lofty co-working spaces coffee shops have adapted in the last decade. What it lacks in physical real estate it makes up for in balls-out personal charm. The walls are layered in photographs, art objects, and postcards. It has a distinctly American vibe thanks to killer take-away coffee and the nearly all-English speaking Baristas.

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Located in a distinctly queer and not so newly bourgeoisie neck of the woods called the Marais, this miniature wonderland is an ideal spot for a tourist or local to hang their hat. The French signage from the original shoe repair shop is a beautiful shade of pale blue and as you enter the double doors your welcomed with all white subway tilling, three tiny marble tables and a tidy server station which looks like the best coffee shop job this side of the river.

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The vibrant green plastic stools that look like stumps are Arnold Circus Stools and are sourced from a shop in London by designer Martino Gamper. They are so chic and I am obsessed with them.

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Along narrow black shelves are perched bottles of water for the taking, bags of coffee beans, and treasures for purchase from nearby and faraway. When I stopped in they were selling Echo Park Pottery Mugs by Peter Shire Studio from the US.

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After taking some pictures and caffeinating I sat down and talked shop with a local regular, cutie Frank Adrian who brought by a homemade lemon cake that was divine (sidebar: he’s got a killer Instagram- follow @cakeboyparis). The small interior invites conversation the same way a cozy living room might.

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I can’t stress enough how generally lousy the take-away coffee game is in Paris, but Boot Cafe is one of the few exceptions and give you that boost a city for walking always needs. Go there when you are visiting Paris, or close your eyes real tight, ignore the buzzing of your electric heater and go there right now in a daydream. Isn’t it rad!? I know!

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Our Fall Favorites! Q.I Creator and Founder Plays Krrb.com Currator

featuredI’m a big believer as a renter in NYC that reclaiming or inheriting odds and ends is a better and kinder way to populate your space. Krrb.com is the perfect place to do just that. They’ve honored me with the task of picking some of my favorite Krrb finds for Fall and I hunted down some really lovely (and equally strange) objects on the shop by stoop home sales website. Krrb is easy to use and I’ve had a blast selling and buying on it myself. Anyone can build a “corner” where they list home decor, furniture, or homemade wares for sale. You can easily post and edit pictures or information about the object and tag key words. The site helps you search by zip code and category and it’s a real blast to find out what’s near by.  Look for The Queer Interior and my 20 selections on their newsletter and website today! Here are my top 5 and why I picked’em!

1. Table to the rescue: A small space hero.

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As featured on Remodelista and AllModern.com. This Hunter Green Blue Dot Strut Table is an awesome use of space. It’s highly functional as a desk or dinning room table. It’s the perfect freelancer find and if you’ve got a neutral space the green is going to be a really great contrast color.

2. Sleek adustable coffee table

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You can custom this no-frills coffee table to fit your room and what we’re wondering is if James will throw in the coffee tables books. Tom Ford and Marilyn? We’ll take it!

3. Fire engine red toolbox #butchcity

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Looking to ironically store toilet paper or have legit tools to store? Then you should buy this awesome tool box! I think it’s really sexy and sleek and if I had more than a hammer and bad attitude about home repair I’d buy it. in. a. heartbeat.

4. Himmeli Light makes a corner special for less than $200 bucks.

hanginglightOne of a kind hanging light treatments would be great in a dorm or home office. Loving the shape and price point, run don’t walk.

5. Um. This crazy skull madness is rad.

skullWhen I think about what’s great for Fall gourds and painted leaves are not my first thoughts. This Swarovski covered animal skull, now this, this is autumnal. I want it on my dining table or coffee table, really anywhere someone can see it.

*Big Thanks to Krrb.com for letting us play!

Millbrook or Bust. A Last Summer Staycation in a Beautiful Barn, Why Not?

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  • Photography by Andrea Priorelli
  • A home tour of a farmhouse in Millbrook, New York

Crowded streets, rotting garbage, lack of moving air underground; these moments of metropolitan madness are the reason that the mythical “upstate weekend” is a necessitiy for a New Yorker’s survival.

Against the better judgement of my accountant (*cough* mint.com *cough”), and the fictionalized fear of where such a trip could lead (we’ve all seen that episode of Girls) I decided to unplug and retreat from the all the noise of the streets and the tweets.

Millbrook, NY (population 300) provided a secluded yet, inhabitated enough location to serve as the perfect backdrop. The town was exceptionally quaint, but don’t worry, it had 3 antique shops.

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Our lodging, a barn converted into a home a heaven, was simply stunning.

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The impact an open floor plan can have on opening a jaded soul, should never be understated.

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Vibrant colors against pristine whites.

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with beauty in the details,

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sun through the windows,

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and stars in the sky.

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12 queers, 4 days, 3 nights, 1 location, 0 regrets.

Millbrook NY, we owe you. #BarnOfSecrets2014

Detroit Rose Rises; A Giveaway and Q&A with Deirdre Skiles #queercrush

We’ve got a crush on a candle. Detroit Rose Candle Co. is our newest obsession. Ranging from super butch jars like LEATHER to outlandish and fun scents like GIN FIZ; we’re loving this fledgling candle company’s first season of scents. We’ve seen a lot of American craft and entrepreneurship happening in Detroit and the number of New York expats making the commute.  A creative at heart Deirdre Skiles who sought out the city to play host to a writing retreat ended up discovering the tactile career of candle creation. We got the low down on her own journey to her Eastern Market home,  the scents she’s playing with and the future of her new company.

*Giveaway alert! As a special End-Of-Summer promotion Detroit Rose will be gifting 3 of her original candles to a lucky winner. It’s easy! Keep reading to find out how you can win and watch on Facebook! #queercrush #detroitrosecandleco

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How did you end up in Detroit? When did you start Detroit Rose?

Detroit Rose Candle Co. was created in August 2013.  I was living in New York at the time and came to Detroit to do some research for a book I was (am still) writing. A friend took me to this really enchanting area of town called Eastern Market where vendors sell produce, plants and art and I kind of fell in love with the place. It was this dense part of the city that was so full of life and I wanted to be a part of it. I had just made a batch of candles to give as gifts and thought “I could sell these here, that would amazing to just sit at the market and interact with people and take the world in from that perspective”.  A month later I was selling soy candles I’d poured in found mason jars at the market. I actually live in an old loft space in Eastern Market now and all production is out of my kitchen.

 

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Have you always bleather copyeen crafty? When did you first learn the process of creating scents and making candles?

2.     Crafty?  Yes. More or less. I think I just like to make things, be creative, experiment.  Playing with scents and oils is something I picked up in the process of candle making.  Sometimes it goes all wrong, but sometimes you make something magical. Scent is such a visceral thing. It can really transport you to a memory or time in your life. I like the idea that I’m making these little jars that take someone back to a time in their life they want to remember or something that helps them to find calm when they need it.

Which candles are your your favorite and best sellers?

Top Sellers … Taos Sage, Pipe Tobacco, Lavender Love & Bergamot. Everyone loves Bergamot. Seriously, I dare you to find a human who doesn’t respond positively to that scent.  My favorite to burn is Pipe Tobacco.  It’s this perfect blend of cherry, wood & smoke. I’m obsessed.


Where can I buy these delicious candles?

You can find Detroit Rose candles at Willys (Shinola’s new store in Detroit).  El Dorado General Store (this badass vintage store in Corktown). My Etsy. And in September you can buy them at the Detroit Built Pop Up at the Michele Varian Boutique in Soho.

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*Giveaway alert! End-Of-Summer Promotion:
Detroit Rose will be gifting 3 of their original candles to a lucky winner.
It’s easy to enter:
1. LIKE Detroit Rose & The Queer Interior on Facebook
2. Post this feature to your own page and hashtag:
#queercrush #detroitrosecandleco
3. We’ll announce the winner on September 1st which means you’ve got from today (the 19th) til’ then to enter.

 

Boss Bird Makes A Nest Upstairs, Nekisia Davis on her Apartment Renovation

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Early Bird Granola is an established granola brand proudly built by the hard working and lovely Nekisia Davis. Maybe it’s her southern sensibilities or her die-hard love for a coast, but her brand and home have found a comfortable corner in friendly Red Hook Brooklyn to call home. She worked wonders converting a 1200 square foot office space above her commercial kitchen by maximizing the room with an open floor plan.  The exposed beam supports, fire engine red functioning sprinklers, and a mad pink wall are brave and awesome choices.

The Queer Interior team styled out a corner of Nekisia’s apartment in pieces and accessories from A&G Merch, a furniture store in Williamsburg Brooklyn, to help us imagine how her newly renovated space would play host to actual furniture. We were there on an afternoon that some of her team were finishing up work on the windows and kitchen. I was happy to indulge superstition and smudge the space with sage, making sure to reach every corner.

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The Queer Interior: What was your biggest challenge during the renovation?

Nekisia Davis: The biggest challenge was definitely waiting to see the final. I’m an I-want-it-now kind of girl, so it was torture. Veruca Salt-style but way less demanding and bratty.

Q.I: Do you have a favorite addition from the renovating?

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N.D: It’s the commercial stove we put in. My contractor said it’s an insane stove for residential and I pushed to keep it, so they had to built a concrete sleeve around it covered in stainless steel to keep the heat in so it won’t light my cabinets and entire kitchen on fire. WORTH IT.

We used a lot of IKEA, which I actually always do (which surprises people). You have to go in there with a good eye. Also we fetched some barn wood from upstate for all the shelving, and stole some rad knobs for the kitchen from our designer Di Needham. She kept us sane during the whole process. Renovation is no joke, and I’m very aware that ours was a miniscule project in the grand scheme.

Q.I:  You lucked into the amazing quality of these floors. What’s their story?

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N.D: The floors were original and we had no idea they were even under there until we started knocking down walls. We had new floors spec’d out and those were beautiful as well, but I’m so happy to be able to reuse what came with the building. And they definitely tell a story, there are random nails all over that have sunk deep into the wood, areas where the coloring varies dramatically…these floors were WORKED on back in the day and I love seeing the story there.

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Q.I: What were your style inspirations for the renovation? Was there any one thing you had to have?

N.D: My style inspiration was a combination of COLOR, Los Angeles, and Blance Devereaux’s bedroom. I’m not sure that the result points specifically to any of those, but that’s where my head was.

Q.I: Is it so weird to live above your commercial kitchen? Has it changed your relationship with the business you run?

N.D: It is SO LOVELY to live right above work. I stumble downstairs in some acceptable version of pyjamas with a cup of coffee in the mornings and am very lucky to be able to do that. On the other hand, I occasionally stumble down late night (different kind of stumbling this time) to steal some ricotta or yogurt from the walk-in (shout out Salvatore Bklyn and White Moustache yogurt, my small batch partners in crime), and might run into someone doing midnight yogurt production. I am sometimes fully clothed, sometimes not.

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*Our Style Inspiration Corner made possible by A&G Merch was so rad. Check out their site to purchase!

It was awesome to style out the corner with help from the talented folks at A&G Merch and they’re shop and sponsorship made this feature possible. Here are the links to all the lovely small and large moving pieces of our inspiration corner made even more inspiring by Nekisia’s pink wall! –

Teal Stool Paper Mache BirdEmbroidered Fox Pillow

Carmichael Chair Domino Reader Side-table shoplookThat fox pillow is adorable!

King of Pops; Q&A w/ King Leche Owner Walter Youngblood

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Walter stamping the King Leche Logo onto bar wrappers in his kitchen space

It’s summer which means outdoor movies and ice cold treats! We caught up with Walter Youngblood the proud owner and maker of the addictive  King Leche Cremes. These outlandish goat milk popsicles made from fresh and seasonal ingredients are for sale each Tuesday at the outdoor movies hosted by Red Hook Flicks and a slew of awesome sponsors. Mark your calendars to enjoy the movie and have a bite because this coming Tuesday the 5th they’ll be projecting Paris Is Burning (, 1990)! The film is about the drag and ball scene in the late 1980s and it’s everything, so get into it. Look forward to a breathtaking view of Lady Liberty, a sweet treat, and a super queer cult classic!

When did you start hand-crafting these treats?

This is my third season producing KINGLeche Creme Bars. I started producing the bars, named after my dog (King) and cat (Leche).

You use goats milk. Have you always steered clear of cow’s milk? Besides the deliciousness what is the advantage? 

I use goat milk because I am lactose intolerant and I wanted to find a way to enjoy ice cream. Goat milk has the most similar lacrosse sugars to human milk making it more digestible for most people especially those with lactose issues. Also goat milk is consumed more globally than cow’s milk and is better for the environment.  It takes far less resources to farm goats than cows. Goat milk is lower in fat than cows milk and is just overall better for humans.
Part of my inspiration came from working at Lower East Side’s WD~50, where I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some incredibly talented chefs like Wylie Dufresne, Sam Mason, Alex Stupak, Christina Tosi, and Malcolm Livingston. I got an invaluable education!

Where can I buy them?

The bars can be bought in a variety of places, The Good Fork in Red Hook, Hops and Hocks in Bushwick, the Bushwick Food Coop , and presently I’m working on getting a few more accounts.

What’s your favorite bar? Is there a big seller that’s made waves?

I do have a favorite bar. That would be Rah’s Blushing Grasshopper. The bar was inspired by someone very special. The bar is a spinach and strawberry combination and is lovely to look at and delicious. It also happens to be my best seller this summer.

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The yummy Rah’s Blushing Grasshopper (spinach and strawberry!)

What’s next for King Leche?
In the future I would like to have a storefront and kitchen that I work out of independently and I’m also planning to move into other goat milk products like soaps and lotions.

George Venson On Making His Own Life and His Own Wallpaper

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George Venson, founder of Voutsa (pronounced |voot|– sä), a design company specializing in wallpaper, is currently making waves with his daring colorful designs, featuring an array of patterns ranging from beautiful inspirations such as flowers, to unexpected animals such as chickens, to body parts such as lips – and yes, even nipples.

Venson’s personality offers a mix of deadpan irony, and cavalier charm, both resting beneath hair as defiant as David Lynch or a young Michael Musto. He confidently described the process of his work as being split between the design portion, “which is easier if you have to spend all day in a studio for four days and get a pattern done, you can” and the second, lengthier process, of “turning that pattern into a consumer good.”

Voutsa’s watercolored themes are all hand painted before being placed in contrast with adventurous colors. He explained, “The real target for me are people that want to explore new bold options – like, if you want to paint your wall pink maybe you should wallpaper it pink– but with fish on it.”

In today’s market, Venson has found that “wallpaper is doing really well.” Voutsa’s recent prominent collaboration in Storefront’s Letter to the Mayor, (where its designs were featured on Steven Holl and Vito Acconci‘s transformable walls), in Sight Unseen Offsite (where Architectural Digest listed his design as one of the Top 6 Can’t-Miss Items) , as well as its inclusion in various showrooms nationwide, demonstrate this niche’s relevancy and this overall brand’s growing impact. Yet, it is the audacity of his designs that elevate wallpaper’s possibilities, “when people say it’s so back, I don’t think it necessarily really applies to my work, because my wallpaper is more an art installation method of decorating.”

The conversation shifted from his past work unexpectedly when he exclaimed, “We need to talk about my clothes!” Voutsa’s trademarked tagline “The Walls are Alive” has taken a surprisingly literal turn. “I have always envisioned my designs on the body,” he said. This Summer, he is debuting his latest endeavor: men’s dress shirts, body wraps and pocket squares in collaboration with Paul Marlow.

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Originating from San Antonio, Texas, Venson’s upbringing was “totally suburban everything.” In high school he immersed himself competitively in tennis and by the end “I was among some of the top kids in the country.” He would “go to these tournaments, and there were all these really serious tennis players – who lived in tennis academies. But, I was just there, my dad was taking off work, taking pictures, or we’d be celebrating by eating at the CheeseCake factory.” However, while attending Rice University, his sports career faded, “I kinda closed that chapter. The passion changed. People don’t understand that. Passions change.”

His economic major led him to a soul crushing summer internship. He made an abrupt turn and completely remapped his college career, diving ferociously into an arts degree, “because I literally could not go one minute further,” in economics. As an art student, he discovered there was joy in “being recognized as a thinker and a whole person.” He found his thinking diverging from his former mainstream education, “There was this whole grasping and hunger for an alternative way of thinking.…It was as vital to me to help try to shift people’s thinking.”

“I am really indebted to the Residency Program, at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. It brings in all these great artists who are also required to teach at Rice. So I was encountering all these great people who live in New York and LA.” The combination of Rice’s Art Department, “stunning architecture” and the fact that it was “non-competitive” empowered Venson to experiment boldly, in a variety of mediums from painting to writing a fully produced student film.

Upon graduating, the university awarded him a scholarship which enabled Venson to travel the world and leave his home state. “My only complaint” about Texas is that “- It’s not connected to this big world. It wasn’t necessarily just a gay thing, it was across the board, with all issues, and I could not handle that.” He found New York City to be, “Incredible.

At the beginning of Voutsa, “I was encouraged to make beautiful lush wall papers..they were abstract. I started to sell some to bigger companies” which evolved into, “why don’t I just make my own patterns, have commercial success, and then fund my life?” However, “that transition took from age 22 to 29, so it’s been at least six years.”

For those six years Venson “worked for a lot of different types of people,” which he said “was vital.” This time “working a lot of  jobs” was “not a waste whatsoever because… I still draw on a lot of qualities I picked up along the way. Even if I worked something and I hated it, maybe it taught me to run a studio, or make calls, or organize my art collection.”

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Voutsa’s splash, “happened really quickly.” The location moved from South Williamsburg, to a huge loft in Union Square, as noted in New York Mag, and is now finally headquartered in Chinatown. That first year operating out of Union Square was when “everything came together.” He nostalgically recalled how, “I made all my wallpaper. I built my website. I had my first shows. I had my first press. I had my first visits with decorators.” He sites that “the location [Union Square] and the size [of the studio] had a lot to do with it.” Even though, “I literally had no furniture,” except, “a mattress on the floor.” Speaking almost with disbelief, “I had all this space, at the right time – the universe came together for the first time ever. Since then, I let it move itself in its own way.”

Voutsa is now fully situated into its new home and is better poised to continue its ascent. With a new summer line of patterns, its clothing series, growing representation in showrooms nationwide – or simple joys such as Lena Dunham ‘liking’ a design on Instagram – the future of Voutsa is limitless and like George Venson, full of the unexpected.

Before we both parted, he paused and spoke with the same fiery tenacity that took him from Economics to Art, from Texas to New York City, from artist assistant to Company Owner: “After six years, I am finally making my own life – that’s what you should put in your article. I am finally making my own life.”

Cold Spring Parties at The Living Room

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Spring is in the air and that means wedding industry folks are gladly waist deep in flowers, tule, and brides. Event space and wedding venue The Living Room in Cold Spring is located on historic and charming Main Street and hit the big time when one of it’s first couples to host a reception for their wedding were Cold Spring neighbors and Martha Stweart Wedding influencers Matt and Jack.  The cozy and modern event space is this week’s #WednesdayWonder and we really dig the scene! Antiquing near by, river-side views and near by nature walks and water make this converted drugstore the perfect place for a dance party, yoga hang, or market. They’re currently doing a weekly Sunday market called Bazaar-on-Hudson and they’ve gathered vendors of all walks to sell there goods from 10:30-4:30 pm. Check out all the neat stuff this lovely little space is making happen in the mid-Hudson Valley just off the Metro North train!

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The lit paneled pine walls and sprung dance floor make make for a custom and feet friendly dance experience and we love the sculptural details!

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The painted tin ceiling and original floors create a lovely and at home vibe. Styled above are some amazing local antique store finds, an old ladder stocked with nearby wines and whiskey from Van Brunt Stillhouse in Brooklyn New York. We couldn’t help but add a little Stevie Nicks too!

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 *Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we share every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

One Girl’s Search for Pink

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Finding that perfect match isn’t easy.  When it comes to establishing tone in a space it all starts with color. This week’s #WednesdayWonder is a stunning accent wall in a newly renovated apartment in Brooklyn. Nekisia Davis is starting fresh in a space she converted from a dated and drab office unit into an open floor plan home. We’ll be featuring the space in an upcoming #QueerInterior feature, but we loved the color of this wall and it’s inspiration story so much we had to share these behind the scenes images expertly shot by Erin Albrecht. 

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The color is Wild Watermelon by Behr and it’s a vibrant pink that works wonders for the space. So how’d she pick such a bold and unique color, prying minds have to know! We love Nekisia’s style, a fan of stylish camp and fun her inspiration board for the space ranges from LA bungalow, to The Golden Girl’s beach-side home and even to Lena Dunham’s hit show GIRLS.  

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While watching the show this season she paused on a scene between actors Zosia Mamet and Richard E Grant sitting on a bed in a pink hued room at the Gramercy Hotel. She had to have the color and rang the hotel the next day.  She’s in good company or in this case good taste; interior designer Julian Schnabel re-imagined the rooms in 2006 with vibrant and bold choices inspired by the renaissance revival style. The hotel informed her that it was a custom color and she made it her job to find a color that moved her just as much, “I love that pink so much and I think I’ll always have a wall that’s somewhere in the spectrum.”

*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we share every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

Lofty Light Makes For Moody Magic

Our most recent #QueerInterior feature showcased a stunning floral scene inside event space Atelier Roquette owned by Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson. Kristen Blush was able to capture lots of angles and one of our favorite was of the awesome skylights. Outfitted with a handful of lovely skylights this week’s #WednesdayWonder are some of these amazing shots from the cutting room floor.  I just couldn’t keep these moody and wondrous images in a Dropbox hidden away.

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The floral deigns were part of a long weekend class called The Little Flower School co-owned by near by florists Sarah Ryhanen and Nicolette Camille. The skylights shifted mood from dusk into evening and it was lovely to watch the setting change as the sun set.

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Making selections from this week’s shoot was made really difficult by the trifecta of well shot photos in a beautiful space inhabited by lovely things. Just feeling really lucky to have been in the right place at a really stunning time.

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*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we share every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

Warehouse Weddings in Waterfront Red Hook

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The Queer Interior had a wedding insiders peek at event space and wedding venue Atelier Roquette owned by two of the Queens of Red Hook. Kristen Blush and I scored some stunning and romantic shots that we’re thrilled to share as part of our May-long celebration of all things wedding! Chef Monica Byrne and Leisah Swenson have been together 10 years, the two aren’t married, but they’ve been the helping hand in more weddings than you’ll ever have the chance to attend.

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They co-own and operate café, wine bar and cozy brunch hang HomeMade on what is arguably one of the most important corners of Vanbrunt Street in foodie’s paradise Red Hook ,Brooklyn.  Their attraction to special occasions is obvious. Monica’s food is personal and comfort oriented, that perfect combination means everyone wants to have their shower or celebration in teeny-tiny Homemade. This led the two ambitious ladies to nearby Commerce Street where they’ve outfitted a garage into a lofty white-walled event space called Atelier Roquette with their in-house catering as definitive perk. 

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We had the exciting opportunity to shoot around The Little Flower School co-owned by Sarah Ryhanen and Nicolette Camille. Their work has been featured in Domino, Vogue, Martha Stewart and many more. Seeing all the eager up and coming flower folks wearing stunning flower hair pieces with scissors or pad in hand was inspiring. While Sarah and Nicolette encouraged a break from arranging and took questions; Kristen Blush and I got to work capturing images of this lofty and multipurpose space.

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The moody view of dusk through the two giant skylights and rows of flowers made the space feel like heaven’s waiting room. All the furniture is hand picked by Monica or Leisah and some of the pieces including the tall stool and wire baskets are for sale.

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The industrial farmhouse feel with steel and wire accents, old luggage and one-of-a-kinds find make this raw space come to life. These two have an eye and every piece has a story.

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The space hosts everything from tastings to markets and the flower school made it’s home there for a long weekend and was a perfect place for students to create, dine, and collaborate.

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Every work station made for a still-life shot that Kristen Blush was able to capture as the sun set on a long day of flower styling.

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The two are planning their own wedding in the space for this coming October. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do with it!

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If you’d like to know more about having a party or celebration at Atelier Roquette head to their website and input your party size and details here: www.atelierroquette.com

To learn more about The Little Flower school visit their site here: www.littleflowerschoolbrooklyn.com

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Vanity Any Ol’ Place

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This week’s #WednesdayWonder is an idea for your space! Simple and chic, a pop-up vanity is a great use of under utilized spaces. Pictured here the execution is spot on. All you’ll be needing is 5 square feet, a unique mirror, and a small desk. Accented here with iron white-washed hooks and towels, this vanity is placed between a backyard door and a water closet. Just provide the basics, stay in a limited color scheme and get creative with hardware. This in-home destination can be a great place to reapply lipstick before heading out or in this case to check on your hair before joining whatever backyard festivities you’ve got cooking.

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We love the idea of this casual vanity hang out for your guests and you to feel welcome to spruce or just check in. You can make it as custom as you’d like, take for example this mounted luggage piece repurposed as vanity storage on Design Sponge. A pop-vanity is easy to put together with preexisting pieces and great for someone on a budget looking to reinvent an area in their space.

*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we share every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

John Yates Imagines A Genealogy of Things

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The evolution of a President as created by John Yates for his web project A Genealogy of Things.

Full Disclosure: I live a cluttered life. Perhaps that is why I respond so emphatically to minimalism, because it is beyond my capabilities to maintain in any capacity: in writing, in speaking, in scheduling, in dating, in listing…

From beneath my cluttered soul I have learned that the beauty of the simple is most powerful when it’s visual.

The fresh and sleek project, A Genealogy of Things, from graphic designer John Perry Yates, uses simplicity to its greatest effect. Once a week he focuses on a single chosen item and condenses its form and tracking its evolution from years 1864, 1914, 1964, & 2014.

For instance this one entitled “Pen”:

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I am also a big fan of this one titled “Fan”:

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Yes, it’s geeky, yes it’s a tumblr, yes I qualify it as tumblr porn for any person who practices clean lines, focused simplicity, or for those who can only fetishize them. Check out the full collection here!

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Since Yates’ own personal genealogy includes an education at Yale and a job with Condé Nast’s Architecutral Digest, this series seems to place him (pictured) completely in his element. Currently employed at the web design firm Blenderbox as Project Manager, he has found a home he enjoys and a job he is passionate about, both cozily and conveniently cloistered within Greenpoint.

The Queer Interior: Where did the concept originate for A Genealogy of Things? 

John Yates: I always found myself wanting to get more practice at illustration and hone in on a “personal style”, but I’d spend so much time figuring out what I wanted to draw that I’d always end up losing interest or running out of free time. Around New Years, I decided a weekly themed project would be well-defined enough to keep me motivated, but open enough to not get bored with. Many of my idols in the design/illustration do something similar, like Jessica Hische’s “Daily Drop Cap” or José Guizar’s “Windows of New York”. I’m a giant history nerd and antiques hoarder, so I settled on Genealogy of Things pretty naturally.

Q.I:What is your process selecting objects to illustrate? In your experience, has finding inspiration before your weekly deadline been a challenge thus far? 

J.Y: I’ve got a running list of ideas I keep in a Google Drive doc that I add to as inspiration strikes – I usually know what I’m going to be drawing for the next two weeks or so. I’d say it’s very easy to find something that’s perfect for three of the four years, but hitting all four can be challenging. Of course, not only does something have to exist in all four eras, but it has to be strikingly different in each era. I can’t do a post for “A Hammer” or “A Towel” since they haven’t really changed form in 200 years. I’ve found that objects that changed dramatically between the 1960’s and today often didn’t exist in the 1860’s; sometimes I’m able to get cute about this like with the ledger book for “Cash Register.”

I think I’m behind deadline for this week – I’ve been busy illustrating wedding invites for some friends!

Q.I: Do you have a personal favorite that you have done?

J.Y: Hmmm hard to say! “President” was fun, I’m pretty happy with the extent to which I could capture their personalities within my simple angular grid system. At that low level of detail, moving an element 1/8″ to the left or right can change a face from being instantly recognizable to looking tragically deformed. Although I think the most successful so far, in terms of the tone I hope to set, was the “Pen” (pictured above).

Q.I: Although simple, you have added design “rules” to your work, what are these specifically and what was the impulse to add these limits?

J.Y: There are three main rules:

1) Only straight lines and circle segments (no other curve shapes)

2) A strict 1/16th” grid, plus 1/64th” strokes.

3) A palette of no more than 5 colors plus black, using a flat fill without texture or gradient

Practically, the rules ensure consistency from week to week so the feel of the series remains cohesive. More personally, I have a hard time being creative if I’m just given a brush and told “go for it.” I need a few constraints to start thinking – I think this is my Lego-filled childhood shining through! To me, illustration always feels more like building than painting.  Even in my rare attempts at actual painting, I end up breaking it all down into interlocking flat shapes and looking like knockoff Charles Sheeler.

Q.I: Are there any other bloggings – past present or future – we should keep our peepers spying for?

J.Y: I feel like it’s a symptom of our modern life to have a half-dozen half-dead blogs floating around without an update in months. The only other thing I’m really updating frequently is my Instagram: MRY8S  – I collect hand-painted lettering and other interesting type I find around NYC (or on vacation). Last weekend I was over in Calvary Cemetery and snapped some gorgeous 19th Century carvings on the mausolea.  When I was in Italy visiting my boyfriend a few weeks ago we explored this tiny town with perfect gilded Art Nouveau lettering in every shop window. I spent most of the day photographing stores from all angles – luckily for me, he’s the sort of guy who enjoys that!

 

Tweeking for Teak! #WednesdayWonder

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  • Photographed by Douglas Calhoun

We spotted this wondrous Dutch Modern piece with pull down secretary desk in Holland during a visit to Utrecht. Made of teak this piece was part of a stylish student’s home set up. A great way to hide away a functional desk when entrertaining in a one-room flat we adored the stylish lines and simple design.  The key locked pull down desk is so delightful to use and it makes us want to put keys on everything! You see good design all over Holland and this casual piece-mealed home was no exception. Alternative uses for the pull down desk include home bar or vanity.

What would you do with this awesome cabinet?

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*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we’ll be sharing every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

Spring for a #Breather: Personal Space for Sale.

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NYC has always had a one-stop-shop for everything from laundry to takeout. The only thing not on the menu is peace and quiet. Personal space is a commodity in a city with more than 8 million dwellers. Breather, and it’s big time investors are banking on the sale of just that commodity: personal time. In Founder Julien Smith‘s words, “The essence of Breather is we fit into the cracks of a city,” in this case, New York. We spent an afternoon in The Nomad Breather space and have answers to questions you might have about how it works and what it’s like.

I had a chance to hang for 3 hours in The Nomad Breather room-for-rent in the Kiamie Arcade Building north of Madison. Like a good New Yorker I was there on the wire, huffing and puffing with a big bag holding my computer stuff and things for my waiting tables gig after. The Breather App prompted me to check-in, and with the tap of my phone I was supplied with a door key code. I felt like Ethan Hawke in Gattaca minus the inferiority complex.­

The door opened easily, I put my bag next to a large mirror, hung my coat on a hook, and took in the sparse sitting area. I’d booked one friend hang, one meeting with a possible interior shoot, and a content meeting with my photographer Mike Popp. I told Mike to get there at 12:30 so I had half an hour to myself. The first thing I noticed was the quiet.­­

The room was set with a yoga mat, two nice floor pillows, three window facing chairs, a long wall mounted desk, a dry erase board and a mod chair with plush pillows. The details are where #Breather gets it right. A jar of tootsie rolls, a nice blanket, and a copy of the most recent KinFolk Magazine brought it home.

Style and function put you at ease.  An iPhone 5 charger was set next to a jar of pencils and erasable markers, so I hooked up my phone and lay down. There is something weird about treating what is inherently a shared space like your own, but that feeling dissipates as you relax. I decided I’d try to take the advice at the core of this business’s concept and just lay down for a moment and relax. I breathed in the breeze from the window and the muffled hum of the street noise outside.

When it was time to get to work I connected to the Wi-Fi easily with a cheeky password. A knock at the door meant it was time to get started. My content meeting was great and everyone in attendance said they’d be looking into a Breather stay for themselves. The reasons ranged from needing a home base in-between errands and a work shift or freelancing with the ability to take phone calls and listen to Jill Scott.

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Here are my tips for your next Breather stay:

1. Don’t be late. The whole function of this departure from your every day routine is meant to be relaxing. If you’re running behind and feel pressure to make to your relaxation time doesn’t that sort of defeat the point?

2. Freelancers, Don’t over book yourself. Go with a project or two in mind to work on; If you’re staying for 2-4 hours the time constraint is a great way to task manage yourself.

3. Water, Coffee, Snack. If you’ll be there for a while come equipped with edibles or plan on ordering in. We used Seamless to get lunch and it was just like at your regular office or apartment. This also means you’ll be maximizing your time there, as you don’t want to be stepping out too much.

4. Make a meeting. This is a great opportunity to have a business meeting, strategize an upcoming trip, call that family you don’t get around to, or even have an old friend over and just gossip.

5. Breathe. This is your time. Take it to unwind and just daydream. There is a pad of paper to draw on, windows abound, some latest copies of magazines and Chronicle Book titles. A yoga mat encourages a few judgment-free downward dogs.  Just Breathe.

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A NYC view from our window at The Nomad Breather space.

 

 

 

Commercial Fridge at Home? Yes please!

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Today’s #WednesdayWonder is this beautiful fridge! We love the idea of a commercial style fridge in our at home kitchen. Sliding clear doors give you an advance look at goods which means styling it out & conserving energy. The awesome wicker baskets and 2 small lazy susans make this fridge even more accessible and stylish. This fridge feels less bulky and makes an at home cook seem like a master chief.

This makes our fantasy list of unique options. Do y’all dig it?

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In the meantime there are ways to make your preexisting fridge happening. Everything from chalkboard paint, relocation and even wallpaper.

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*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we’ll be sharing every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

 

Little Santa Fe Right Here in Chelsea

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Paul Langland is a real New Yorker. Upon meeting this educator his generosity of spirit and urge to share is contagious, I felt myself cracking jokes and divulging details of my train ride, job and eventually whole life. It was like meeting up with an old friend, or in this case a new one. A thoughtful and powerful member of the dance and performance art scene in New York, he has been teaching specialized techniques at New York University’s Tisch School for 40 years and currently lives in Chelsea with his partner, the painter, Colin Cochran. This shared space is comprised of comfort, charm and smart kitsch.

In separate states at the moment, his boyfriend Colin was at their Santa Fe house in New Mexico, but his work and good vibes were all over the space. It was hard to feel bad for the two who have a sprawling view of the mountains in New Mexico and a nearly panoramic look at downtown’s cityscape here in New York City.  Modern comforts, keepsakes and a personal art collection surround you. Nothing is too precious, but everything down to the small art pieces has a story. Nature light is a star in this space and they’ve got it in every room. As Paul gave me a tour he filled me in about their New Mexico styling, the importance of a clean dining room table, and previous N.Y.C pads.

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How long have you been in this amazing space? The views and natural light are simply perfect.

We moved in 21 years ago, 1993


There are corners of your pad that are straight out of Santa Fe. What draws you and Colin to the Wild West esthetic?

This apartment was constructed in 1930. The walls are rough where they have been repainted, and can appear to be similar to adobe, which also has a rough surface, so the place has a weathered feel, even though it is a New York high rise. We were drawn to the weathered feel of the place.

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We are drawn to the west because both of us have experiences in the American west. I was born in Laramie, Wyo, and Colin went to school there. We both love long vitas. Out east, the land is often hidden by soft trees and even buildings. Colin especially needs to see the form of the land because it is very important to his paintings.

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I also like seeing big distances which I remember from my childhood in Wyoming and the region.

Now that we have a place in Santa Fe, our apartment is gathering even more western objects.

The postcard by the medicine cabinet is lovely. Tell us about it.

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It’s a show announcement for the photos of Bill Costa from a show at the Wessel + O’Conner Gallery, NYC in 1997. We didn’t know Bill Costa, but his dates are listed as 1944-1995. This shot is a very nostalgic reminder of small early NYC apartments which often have the tub in the kitchen or small bathroom. It’s a gentle photo of two lovers bathing, and reminds us of a temporary sublet we rented on East 6th street.

When you ripped the Keith Haring pieces from the wall of Prince Street Subway Station in the 80s did you have any idea you’d one day have them framed in your home?

Yes.

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These walls speak (and in some cases sing). It’s obvious art collecting is something you love (I.E Haring, Chagall, Basquiat). Tell us a favorite memory of a piece from you and Colin’s collection.

We especially treasure the Gandy Brodie tree painting above the TV. Gandy was Colin’s painting teacher for several years, and, for a time, lived at the same address as us at 93 Greene St. in Soho. This wonderful teacher and painter passed away at age 51 in 1975 shortly after we purchased the painting from him.

The orchids are lovely and you seem to have a seriously green thumb. Do you have a proper garden somewhere?

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Nope.

We are gradually getting some wild flowers growing in Santa Fe. In fact, we hope to get more of a garden in out there this year. In Santa Fe, the prairie comes right up to the door of our house and presents it’s own kind of bleak technicolor beauty.

In the 1980s, Colin worked in the gardens of the Cloisters for many years, so we had that glorious garden accessible to us any time of day.

Most of our plants are currently in pots, either in Santa Fe or NYC.

Colin and you are artists. Is there a place in your home that you gravitate to as an artist? Additionally is there a staple every artist should have in his or her home?

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Colin spends a lot of time in his beautiful studio in our place in Santa Fe, and I rent dance studio space or use the facilities at NYU.

Our dining tables serve as office and library as well. We spend lots of time at them in both places. The wonderful choreographer, Simone Forti, has a dictum that it’s ok to have a messy house as long as the dining table is clear. I try to follow this advice, often not successfully.

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Besides this amazing space what is one of your favorite apartments you’ve lived in or visited in New York City.

Our loft at 93 Greene St. We lived there from 1973 to 1982. It was a semi-ruined, romantic huge place full of a mish-mash of street finds, random antiques, and deco furniture that the cats gradually destroyed. It had a big dance floor, a painting studio, and a wood stove. We converted it from a Christmas tree lightbulb factory to a hippie loft. We had art shows, dance rehearsals, classes and big parties.

We have only one photo of the place for some reason.  *

Congratulations are in order to this innovator, just last month he was honored by BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) with this year’s Art’s Educator Award. It was a treat to learn about his experience in New York and to be in such wonderful company

Take It or Leave It with Misha Kahn.

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A bird nest rocking chair, piñata chandeliers, inflatable mirrors. These are not wonders from Willy Wonka, or descriptions of Surrealist paintings, but are the whimsical creations from the spry mind of Misha Kahn.

When browsing Kahn’s breadth of work it is hard to comprehend that his pieces exist outside the animation or within the laws of physics. It was this furniture’s audacity which inspired me to personally meet their creator.

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On a sunny Sunday morning, Misha, whose energetic aesthetic has refused to grow up, met me in a Greenpoint bakery appropriately named, Peter Pan. His thin frame was draped in loose fabrics. He covered his awkwardness in a smirk. His strong profile peered from a tangled wisp of brunette waves. At first glance he is practically a caricature of bohemian Brooklyn. However, his style is not calculatedly trendy. Its origins derive from how he discovered his interest in furniture, “it was so accidental” – a confession given as we each grabbed barstools and ordered breakfast.

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Growing up in Duluth, Minnesota, Misha attended Minneapolis College of Art and Design. “I made some tables – looking back they were awful” – he said with a laugh, “but they sold, and I think they would sell again.” Quickly he transferred to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) after his Freshman year “where I thought I would end up in Apparel – which just seems so wrong now.”

Rambunctiousness has remained an important aspect in all of Misha’s work. He used class critiques as opportunities to make “a big ordeal… dress up to match my project, or serve food.” He gleamed impishly, “-one time I made everyone go into the basement, that had all these old safes, and I passed out hot dogs in crystal napkins.” He admitted that this showmanship “was probably irritating to other kids in my class” but that it “takes a while to keep the volume turned up.”

In contrast to his rapid success, Misha’s experience was not one of overwhelming favor at RISD. “The response that you get in that environment…is more like – ‘ok, Misha’s doing something weird again.’ It’s nice coming out of school where you can find environments to fit in a little bit more.”

Upon graduation Misha earned the prestigious honor of a Fulbright Scholarship.“I think I just needed a year to re-boot, or just reset some things.” He chose Israel to spend his Fulbright experience and observed Israeli designers being “more comfortable incorporating personal narrative.” To him, “American Art School methodology is rooted in bullshit – the pseudo-conceptual and the theoretical. Israeli perspective is self indulgent in a different way and was nice for me to encounter.”

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Misha has been churning out audacious designs for two years via his Navy Yards studio. He transitioned seamlessly, earned representation from, Johnson Trading Gallery, has had notable showings while beguiling  impress both critics and press. He does not doubt New York’s artistic relevance, or his ability to survive its pressures, and “anytime I do – things keep happening and moving forward in a really nice way.”

Refilling his cup, he subtly spiked his coffee with what appeared to be a flask, catching my surprise he shrugged, “Soy milk.” He reflected on how infusing personality in his pieces offers more intimacy, while indulging on a Red Velvet Donut, “it just doesn’t make sense not to portray it. I don’t have serious issues to talk about in my work,” and even when things “…appear happy, they are kinda fucked up and a little deflated. – I allow room for a little bit of sadness. I try not to make things that are completely early Katy Perry. There’s always a little bit of complexity.”

There are physical attributes with Misha that infer hidden complexities as well: his relaxed energy, the patient cadence of his speech, and his reserved timbre of voice, offset assumptions one could make from work that revels in its garishness.

Misha confessed that an element of vulnerability is central to his design philosophy: “my work is never too cool, and always needs to be a little bit relatable. Nothing is too sleek, it is always human. I try to make things in a way as if one person struggled with it, and that is something we both feel in a dialogue. In furniture we see a bunch of mass produced objects or, if not mass produced, then people getting off on craftsmanship totally inaccessible to a person. Where with my things you can see how they were made – and are really weird and relatable.”

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Michael Popp Studio and The Queer Interior team were able to spend an afternoon in Misha Kahn’s studio post-interview and we got the amazing portraits featured in this article.

It is impossible to categorize where Kahn falls on the artist/designer spectrum . He feels “very uncomfortable saying both. If you design objects and then call yourself an artist you look like you are pathetic and clamoring, but if you call yourself a designer people only see the objects. – Yet, none of my objects are replicable so then that feels a bit off from what people think of as a designer. Ultimately I hope everyone takes away a conversation more interesting than that.”

The brunch bustle began to overwhelm the atmosphere. Misha’s poignance cut through the chaos, “I do feel that as a designer I am doing something that is a little bit pushing some boundaries, but as an artist I am not doing that at all. I’m making really stubborn, pretty objects that just kinda sit there.”

Misha continues to blur labels and push boundaries even with his own goals. This month he’s showing a series of lamps he made in a collaboration currently on display at the Whitney Biennial, his studio time is spent working on a large scale new piece he’ll be showing at the Museum of Art and Design.  More epic still is his dream to bring his Navy Yard studio creations, even closer to the water: “I want to make a floating exhibition, make a floating hotel, and also create The Royal Exoticist – a very huge, very fucked up Import store.” When pressed for details regarding his scope, he winks “everyone is going to be involved a little. I want all of this to be on a boat. I want to buy a 100 foot barge. I keep talking about it hoping enough people will think it is going to happen – so it will.”

Vacating the crowds we walked to Misha’s bright yellow Jeep – a hoarder’s paradise. A theme emerged: the cloud of chaos inherent in his living style is inseparable from the accidental style of his creations. Smiling to myself, I recalled his quote before we were aggressively asked to make room for new customers: “This is the look: take it or leave it.”

Getting the Shot with Paul Langland

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Paul Langland is a real New Yorker. A thoughtful and powerful member of the dance and performance art scene in New York, he teaches specialized techniques at New York University’s Tisch School and currently lives in Chelsea with his partner, the painter Colin Cochran.

Congratulations are in order to this innovator, just last month he was honored by BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) with this year’s Art’s Educator Award. It was a treat to learn about his experience in New York and we’re looking forward to sharing images of his stunning shared space this coming Monday.

We had the pleasure of capturing his portrait on an outdoor terrace a flight up from his apartment in Chelsea. The weather was brisk but sunny, and old New York’s London Terrace Towers served as a perfect backdrop. Michael of Michael Popp Studio got a few shots and we’re sharing them today in this week’s edition of #WednesdayWonder

paul-Paul&Colin*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, idea or person we’ll be sharing every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FBInstagramTwitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

Letter From the Editor: Douglas Calhoun gives you the 411 on The Queer Interior’s Past, Present, and Future

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The Queer Interior is back, after a truly informative 2+ years.

My name is Douglas Calhoun and I’m the creator of The Queer Interior.  I want to take the opportunity to tell you a little bit about the time leading up to this letter.

After two hundred and nineteen of you (wow!) raced to the finish line on Kickstarter.com all in an effort to fund The Queer Interior, I was a lot of things: honored, thrilled, panicked, exhausted and overwhelmed.  Your tireless efforts and good faith prevailed and I was left with, “What’s next???”

We produced an Issue in February of 2012 and the response was huge. It was such an absolute thrill.  As luck would have it, I was on my way to Holland to visit my all-of-a-sudden-long-distance boyfriend, I’d recently moved into a gorgeous brownstone, and I’d raised $15,000. Gosh, nothing could go wrong.

Cut to April 2012 and I’d lagged on my responsibilities. I’d broken it off with my European boyfriend and was pretty devastated.  Alongside the pangs of heartbreak, I found myself overwhelmed (and procrastinating) thanks to a pretty deadly combo:  fear and laziness.

I was thinking, “I have to do this thing!”  People paid me—they put a deposit down—my friends, my family, and even my GRANDMA had helped me raise money to start a magazine.  I wasn’t following through. I wasn’t doing my very own Grandma proud! The shade! The shade of it all.  (And the shame.  For real y’all, the shame monster was biting at my heels and he wanted to eat every creative, productive thought I had.)

Then, in late June, the perfect little brownstone I was living in was suddenly infested with bedbugs. Not the kind of bedbug scare where you see one or two bugs, call the bedbug gods, and then it’s over. I had the BEDBUG EXPERIENCE. All two floors of the apartment were infected and we all started, pardon the phrase, “bugging out”. We were being attacked. The environment of blame and paranoia and small bug trauma set in and rules were made.  Slowly I began to throw bags and piles of my belongings onto the street.  Hosing my self down with rubbing alcohol and leaving my shoes just outside the door of my building became a normal (insane) ritual. I was left with an airbed that slowly deflated during the night and I’d wake up on the floor.

All the while, there was a taunting voice inside of me saying, “What about The Queer Interior, how’s that project going? Where’s all that money, huh?” I would attempt composure out in the world and spend my nights on the floor.  Or if I was lucky, at some brave friend’s apartment, someone willing to take the gamble and let me crash.  (Thanks for that by the way, if you’re reading.  Those nights with people who loved me enough to laugh it off when I went into my loop about how I was a leper and they were saints…  Seriously—it was a crazy time and I’m so grateful for all of you.)

After what was a pretty dark summer, I lucked into a great place with friends and swiftly moved in. It was August and my entire life now fit in the back of a small flatbed truck.  I was officially a reluctant minimalist. One of my dearest friends braved the packing and helped me move the four flights back up to freedom. In my new apartment I was free. Free to live in my space and not be terrified of it, free to make it my own.

At this point, it had been a little over a year and the band had broken up by then. My tech person (who was an asset during the website building and fundraising) was a big shot and had moved to a more full time, bigger-and-better thing.  And my photographer (whom I had kept close to the brand, and my heart) was dealing with a life threatening disease. And there she sat on my shelf, dusty and unresolved:  The Queer Interior.

I got a great freelancing job with an event space in Cold Spring NY. I fell into a good groove with my restaurant job, a café and bar that was hit by super storm Sandy in November of 2012, and then was one of the first local spots to open back up for business in Red Hook, Brooklyn

If you were out there thinking, “When’s he going to do that thing?” or “Where is my mother-effing tote bag?” I want you to know: I’m doing it now. Email me (thequeerinterior@gmail.com)  with your address and I’ll send you that tote you’ve been worried about. I’d also like to say thank you again. Thank You for helping me raise that dough, and thanks in a big way for reading this letter.

Lastly, I want you to know I’m feeling up to the challenge now and I’m thrilled to be back, bringing you all amazing content and connecting you to all sorts of different environments! We’ve got really exciting things on the horizon and we can’t wait to share them all. You can look forward to a year of Q.I. starting right now!

A Victrola Player’s New Bar Gig

Foodie Blake MacKay is a freelance restaurant publicist working her magic with tons of NYC restaurant groups (Franny’s/Marco’s/BKLYN Larder and others). If you are at her house for a nightcap, you are in luck. Bought by Blake’s parents in Upstate New York, this vintage Victrola, a turn of the century bureau created to house a turn-table, was converted (by her step-dad!) into a perfect bar. It made it’s way from their pad in Massachusetts to her apartment. It’s dinged through a handful of apartments til’ it landed in Gowanus where it now happily tends bar.

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Shot by Michael Popp Studio with glassware storage on top and stocked with plenty of bourbon, Amari, bitters, and Campari inside, this handsome bar has multiple uses.

 

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We took these pictures a while back and since her and MacKenzie (her fiancée #mazel) and her moved in together Blake has inherited another home bar staple, a lovely, glass, deco, pushcart bar (Blake! Instagram the hell of that pushcart for us!) that now showcases their selection of bottles. The vintage Victrola now bar currently plays house to a collection of wine glasses and coupes, cloth napkins and dish ware. Great idea!

Blake is a whiskey drinker and her favorite drink to make is a Negroni Sbagliato, which replaces the gin in a traditional Negroni with Prosecco. Yum. #bubbles

*Wednesday Wonder is a post about an object, space, or idea we’ll be sharing every Wednesday. If you have a #WednesdayWonder you’d like to share get at us on FB, Instagram, Twitter, or Email: thequeerinterior@gmail.com

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