Category Archives: Interiors

Featured personal spaces. Apartments/Houses/Rooms

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

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.”

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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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.