FEATURES : DESIGN

The Brothers Haslegrave

By Raven Keller

Published April 18, 2011

Oliver and Evan Haslegrave of hOmE in their Greenpoint studio

Photo: Rose Callahan

Oliver and Evan Haslegrave of hOmE in their Greenpoint studio

At play

Photo: Rose Callahan

At play

hOmE's 1,200 square foot live/work space

Photo: Rose Callahan

hOmE's 1,200 square foot live/work space

hOmE's 1,200 square foot live/work space

Photo: Rose Callahan

hOmE's 1,200 square foot live/work space

No space is left unused, an upright piano fits perfectly between the two bedrooms.

Photo: Rose Callahan

No space is left unused, an upright piano fits perfectly between the two bedrooms.

The entrance to their workshop

Photo: Rose Callahan

The entrance to their workshop

Natural lighting floods in from the skylight.

Photo: Rose Callahan

Natural lighting floods in from the skylight.

A lantern hangs from the column.

Photo: Rose Callahan

A lantern hangs from the column.

hOmE

Photo: Rose Callahan

hOmE

Left: A barrel of whiskey from Kings County Distillery Right: The Bar

Photo: Rose Callahan

Left: A barrel of whiskey from Kings County Distillery Right: The Bar

There is order and symmetry amongst the rough texture in the studio.

Photo: Rose Callahan

There is order and symmetry amongst the rough texture in the studio.

A small designated sign.

Photo: Rose Callahan

A small designated sign.

The "soda fountain"

Photo: Rose Callahan

The "soda fountain"

John Lemon aka Jack Lemon

Photo: Rose Callahan

John Lemon aka Jack Lemon

An Edison record player sits in front of the workshop

Photo: Rose Callahan

An Edison record player sits in front of the workshop

Evan and Oliver Haslegrave

Photo: Rose Callahan

Evan and Oliver Haslegrave

Photo: Rose Callahan

Evan sketching

Photo: Rose Callahan

Evan sketching

Objects of all sorts sit above a cabinet.

Photo: Rose Callahan

Objects of all sorts sit above a cabinet.

Prototype chair for Goat Town

Photo: Rose Callahan

Prototype chair for Goat Town

Evan outside of his bedroom

Photo: Rose Callahan

Evan outside of his bedroom

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After the completion of Paulie Gee’s, Paul Giannone, the pizzeria’s namesake and founder, thanked the brothers with a commemorative lemon tree, a nod to the restaurant’s citrus-laden logo. Shortly after positioning the sapling beside the sink in their kitchen, Evan christened it “John Lemon,” a play on the name of the former New Yorker. Oliver prefers to call the tree by his nickname, “Jack Lemon.”

“That one actually took an embarrassingly long time to come up with,” Oliver said.
Evan disagreed, “No… John Lemon just sort of came.”
Oliver was certain that his memory was correct. “He didn’t have a name for a long time,” he said, without looking at Evan. “Cause he wasn’t really a lemon tree! He was just kind of, like, this twig for a long time! And I’d say… just within the past three of four months he’s really started coming into his own,” Evan said, playfully ending the discussion.

The thin green branches of John Lemon had opened during a short burst of warm weather and now reached out over the left trough of the double basin sink. Pre-veraision lemon globules weighed on the plant’s limbs so that the branches hung low beside the sink’s spigot. The spout of the sink was ornamented with vintage glass soda bottles—quite literally a “soda fountain.” In weeks before the spout had been made of a small gardening shovel, but the brothers wanted to try something new. “We needed something to clear the snow,” Oliver joked from beside an ancient record player with tall thin sides and a crisp black disk. To his left was a barrel of small-batch whiskey that was given to the brothers by Kings County Distillery. The fine smokey liquor can only be removed by tipping the barrel on its side and sucking the drink out with a baster. “We did some work in exchange for some whiskey,” Oliver explained.

Evan and Oliver’s 1,200 square foot loft contains an exhaustive collection of well-placed nick-nackery, including a black and white photo of the Beach Boys eating fast food, two dilapidated old-timey butcher’s blocks, and more books than anyone would care to count. The innards of a grand piano are tacked up on the north-facing wall and fallen pennies hide between spaces in the floorboards.

“Lucked out? We refused this place the first time we saw it. It was dark and the floor was painted this horrible brown color,” Evan said, pointing with his foot to a spot on the floor that had survived a heavy sandblasting. After finding no other space quite as large as this one, the brothers signed a lease on the loft and renovated it extensively. “When you’ve worked in the industry for so long, you kind of have x-ray vision and you can see the space without the walls there,” he said.

On the west-side of the apartment, the brothers have a well-stocked shop where they build some of their smaller items that they use in their designs. “Lighting is mostly fabricated here because we really put an emphasis on it. It’s something that we oversee as much as possible,” Evan said. The brothers believe that when a designer works directly with a material, he will develop a better understanding of that material’s strengths and weaknesses. “It’s similar to a doctor not working on a cadaver, but a live patient. If you have experience with the actual medium, you have a better grasp on your design,” Evan said.

One gets the sense that Evan and Oliver Haslegrave have never pressured a piece of wood, a box of bolts or an iron pick axe to be anything that it did not already want to be. Neither have the brothers forced their careers in any specific direction—rather, they have allowed their lives to progress naturally. They are moved along by their congenital curiosity and their adoration of new experiences, their eye for balance and their understanding of social spaces.

Evan lifted his hands to gesture as he spoke, “We like creating these places where you feel, in a comfortable way, all of these crossovers of necessity within one space. There are just so many different levels that have to all function and when you finally get those different things to overlap in the right way you end up with a cohesive, beautiful feeling in the space.” His hands fell to a resting position on his knees and he nestled into the crook of a well-worn wooden chair. He smiled. “It’s about creating that space that we really believe in.”

COMMENTS

Adele
said at 9am
April 18, 2011

Visiting one of the Haslegrave's spaces is on my bucket list for my next NY visit.

nathan
said at 12pm
April 18, 2011

this may be my favorite feature so far, thanks Tom, Raven, and Rose!

Jane
said at 8pm
April 18, 2011

Great article. I live close to the location of Nutopian Embassy in Tribeca and am thrilled (and relieved) to learn the building is in the hands of two young and talented artists. Can't wait for Little One!

Walter
said at 12am
April 19, 2011

Great feature. I like the cut of their jib.

Calvin
said at 5am
April 19, 2011

Awesome article.... just like Adele... that's my next visit to NY.

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