August 14, 2013
Simon’s Room Anatomy
Back by popular demand! Today we're poking around the Williamsburg apartment of this Male Monday alum. Hands inside the cart!
When Simon Howell, co-owner of Lynn & Lawrence, cooked us fancy eggs on toast a few weeks back our senses were on overload! Not only was the guy hand-straining almond milk to make us lattes, he lived in a beautiful sunny apartment filled with cats, books, and plants. (Calm down, he’s engaged.) We checked in with Simon last week to find out more about his space.
Name: Simon Howell
Hometown: Yorkshire, England
Current location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Day job: Creative artist and co-owner of alpaca wooly hat label, Lynn & Lawrence
1. Hi Simon! Thanks for taking us on this tour. First thing’s first, how long have you lived in this apartment?
I’ve lived here for almost 4 years and my fiancé, Jessie, has been here 8 years.
2. How many apartments have you lived in in New York?
I’ve lived in 5 apartments. Once a loft, just off Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, came up for grabs in my friend’s building. From the outside it seemed like a real steal so I got all excited and prepared for the move. The only problem was that there was a massive cockroach infestation—they were crawling all over the ceiling, doors, and floors! It turned out the previous tenant was evicted after going crazy on drugs and took to living in his own… well… Needless to say, I didn’t take it!
3. Whoa! Intense! Well, now you live in this indoor plant paradise! How many plants do you have?
We have 45 plants and we love them all equally. They’re our babies.
4. And what’s the story behind that ram’s head?
Jessie and I were into the look of animal heads but never really felt comfortable with the idea of a stuffed animal on the wall. This cast resin ram’s head was the perfect compromise.
5. Where did you get the couch and seats from?
We inherited couch from a our good friend Nico and the chairs are old cinema seats. I think we paid $20 for the two of them from Build it Green in Brooklyn.
6. We love the wall of framed images. What’s the method behind its arrangement?
We had so many we couldn’t choose so we employed the style of The Frick Collection and early French salons. A few are actually art pieces but most of them are just images we love and framed ourselves.
7. Can you tell us a story behind your favorite image?
There’s a little photo of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship cutting through the Antarctic. It was the first photo I can remember seeing in Jessie’s work studio when we started dating. It grabbed me because its such a peaceful image—just a little ship on the horizon, slowly powering through the vastness of the unexplored.
8. We know you love to surf, is that surfboard leaning against the wall your favorite?
It’s my favorite to look at only, as I’ve never had it in the water. I started repairing her a while back and she’s still not finished. We call her Annabel and she officially belongs to Jessie. We picked it up from a lovely couple having a yard sale near Montauk.
9. What’s it like working from home?
We’re lucky as we have a great space to work in. In the past when I’ve had a studio, I liked that my work and home life never mixed but I always felt guilty when I skipped in the studio a day for whatever reason. Being at home means that I can just work at my own pace, no pressure and most importantly it saves money.
10. What’s the best meal your dinner table has ever seen?
When we have friends round we normally have a potluck scenario. Some of our friends are amazing cooks and we always get the leftovers.
11. What’s on your bookshelf?
Books on photography, art, surfing, animals, and botanicals. Old, obscure books from flea markets, like my favorite Wigwam Stories—it has a great cover. There are also graphic, fictional, classic, and contemporary novels. Environmental books, history books… I could go on… we have a nicely rounded library of reading!
12. Where did you get that old camera from that’s sitting on your desk?
I bought it for a dear friend of mine and then she lent it back to me. I think it cost about $50 and its my favorite film camera. It doesn’t just look good though, it takes fantastic photos too.
13. OK, last question: What’s the story behind those little puppets on your desk?
Jessie and I went to Puerto Rico last year on vacation and we chose not to take our iPads or computers, and didn’t turn the TV on. We surfed when it was good and listened to music and painted in between. I wrote a little puppet play and Jessie made the characters. Imagination is a great thing!