Textile designer, Lourdes Sanchez, gives us a tour of her Brooklyn studio and home.
The Cuban-born lady has spent the last 20 years designing colourful fabric prints for the likes of Diane von Furstenberg and Ralph Lauren. We chatted to her about what it’s like to live in NYC, the tunes she likes to listen to while creating and her adorable little roommate, Moon Pie.
What’s your place like in Brooklyn?
It’s on the top floor of a three-storey brick building in what was, in the not so very distant past, a working class Italian American neighbourhood famous for being the hugely polluted, rumoured Mafia body dumping ground. I rent from a family that has been here for a few generations who live below me. I just love it because it’s wonky and was never renovated. I painted the messed up wooden floors with ten coats of cream-colored paint. By NYC standards, it has a large eat-in kitchen, which I painted mint green, one of my favorite colours. My home is pretty much in constant flux – the tables and piles of ephemera get moved around as work progresses.
Who are your flatmates and what are they like?
I share my home with Moon Pie (pictured below), a little black dog who is probably Havanese (never met her parents). She is cheeky, affectionate and crazy smart. I don’t live with my partner, Russell Busch, but sometimes he stays over for a while and we work on some projects together. The rest of the time it’s just me and Moon Pie and then I can turn up the music and really spread out.
Who lives next door?
Next door to the left is an Italian American couple who grew up in the neighborhood (Gowanus) before it was all chi-chi. To the right is a house with a revolving door of tenants who are mainly gay men who are often photographers, artists or musicians. There used to be huge, wonderful parties there when an artist named Paul Wirhun lived there. They spilled out into a gorgeous garden he made. He has since moved away and my own landlord hates all nature and foliage and favours cement.
Where do you source your furniture?
My furniture is almost 100 per cent vintage (50s and 60s) from flea markets, mostly in NYC and some from the MidWest, with an occasional vintage store purchase. I did sadly have to give in to the urging of a friend, who was helping me move here, to get some Ikea storage units for the studio – the 1930s cabinets I loved were just not big enough to do the job.
What’s your most prized possession in your home?
That’s a tough to choose just one. I love the big pile of art books, but also the 1950s school cafeteria worktables, and the Milo Baughman armchair with the matching ottoman.
What tunes do you like to listen to at home?
If I am doing new work, I sometimes just have one song on in the background for two weeks straight. A few songs I have done that with over the years have been Hanging On a Star by
Nick Drake, Atmosphere by Joy Division and What Would The Community Think by Cat Power. Sometimes I make a 70s, 80s, 90s or Millennium playlist to get a period vibe if I am referencing those decades in a particular collection. When I am doing work that requires a lot of filling in, I listen to audio books. I recently loved listening to Room by Emma Donague and A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
What’s your favourite thing to do at home?
Some of my favorites things are: napping, painting, eating snacks.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
I am not stellar in the cooking department. But Russell is a great cook and I have so many great places to eat nearby. But I do sometimes prepare oatmeal with coconut and cinnamon in my mint green kitchen.
You’ve left Brooklyn for a little while recently and have relocated to Yucatan in Mexico for six months. Tell us about your Yucatan pad.
It’s in Merida and is between a mechanics garage and a florist. The neighbourhood has a lot of mechanics and carpenters and re-upholstery workshops. Our house [Russell, Lourdes and Moon Pie live there together] was only ever owned by the original who family who built it and for several generations. They just added on to it as they went, so some the rooms on one side of the house are well over 100 years old and on the other side they are from the late 50s. Some of our new neighbours are roosters and goats, yet it’s still in the city, and we can walk to most things. The people here are incredibly gracious. We have been living here working on the house since January, and plan to be here about six months per year. We actually don’t want to leave! But I plan to go back to my Brooklyn home in June, it’s gorgeous in NY then.
Check out more of Lourdes’ work on her website.