09/29/14 4:27pm
Carolyn Murnick, and editor at New York Magazine, hired Homepolish to help her turn her Bed-Stuy apartment from this...

Carolyn Murnick, and editor at New York Magazine, hired Homepolish to help her turn her Bed-Stuy apartment from this…

..into this. Photos: Homepolish

..into this. Photos: Homepolish

As New Yorkers we pay dearly for limited space, and this can lead to a bad Ikea habit–when close to half your income goes toward rent each month it can be hard to justify investing even more in your apartment. We’re here to tell you though, creating a beautiful and comfortable oasis in the middle of a city where personal space is at a premium is SO worth it. And professional help transforming your home into exactly what you want it to be is not nearly as expensive as you might think.

Homepolish is a genius new service that connects you to an interior designer for totally reasonable rates. They do full home designs like the one pictured above (more on that in a minute) and renovations, or they can help you turn an office into a baby’s room, or an underused space into a dining area, working within your budget. In fact we like what they’re up to so much that we teamed up with Homepolish and WorkOf–which curates and sells apartment transforming furniture and accessories–to give you a chance to win a modern and elegant piece that will set your bedroom aglow or completely transform your living room. Enter now. 

We also chatted with Anna Gray, a Homepolish editor about a dramatic design job their designer Adam Verboys recently did in Bed-Stuy (it caught our eye on their portfolio pages), and how less extensive projects can also transform a space.

(more…)

09/16/14 7:22am

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It’s #BYOBag Week here in New York, an initiative designed to encourage us all to examine our plastic bag using and abusing ways. We have six suggestions for totes that will make you forget plastic even exists, including our own version. The Brooklyn Based tote bag, which weighs practically nothing, holds a ton of groceries or vegetables from the farmer’s market, and is easily stashed in your messenger bag, backpack or purse. And when you spot a fellow Brooklyn Based reader wearing one of these, you’ll know you’re kindred spirits. They’re standard Baggu bags, available in cobalt with white printing or smoke with orange printing, for $15, including shipping. You’ll use this every day, we promise.


Colors



07/22/14 1:26pm

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For those who love Brooklyn (and this likely means you), a map of the borough is like symbol of devotion. Scan the totes at any farmer’s market, study the walls of your friends’ Brooklyn apartments, and you’ll stumble on a map of Brooklyn at some point.

But what about Brooklyn flags? Does an official Brooklyn flag even exist? (Don’t worry, we had to Wikipedia it too. It contains the motto “Eendraght Maeckt Maght”—Dutch for, “in unity there’s strength”—and it depicts a robed woman holding something called a fasces.)

Let’s be honest—this is not the Brooklyn you know. The Brooklyn you know contains more color than a woman in a robe with a Dutch motto. Your Brooklyn looks like the water towers you see from your rooftop, the community garden you pass by on your way to work, the boys hanging out on your block. We’d like to see this Brooklyn of yours, if you would be so inclined to enter it into Brooklyn Flag Project.

Together with Uncommon Goods, we’re asking you to design a flag that represents the Brooklyn neighborhood you love and know inside out, and enter it in our contest by August 31. The panel of judges (including our own EIC Annaliese Griffin, Marty Markowitz and Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swiss Miss) will decide on the finalists in mid-September, and the public—you!—will decide the Grand Prize Winner. That person, along with the runners up, will receive cash prizes and royalties, but this isn’t just about winning. It’s about seeing what kinds of flags Brooklynites, past and present, create to show their hometown love.

We’re hoping the Brooklyn Flag Project inspires even those who don’t normally enter design contests to create a neighborhood crest. (And if you’ve got a design in mind but don’t plan on entering, shoot us a line, we’d still love to see it and showcase it on our site.) Those who do enter, however, could one day see their flag hanging on apartment walls in Brooklyn and beyond. Just don’t hang it on the Brooklyn Bridge, the authorities are on to that location.

Intrigued? Read more about the contest here.

Photo credit: Martin

07/15/14 1:47pm

EllenJohnston (1)Designing business cards and wedding invitations is a not your typical DIY project, yet an app called Makr is putting the business of branding into the hands of anyone with an iPad. Run by designer-turned-CEO Ellen Johnston, we profiled the app last year as a way to create personalized holiday cards, though in practice Makr is used more often by entrepreneurs who want to take control of the look, and costs, of their own logos and printed materials. She works with a team of eight at The Yard, a co-working space we also inhabit, and recently told us about the inspiration for the app, her management style, and Makr’s latest features.

What was the inspiration for Makr, and when did you start to begin real work on it?

I’m a designer by trade. As someone who loves designing things, appreciating design and teaching it, I find it completely frustrating that complicated, expensive software creates such a barrier for people to design. As a UI/UX designer, I started designing for mobile pretty early on, witnessing first-hand a shift in accessibility to technology and how people interact with it. I saw an opportunity to harness the powerful devices that we carry with us everyday as empowering creativity tools. My team and I started working on Makr in the Spring 2013 and launched the first version of our product on the iPad that November.

How has it evolved since you launched? What have you learned about the app, and running the company, since it’s been out in the world?

We’re constantly inspired by how people use Makr, and that definitely influences our product and content development. Since launch, we’ve been seeing people use Makr for branding design–for Etsy shops, weddings, personal brands and more. They’re creating designs that speak to their personality and aesthetic, then applying them in multiple ways. This discovery led to a lot of the product decisions we’ve made post-launch, such as our logo creation feature, which allows users to design, export and apply custom logos. (more…)

05/08/14 9:18am

Examples of works from the Japanese designers exhibiting at BKLYN Designs: 1. Toe-to-Knee, 2. Oy, 3. Chaki, 4. Hraf, 5. Mature Hat, 6. Barracks, 7. Kurasuhito Kurasutokoro, 8. Aizara, 9. Jozu Kousakusho Co., Ltd, 10. Botanist, 11. Share Woods

Examples of works from the Japanese designers exhibiting at BKLYN Designs: 1. Toe-to-Knee, 2. Oy, 3. Chaki, 4. Hraf, 5. Mature Hat, 6. Barracks, 7. Kurasuhito Kurasutokoro, 8. Aizara, 9. Jozu Kousakusho Co., Ltd, 10. Botanist, 11. Share Woods

Brooklyn is huge in Japan, at least in Osaka, the country’s third largest (and food-obsessed) city. Brooklyn Roasting Company has an outpost there, and this year 11 designers from Osaka will be the first ever from outside Brooklyn to show their work at BKYLN Designs. Aside from their obvious talents, the biggest ace the designers had in swaying the selection committee is the fact that they might be the biggest Brooklyn boosters out there who don’t actually reside in the borough.

More than 5,000 people from around the world are expected to descend on Dumbo this weekend. BKLYN Designs is where interior designers, museum curators and fans of fine furniture and decorative objects go to discover new trends and eyeball beautiful work. For foreign designers who make the trip, the three-day event, which now sprawls across the neighborhood and includes everything from lectures to yoga classes, is often their first encounter with Brooklyn’s design culture, as was the case for Shigekazu Yasuta seven years ago.

“Every year, I travel to many design exhibitions–Paris, Koln, Milano, New York, London, Tokyo,” says Yasuta, who teaches interior design at the Osaka Women’s Junior College in Japan. “Many are based on commercialisms and less focused on highlighting new contemporary or cutting edge design–this is why I love to watch BKLYN Designs evolve each year.”

Yasuta, who organized the envoy of designers from Osaka, isn’t just an instructor, he creates intricate wood-panel designs for interiors, and says that he identifies with the desire to produce handcrafted, sustainable, original work that’s become so synonymous with Brooklyn design. It’s a common thread in the work of the Osaka designers as well, who create everything from skateboards to salvaged furniture and even terrariums–staples stocked in boutiques across Brooklyn from Bedford to Van Brunt.

One of the Osaka designers, Hiroyuki Ogura, helped design the Tokyo outpost of Brooklyn Roasting Company–the coffee company’s Jay Street location will serve as exhibit space for the Japan@BKLYN Designs showcase, starting May 9. This will be his first trip to Brooklyn and he has his sights set on visiting another local design landmark–the Wythe Hotel.

“To provide an existing building the care of repair and restoration is a beautiful thing,” he says.

From hotels to hipsters, salvaged furniture to CSAs, the Osaka designers say they’re curious to see how Brooklyn stacks up to a reputation that is preceding it across the planet. “Brooklyn is one of the big trending keywords in Japan,” says Yasuta. “We have many Brooklyn-like shops, cafés etc., but only a few people know where it is, know its philosophy and know Brooklyn’s real lifestyle. Japan@BKLYN Designs hopes to be the connection between Brooklyn and Japan.”

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05/06/14 1:17pm
Fri May 9, 2014
Auster Agency

The BKLYN Designs showcase returns to St. Ann’s Warehouse on May 9. Photo: Auster Agency

Calling all design buffs and interior decorators: BKLYN Designs, an annual juried exhibition of some of the best home furnishings coming out of our borough, is back at St. Ann’s Warehouse for three days this weekend. Anyone who has ever fallen into an Apartment Therapy rabbit hole will find inspiration in this year’s stellar collection of contemporary furnishings, lighting and accessories all made or designed in Brooklyn and handpicked by editors from leading home and design magazines. Aside from the main exhibition, which is spread out in venues located throughout DUMBO, there are cool events scheduled too, including a behind-the-scenes tour of a part of Brooklyn Bridge Park that is under construction, a presentation on what’s emerging in tech and design with a senior editor at Wired, and a class that will teach you how to double-dutch the Brooklyn way. Food trucks and happy hours with drink specials will ensure that you stay sated throughout the day, and there are plenty of kid-friendly activities for those who want to make it a family affair. Buy a ticket online for $15, or spend $20 at the door, and you are guaranteed free access to all exhibition spaces and most events.

04/23/14 9:05am
Wed April 23, 2014
One of 50 unique carpets made by Joseph Carini in collaboration with street artists like Stinkfish, whose work inspired the tapestry above. Photo: Carini Lang

One of 50 unique carpets made by Joseph Carini in collaboration with street artists like Stinkfish, whose work inspired the tapestry above. Photo: Carini Lang

Half the beauty of street art is stumbling upon it in an unexpected place, on the wall of an old factory, or the corrugated curves of a metal gate. Joseph Carini has moved street art to an even more surprising spot–underfoot, in carpets he designed. Like another creative rug designer we featured this month, the Brooklyn-born artist has applied his modern tastes to a traditional trade, by collaborating with 20 street artists to create 50 carpets hand made by artisans in Nepal. The collection, called Back Against the Wall, is in the Carini showroom in Tribeca, and features well-known Brooklyn and NYC street artists like Peru Ana Ana Peru, Dain, and Cost–most of whom will never see their graffiti woven into tapestries again. It opens tonight.

04/08/14 9:12am

Aelfie Oudghiri designs rugs using abstracts from traditional tribal patterns in fun and hard-to-find color combinations. Photo: Aelfie

Aelfie Oudghiri designs rugs using abstracts from traditional tribal patterns in fun and hard-to-find color combinations. Photo: Aelfie

No one could have predicted that Aelfie Oudghiri’s career path would take her from fashion production to medical school in Budapest and back the states to study religion at Columbia University before the Greenpoint resident would find her foothold as a rug designer–not Oudghiri, and definitely not her parents. It was, however, at a family dinner a few years ago, while she was enrolled at Columbia, that her mom and dad asked the question we’ve all pondered at some point: “What do you want to do with your life?”

“I really flippantly said, ‘I’m going to be a rug dealer,’” she recalls. “It was after a couple glasses of wine.”

Blame it on the alcohol, but Oudghiri’s response was emphatic enough for her stepmother to reach out to Valerie Justin, a prominent antique and vintage rug collector and scholar of tribal textiles and rugs, who once had a store along Madison Avenue’s rug district. Essentially, an apprenticeship with Justin was the rug-dealer equivalent of learning to play basketball from Michael Jordan.

It was while selling a stockpile of vintage rugs from places like Afghanistan, Turkey and India out of her Williamsburg apartment about two years ago that Oudghiri got the idea to start designing some of her own. (more…)

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04/03/14 6:19am

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The fruits of a creative collaboration between Tamara Jerardo, founder of Brooklyn Candle Studio, and Edyta Lewicka, a local ceramics artist, who work together to create one-of-a-kind candle/sculpture combos. Photo: Brooklyn Candle Studio

One of my first jobs when I moved to New York was working for a newspaper that put out a pretty killer gift guide every December, my contribution to which was tracking down a Jonathan Adler Hashish candle. It’s the kind of job that sounds so simple “even an intern can do it,” which is what I thought until I called the company to request one and was told I’d have to insure it.

I didn’t even have insurance for myself at the time, and I was definitely not going to take out a protection plan on a pot of wax with a wick. It cost $68 and came in a ceramic jar with cannabis leaves all over it, and I just remember thinking you could make your room smell like weed for way less.

Nowadays it’s not so uncommon to see candles sold for $60-plus. I’ve even bought a few, but as the last of the wax melts, the scent dissipates and I’m left with nothing but a cheap glass jar with soot stuck to its sides, I wind up with a bit of buyer’s remorse. Like I just took $70 and set it on fire. Probably because I did.

It’s part of the reason why I’ve become a fan of collaborations between candle makers and ceramic artists, like Tamara Jerardo, founder of Brooklyn Candle Studio and artist Edyta Lewicka. (more…)

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03/31/14 11:00am
Sat April 5, 2014 - Sun April 6, 2014
Shop new spring styles from four eco-friendly local fashion designers during a pop-up party this weekend at The One Well. Photo: Kordal

Shop new spring styles from four eco-friendly local fashion designers during a pop-up party this weekend at The One Well. Photo: Kordal

Lighten both your wallet and your carbon footprint this weekend by shopping at The One Well’s sustainable fashion pop-up party on Saturday and Sunday. The home-and-body boutique in Greenpoint has invited four eco-friendly fashion companies–Kordal, abacaxi, Maven Footwear and Alisha Trimble–to set up shop, starting at noon on April 5. Round out your spring wardrobe with a pair of locally made sandals, hand-knit separates, or cotton or silk pieces–all of which were designed and produced in NYC.