(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
Chris outside of ABC, where we had brunch. Yum.

We love our readers. Right now we're in the midst of our final big contest of the year, Room for Color, and we're going to be flying one lucky winner (and partner) to New York City for a lost weekend (and tasty brunch with yours truly). Just a few weeks ago, however, our first winner of the year, Chris Nguyen (Small Cool), arrived on his grand prize trip, and I had a great brunch with him. Following is a little illustrated journal of his trip, which was amazingly thorough. Check this out and Enjoy!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Chris' room at The Jane, where we put him up for the weekend

Winner of our 2010 Small Cool Contest with this entry, Chris's Furniture Tetris (450 square feet) , Chris's winning apartment turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

A talented graphic designer currently living and working in Houston, he's starting to do great interiors work with others and has a passionate, intrepid mind that you can see in evidence via his website, Creative in Theory. This is the story of his trip.

From Chris:

"I wanted to write to you over the weekend about the trip after I got back last Friday, but got a bit overwhelmed catching up.

Thank you and Apartment Therapy for the chance to share my space for the return favor of getting to see your city, THE city.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
More of The Jane

It was the first time I really explored New York, despite having been twice (very briefly) before. The impromptu map you drew out on the restaurant mat was a great guide for the weekend and that combined with the list made up of places I usually only get to read about on the web filled up an entire week.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
The map I drew for Chris

By my count, I stopped at over 40 design-centric places (averaging 35,000 to 40,000 steps a day getting there according to my pedometer) ranging from museum-like shops to museum shops to vintage furniture collectors to places that made me wish I could win the lottery.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
The Conran Shop

The ones that I find myself telling people about the most are:

The Conran Shops,
Future Perfect,
Scandinavian Design,
and the fantastically pretentious and whimsical Partners and Spade.

I ended chatting up a few of the smaller shop owners for a while and found it really refreshing hearing how in love they are with what they do.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
Scandinavia House

I wish I could have taken more photos, but my camera stopped working early in the trip (works perfectly now oddly). In a way it was kind of nice though, having been a photographer for a decade, sometimes I forget to put down the camera and just absorb the experience (it's also sort of nice not looking like a tourist with a giant camera). I did link some shots I got of the hotel and a few I took with my iPhone, hope you can use them.

Thanks again for this awesome experience. Thanks also for the advice and insight into the interior design industry you gave me over brunch, Maxwell. I think it may have inspired some life direction deviations to come.

Let me know if you ever decide to do anything AT-related in Houston!"

Chris Nguyen

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
Rapha Bike Rack
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
MoMA design collection
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Matisse at MoMA
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Cool building in Chelsea
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Street art in Williamsburg
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Chris' iPhone pedometer
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Close-up of dinner in Chelsea
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )