Grace and I discovered Ariele Alasko’s work through Jennifer Causey’s fantastic The Makers Project. Ariele lives close to our Greenpoint office, so one morning before work, Grace stopped by to meet Ariele and see her work. Grace fell head over heels for Ariele’s home, which she shares with Isaiah Palmer, a 3D visual effects artist and super handy guy. So we asked Jennifer to pay Ariele another visit to capture the details that make Ariele and Isaiah’s home so special. I think we responded to Ariele’s home because it is our favorite type of space to feature in sneak peeks: though it’s a small rental, Ariele has created a refuge from city life and a place to work on her dreams. I love that she didn’t wait to find the perfect space before creating the life she wanted to live. Thanks, Ariele and Isaiah! And thanks to Jennifer Causey of The Makers Project for the lovely photos. — Amy Azzarito
Image above: The mantel in our living room is always changing, much like the coffee table rotation we have going on. This is also a place where I store tabletops before they get shipped out. To me, they are art first and furniture second, so I rather enjoy them propped up against a wall. The mountain goat head is actually not taxidermy at all, but rather something I made by carving foam and covering it with vintage rabbit fur; the horns and nose are made from wax and black pigment. The portrait was a $5 junk store find, the ceramic horse I made years ago, and the rusted metal pieces are happy beach discoveries.
Image above: The old living room carpet I bought in California for $100, and it came with a $1300 price tag tucked inside the folds — amazing! The chair was the first piece of real furniture I ever bought in New York, and the window partition is my half attempt at keeping sawdust at bay from my woodshop that is directly behind it. In front of that, if you can see, is an old postal stool that they decided to toss to the curb. Thanks post office!
More of Ariele and Isaiah’s home after the jump . . .
Image above: The oil portrait was painted in 1941 by a friend’s grandmother named Florence — such a classic name! The glass buoys were given to me by another friend whose grandfather collected them on the beach during (I believe) World War I. The lamp I built myself from old scrap metal parts collected all over Brooklyn, and likewise I built the cabinet, complete with a must in my book: turquoise triangle inlay.
Image above: The art hanging here is another one of my eucalyptus leaf pieces. All these little, round, beautiful red leaves were collected for me by my step-grandmother, who has a tree in her backyard in California. Every day she would sweep her patio and put them in a box, then send them to me here in Brooklyn, so I call this our collaboration. The red lamp I built out of old dumbbell parts and made the shade from vintage sewing patterns. The turquoise trunk was an incredible street find, somewhere deep in the heart of Bed-Stuy, and I lugged it about 15 blocks to get it home!
Image above: My shop is, yes, right in the middle of our apartment. It wasn’t intended to get this crazy, but I just kept building more stuff and buying more tools. It eventually grew into (almost) a fully functioning wood-shop — minus the spaciousness that would really make it perfect, but I do what I can. My boyfriend is highly accommodating about all the racket I make, but I pretty much find myself apologizing for all the sawdust every day anyway! Those two green hanging lamps have a lovely story, too: they were found by my electrician (when I was building the restaurant in CA) in an abandoned burnt-out water tower. They had survived a fire that was set by arson and were hanging there totally charred and black. He knew I’d love them anyway, and there are seven others that are wired up and lovely hanging in il vecchio. But I had to save these two for myself! The huge floor lamp on the right side is made out of metal, and Isaiah built it by hand when we were both in college. He welded and bolted it all, and it’s totally moveable, with an extended radius of 10 feet. I use it all the time for my workshop! He’s quite an exceptionally handy guy; he just leaves all the fix-it jobs and building up to me, simply because he knows I love it so much. So sweet of him!
Image above: That wall in the background is an old sculpture I created while still in college; it was essentially my thesis. It took me two months to make and is comprised of thousands of eucalyptus leaves that were collected by my family in California. Yes, they were breaking their backs for me out of the kindness of their hearts and shipping them here in giant boxes! I had to cut the piece in half to get it into the apartment after the show was over, and now it pretty much acts as a backdrop to all my tools and shenanigans, but I adore it! (Oh, and yes indeed, it used to smell great, but now the leaves are so old they have lost all their scent.)
Image above: I made the chandelier entirely of paper, namely vintage sewing patterns and the pages of my favorite book that was falling apart. The porcelain-topped table was my boyfriend’s great-grandmother’s — she used it for flower cutting. All the lamps visible are also built by me.
Image above: The island in the kitchen is one of the first things my boyfriend and I built together when we moved in; there was no counter space before that! Ridiculous. There are old wooden crates underneath it that we use as drawers, but it’s purely functional and I keep intending to update it (and by that I mean, make prettier). We love to cook and pretty much need to extend the counter space even more! Those metal signs we found in the trash, and you can see them every now and then hanging on streets that were “beautified” and won the sign as a prize, but these two are old! They are still making and awarding the signs to this day.
Image above: My favorite piece of furniture in our bedroom is that old wooden flat-file. I found it on Craigslist for 40 bucks, long before I had a car, and carried it all the way from Bay Ridge on the subway. Not fun — but worth it! I cut those little colored flags out of free Martha Stewart paint chip samples from Home Depot (I was feeling very crafty!), and the art behind it was drawn in 1940, clearly while in art school because, written in the corner in huge red pencil, is a B+; even though I totally would have given it an A, it somehow makes it better. Below that is a collage I did years ago on found metal, and below that is a bronze, unfinished horse sculpture I cast using the “lost wax” technique, also years ago. The striped sheets are cheap/lucky Marshall’s finds, and the lamp was $3 at a garage sale.
Image above: I was feeling romantic and sentimental for our six-year anniversary, so I decided to write an oversized love note in chalk.