Every Single Thing


Location Long Island City

Rent $1,148 (market)

Square feet 470 (one-bedroom in row house)

Occupants Sheri Koetting and Marc Levitt (graphic designers, MSLK Design)

Your tree is so modern! The floor looks like it’s liquid, all shimmery. [Sheri] The landlord just poured on the wax. Marc isn’t here yet. This area is our office. We had this trim table made. We have to trim stuff out all the time—paper. So this is a perfect height. Yesterday, we silk-screened Christmas cards.

With a modern snowflake. Look, the perfect, chocolate Advent calendar. It’s so fun to have something to open every day. Marc is Jewish. I’m trying to convince him that Christmas is a good thing. These shelves—Eames! Charles and Ray are our idols. We had Modernica especially make the shelves to fit the television. Modernica has the authorization to make a reproduction of the original. They agreed to turn the center metal bracket, 90 degrees. We have an Eames rocker. We’re all about the authorized reproduction. My friend, who’s an antique picker, said, “Oh, you’d rather have the new, the perfect.” We’re like über-design. We argue about every single thing we buy. This cabinet—no, it’s not modern. My father made it for me in fifth grade. Since my dad made it, you have to love it. He made a secret drawer. I keep my diary in there from when I was eight, 1982.

It’s titled “Secret Dreams and Happenings.” The HIM poster from the Public Theater. Did you put it up because of the electric green color? No. Well, Marc loves Christopher Walken. [Phone rings] “OK, that’s perfect.” That was Marc. He’s leaving the subway. Paula Scher designed the poster. I’m a huge fan. [Marc enters.]

Your glasses are foggy. [Marc] We got this apartment because of our neighbor on St. Marks, where we used to live. He and his brother-in-law own this building. He works at the eye, ear, and nose infirmary.

You and Sheri used to live in sixth-floor walk-ups across from each other on St. Marks. That street! It’s still haunted from when bodies used to be lying on the sidewalks. Did you meet near the incense tables or the packages of socks? Neither. When you’re from the suburbs, it’s dreamland. [Sheri] When I moved to the city, I went on a job interview, 1997. This guy liked my work. He thought Marc would be a good person for me to talk to. He was the same person who introduced Marc’s parents to each other. [Marc] My dad’s best friend from art school—”My friend Herbie has a friend!” [Sheri] Marc’s grand-father, father, and uncle are all New York graphic designers. His grandfather ran a business when graphic design was like pasteup. [Marc] Then my uncle took over—the swinging ’80s, Bobbi Brown makeup packaging. My father worked at the Pushpin Group. [Sheri] He gave Paula Scher her first job. [Marc] Computers came in. He’s a very pen-and-ink guy. Here’s a sign he made. [“Garage Sale—chandelier! Rocking horse. Bamboo headboard!”] This house, in the drawing, is the one I grew up in—Spanish mission in Westchester. [Sheri] I’m from St. Louis. It’s all suburbs. My dad designs software that makes titanium on an airplane curve. He uses parabolas.

You love your new neighborhood, you said. There’s an Original Chirpy Chicken near the subway stop; big, red, electric ribbon bows strung up over Broadway. One house has the door and windows outlined in lights—all wavy like in a dream. We were among the last of our friends to move out of Manhattan. [Marc] I love the suburban houses here. That’s our dream. [Sheri] Anything with character. [Marc] The neighborhood is very utilitarian. There’s a dry cleaner, because there needs to be a dry cleaner. [Sheri] But there’s no pet store. People just buy their pet food at the grocery store. Of course, our fat cats need weight-reduction cat food. We have to have it delivered from Manhattan.

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