Category Archives: Interiors

Featured personal spaces. Apartments/Houses/Rooms

Little Santa Fe Right Here in Chelsea

kitchen-Paul&Colin

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.

Frame-Paul&Colin

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.

Bed-Paul&Colin

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.

living-Paul&Colin

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.

Postcard-Paul&Colin

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.

office-Paul&Colin

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?

view-Paul&Colin
 

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?

mantel-Paul&Colin

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.

glasses-Paul&Colin

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

A Division of Conscious and Casual

counter_urbanrustic

Williamsburg’s Urban Rustic is more than meets the eye. One of the passionate owners (and downright famous people, a member of the pioneering queercore band Pansy Division out of California ) Luis Illades gave The Queer Interior team a look at his charming, and yes rustic, café. At our first sit down, post one of the many snow storms last month, Luis described the space’s aesthetics lovingly as a “toothless hillbilly,” and he’s spot on. The renegade spirit of what he and his co-partners describe as their crucial partnership with local purveyors is part of what sets his hand-built market/café apart from the shiny new additions to this corner of Brooklyn.

He makes up a team of musicians and filmmakers turned co-owners who are each passionate (not snobby) about local food and their footprint on our city.  Getting past the hype and to the veggies is an obvious part of this  business’ larger mission. We chatted with Luis about upstate wood (wink), brand building, and spring water and we really dug hanging out with a doer not a talker about what matters to him. #easyontheeyes #goteam

LL Portrait_urbanrustic
Luis Illades smiles from a custom ladder used to stock organic groceries.

Q.I.: The name Urban Rustic aptly describes your cafe. Elaborate on how the spaces name is reflected in its design elements.

Luis Illades: One of my partners, Aaron Woolf, had been living up in the Adirondacks and had become really interested in the idea of bringing an element of the small markets, farmer’s markets and lodges/pie stands down to Brooklyn where he had spent a lot of time and opened another restaurant Lodge, with our partner Daniel Cipriani.  A lot of the design and look of the place is based around the milled wood from his land up north. The artwork on our walls is definitely not worth much or particularly of note other than to us it says, “this is our cozy little home/hangout and we’d like you to come in and spend some time.” We try to keep the lighting dim and comforting and the wallpaper was shaded to bring in an element of well-worn space.

The back of our shop is a place where you feel like you can relax and stay for awhile, read a book or catch up with a friend, even though the front screams hustle and bustle of people running around a metropolitan city yet wanting to take with them a well thought out, nourishing meal with house baked bread, house roasted meats, and naturally sourced ingredients.

Q.I: The wood was sourced from a farm in upstate New York.Tell us more about the day up there salvaging these unwanted trees.

Back of Cafe_urbanrustic
L.I.: Aaron was finishing building his house and had some older trees that had to be cleared for their own good. A lot of people who live in wooded areas will definitely mill the wood they are clearing and make use of it in building an extra shed or add something on to their house or workspace.  Since we were working on this idea of opening a shop in Brooklyn, it seemed only a natural fit.  Our partner Dan, has an extensive background in building sets for advertising and film and his mind is constantly buzzing with ideas, breaking apart walls and rebuilding and refurbishing surfaces in his mind while you just walked in and noticed the ceiling.

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The week that we were up there was really fun, we cut, stacked, milled, sawed and drove the wood back down on a flatbed truck. The house up there was still half finished, so we were bathing outdoors under a tree and eating foods from the local farmer stands, it really was fun and as peaceful as you could hope for.  I was really into whatever book I was reading at the time and was in the cabin deep in it, all of a sudden I heard some strange musical noise outside and peeked out to hear Dan and Aaron half into a case of beer singing in the woods with an acoustic guitar.  A good weekend start to the shop if you ask me!

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Q.I.: Urban Rustic is more than a cafe. You’ve got tons of personal touches like your own granola, your own chocolate, even your own water! Tell us why branching in this way is important to you and your brand.

L.I.: Part of it may be branding and working to make our name recognizable and associated with products we love making and stand behind. When we envisioned this business we wanted to make it a point to make as much as possible in house.  We bake the breads everyday; we source the cuts of meats and roast them in house. You should be able to taste the underlying flavors of the herbs rubbed into the meats and see the colors in the roasts, rather than think about how Boar’s Head (for example) sure are genius at making their assembly line products look almost real.  We like baking granolas and cookies and weird maple bars and talking about them. It’s who we are.  Although we developed into a very fast paced, high volume epicenter, we still prepare everything with real thought and concern as if it were for one person.

water_urbanrustic

The water came into play while trying to find a more reputable and local source of bottling.  Everything I was seeing in shops around here had a “Nestle” in small print on the label and as much as I’m not above eating a Nestle Crunch bar from time to time, I was always shocked at their water rights usage issues.  Beyond making a statement about that, it’s like anything else in the shop, trying to go for local sourcing as much as possible and find small business people that we like dealing with. This guy Mark bottles from a spring upstate and drives them down weekly himself in his truck.  I know his name and his life and we talk about his kids when he makes deliveries.  That to me is exactly the type of providers we were setting out to work with. A dude in a truck named Mark, ya know?

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Q.I.: In what ways is owning cafe the same as being in a band? Are there similarities? Did that background of dealing with personalities, making compromises and working together impact your role as owner at the cafe? Wait, was that like 5 questions?

L.I.: Dan and I both played in bands and Aaron has worked as documentary filmmaker for years.  We all definitely came to this with a DIY aesthetic and work ethic.  We’re mostly the type of people who find it easier to do things ourselves rather than ask others to do things for us, much to our detriment sometimes.  I think that we also like to talk about what we do and how we do things on our terms in our language.  This idea of farm to table, local sourcing, and cottage food industry has been taken over by buzzwords, social media strategizing, and trend hopping. Although we believe in what we’re doing strongly, it has to be on a very personal level in our words stemming from our experience and ideas, nothing else works for us.  I think that’s the best way that you can compare it to playing in bands or making films.

Q.I.: We love the relaxed vibe and all the options at your cafe! (2-dollar beer!) What’s next for Urban Rustic? 

view_urbanrusticL.I.: It has to be!  Although dealing with raw materials from the local providers that we use (Battenkill CreameryMurray’s Cheese shopBrooklyn BrineDeBragga free range chickensDiPaolo Turkey etc.) can be more expensive, we find it CRUCIAL to not alienate people based on their income.  Our neighborhood has become more affluent in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that the guys across the street who have been playing handball on those courts for a decade can’t come in and buy a meal or a beer without caring about the sourcing and still be able to afford it.

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You order at the counter and get a table marker that is often a queer celeb like Madonna or Margaret Cho

Part of the small general store feel should definitely be a barrel full of cans of beer on ice with a sign that says, “2 bucks, come and get it”

We have several feelers out for a second location as well as our continued partnerships with music venue The Bell House in Gowanus, event space The Wick in Bushwick, and there are talks of a beach location in the Rockaways this summer. Cross your fingers for us, it going to get a little crazy!

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A custom bike used for deliveries and pop-ups (shot on a snowy February weekday)

 

So Gay: 10 Inspiring Movie Interiors

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.