Tuesday, June 30

Colin Clark, Park Slope

Colin Clark (above right), is a photographer, and he lives below Mario (above left), who I visited in a recent post. Colin invited Mario and me to dinner after our Homebodies session. He was making summer rolls with his lovely girlfriend, writer Liz Colville. What cool neighbors! I like that I got to hang out with other people in the building. And that they fed us, even though we were supposed to help cook.

I didn’t get to do a big tour of the apartment, since we were all more into eating than blogging by this point, but I snapped a few shots because I really loved the place—vintage lighting, cool antiques, happy plants. My photos don’t do it justice.

But Colin's do! He likes shooting interiors, as well as landscapes and portraiture (my favorites are in the lifestyle section of his website). I asked him to send me a few of his home so we can see in daylight, through the eyes and lens of a professional. They're pretty awesome, and I'll post them after this entry goes up. We're thinking of collaborating on some other posts, too, when he's not shooting
for Men's Journal, Real Simple and Ski Magazine.

The apartment is one floor below Mario’s, and the layout is similar. I love how open it is when you enter. You walk right in to a large living room with a dining area near the kitchen, which is on the left. If you're lucky, a platter of summer rolls sits directly ahead on the table.

That's Colin's vintage racing bike; the door to the apartment is to the right. He found the Danish credenza on eBay, and it was a local pickup.

Living and Dining area
A lot of the furniture came from Mario's mom's store, the sometimes-open Upcountry Antiques in Trumansburg, New York. Colin moved into this place in November, went to visit Mario's family for Thanksgiving, and came back with a nearly furnished apartment. The antique mahogany dining table and Hitchcock chairs are from Upcountry, and the rug in the entry is from Mario's brother, who once sold rugs. Can you imagine this guy hanging over your couch every night with his feed-me face?

Colin painted the kitchen green for no reason he can recall. "I just went to Lowe's and didn't know what color to paint it, so I looked at swatches and picked this one," he says. "When I moved in, it was a god-awful orange." Once the walls were green, he realized rather suddenly that he hadn't yet dealt with the fact of the red linoleum floors. Mario's reaction: "Oh, the Italian flag!" So Colin painted the floors a neutral grey. Below Liz and Mario in the kitchen. The remnants of summer rolls. The old, exposed doorbell is oddly placed at the edge of a wall, and apparently it is rudely loud. How great is the ceiling? On the window sill between the kitchen and the dining area, an iPod is hooked up to a Tivoli near the nub of a mostly eaten carrot.

Living Room
After dinner, Liz and Colin crashed on the Design Within Reach couch. "It's kind of Mad Men," he says. Mario settled into an Eames lounge chair, a gift from Colin's grandma. The lamp is from White Trash in the East Village, and the Iranian rug is from ABC Carpet & Home. Colin pulled the coffee table from his parents' attic in Vermont, as well as the postcard, which features the same-style plane his grandfather flew during World War II. The Shaker rocking chair is from Upcountry. A functioning 1970s Pentax 6 x 7 was Colin's camera of choice before he went digital. The pillows are from Mom, and the radio, says Colin, "I stole from her and she wants it back."

Stay tuned for more photos by Colin, to be posted soon...

Thursday, June 25

Me, Vermont

I'm back from school and am really missing all things Bennington--my awesome class of June 2011, new friends, inspiring instructors and lecturers, eating chewy cookies after every meal in the cafeteria. And nature: walking into town on a dirt path lit by moonlight and fireflies. Or spotting one of the property's 121 reported species of birds fly over the pond on the way to a reading.

Last night in New York I met up with some friends on the Lower East Side, and we couldn't escape the route--and therefore, smell--of a garbage truck. Oh, how life changes, and so quickly.

Anyway, here are a few more pics of my dorm and surroundings. (Man, I really messed up the HTML on this one, so it won't be continued at the end, as promised by the link.)

I really loved the architecture at Bennington, which ranged from a 1930s neo-Georgian Commons building to some contemporary dorms built in 2001 by Kyo Sung Woo Architects that were published in Architectural Record. Though there are a mix of a few styles, the campus still looked unified to my not-too-critical eye. Maybe it's because the buildings, whether new or old, shared elements like strong lines and stained or white-painted wood exteriors. And it probably helps that the Vermont college's 470 acres of landscaped lawns, dotted with pairs of green Adirondack chairs, is quintessential New England vernacular.

Below, a view from the front door of Swan, my dorm (Lorna, this is for you!). Many mornings were spent with tea in those Adirondack chairs, or as a classmate calls fondly calls them, "the insane-asylum chairs." A hallway in the dorm. One of the bathrooms--I love the sink stand. The doorknobs are fantastic, too. Such a strange shade of rust. From the bathroom window is a view of courtyard.

There were beautiful old radiators everywhere. This one is near the entrance. I met my classmate Jen Acker when I was taking this picture, scrunched up against the opposite wall as she was coming in. "Oh, hi. I'm Liz, nonfiction. Um, I have this blog..."

Swan's common area, below, was very cozy. I miss having a living room. There was even a piano. The second photo is of classmates Molly Gross and Rolf Potts in the common area at Woolley, the dorm across from and attached to Swan. Same couch! College students: drinking out of coffee mugs, whiskey in paper bags.

Below, in the cafeteria, cutlery clarification. Just in case.

The lawn from just outside the Commons building. Frisbee! (Do you know about the history of the Frisbee? It originated in New England, on greens like these. Here's an unofficial version of the story.) The view from this perspective is called "The End of the World." In person, it appears that the lawn drops off at the edge near a stone wall in the distance.

The walk on the way to readings. A field of wildflowers. Stone footpaths. A dirt shortcut. Getting smarter?

Saturday, June 13

I'm away at school!

Greetings from Bennington, Vermont! Sorry I haven't been posting much recently. I arrived Thursday for my first term of a two-year MFA program for nonfiction writing at Bennington College. It's been quite a whirlwind, but it's been a wonderful experience so far. It's a low-residency format, which means we get together twice a year, in January and June, for ten days of workshops, readings and lectures. The campus is beautiful, and my dorm room, pictured above, is big but spartan. It's actually a nice break coming from a small New York City apartment that's crammed with all my belongings.

Below is my dorm. It's called Swan. I'm in Swan 11, a second-floor room that an upperclassmen told me is charmed. She explained to me how to open the two windows for the most advantageous wind current. It works! I am also enjoying my desk. It overlooks a peaceful lawn behind the library. Speaking of which, I need to head out to class. Today is my first workshop with authors Dinah Lenney and Nick Montemarano. Stay tuned for more pictures to come.

I'm falling in love with old radiators.

Wednesday, June 3


Shannon's front door has the cutest peephole. It's even got a working latch, and when you open it up, you see that the inside is painted a pretty blue. It's friendly, even if the person standing on the other side of the door isn't. (This is the end of the post, despite the "Continue reading..." below. It's formatted that way now because of the HTML edits.)