(Hello again to Maya from Cincinnati, who is trying out for a spot on AT:Chicago team. Enjoy the tour she put together - comments are welcome!)
Location: Brighton, Cincinnati, OH
Rent or own: in the process of buying
Size: gallery: 1000 sq. feet, loft: 1000 sq. feet
Lived in: 3 years
Mason is an artist, art collector, and gallery owner who lives above Synthetica, his gallery in the Brighton area of Cincinnati. Like his neighborhood, Mason's home is a bit rough around the edges and constantly evolving, deftly combining vintage with new, scavenged with hand-crafted. We especially love the "custom window treatments" made of locally scavenged windows.
Gallery receptions often spill out into the shared courtyard and upstairs loft, blurring the line between public and private, and allowing Mason's personal art collection to mix with the rotating exhibits he presents downstairs. Mason rehabbed the gallery and loft himself and, in the process, created both a high-profile local art space and a comfortable home that is bold and masculine, and the ideal setting for his growing art collection.
Style: Urban Contemporary
Inspiration: To me my home is much like the art that I work on. I live within an environment that I have created and collected. It can be experienced as art within itself, while displaying an edgy collection of contemporary art.
Favorite Element: The level of raw design and the setting for displaying a diverse art collection in so many areas of the space.
Biggest Challenge: Removing the bar that once existed in the current gallery area. Then the obvious -- creating a gallery space with limited resources.
What Friends Say: I receive two comments in regards to this space. "Do you live here?!?" Or, "I have never been in a place like this. This is not what I was expecting."
Biggest Embarrassment: It's hard to say because many of the things that I attempt to hide from the public are also what gives this place a certain level of, let's say, urban charm. We will go with the on-going evolving state, or the lack of storage area.
Proudest DIY: The gallery and the kitchen; really, too many to pinpoint.
Biggest Indulgence: To reply to this correctly, I can only say -- the art collection.
Best Advice: You do not have to have a designer's budget to create a compelling space that speaks to you. Many items that are discarded as junk can be re-used in a manner that gives your place an edge that can not be found in stores. Much of the furniture that I enjoy is one-of-a-kind, fabricated by artists and purchased for prices that are often less than manufactured furniture that holds little financial value once it leaves the showroom.
Dream Source: If I had unlimited resources, my home and gallery would evolve into a hybrid of Artempo in Venice and the Tate Modern in London.
Resources: Art galleries, including my own, Design Within Reach, Abode in Covington, KY, various artists.