This has to be one of the most interesting interviews we’ve run. Justin Anthony is the creator of Materialicious. It’s the go-to site for visual inspiration on architecture and design. The model is interesting – architects and designers submit their work to Justin, who works on his own, and he curates the site. You often get work here that hasn’t been published anywhere else. I love it for its clean design and the layout. You click on a building you like and a grid of 16 similar images appears on the page along with the image you chose. It’s that Pandora idea of ”if you like this you might also like that”. With so many images out there Justin has created a clever way of cutting through the visual noise of the internet. You imagine the creator of such a site to live in a home like those featured. I saw lots of glass and concrete and a well-edited collection of furniture. Not quite.
How long have you worked from home…and where is ‘home’? Materialicious was created in March 2007. Prior to that I spent 25 years in the residential restoration trade. I grew up in a huge apartment filled with beautiful stuff in the Alwyn Court building in New York City. For me, “home is where the heart is”, and my heart will always belong to NYC. But I’m a restless soul, and having moved many, many times over the years, the idea of carting so much “stuff” around has become less and less appealing. So, for now, my most precious belongings (art, antiques/vintage and collectibles) are in long term storage and will remain there until I finally settle down.
‘Home’ this winter is currently a tiny guesthouse with pool and dock on Siesta Key, on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a quiet spot – I look out past the pool onto a canal and there are palm trees everywhere, swaying in the breeze. The beach is a block away and only locals go there to fish. I went to Ikea and loaded up my little pickup with everything I needed for 600 bucks. I like it. For now. Generally, as long as I have peace and quiet around me, I can work just about anywhere.
What does an average work day involve? I work every day, at the kitchen counter, and since I work alone I must check in to the site frequently. I get up about 7, make coffee and feed the cat (a stray who moved in about a month ago), then fire up the laptop which remains on until bedtime. I do all my chores and shopping whenever it’s most convenient (usually in the middle of the day, during the week), and I bop around doing whatever, whenever the mood strikes me. I keep in touch with friends and family using IM and emails, Facebook and Twitter throughout the day. With the laptop smack in the middle of everything, the work gets done, automatically. It’s second nature.
Is there any form of technology that really helps you with your work? All I need is my laptop and wireless access. I don’t need a phone, nor do I have a printer or scanner. If I need something printed or scanned (rarely), I just mosey on down to the drugstore and do it there. It’s cheap and convenient. I love the freedom that the Internet allows me.
How do you organize your space? I’m thinking here of your physical space but also your virtual space (any particular software or program that helps keep things under control?) I work with my laptop on the kitchen counter, and I loathe clutter. Important papers are stored in one portable file box, stored in the closet, and everything is scanned and backed up online (as well as on thumb-drives). Google is an amazing thing: I use it for just about everything: search, email, creating documents, storage of photos, etc. and even earn some money with it on my site. Of course, banking and the rest are also done online, so paper is kept to an absolute minimum.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? Notepad and pen. I’m a scribbler and like to jot thoughts down on paper. And having a window to look out at the world while I’m working is a must.
What is your favorite piece of office furniture? I have no office furniture at the moment. I work at the kitchen counter and sit on a Franklin folding bar stool from Ikea, which also comes in handy as a laptop stand when I sit on the couch. I have never been able to get comfortable in any desk chair, and I prefer the half-sitting, half-standing position at the high kitchen counter. I never sit still for long, anyway.
What inspires you? Everything. Nothing. I’m just an observer here.