Incorporating interior design styles with a roommate, partner, or loved one is all about personal touches and pin-pointing a combined interest or aesthetic. Watch and learn as Interior Design Expert Douglas Calhoun creates a floor-to-ceiling frame wall for a special couple in Seattle.
Lauren and her fiance are taking a big step, cohabitation! They’re recently engaged and Lauren is making space for not only his furniture and odds and ends, but his style. This happy could have a love for food, wine, and entertaining. The two are active and social and we wanted to brighten the space they spend time entertaining in, the dining room. It’s adjacent to a cozy living room with iconic Seattle views of waterfront, sea planes, and neighboring hillside homes. The dining room is also steps away from their kitchen which we took foodie inspiration from. Their love of food and wine was the jumping off point for their frame wall.
You want to create a balance of organic shapes and square corners. Remember it’s a personal story so no need to be to precise, it should look and feel like something you accomplished easily. Sourcing vintage cookbooks, throwback kitchen tools, and metallic shapes like street signs and large lettering made for a great fit. Reframing pages and posters meant varying shapes and sizes creating a gathered look.
Cutting out the shapes with old warping paper or butcher paper and laying them either on the wall itself or on the floors means you rearrange without hammering a single nail. Do your research and look up a few images online for inspiration. Remember, it’s your personal space and style. If your space is more modern line them all up in one dramatic row or if your looking for a more lived in style than go crazy and layer different shapes in whatever format you’d like.
Final touches include a small piece of furniture at the bottom of your frame wall. A chest or bench anchors the whole scene and makes for a lovely spot to set a row of glasses or flower arrangement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
A laidback look
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’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!
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
*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! –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
While y’all are hunkered down in your apartments for these final moments of chill before spring begins we’ve got some must see films. Whether it’s a romantic comedy or a noir movie, the picks below have some seriously queer interiors. Throwback, modern, and bizarre; this a list of some of The Queer Interior team’s picks for most stand-out spaces on film. Feel free to add to the list–these are among the ones we think really deserve a shout-out.
1. Sunset Blvd (Billy Wilder, 1950) This classic is up there with Mommie Dearest as far as gay boy guilty pleasure movies go. Gloria Swanson plays a delightfully delusional former silent movie star. In the foreground of this romance-meets-suspense masterpiece are the many bigger than life bedrooms, lounges, private theaters, and ballrooms that make up her mansion. Furniture from present day ’50s and the early 1900s make this a real classic. STREAMING
2. Auntie Mame (Morton DaCosta, 1958) staring Rosalind Russell, is on the short list of my favorite movies of all time. It’s got pretty much everything a gay boy could want: a strong female lead, a coming-of-age story, a few amazing drunks, and some outstanding before/after apartment re-dos. Mame revamps her Beekman Place apartment with as much regularity as she colors her hair–from intentionally stuffy studies to ultra-modern mechanics, to borderline racist Eastern inspired design; her space is a reflection of her wacky style and flamboyant ways.
3. Barbarella ( Roger Vadim, 1968) This otherworldly comic book romp is full of eye candy. A fit Jane Fonda camps around wide-eyed while often aimlessly screwing men carved out of marble. The interiors are ’60s and ’70s masterpieces, almost as over the top as the star herself. Feathers, metal, and foam are the most normal of the elements that comprise the theatrical spaces. Every set is good enough for any queen–this trippy throwback is a must see. STREAMING
4. Fried Green Tomatoes (Jon Avnet, 1991) Based on the Fannie Flagg book, F.G.T is as a love letter to the south. A close and closeted relationship between Idgie and Ruth in present day 1920s Alabama are set in regal southern homes and delightfully dingy riverside bars. They open the Whistle Stop Café that could easily be a small café off any G train stop (no, really). The anchoring subplot is that of Evelyn, played by an unapologetic Kathy Bates who straight up steals every scene.
5. The Bird Cage (Mike Nichols, 1996) South Beach! The crazed coastal pastels of this family home are visually delightful. Most every space in this tribute to La Cage aux Folles is playful and painted up. Nathan Lane panics and monologues from beautiful chaise lounges; Robin Williams pep talks next to kidney-shaped in-ground pools, and Hank Azaria steals the show flanked by campy deco archways. And the apartment and drag hall below are something out of Carmen Miranda’s dreams.
6. Beautiful Thing ( Hettie Macdonald, 1996) The honest and bittersweet courtship of two very cute British boys is set almost entirely in a mid-nineties apartment building in a suburb of London. The small town relationship of gossiping neighbors combined with this tender story makes for a sometimes thrilling, sometimes somber narrative. The postered teenage room of Ste (played by Scott Neal) reminds us all of late nights rearranging our CD collection and sticky-tacking glow-in-the-dark stars to our ceilings. The Mamas and The Papas make up the film’s score, injecting positivity where there sometimes isn’t much.
7. American Psycho ( Mary Harron, 2000) Despite the totally crazed sexual and violent nature of this book-turned-movie, we do LOVE the apartment. The streamlined black and white living room is a deadly combination. Christian Bale’s killer Wall St. pad is a combination of totally modern and ’60s pop. The functionality of the space is nearly pornographic. The restaurants, lounges, and hotels featured in the film are also top notch. STREAMING
8. Far From Heaven (Todd Hayes, 2002) is a layered love story set in the 1950s. This sometimes dark and always striking tale of latent homophobia and a time pre-Feminine Mystique is chock-full of plush square couches, modular dimensions, amazing wall-to-wall carpeting and vivid shads of red, purple, and blue. Every indoor space screams vintage Better Homes and Gardens and old Americana.
9. The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci, 2003) Set in hedonistic late 60s Paris two beautiful people fall in love with Michael Pitt. It’s a gorgeously shot film and the sexual undertones play second to the beautiful spaces. The beautiful interiors include The Louvre Museum, a stunning squalidly flat in Paris, and pot filled movie theaters. The film’s soundtrack is an instant mellow party gathering companion.
10. The Incredibles (Brad Bird, 2004) This action-packed animated feature by Pixar is all about modern, minimal, classic furniture. Charles and Ray Eames, Op Art, Danish and European Mid Century furniture join these superheroes on their journey. Debatable gay icon Holly Hunter is a stand out favorite and confirmed gay icon Edith Head is paid homage by pint-sized four-eyes Edna “E” Mode.
HOME TOURS, TIPS OF THE TRADE, STUDIO VISITS, AND CREATIVE PROFILES