Balance, Design, Products
May 6, 2010
As a designer, blogger, author, artist, founder of Authentic Jobs and father of four boys, Cameron Moll truly has his hands full. He talks here about his move to working from home and setting up a space in the house that allows him to juggle all his roles.
You recently became self-employed. Can you tell us about that transition? This is my second run at self-employment. The first was a little over three years ago, lasting for about two years. It went really well the first time, but an in-house design opportunity came along that I felt was too good to pass up. The decision to return to self-employment recently came with as much uncertainty as the first. Transitioning from stability to instability is never a fun decision to wrestle with, especially as the sole provider for a family of 6. But it’s been about 6 months now since the leap, and things are going really well. Most of my income is from projects that I own or have started. This is intentional, as I promised myself I’d never return to freelancing without residual income to supplement or even supplant client work.
As a result, I’m finding I don’t have to worry as much about income this time around as I did with the first, which was funded almost exclusively by client work. Instead, I’m constantly trying to juggle everything I have going on–blogging, tweeting, email, and doing all of the strategizing, design work and customer support for Authentic Jobs and my letterpress posters.
How would you describe your workspace? What is the design aesthetic? How does that impact your work? My workspace is a continual work in progress. I’ve worked out of the home both times, and my office has usually been tucked away in the corner of our master bedroom. This doesn’t yield a lot of room, figuratively and literally, to be all that creative. Only recently did I finally secure a room in the house as a dedicated office. I’m still defining what I’d like that space to be. Currently it’s somewhat minimalistic on a theme of black and silver. Functionally, I’d describe it as a “working dad’s office on a budget”–a refurbished 27″ iMac, speakers and a glass desk that I’ve had since the first self-employment, an IKEA Göran folding table painted black (below), and inexpensive framing. Admittedly, I don’t fully agree with the argument that one has to have an intensively creative workspace to do intensively creative work. No doubt workspace can have an affect on one’s work, whether positive or negative or both. But creativity is often just as much a mental discipline as it is a visual one. Great designers can do great work even in the absence of an inspiring workspace.
Does anyone else use your office? The wife shares the other half. She is also an artist, but her mediums are canvas and glass.
How do you organize the space? I struggle to do work if there’s a lot of clutter on my desk or in the surrounding area–I’d rather be cleaning and organizing than designing. So generally, I try to keep as little as possible on or around my desk space. For example, I’ve got two printers tucked under my worktable, one dedicating to printing shipping labels and another that does 13″x19″ prints for proofing my poster artwork. As much as I can tuck away under the table or in a closet, the better.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? I personally don’t use a lot of color in my own workspace. I suppose that’s because I’ve never been all that great at using color in an interior design sense. Digitally I seem to manage color just fine, but real life is another story.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? Probably my sound system or headphones. Music usually plays an important role in helping me design. Sometimes it serves as motivation, other times to accompany a lengthy design session, and often to block out other distractions or noise around the house.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? My chair. I failed to mention that as part of my “working dad’s office on a budget” setup. I’ve got an Aeron knock-off, which costs about 1/3 the price of an Aeron. If I could justify the expense, I’ve read enough positive reviews about Herman Miler’s Embody chair (above) to trust it would make my days go even smoother, given how muchI’m seated throughout the day.
What inspires you? Great music (jazz, classical, film scores, instrumental post-rock), the environment around me, working with my hands, industrial design, my family…lots of stuff. I do my best to soak it all in and allow it to hopefully affect my work when the time is right. In terms of the work I do, I love being challenged. My letterpress posters (below) grew out of a self-inflicted challenge to see if I do something along the lines of Veer’s Type City designs, but on a much bigger scale. I tend to produce the best work when the challenge is daunting. I suppose it’s because I’m a fairly competitive person. But I also enjoy producing stuff I’ve never done before. The day I stop challenging myself is probably the day I give up designing.
You and your wife have four children. How do you manage a balance between work and the rest of your life? I don’t know that I bother striving too hard for balance any more. I do my best to put my family first, and then try line up what’s most important after that. On some days, all that other stuff may take priority over family, but hopefully only for a temporary period. Working out of the home tends to only increase the elusiveness of balance. That’s the other thing I promised myself I’d do before returning to freelancing again, that of having proper office space outside the home to create a physical divide between work and home. I’ve not made good on that promise yet. But so far, things are progressing fine without it.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 30, 2010
This is the final interview in the four-part series on the editors of Remodelista – a blog full of chic design inspiration. Julie Carlson lives in Mill Valley, California with her husband and children in a house remodeled by Jerome Buttrick of Buttrick Wong Architects. She talks here about her home office in the living room (above) and working remotely with her fellow editors.
How would you describe your workspace? What is the design aesthetic? How does that impact your work? I am drawn to a modern, functional Scandinavian style and a streamlined aesthetic. I also am enamored of Bay Area design—the rustic modern architecture of Joseph Esherick, the organic shapes of potter Edith Heath, the paintings of Richard Diebenkorn. Also a lover of New England understatement. My workspace is typically my living room. My husband has appropriated the office as his own, which is fine with me as I prefer the living room, which gets much better natural light.
Does anyone else use your office? Since the living room in our home is part of a great room (which also includes the dining room and kitchen), there is a lot of flow in and around me when I am working.
How do you organize the space? Almost everything I do for Remodelista is stored and organized on my laptop, so I don’t have a huge organizational system for my workspace. I do have a lot of shelter periodicals that I peruse which I store near my chair in a large basket. I also have several systems for storing images on my laptop and for bookmarking blogs, because so much of our work revolves around finding and presenting beautiful imagery.
What impact do you think color has on a workspace? Most of the color in our home comes from seasonal flowers and branches we bring inside, as well as from art. My affinity for Scandinavian design translates into clean-lined, simple spaces with lots of white and warm woods. I like a workspace that is light and calming, without an excess of color.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? For sheer necessity, my laptop. I also love pencils; my favorites are from Cedar Pointe; they’re made of California incense cedar with a black eraser. Canoe in Portland, Oregon, offers them for $5 per dozen.
Is there a piece of furniture you’d love to replace? We are currently looking for a new dining room table. I love our current table (pictured below), but it only seats eight for dinner comfortably; we’d like one that seats at least ten.
What inspires you? The low-key modernist architecture of outer Cape Cod, where Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, Walter Gropius, and Serge Chermayeff built vacation houses. (My first job was cleaning Saarinen’s house on Long Pond.) Also, the spectacular de Young Museum in San Francisco by Herzog & de Meuron, a trip to the furniture and home design department of Liberty of London, the deceptive simplicity of Jasper Morrison’s designs (his Glass Family drinking glasses are genius), and the Bloomsbury aesthetic.
You see so many great workspaces. Is there one that really stands out for you? I love this compact office by Brooklyn-based architects Delson or Sherman Architects.; the wrap-around built-in shelves and the built in desk and cabinetry, the window next to the desk, the Eames office chair.
How do you manage a balance between work and the rest of your life? Some days there is more balance than others, but thanks to several new technologies, we can each work remotely, which helps our editors work around the demands of family and home. Skype, Twitter, Google Docs, the iPhone, and the fact that we can all edit a post through the same online system allow us to work from Brooklyn, San Francisco, Napa and Mill Valley simultaneously. Remodelista is a truly virtual enterprise: after several years of working together, we finally converged in one place (for the first time) at a presentation for the flagship Design Within Reach store in SoHo, just last year.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 29, 2010
LA-based Laura Baker was lucky enough to be able to designer her own backyard home office. Here she shares her home office and tips on designing a space you actually want to spend time in! Always a plus with a home office.
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I live in Santa Monica Canyon with my husband Steven and our two children. I’ve had this home office for about 8 years, since we built a studio behind our house. I designed the studio in reference to our house, which was designed by Craig Elwood in 1953. I created a small area to use as a home office, off the main living area of the structure. I’m an interior designer, and the nature of my work is very portable.
I have an office in Brentwood where I go when I’m drafting (I design a lot of custom furniture and cabinetry and find drafting by hand is part of the design process), having meetings, and putting presentations together, but my home office is where I spend time on the computer, researching, shopping, and doing paperwork. It’s also where I sketch ideas.
Describe your style? How would you define your aesthetic?I have a simple, spare, yet warm approach to interiors, both residential and contract. I enjoy the interaction of modern and traditional, and use the juxtaposition in my work. Whether the space is a 1950s Case Study house or an old Spanish home I like to create a clean backdrop, allowing light and air to set off the spare interior. I use soft natural fabrics that drape well such as heavy linens and have a patina of age the way old velvet does, and make the space inviting with comfortable relaxed upholstery pieces and shots of color.
I incorporate a few interesting sculptural pieces to create interest, and life, and these things may be new, vintage, or antique, but they’re three dimensional pieces that create interesting views. In a space that gets good sunlight I like to work with pale natural colors and in darker environments highly saturated colors, even if they just function as accents, can bring a lot of energy to a room.
As an interior designer with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? There’s nothing like a good file cabinet, which is where I keep my jobs organized in my Brentwood office. However, since I need to carry my files around with me I take the current project files in a tote bag that is always nearby. I just found a new tool that may help with the traveling files; a plain black file portfolio that Moleskin makes. There is something so appealing about their products, this has a very traditional feel, and in the age of technology I like it’s old fashioned quality. As this portfolio is small it may be the perfect thing to carry around. I create files for each job on my computer (a Mac Power Book G4 which is just about ready to be replaced), and I enter all the financial information into Quick Books which is terrific. I keep binders with back up copies of all invoices as well, as I like to have a set of hard copies.
When you are designing a home office what do you keep in mind? It’s important to make the home office a place you want to use, so having favorite things hanging on the wall, or on a nearby shelf is helpful. It’s good to have flowers on a desk…it’s like a gift to yourself when they’re in a place just meant for you.
The office should be of a piece with the rest of the home, designed with the same aesthetic and style. I always find out what kind of equipment needs to be accommodated; computer, printer, fax, phone, and so forth, and design to provide space for those things, and wiring channels to hide all the cables and cords as much as possible. Having enough specifically allocated storage is critical to enable a sense of order, as well as easy cleaning.
If it’s part of a larger room the storage can be disguised if need be. Good task lighting, is essential of course. And finally, a comfortable chair makes it a much more pleasant place to spend time.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? I still use an old stool I’ve had since I lived in a very un-renovated loft when I was a student at Parsons in New York, and though I’m sentimental about it I think it’s time to indulge myself! I like to work on a high surface, so that I can stand as I sort through things, but it would be wonderful to have a really comfortable drafting stool. I love the Areon Work Stool in the graphite finish. I especially like the adjustable height foot rest. The airiness of the mesh would prevent a sense of crowding in the small space.
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? A box of magnets, to add images to the wall over my desk which is covered with magnetic paint.
What would you change about your own workspace? I’d like to have a window seat, but given the case study design of our house it would be completely out of place! I encourage all my clients to include them to give me the vicarious enjoyment! At least with a comfortable chair I could daydream while looking out the window…not an easy thing to do on a wooden stool!
What do you most love about your space? I love the color of the walls…Farrow and Ball “Skylight”. I love having all my favorite books, magazines and art supplies at arms reach. I am almost glad there isn’t more space, because it’s forced me to edit. I love being able to open the sliding door and nearly be outside. I love my magnetized wall over my desk, for an easy way to arrange images that matter to me. And I love still being close to my family when I’m there.
What inspires you? The first thing that comes to mind is color. When I look at any color it brings to mind a whole world that I can envision around it. I’m very much a beach person, so the color and texture of driftwood, all the blues in the ocean and sky, and the feel of natural fabrics that were left out in the sun too long all inspire me. Inspiration can come from so many places…favorite flowers, objects, locations, can all be springboards. I find paintings to be a wonderful source of inspiration, and you can see some of my favorite artists on my blog.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 28, 2010
With a mission to help people to create homes they love and lives they want to live, Design*Sponge has been delivering daily inspiration and original content to design devotees since August 2004. Writer Grace Bonney, the site’s cheerful creator, talked to us from her “office”—the (very tasteful) couch in her Brooklyn living room—about TV vs. music, The New Pornographers, and keeping things positive.
Do you listen to music while you work? I actually listen to television more than I do music at work. For some reason, music makes me want to stop and sing along, so I tend to throw on an old silly movie that I’ve seen before so it feels like I have some “company” in the room, without being too distracted.
How do you listen? I listen to the TV or to music through the entertainment center in our living room. Our living room is my makeshift office, because I find I’m more productive when I’m comfortable and in a place that feels like “home” and not an “office.” Because I work at home alone, I can really turn up the volume as loudly as I like, which is fun during breaks. I’ve been known to dance away stressful days by cranking up some cheesy music in the living room.
Do you have any favorite music websites/providers? Aaron, my husband, suggested Pandora to me, but I could never get it to be quite right, so I tend to make my own mixes on ITunes and play them through the house speakers. I’ll arrange them by mood, by occasion (road trip, long-tagging weekend), or by artist and then just let them roll.
Does music influence your work? I think the artwork associated with music, like album covers, videos, and album collateral, definitely influences me—and we’ve covered some of my favorite music related design stories on the site before. But music itself usually acts as an escape from the blogging, rather than an inspiration for it.
Who influences your musical taste? My husband Aaron is responsible for almost all of the music I’ve fallen in love with in the past seven years. He introduced me to my new favorite band of all time: The New Pornographers. He used to make me the sweetest mix CDs when we started dating in 2003 and I learned so much about indie rock from him. So he’s always my go-to source for great new music. I tend to love old folk music, 60’s era singers, and, oddly, grunge/riot grrl music (the 90′s really weighed heavily on my taste), so he definitely has improved and rounded out my musical tastes. (Although I like to remind him that I used to have a radio show in college, so at some point I actually suggested music to other people. It just happened to be jam bands—something Aaron is not likely to enjoy!)
What song or artist best represents the work you create? Well, my heart belongs to AC Newman and The New Pornographers, so I’d say them. I am completely obsessed with the wall of sound they create and the cheerful, happy tone to their songs. It’s pure, unadulterated joy and happiness, and I think I try to do the same thing on my site. I try to be as happy, positive, and inspiring (with the design we post) as possible. For me, there’s just not enough time in life to spend on sad or negative blogging—or on sad songs.
1. The Town Halo, AC Newman
2. Letter from an Occupant, The New Pornographers
3. Cinnamon Girl, Neil Young
4. Girl Anachronism, The Dredsen Dolls
5. Oh My God, The Empties
6. Blah Blah Blah, Ke$ha
7. Give it Up to Me, Shakira
8. Cities, The Talking Heads
9. Psycho Killer, The Talking Heads
10. Jackie Dressed in Cobras, The New Pornographers
11. At the Beach, The Avett Brothers
12. Empire State of Mind, Jay-Z
Images: Patrick Cline for Lonny Magazine, portrait by Anna Wolf.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 26, 2010
Chris Zawada is the editor-in-chief and founder of Lovely Package - a blog that covers the best package design from all over the globe.
You work from an ad agency and also from home. How long have you been working in both places…and where is ‘home’? I’ve been with TAXI Advertising & Design for 3 years. We’re a passionate group of people striving to produce award-winning campaigns and designs for our clients across the network of offices (Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, New York and Amsterdam). Lovely Package was founded in late 2008 in Vancouver, Canada where I currently reside.
What does an average work day involve? The average day tends to be a long one. I usually get up early and check my email to see what new package design submissions we have received. Myself and a team of 3 other editors will sift through the work and prep submissions that we feel adhere to a high standard of design which will be posted that day or throughout the week. From there it’s off to TAXI for the day where I still monitor the site, approve and delete comments and generally just make sure everything is working as planned. Being that I have other obligations during the day which don’t allow me to focus all of my time towards Lovely Package, I am grateful to have Helen Shaw who is also a Vancouver-based designer and our Deputy Editor help keep things running smoothly. Nights are typically filled with going through more submissions or scouring the web in search of those elusive lovely packages. Lately a lot of my free time is focused on building the new version of Lovely Package which visually and functionally will be a big departure from the current site. I think our readers are really going to like what we have in-store for them.
Is there any form of technology that really inspires and helps with your work? Hands down my iPhone. I was a late adopter to this technology having got mine a few months ago, but it has really changed the way I do things. Being able to reply to emails on the go and monitor Lovely Package both online and through the WordPress’ iPhone app has really increased my productivity. Now that I have it, I don’t know how I lived without it.
How do you organize your space? I’m thinking here of your physical space but also your virtual space. Is there any particular software or program that helps keep things under control? I hate clutter both in my physical and virtual space. You’ll find plenty of shelving and storage to keep things clean and organized in my environment. When it comes to my virtual space I like to keep it simple. No fancy applications, just clearly labeled and organized folders which house inspirational finds, resources, documents, etc. I then use Adobe’s Bridge to browse the contents of these folders.
What item from your desktop can you not do without? My computer of course!
What piece of office furniture do you most treasure? What do you want to replace? Working on a laptop allows me to roam around and work in various places so I really consider the entire house my office. I’d have to say that my favourite piece of furniture would have to be my Eames Lounge Chair. Not only is it a beautiful example of mid century modern design, it’s possibly one of the most comfortable chairs I have ever sat on. I have an older Keilhauer Tom office chair and while as comfortable as it may be, it looks a bit dated. I’d like to replace it with an Eames Aluminum Group chair.
What inspires you? Inspiration is all around. I may find it in the unique way a leaf has grown on a tree, or in the design of a piece of cutlery. When I need to be inspired I just step outside and take in the world around me.
Balance, Design, Products, Technology
April 23, 2010
We came across interior designer Kimberly Hall’s work in a New York Times’ story on an office makeover. I contacted her and asked if she’d share her own home office. Our timing was fortuitous as Hall and her husband had recently bought an apartment and turned the kitchen into a workspace. Here it is!
How long have you worked from home? Since February 1. And where is home? The Meatpacking district (14th between 8th and 9th.) What do you do? I am an interior designer. We work on predominantly residential work at the moment but we have also done contract work such as restaurants, retail, and office spaces. I was an associate at the Rockwell Group for 7 years so I have a strong background in hospitality.
Six years ago I opened a store called Kimberly Hall Kids, specializing in children’s’ furnishings and interior design. I had a small storefront and office on 21st Street and tried to pull off running the store (which did a lot of custom and one-off work) as well as my interior design business. It quickly became too much and I tried to expand accordingly.
In the end, one was diluting the other so I decided to close the store and focus exclusively on interior design work. My office remained in the same space until this year when my husband and I bought a new apartment. We had been living in an 800 square foot rental with 2 dogs, 2 young children, and the 2 of us. It was time for a change. The market was right to purchase and we found a 1500 square foot apartment.It had a 300 square foot wing at the back that was perfect for my office. It had high ceilings and I knew I could get most of what I needed in if I went vertical (a favorite trick of mine.) It was a great solution for us as it gave us a way to afford the apartment, reduce my “rent” and I now have more time at home to spend with my family.
I gutted the space, which had been the apartments kitchen (I still do not have a kitchen, for the record) including all of the walls and ceiling. I really wanted a classic loft feeling and by exposing the brick and all of the thick, old rafters, I have really achieved the feeling I was looking for. It was also, thankfully, the most economical solution.
Describe your style? My style is definitely eclectic, although I’d love to come up with a new word for that. I love almost all “styles” but get most excited by mixing styles and periods. We have done quite a few traditional homes with very contemporary interiors. I look at each job as a challenge to give the client what they are looking for and to personally challenge myself to come up with ideas and solutions that I have not come up with before. I tend to use a lot of color and incorporate art and other objects of personal significance in my interiors. Sometimes I have gotten the most exciting results using items that I could never have imagined fitting into a project.
As an interior designer with multiple clients how do you keep your office organized? I’m thinking here of the physical space but also your computer. Are there any particular programs you find really useful? We organize our projects into binders and I LOVE plastic page protectors! I should buy some stock. We also have a fantastic program that synthesizes all aspects of the design process from a business standpoint. It is called Studio Designer and interfaces accounting, purchasing, contacts, etc. into a single program.
I currently use a Mac but when I used a PC, I loved Outlook. I wish the MAc version was up-to-snuff, but so far I can’t seem to get it to do everything I want it to.
Regarding the physical space, we have it lined, stacked and otherwise filled, floor-to-ceiling with reference materials. It is clearly much easier to find information since the advent of the internet but I still like to keep hard copies of many of my favorites. We also have a fantastic materials library that we keep in bins that we load onto Ikea Expedit bookshelves. These are my favorites as I am a big fan of cubbies as opposed to shelves. I just find that it keeps things neater. We have literally thousand of fabric samples that arranged by color and sometimes type which makes it much easier to put schemes together than going shopping every time.
When you are designing a home office what do you keep in mind? I think it is imperative to have good “cord management”, especially in a home office. Having a jumble of cords is not only unsightly, it is extremely frustrating to problem solve if you don’t know what you are looking at. We make sure that we always place outlets in an appropriate location in relation to the work surface. I also find it very important to have a “place for everything” (as my mother used to say.) I especially like mail sorters which have a variety of slots. I label each slot with a project name or other type of category and anytime I have something related to that particular subject, I just slide it in there. It’s sort of an interim holding zone for paper that have not yet been filed into binders or files.
Obviously lighting is extremely important in a home office and I make sure to include adjustable task lighting in every project as well as a sliding keyboard tray which alleviates back and posture problems.
File cabinets are also a necessary evil but I try to make them attractive by choosing all white or even sometimes colored. Bisley offers the best colors.
Is there any piece of home office furniture you covet? I have always coveted a glass-topped desk on horses. Unfortunately, the nature of my work (or perhaps the way I work!) will never allow this but I keep dreaming that someday I will have an impeccable, clean and clear workspace with nothing on it but a computer and a phone. Also, like in all of the magazine photo shoots, there will be no cords attached to the computer or the phone.
I already have the item that I most covet and that is an Aeron chair. Several years ago I herniated a disc and this was the only place I felt comfortable. I slept many a night in that chair!
What is a desk accessory you can’t do without? I love low, acrylic trays for organizing small objects on my desk. I put my stapler, tape dispenser, paperclip cup, electric pencil sharpener as well as post-it notes clustered into these trays so that I always know where something is when I need it and things don’t get scattered all over the work surface. I also have a tiny stack of plastic drawers that house my binder clips, push pins, extra post-its, and digital photo paraphernalia such as card readers and memory cards.
What would you change about your own workspace? If I had the space, I would like a “return” on both sides of my desk. This would allow me to keep the center surface clear while allowing me to keep my “piles” organized to either side. I also wish there was a way to input USB devices into the computer in a neat way besides those “hubs” you get from Staples. I can’t tell you how many of those things I have velcro’d to the shelves above my desk in an effort to alleviate the jumble.
What do you love most about your space? I love the contrast between the rough shell with the brick and wood and the bright, white, minimal, desk surfaces and bookshelves. I also especially love my FLOR cow-print carpet tiles (below). It adds the playful touch that I needed in the space and is extremely practical for spills, stains, and possible expansion!
What inspires you? I love to solve problems. For me, being an interior designer is a blessing and a curse. I am able to create wonderful looking, functional spaces but it is very difficult to turn it off. Everywhere I look, I am evaluating what I like, what I don’t like and how I would improve something.
I also love to read and to look at design magazines and books. I am constantly clipping images and creating image files on my computer. By having this comprehensive visual library, I am able to communicate to my client (and to myself) a vision for each particular project. I create concept image boards that are an impression of the vibe of the project. I find that if these are carefully edited, they become a very accurate “visual blueprint” of the project. I may keep a page from a magazine of a room that I hate but it has a fabulous button detail that I will want to remember for a future project. I can sometimes build an entire project out of a detail like that.
As a visual artist (I studied painting and photography) I am especially aware of proportion and composition. Since so may of my projects incorporate disparate items, I use this knowledge to make them look cohesive and balanced. This is, for me, the inspiration and the challenge. How do you make something successful from nothing?
April 22, 2010
Not even the rain that is drenching Southern California can put a damper on my spirits today. Thanks to our awesome contractor, Billy, we beat the rain and got the framing finished before the storm hit. I have office walls! And a generous new storage space at the back of the garage. The weather over the next few days will dictate how quickly the drywall goes up.
And the first sunny day we see, Billy’s crew will be fabricating new carriage doors for the front of the garage. From there we can move onto my true passion: paint.
April 20, 2010
Here’s the office from HGTV’s home of the year. What do you think?
Balance, Design, Products
April 19, 2010
A nice big bulletin board I found on Jennifer Ramos’ Made By Girl blog. It’s the work of a professional organizer based in Brooklyn who also has a great blog - The Order Obsessed (check out the post on keeping storage organized).
April 19, 2010
My husband grew up in Manhattan and our contractor, Billy Hartman, is from Queens. While I’m talking paint chips, they’re talking Mets pitching rotation. But one language we all speak turns out to be concrete. My husband and I wanted the slab in our garage scored to look like a New York City sidewalk—what Billy says is called a “city seam.” There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about the seams, as well as practical (these control joints help localize cracking). When it came to color, instead of a cold cityscape vibe, we added warmth and depth to the slab with subtle stain, which the pros achieved by sprinkling burgundy- and brick-colored powder pigments over the freshly poured concrete and smoothing it in with a trowel. I’ve been told that, much like a tattoo, you only get one chance with stain, so best leave it to the pros. And all the better if they’re in a New York state of mind.