Live/work

Ryan Willms escribe sobre la experiencia de vivir y trabajar en el mismo espacio y sobre la crisis que sobrevino cuando separó ambas funciones en dos espacios distintos:

The idea of more space, more room and a more organized studio sounds great. And it is, in theory and in the long run, but in the immediate present, there is something unsettling about it. After working from home for so long, opening a new store/studio space took some getting used to. It just wasn’t as natural as I had expected. Something was missing. A familiar feeling, the sense of things, knowing what’s where. Knowing that that orange book about grids is right in the middle of the pile, second to the left —suddenly I wasn’t too sure where it was. It was exciting when the dining room table became an actual desk and when the first employee —my best friend— started living and working in the office at the same time, turning the desk into a multi-station command center. The apartment quickly shrank when five thousand magazines showed up, and when the first shipment of fall knitwear arrived.

It felt gradual and everything had its place —even if the couch was a shipping and receiving desk by day. 600 square feet could have felt comfortable. Unfortunately, a poor layout, too many walls, a closet-turned-bedroom meant it felt more like 200. Reality had set in on the “live/work” space when the only place to eat dinner was in bed. After another draining production schedule at home, followed by a month of moving, I’m still looking for things that aren’t around. Instead there are empty corners that I haven’t seen in years. But I miss the pile of books that had slowly buried the coffee table. I miss the make-shift photography studio that counted on the light reflecting in off the building across the street —best between 3 and 5 in the afternoon. The 34 story soft box couldn’t have been better.

I liked that when nobody else was around, everything else was still around. The books, the clothes, the magazines —it never felt empty and the familiarity of the objects made it comfortable. After moving, there was more space and less things, it felt less and less personal until the apartment started feeling like it wasn’t my place any more.The relatively quick evolution of the space around me was noticeable and I soon found myself not knowing where I liked to be more —at the new studio or at home. Some of my favorite things were here, some were there, the ones I wanted to look at were there and the ones I didn’t need were here. Maybe it was poor planning, or maybe I just like stuff too much, but the transition from apartment to office to apartment took an odd and unexpected toll on my sense of home and comfort. I’m sure a lot of people who started businesses in their home have gone through this.

I remember growing up when my parents moved the office out of their basement for the first time. Sure, we had a whole new room to play in and make as much noise as we could, even at 4pm, but the people, their computers and the atmosphere were part of the house and part of our days, a part of our life.

Now the separation of day and night and office and home have set in, and it’s becoming more familiar. Fortunately, the arrival of my better half brought that daily comfort and consistent atmosphere back into the apartment. The smell of home cooked food, the warmth of another body. And of course she solved the problem of increased space pretty quickly.

Ryan Willms
Apartamento Magazine
Autumn/Winter 2010-11