Joan & Matt's Joyously Eclectic Home

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Name: Joan Hiller and Matt LeMay
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Size: 550 square feet
Years lived in: 1 for Joan, 2 for Matt; Rented

We first met Joan when she was living in this stylish studio in Portland, so we already knew about her phenomenal sense of individuality and style. Knowing this, it's not surprising that upon moving to New York, she would meet and fall in love with someone whose creative energy parallels her own. Together Joan and Matt have put together a home filled with charm, personality and love. 

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With paintings by by Joan, and by family members, as well as spontaneous and fortuitous finds, the walls are like a gallery, filled with interesting pieces to take in. Their home has come together beautifully. Everything appears to have a story, like a grandfather's watch on display. All these elements come together to make Joan and Matt's home both stylish and romantic. 

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style:  Matt and I are very fortunate to have styles that work together super-fantastically; before I moved in, this apartment was a sophisticated, sleek, minimal modern man pad — lots of design objects, tech gadgets, music gear, clean lines and shiny surfaces. Matt has amazing taste, and we both love looking at home stuff and design-y things. I moved in with tons of artwork, textiles, books, vases and objects, and together, we bought leather and overdyed rugs, plants, shelving and lots of clean-lined but textural wooden furniture pieces to warm the space up. Now, the combination is kind of a cozy future-rustic representation of our combined aesthetics. We are psyched about it and always feel so thankful and happy to come home. Matt has a fantastic eye for interiors. His other fantastic eye looks for snacks. 

Inspiration:  Emily Henderson. Grace Bonney. Junk shops. Designy catalogs.

Favorite Element: The art. Aside from being lucky enough to own work by Beth Hoeckel, Bruce Colin Paulson, Ashley Anthony, Derek Erdman, Michelle Muldrow, John Brodie, Luisa Matsushita (aka CSS' Lovefoxxx), David Greenberger, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Renee Hartig, Jennifer Charles, Mark Menjivar, Carson Ellis, Rachel Blumberg and my father, Mark Hiller, we have Matt’s grandmother’s bonkers paintings up (that’s the double-unicorn in the living room, as well as what’s on top of our fridge). We were also just gifted a gorgeous decades-old student-made peace poster from our dear family friend Liz Katz. Matt has a bunch of framed posters from shows he played with his last band, Get Him Eat Him — and he has some wonderful prints by David Byrne and Kim Krans. We also had canvas prints made of the first two Instagram photos Matt ever took — they were taken on his way to meet me at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge for our first date.

[Matt’s note: I am also mega-stoked to be the proud owner of several Joan Hiller originals. I’ve been a fan of Joan’s work for a long time; in fact, I almost bought one of Joan’s paintings long before we got together, but chickened out at the thought of cold emailing her. Several years later, I cannot even express how grateful I am to share a home with so much incredible art and such an incredible artist.]

Also of note: I want to make out with the neat-shaped greeny-blue tiles on the bathroom floor — they’re hands-down the best tiles I have ever had the honor of living with. They look like vintage Heath tiles; no idea what they actually are, but they have been part of the apartment forever. There’s also a gorgeous little marble threshold to the bathroom that I appreciate daily. The kitchen cabinets are also rad; they’re some ‘70s fake walnut renaissance faire shit. The wood floors are also gorgeous and new.

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenges are the lack of a second bedroom (we’d love to have a dedicated work space for Matt’s recording and my painting in the future), the low ceiling fan in the living room (we’re both tall!) and the knowledge that having the BQE right outside our window is *not* good for our long-term health.

What Friends Say: “HELLO! WE ARE IN YOUR HOUSE!”

Biggest Embarrassment: We are individually and collectively really bad about letting laundry build up in a crazy way. It’s always in its Official Dirty Laundry Universe, but it gets BAD. 

Proudest DIY: We were proud of ourselves after hanging all the art — we had a system! Matt measured, marked, nailed & hammered, and I mapped it out. It was also a bear to put together the shelving in the kitchen, but we did it! As this is a rental, we couldn’t do any for reals built-in home improvement stuff, but we are excited to in the future. Chair rails! Floating shelving units! Crown molding!

Biggest Indulgence: For Matt, probably the incredible speaker/audio setup in the living room. For me, having fresh flowers in the house as often as possible. Sounds like a dickhead thing to say, but it makes such a huge energetic difference.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with things you love, and clean up after yourself constantly and immediately. You want to come home and think OH GOD I AM HOME; HOORAY.

Dream Sources:  I still cream myself when I think about the Anglepoise Giant 1227 floor lamp, which is a ridiculous $3,600 ultra-huge thing shaped like a desk lamp that is just Earth’s Most Perfect Object. You would have to style your room super-carefully in order to not make it seem like you were living at FAO Schwarz or something. Also, everything Kelly Wearstler does is incredible. I also want to buy everything Emily Henderson sells in her One Kings Lane sales, especially all the amazing brass stuff. YES TO BRASS. 

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • White—no wallpaper is allowed in our rental, and no painting is allowed unless we paint it back before moving out. I’m a huge fan of charcoal and/or navy walls and/or bold-patterned wallpaper, all of which is a bitch to transform back into standard rental white, so this time it doesn’t make sense. In the future, though, paint shall be blasted all over everywhere!

ENTRY

  • Farm drawer unit salvaged from upstate NY; purchased at Moon River Chattel in Williamsburg
  • Matt’s guitar, bass & baritone collection
  • Chartreuse throw pillows from CB2
  • Vintage faux fur blanket that we’ve nicknamed “Flat Bear,” purchased at a thrift store in Portlan
  • Go-cart Carbon 3-shelf unit from CB
  • Vintage copper vase from Collective in Seattle
  • Antique Chinese ceramic horse from a shop near Union Square in NYC, wearing a costume gold chain from a Kleenex Girl Wonder photoshoot
  • Flat Bar printer caddy from West Elm w/the same vintage Fisher Price turntable Joan had as a ki
  • Curtains from IKEA
  • Flat Bar bookshelves from West Elm, which holds vinyl and Matt’s amazing audio universe
  • White ceramic cat from HomeGoods, wearing a second costume gold chain from a Kleenex Girl Wonder photoshoot

LIVING ROOM

  • Flex Gravel Sleeper Sofa from CB
  • Shredded leather rug from safavieh
  • Vintage red ‘60s blanket purchased at a thrift store in Portland
  • Kite Wool Kilim runner from West Elm
  • Plants from Crest Hardware in Williamsburg
  • Kuta Floor Lamp from BoConcept
  • Salvaged wood coffee table from Laytner’s Linen & Home
  • African-ish woven floor cone with reeds from IKEA
  • Side tables from CB2 covered in various rocks, minerals & crystals; we are both life-long rock and mineral collectors!
  • Neon Tube from The Future Perfect in Williamsburg

KITCHEN

  • Odyssey Dining Table from CB2
  • Echo White Chairs from CB2
  • Hasaki Chairs from Organic Modernism in Williamsburg
  • Faux sheepskins from IKEA
  • Bronze tray from eBay
  • Shelving from Overstock.com
  • Dwight Bookshelves from CB2
  • United Bamboo 2013 Cat Calendar

BEDROOM

  • Parsons Bed from Room and Board
  • Dwight Desk from CB2
  • Specs Chill Chair from CB2
  • Curtains from Home Decorators Collection
  • Hudson dressers from West Elm
  • Overdyed purple rug from RugsUSA
  • Cord Table Lamp from The Future Perfect in Williamsburg
  • Vitra AC4 desk chair
  • Farm drawer unit salvaged from upstate NY; purchased at Moon River Chattel in Williamsburg
  • Animal horn in bronze from a thrift store in Virginia
  • Matt’s home studio setup
  • BATHROOM
  • Shower curtain from Target
  • Bathmat from West Elm
  • Mirrors from CB2
  • “Floss” metal sculpture from Fab.com

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Thanks, Joan and Matt!

(Images: Liana Walker)

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