A 249-Square-Foot New York City Studio Embraces ‘Queer Abundance’ With Collage Walls

published Nov 11, 2022

A 249-Square-Foot New York City Studio Embraces ‘Queer Abundance’ With Collage Walls

published Nov 11, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Maya “Marty” Martin-Udry
Location: Lower East Side — New York, New York
Size: 249 square feet
Type of Home: Studio apartment
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, renting

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Maya “Marty” Martin-Udry is director of communications and PR at a nonprofit community health center, a tenant organizer, and a stained-glass artist in-(self)-training. And when it came to her teeny tiny 249-square-foot studio apartment on New York City’s Lower East Side, it was all about creating bliss — in an incredibly bold, maximalist, isn’t-for-everyone-but-totally-works-here kind of way.

“My home is joyful,” Marty begins. “It is my heart on my sleeve. My great delight is to share it with others — so much of me is reflected in the space so sharing it feels vulnerable and connecting in the best way.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Queer Abundance

Inspiration: Protest Art, Crafts, and Trades

Favorite Element: The walls! I started taping up photos, art, notes from friends, and more in college. Over the years, the collection of memories on my wall has grown and moved with me to various apartments. It is kinship rendered on paper, a chaotic and overwhelming manifestation of the people and spaces I love and have loved. The noisiness, brightness, and abundance of the collage collapses and queers time — everything that has ever mattered to me, all the people I have been, and all the loved ones and experiences that have shaped me, clamoring together all at once. It makes me feel full.

Biggest Challenge: Gatherings — space and resources are meant to be shared! My very small apartment makes this a challenge. If I had my druthers, I would have more room and comfort to offer to friends, family, and comrades. But I try to approach what I do have with abundance and share that.

Proudest DIY: My dresser. I spent days combing through antique stores all over Brooklyn looking for one with interesting bones. When I found this one with a curved face and spiral details, I thought, “Oh, I can make this funhouse mirror-y in a great way.”

Biggest Indulgence: My antique Mennonite quilt. I have Pennsylvania Mennonite ancestry and the neon colors were impossible to resist. I was on a quilt kick and, ever a craft zealot, was on the verge of picking up quilting as a new (and space-sucking) hobby. This one purchase luckily stopped me from taking up yet another craft.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I recently started making stained glass. I convert my dining room table into a work bench to turn my home into a stained-glass studio.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My zines! Zines have a liberatory legacy, as a tool of community building and expression outside of mainstream media. Finding them at rad bookstores, art fairs, and social movement spaces is always a pleasure. I’m looking forward to growing my library and joining in the tradition of bartering and trading them.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: My kitchen cabinet space is limited, so I hung my cookware on the wall. All it took was a few dry wall screws and I made myself eye-catching, versatile storage with a bit of vintage pizzazz.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? For sustainability and quality, DIY and second-hand are my go-to. It’s almost always less expensive and more interesting to buy second hand and modify a piece, or just make it myself from scratch. It can be a meditative practice, a way to disentangle my thinking from the relentless consumerism and wastefulness of our culture. It helps me to remember that things are made, are a product of labor and resources, not mindlessly disposable and replaceable at my convenience. A reminder I need often.



  • Kitchen – Valspar’s “Flower Power”





Thanks Marty!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form