After a fun Passover seder with my family on Friday night, Dylan decided to show me a thing or two about painting Easter eggs this morning. We weren’t prepared with the proper dyes, and since I’ve never done this before it seemed right to get out the gouache and just go for it.
We blew out the last four brown eggs that were in the fridge so we could still eat them. I know you’re supposed to use white eggs, but I like the neutral color as a base.
The finished eggs! I really could have done a whole dozen it was so much fun, but sadly there’s other work to be done today.
Before. Heaps of displaced stuff, only one desk, ugly wall shelving (these were here when we moved in and were the only place for our clothes until I built the shelving/clothes rack in the bedroom), etc.
I’d been putting off painting the studio for about 5 months, and it was the last room in the apartment that needed it. Now that it’s finished, it feels so good to have a nice clean work space! If you work at home like us, you know first hand that having a positive place to work makes the biggest difference in mood, productivity , and even hygiene (for me at least!). It’s the deciding factor in the daily question, “Am I going to shower, get dressed and get to work like a normal human, or am I going to work on the couch in my pajamas until the sun goes down?”
I finally had a plan to build wall-to-wall shelves above our desks, but first the walls needed to be patched, sanded, and painted. And, we needed to move all the shit out of the room first. We had JUST enough paint left over for the studio, and I’m so glad we didn’t have to make another trip to Home Depot for more. Prepping and painting the room took longer than I thought, though. I had hoped to finish in two days, but it ended up taking three. The first two days for patching and painting, and the last for building the shelves. Luckily, the shelves were easier than I thought they would be to install.
The boards for the shelving were really beat up, really cheap, 10 foot scaffolding planks that I scored for six bucks each at the lumber yard near our apartment. I had to cut them down and wire-brush the splinters off and give a good sanding to all 20 feet worth of dirty boards. It was hard and dusty, but after I oiled them up with some teak oil they started looking really good.
I was a little apprehensive at first because in order to hang the shelves I had to anchor into drywall-covered brick, but the guys at Oriental Lumber (of which is my only NYC Foursquare mayorship) were super helpful in recommending the right hardware and drill bit.
I ended up anchoring 1×1 blocks to the wall for the planks to sit on, and it worked out really well. They’re solid. Also, I think it looks a lot better this way rather than having installed ‘L’ brackets. All in all, it was a pretty cheap project – about $12 for the wood and maybe $40 for hardware, 1x1s, sandpaper and spackle.
Voila, that’s our studio.
Still on the list:
• Plants! As many as possible.
• Frame & hang more art
• Flat files
• Bulletin board(s)
• Stendig wall calendar
• Wide-format printer
Quiet moments around the house: plants, and my seashell collection from Miami. I just love that the little cactus has a new baby leaf.
I was interviewed about my personal style for a Japanese fashion magazine this week – favorite pieces, designers, places to shop, etc. – and most of my answers lead back to one place, the thrift shop. I’ve decided it would be fitting to add Thrift Shop Finds as a regular post, since Dylan and I are always popping into whatever little junk shop we’re near to see what trinkets we can bring home with us. These finds are from Vintage Thrift on 3rd Ave & 22nd St. It’s far more curated than say, the Salvation Army, but still has rather inexpensive prices. The shop also feels old, dark, and comfortable, unlike many vintage or resale shops. It’s like searching through you’re Grandma’s house; there’s a rack of beautiful vintage gowns, but also piles of old bric-a-brac you may or may not need. Among the bric-a-brac, I found this tulip-printed vase and tiled dish that are now brightening up one end of my sewing table. So many tulips, Spring is really here!
We’re certainly careful with our purchases (as Grace always says, only buy things you love) which makes the furnishing and decorating process frustratingly slow. But, after months of collecting things we like, the bedroom is finally starting to perk up. We found the leather shag rug at the Chelsea Antique Market and picked up the black sideboards at the Meeker Avenue Flea Market.
The little vase is my favorite recent purchase. It’s a beautiful piece from the ’60s illustrated by Danish artist and designer Bjørn Wiinblad. I’m also so happy to finally have art framed and hung! The drawing on the left is by Aidan Koch and the little bow tie man is a screen print by my friend Rachel Levit. I love Rachel’s work so much. You can see more of it on her blog, and she has a handful of pieces for sale in her Etsy shop. I also have this 2-layer screen print she did that I can’t wait to hang!
Now, onto the iffier parts of the room. Our bedroom (and entire apartment) came with a no-closet handicap we have to work with. Dylan installed clothing racks using basic wood planks, brackets, and pipes from the hardware store.
I’m generally happy with how it turned out, although the room is basically a windowless walk-in closet, and it’s still a little bleak in there. We need a nicer lamp, more art on the walls, more trinkets, perhaps a fun quilt…the search for things we love continues.
Obligatory cheesy photo in front of the hotel that was the doorman’s idea, not ours, I swear. It turned out pretty good though.
We flew to Miami two weeks ago for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. We were working with Evian, a sponsor of the festival, on a different sort of social media – live, illustrated tweeting. You can see all the drawings I did here. Aside from all the work (drawing in the moment like that was incredibly stressful) and the events (met Martha Stewart, NBD), it was really nice get away from New York for a while.
The tasting tents had hundreds of booths from different restaurants and chefs, all giving away food and drinks. I had as many of those crab claws as I could. Also, the Evian cube in my favorite color pink, and Dylan photographing a drawing.
The beach was beautiful and felt much different from what we’re used to in California. The shells were prettier and the water was warmer, clearer, and without waves.
We went to a Cuban diner called David’s Cafe for breakfast every day. It was an old place with a bar and just a few tables, and really relaxed and refreshing compared to the body-building Bently-driving hpnotiq-drinking lifestyle that seemed to be South Beach.
South Beach was dotted with colorful buildings: sea green, salmon, pale yellow. There were so many art deco buildings and wonderful, old typographic signs. I found this great blog post with tons more photos of the typography in the neighborhood.
That’s it! Excuse all the light leaks, they can be bothersome. Dylan just needs a new camera, his has been through a lot.
Last September, I was minding my business in San Diego, doing San Diego things with my San Diego friends, when I received a text message from Leah. She sent me a picture, of what was essentially trash in the rain on a curb, along with the text, “You like these kinds of chairs right?” Intermingled with 4 black trash bags, I could make out some pieces of wood sticking out that resembled some kind of Danish-mod lounge chair. Turns out, there was a chair and a matching two seater bench abandoned on the curb.
Leah texted back “they’re pretty broken…” but I didn’t care, I insisted that she drag them home four blocks back to her old apartment in Williamsburg. She kept them for a month and then she moved them to our new place where they sat, broken in the living room, until I finally made the move to New York in mid-November.
“I’ll just fix them,” I fantasized, “I’ll just read some web tutorials and clean them up and then Leah can sew the cushions and we’ll have a lovely living room set for nearly free!”
Yeah, right. When I finally laid eyes on these things I realized what I had gotten myself into. These chairs were rotten and broken beyond anything I could ever dream of repairing.
So, in the next few weeks, I set out on foot searching for an antique furniture repair shop in my new neighborhood. Finally, I met Abraham and Al at Family Fine Furniture in Maspeth, Queens (a surprisingly short walk from where we live in Bushwick). And voilà…
Pretty nice right?
Leah and I picked out the perfect linen fabric at Leah’s favorite fabric shop, Belraf Fabrics, in the Lower East Side. The man who works there is the nicest guy and he has some really interesting fabrics. I think we made the right decision, I love the geometric pattern.
The chairs have no tags or marks, but as soon as I saw them I could tell they must be American-made, probably from the mid ’60s. I did some research and figured out they were designed by Theodore Baumritter and produced in the ’60s for Baumritter’s “Viko” line of furniture. Fun fact: Baumritter Furniture Co. later became Ethan Allen. Of course this is all uncited internet research so if anyone has the scoop on these chairs, please share.
Sure, my fantasy of nearly free midcentury chairs for the living room didn’t quite pan out. In reality, we spent some hard-earned cash on these pretty things. But I feel good about it, I feel like we spent a little bit of money to rehabilitate some sick orphaned chairs that would have never seen the light of day again if it weren’t for us. And just look at them now, I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.
Our living room is by no means livable yet – we are just beginning to hang some art and figure out what the hell we may want to sit around in the there for. My favorite place to sit/eat/read/ etc is still at the dining room table, so until we get a credenza or some shelves or a coffee table or something else going on in the living room I can’t foresee much living going on in there for a while.
Meet our new team of happy fridge girls! These 3 hand-painted ceramic magnets were made by our talented friend Tuesday Bassen. From top left, Eloise, Katy, and Claire.
Visit Tuesday’s shop for magnets large and small (and heart shaped!) as well as ceramic drawer knobs, coasters, plates, and prints of her illustrations.
Welcome back to our kitchen. I know, this blog has been a bit kitchen-centric, but it’s the only thing we have semi-together yet. We’ve spent the last few weeks collecting plants, framing art, and searching for the perfect hanging lamp, and it’s starting to brighten up even more. I love how everything in this nook centers around plants, flowers, fruit, and animals. The Winter Fruit print by Claire Nereim is such a gorgeous, large 10-color screen print.
Future plans also include adding a large woven rug to cover the hideous tile floor, and installing shelves in the right window, to stack more plants and disguise the burglar bars as much as possible (I hate them, but we can’t them out).
I also purchased this painting from Becca Stadtlander recently. All of her work is beautiful, and it’s so nice to see the texture of the paint, and its true color away from a computer screen. It hangs over a little shelf Dylan built to house more plants, a candle, and a drawing of a rutabaga I did a while ago.
Happy Valentine’s day, dudes! I stopped by the Amy Merrick Valentine’s flower shop at Castor & Pollux today and picked up this beautiful little bouquet. So pretty! I also received this year’s card from Mom: a wild, paper-cut piece full of hearts and daisies.