AT HOME WITH
...and the Afternoon Light x Emeco
Navy Officer Swivel Armchair in Emerald
You won’t find Marc Hundley on Instagram, at least not with his own account. And once just a few years ago he joked that he didn’t have a smart phone, which I totally believed because Marc has a purity of spirit that seems like it should transcend technology and he’s definitely chill and practical enough to pull off a flip phone, if he wanted to. I met Marc in the ‘90s when he came to New York from Canada to model with his twin brother Ian, a little while after my roommate Tim and I would gawk at them from the front window of our railroad apartment. They cut an enchanting figure on Roebling in the early days of Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s arty gentrification (like, only-two-restaurants early); identical, slender and gorgeous roommates, walking the South Side in perfect step.
Since then, Marc has built a fine career as an artist, photographer and craftsman. Maybe you know the coveted stenciled t-shirts that he’s been making for years and that pop up on your favorite creative’s mood board or in collabs. Perhaps you’ve seen his furniture featured in magazines. His paintings and prints, in their reference-heavy, wildly poetic, and contemplative glory, have exhibited around the world - this summer you can buy a taste in the latest issue of The Paris Review. A lot has changed since those early Williamsburg days, but Marc still lives in the apartment he once shared with his brother. I met artist and photographer Mary Manning there one Saturday in spring to have some coffee and hang, while they took pictures of Marc (a model forever), the apartment (charming forever), and its latest addition – the Afternoon Light x Emeco exclusive Navy Officer Swivel Armchair in Emerald.
So how’s life with the green chair?
I love my new chair. I use it, and my desk more because of it. I can swivel and procrastinate by looking out the window or just work in it. It’s comfortable, and I think the colors go with my apartment.
Tell us about your apartment – obviously, the notable thing is how long you’ve been there, which is sort of uncommon for New Yorkers who tend to move apartments pretty frequently even if it’s the biggest drag ever.
I’ve lived in my apartment for just over 28 years. Rent stabilization and the fact that I love my apartment are the reasons. Since I do carpentry, I’ve changed it multiple times. I would say finding work and a place to live in New York are hard, but I take that back – I would say finding a place to live is the hardest thing. If you can’t find work, you either don’t know how to or don’t want to. There is so much work to be done or to be thought up in New York.
What’s are the best and worst parts about your place?
The one thing I like about it, that might seem like one of the worst things, is the five flight walk up. It keeps me fit, and stairs aren’t a problem anywhere. The thing I like the most is that it has windows on three sides, east, south and west. It has a lot of windows, which make it seem bigger than it is. I bought horizontal blinds during the pandemic which really show off the sun all day.
What about the street where you live?
Roebling Street at South 2nd hasn’t really changed like the rest of Williamsburg. The hardware store that was on Bedford moved to where the bodega was on the corner, but that’s about it.
The neighborhood is so weirdly unrecognizable overall, with little pockets of blocks or corners that have remained totally unchanged. But I guess that’s NYC in a nutshell. How has living here changed?
The view has changed; I went from seeing most of the landmark Manhattan buildings to seeing the new buildings on Williamsburg’s waterfront which I didn’t like at first, but now I don’t mind. I did have that old view for about 20 years. As you’ll remember the neighborhood was scrappy, with a smaller community of just-graduated art students and artists, and the loft parties were amazing and free. The streets were quiet, and it seemed like our playground. Now it’s got what we used to go to the city for, and the people have changed, but it’s kind of nice feeling more anonymous in a place I’ve lived so long. I think it’s great still. I can’t complain about other people moving to a place I moved, like I’m allowed to, but other people aren’t – it’s too simple a way of thinking about an area.
How many people have you had over at once? What was max capacity?
My twin brother and I would have parties a couple times a year and I think we would have about a hundred people or so. They were wild and we would just give up control. It was before anyone would complain because Williamsburg, although less populated, was much louder and wilder in general.
What’s the best apartment upgrade you ever bought, made, or accidentally implemented and why?
A drying rack above the sink made a huge difference that I still love. Recently I made a daybed for the room with all my books and office stuff. I use it all the time and people can stay over. Also, I hung cedar from the ceiling of the bathroom which made it a lot better.
What was the biggest decorating mistake you ever made
My brother and I painted the kitchen floor Tiffany blue and were going to paint “Tiffany & Co.” in the middle. Before we made that mistake, we realized everything looked terrible when the sun hit any part of it. Then we tried a weird yellow that was worse. Then a primary red that was great.
What’s your favorite time of day to be at home?
My favorite is the morning. If I can start work at about 10, sunny mornings with the light coming though the blinds are magic.
If your apartment was a song, what song would it be?
The first song that comes to mind is Joni Mitchell’s “Night in the City”. It’s about going out, but sung from an apartment that I think is my apartment.
How does your furniture-making practice inform your painting and vice versa?
Furniture needs to work. If it doesn’t, maybe you call it art or garbage. I want things to function. When making art (which we never know how exactly it works in the world), I want to make it work as well as I can. Function as best it can. Making furniture helps that cause. But making furniture also somewhat eliminates the constant need for art to function monetarily, which is freeing.
Rank these twelve apartmenty things in order of importance – square footage, house plants, natural light, a windowed bathroom, cross ventilation, elevator, a view, storage space, proximity to a good bodega, doorman, nice neighbors, good vibes.
Natural light, a windowed bathroom, cross ventilation, proximity to a good bodega, a view, good vibes, storage space, square footage, house plants, nice neighbors, doorman, elevator.
Tell us what you’re working on…
I’m renovating a house in Water Island, Fire Island. It’s an early postmodern house that I’m bringing back to its original state. A few alterations in the kitchen and bathrooms, but within the same design language. I’m also working on an art show for Canada for spring 2023.
Photographed by Mary Manning
Also available in Vanilla, see it here.