Name: Langston Clement
Location: Bella Vista, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Size: 925 square feet
Years lived in: 7 months; Rented
I first met Langston while I was working part-time at Hello Home and immediately, I was struck by how, well… likeable he was. He was somewhat quiet, but easygoing, with a sense of restrained energy bubbling just below the surface. Later, when J, the owner of Hello Home, opened his new store, Industry, he hired Langston to be the DJ for the grand opening. And it was there that I caught a glimpse of him in his element, rocking the house and as cheerful and engaging as ever.
By day, Langston works as a tech guru, and by night he's DJ FOXX Boogie, as well as one-half of Control Freaks, a Philadelphia-based music partnership. Not surprisingly, Langston's home melds these disparate interests perfectly. It's colorful, but considered. It's urban, but restrained. It's light and bright, and every object has a story. Because when it comes to decking out his pad, Langston always has his eye out for just the right thing. It might be a table left behind by an old tenant, a bench from a closing skate shop, or a gadget that's caught his eye on eBay.
When it comes to furniture, he prefers the clean, simple lines of modern pieces, and has a special soft spot for mid-century pieces in particular. He's also a graffiti art fan and staunch supporter of local artists, and has commissioned several pieces which hang throughout the apartment. There's nothing he likes better than telling an artist to do whatever they want, or to just "use some orange in it," and then seeing what they create. In short, Langston's home reflects the many facets of his personality, and as such, it's as much of an animated mix as he is.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Light, airy, street art inspired/Urban Minimalist.
Inspiration: Graffiti and designer art toys. I wanted to walk into this place and almost feel like I stepped into a KidRobot store. The idea was to keep things light and airy, incorporate bright pops of color throughout, then tie it together with a modern and cozy feel. I had a nice collection of graffiti canvases from years of DJing for a local street art gallery, so I decided to add a few more talented Philly artists to the mix in order to fill up wall space and brighten things up. When I had a new piece commissioned, I would go to the store and hand pick a couple of vibrant graffiti colors for the artist to work with in order to switch up the color palette in the apartment. Overall, I love all the pieces and I think it makes the space look a lot more fun and animated.
Favorite Element: The 1970 JVC Videosphere space helmet TV in the bedroom. When I was in Denver this past summer I stopped by the Kirkland Museum of Fine and Decorative Art and as I was walking throughout their amazing collection, this piece caught my eye. I'm obsessed with any 60/70's retro piece that has an ultra-modern feel and looks like it belongs to the Jetsons. When I saw this piece my jaw dropped. The TV displays the picture in black and white and was designed with a built in chain so it can be hung from the ceiling, so it was a no-brainer that I had to find one of these.
Biggest Challenge: The lack of electrical outlets. Because it's an older building I had to be a bit clever when I set everything up. I ran an extension cord across the living room and flushed it against the baseboard so that you can barely tell it's there in order to power all of the lights and devices. I also set up cable boxes in order to hide the wire clutter and to keep a minimalist, stress free aesthetic.
What Friends Say: They're impressed. Once they look around they tend to compliment me on all the "neat things" I have in my place. I jump on that moment to talk about mid-century modern design and explain to them how they can have fun with just a few cool pieces mixed in with their own style. Some of them look at me like I have three heads but some actually appreciate it and listen.
Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen. It's not quite up to par with the rest of the apartment. I was left with mismatched cabinets and an awkward cubby that I use for storage. So I do my best to keep everyone distracted with the living room and bedroom and keep them away from that area.
Proudest DIY: I have two. Can I do that? I'm doing it. The first is the custom made coffee table. Having no woodworking skills whatsoever, it was a huge pain to build, but after the long process it came out better than I thought. I used a stain called Driftwood and the light greenish color tied it all together better than the natural stain I was initially going to use. The second was spray painting the Ikea bed frame that I've owned for a long time. Since I couldn't afford a new bed frame from BluDot or CB2 I decided to freshen it up with a light graffiti color. It really complements all the natural light and brightness that comes into the bedroom.
Biggest Indulgence: Gadgets. I'm a huge tech nerd, and there are a lot of neat toys hidden and scattered throughout the apartment. Overall, the most used is the master touch screen remote that controls everything — the TV, lights, ceiling fan, game consoles and music on the fly. I'm also converting the 1946 General Electric (GE) radio on the bookshelf with an iPod dock that will work with the pre-existing volume knobs/controls.
Best Advice: Ramp up in the beginning. Don't wait months down the road to finally fill up your space. You want to come home and relax, not feel like you live in an unfinished project. Before you know it certain ideas will remain incomplete, so get it done while you still have the motivation and then enjoy your place. Design tips? Commission a few local artists to fill your wall space and stop buying boring furniture!
Dream Sources: HiveModern.com, BluDot, Yotel NYC
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
• Glidden - Pearl Grey (Semi-Gloss)
• Logitech Harmony 1100 Master Remote
• Boto Designs
• Vintage Argus C3 camera
(Images: Bethany Seawright)
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