Monday, August 24

UPDATE on Matt; Notes to Self

I saw Matt Cohen this past the weekend, Matt of under-not-over fame and the subject of the previous post (one of my most-read, by the way: So many of you commented, Facebooked, emailed, texted and called, mostly to say that you're an over person and that Matt is wrong). Halfway through a pitcher of poor man's sangria and the DVRed debut of Hoarders, Matt brought up the under thing again and made a graceful gesture as if he was going for the roll of paper, under style. "It's about the reach," he said. "Over is so...[barbaric pawing gesture]...and under is so...[balletic extension of upward-facing palm]."

OK, that's a valid point. Come to think of it, I hate that pawing pat you have to do to get the paper to roll down, when it's over style.

he finished. "I mean, at least have some decorum."

In unrelated news, I'm dog sitting for my upstairs neighbor, and no one has ever asked me to care for an animal before. I was afraid I'd get sucked into routine and forget about my boy Biggs, so I taped a note to the bare wall above my desk.

On one of our first walks (photo at the top of this post), Biggs dragged me straight to the neighborhood pet store I never knew was there. And then he shouldered his way into the Room, a local bar, just as it opened (below). He knows people here, apparently. He seems to know more people in the neighborhood than I do.

I'm finishing up some work for school (and dog-walking every few hours) but hope to update Homebodies soon!

Saturday, August 22

Matthew Loren Cohen: under not over

Not in a million years would I have guessed that Matthew Loren Cohen, the illustrious improv pianist and entertainer, is an under-not-over kind of guy when it comes to the toilet paper roll. Matt is recently back after a months-long tour with Second City and a stint performing his Nuclear Family gig in L.A. (to raaaaave reviews), so I went over the other night with a very cheap bottle of white wine to say hello and welcome home and nice tan and all that. It's great to have him back in the neighborhood. He lives a few minutes away and we used to hang out all the time. So imagine my surprise--my utter shock--when I went to use "the ladies" and saw this under-not-over business. How have I never noticed this before? Isn't over the more accepted method? Matt is very particular, and this couldn't be a mistake. Certainly he must know something I don't.

"Matt!" I hollered from the ladies. "Under not over?!"

"Always under!" He hollered back.

"Emily Post!" he hollered. "It's's a better...shape." Maybe he said something about it being elegant, but I can't recall, and neither can he.

[UPDATE: Matt confirms elegance per an email: "I absolutely did say it was elegant. I'm sure of that."] He can't seem to give me a supporting quote. His explanation in person is a series of hand flourishes.

I couldn't help but consider his style. He's so knowledgeable about so much: grammar rules, Broadway history, The Facts of Life trivia--especially all things Blair. I think he speaks French. Maybe he is right? Is the under way superior? The presentation of information is certainly crisper without the drape of paper obscuring what's underneath. Maybe I kind of like it. I'm trying it out. My roll (photo entitled Saturday Sunlight on Under):

I think I'm sold, even though I can't confirm that Emily Post says this is the correct way to hang. I could use an expert's approval since my eye isn't used to the roll reveal. Does anyone know?

What do you think? Under or over? Remember Matt's point about the...shape... Please comment! Let's sort this out.

Thursday, August 20

Preview: Corvin Matei, New York

Architect Corvin Matei sent me this photo of his home on the Bowery in New York City. It's a montage of photos taken with his iPhone and then made panoramic with the AutoStitch application, with which I'm now obsessed. I've toured the place before, so per the only Homebodies rule, that I've been there, I think I'm allowed to post it as a preview. Besides, Corvin is a fantastic photographer, so his photos will be much, much better than anything I put up. Maybe he should guest-photograph...

As soon as he finds a rug, this place is going up on Homebodies. For now, marvel at the 400-lb. sliding door and check out the architecture and design (and his amazing illustrations) on his website. Until the rug...

Wednesday, August 19

Catherine's jewelry

Back to Catherine Chung, the jewelry designer I've been writing about recently... Here are some photos of her designs, which she sells under the name Whitestreet. She's inspired by natural objects, as you can tell, and birds. The necklace of pearls and sapphires she's unclasping above (so I can try it on), was influenced by a crane. Isn't it gorgeous? It's heavy, too! Here's a closeup, below.

Stacks of molds and casts...a pile of tiny links on the worktable...necklaces hanging on a wall near sketches of the designs...

Catherine is mildly obsessed with drawers, and she has a number of case goods with drawers and pull-out jewelry trays. "I spend all day going like this," she told me, opening and closing drawers, pretending to look for something. Some hold tools and home stuff. Many of them, like the ones below, contain gems and jewelry.

Monday, August 17

Preview: Kevin, Los Angeles

The other day I got a call from my friend Kevin, an artist in L.A., who informed me he's picked up and moved to Sag Harbor for a bit, and would I like to pop over for a visit? Yes! He's one of those freakishly talented and endlessly entertaining people, so of course I can't wait to go see him. He's working on a Japanese garden for some clients there, and maybe they'll let me Homebodies the design. Until then, and until I get his approval to post the rest of the photos of his home in L.A., here's a preview of some of his works. I love the photos of his place so much, I feel like I'm saving them. Why am I hoarding?! Here, I'll share:

Woven-brass lighting fixtures... figure in a terrarium... dangling porcelain legs and found natural objects (and, now that I'm looking closely, some great molding)...

...more soon...

Saturday, August 15

Portrait of the Artist (in the details)

So my last few posts have been about the home of Catherine Chung, a jewelry designer and fine artist in New York City. She has all these wonderful little tools and objects lying around, and I have no idea what most of them are for. I like these pastel sawtooth blades....

Bird feet in the foreground, birdlike Catherine in the background, lounging in a shape not unlike the feet! Hm.

Around the apartment are tiny little figures, some in artwork, others, like these, hatching from little homes. More of these guys to come...


"I love ropes and fibers," says Catherine. The bunch below is white Mongolian horsehair. She bought it online from a company that sells it for violin bows, and she experimented using it in jewelry.

She bought this beast-of-burden tie after a four-day trek in the Ladakh region of the Himalayas. "It's my favorite place in the world," she says. "Lunar landscapes."

Thursday, August 13

Colorfully flocked chandeliers

Catherine's flocking obsession played out on chandeliers. Flocking is the process of depositing tiny fiber particles, with a flocking gun, onto a surface for a tactile effect similar to velour. (Safety goggles and dusk mask strongly recommended.) You can flock pretty much anything, in just about any color. Some of Catherine's chandeliers are yellow...some are mint green...they're all on dimmers...

Here's the yellow one in the entry. The kitchen is around the corner, where a chandelier shares space with shelved books and a birdcage.

Catherine and her flocking gun treasure chest...

One time Catherine lent her chandeliers to a friend for a party. The place was miserably empty. "Disenchandeliered," said a friend.

Friday, August 7

Catherine's Jewel-Box Home

Catherine Chung was wearing a salmon-colored silk pantsuit the night I met her at the White Horse in the West Village. If it hadn't been for the awesome jewelry she was wearing, a talon-shaped ring of her own design, I may have thought she'd walked up to our outdoor table straight from 1982. I can't believe I didn't ask her to show me the pantsuit again when I visited her in the Southstreet Seaport a few weekends later. In my mind, it's mythological. Who can pull off a salmon pantsuit? With a claw ring? Apparently Catherine Chung, jewelry designer and artist extraordinaire.

Catherine has a line of jewelry called Whitestreet. Our mutual friends insisted I go visit her downtown loft. Such an inspired home! A table that she made cuts through the middle, sketches and jewelry are artfully scattered everywhere and exquisite earrings hang from strands on many colorfully flocked chandeliers (they'll be highlighted in another post). I didn't know what to take in first, so I just walked around in circles, touching everything, dragging fingers through piles of metal links or jewels on the table. "Feel free to try anything on," she said.

Here's elegant Catherine in her living area. She was telling me about how before her neighborhood was so commercial, she would look out this window and watch the fish market rituals: seafood flopping on cobblestones, seagulls swooping at daybreak.

This sofa, I want. Not just because I love green. She bought this Victorian-style mahogany antique at a market. Her costume-designer friend in San Francisco was so inspired by it, she had a vision and sent Catherine the perfect material for the upholstery: emerald-green silk, with tassels. The old cushions are solidly packed horsehair.

Here's a view from one end of the apartment. Her artwork and sketches fill the walls. I'll post those in another post, too. So much great work. Catherine bought this white-plastic 1970s sofa upstate. It weighs so much, it's one reason she hasn't moved... Also below is her desk area.

Fun studio space and Catherine's artworks. Lots of salmon on the walls...reminds me of her pantsuit...on the table are little molds for jewelry. Everything is tiny.

Earrings are hooked onto chandelier strands and hang at eye level...kind of reminds me of Dali's branches with dripping clocks. Catherine on the 1970s sofa. Maybe I'll do a roundup of her chandeliers next. They're quite amazing--she made them! She even showed me her flocking gun.

Thursday, August 6

Egilsson Kitchen & the Sweater Napkin

Even in Iceland, the kitchen is the heart of the home, or it was at this party. It's also where all the drinks were, so...

This house has the most beautiful views from all sides. Below is another window drawing by one of the kids. The old Buick sits out front. Have you seen the dark and strange film A Little Trip to Heaven, by Icelandic director Baltasar Kormákur? The barren landscape in this area reminds me of where that movie was shot (wherever that was, I'm not sure), though it's supposed to be set in Minnesota. Having been to both places in the snow, the film looks much more Icelandic than it does Minnesotan. But you be the judge.

A few posts ago, I wrote about my to-buy-or-not-to-buy struggle with the Icelandic sweater. The entire time I was there, I imagined how it could--if it would--actually work in my wardrobe. Then, at the party, I saw a stack of napkins with the traditional Icelandic-sweater pattern, and I sighed the biggest relief, for I knew at that moment if the style had made its way onto a dinner napkin (and with such success!), it was no longer something I could wear, in New York, with a straight face. Know what I mean?