design, furniture and lifestyle in bklyn, ny

An interview with NY Magazine’s Wendy Goodman

by brooklynmodern ~ January 4th, 2011

Brooklyn Modern often re-posts from New York Magazine’s design section, which has featured the borough’s DIY design/furniture scene in detail. Many designers owe the magazine’s design issue or weekly design coverage, for their work finding a larger audience. We were lucky to get NY Mag’s design editor Wendy Goodman to answer a few questions for us.

Wendy’s newest book was released in October 2010, The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, and her design-world coverage can be found in her weekly New York Magazine features and in the Design Hunting newsletter on nymag.com.

NY Magazine's 2010 design issue: Evan and Oliver Haslegrave

NY Magazine's 2010 design issue: Evan and Oliver Haslegrave

brooklyn modern: You are the design editor for New York Magazine, one thing I notice about your coverage is that you feature a broad range of styles, can you describe how you define “New York Design.”  Or more specifically what do you see as the most influential thing now?

Wendy Goodman: I feature a broad range of styles because I am interested in the most personal points of view of how people live in the city, so any and all styles interest me as long as the execution is personal and somewhat ingenious. As New York magazine is a general interest news magazine geared specifically to New York, I look for what I feel is most creative and innovative in residential living here. Decorating and trend spotting is for shelter magazines, not that we don’t’ keep up and track that as well, it is just that the more personal a design story is, the more interesting it is-it’s never about how much money people have, but rather what their passions and initiatives are, and how they express that at home.

NY Magazine

NY Magazine: Brooklyn designers MADE

brooklyn modern: How did you first become interested in design? You have one book out on Tony Duquette, do you have plans for any others?

Wendy Goodman: My second book, The World of Gloria Vanderbilt, was published by Abrams October, 2010. I started my career as a fashion editor, although as a sort of renegade one, as I worked freelance for Harper’s Bazaar and the New York Times Sunday magazine at first. Then I went on to New York magazine and was the Fashion Editor there in the late ‘80’s.

It was during that time that I was taken to lunch by the fashion designer, Pauline Trigere at La Grenouille restaurant. I was mesmerized by the scale of the rooms in what had originally been a carriage house for the Plant mansion across the street (now the Cartier building) as well as the fantastic paintings on the walls. I discovered all sorts of wonderful stories that had happened over the years there through Charles Masson whose family owns the restaurant. I eventually did a story on the family, and the artist, Bernard Lamotte who lived and painted there, so that coupled with other events in my life inspired me to shift gears and devote myself to design on a broader scale in respect to how people live.

brooklyn modern: There is a very strong online community, especially in New York. How do you see the relationship between a print publication’s coverage and sites like Apartment Therapy, Brownstoner and Cool Hunting

Wendy Goodman: There are so many fantastic sites and they are all are so good! It does make it more of a challenge to get to projects first as ‘the scoop’ has always been an editorial imperative, and it still is, only now it is a double whammy: on top of print, you have to scoop the blogs and sites too!

NY Magazine's on Lyndsay Caleo and Fitzhugh Karol

NY Magazine: Brooklyn designers Lyndsay Caleo and Fitzhugh Karol

brooklyn modern: I notice both in your newsletter, “Design Hunting,” and in the magazine you have been focusing a lot on the current DIY/artisan scene in Brooklyn? When did you first notice this new wave of young designers and style in Brooklyn?  And as a follow up, how do you find these small, design-centered Brooklyn folks?

Wendy Goodman: Brooklyn has been such a hot bed of great design studios and designers for a while now. I began covering the Brooklyn Designs show from the beginning and then became a juror, which I love as meeting and discovering new designers is the best. I am out on the street, and in the subway scouting and scouting…ear to the ground, and everywhere else, is how I find my stories and moving fast when I get a lead. There isn’t anyplace I won’t go.

brooklyn modern: There are several strong influences on the Brooklyn scene, the work of mid-century designers, new technologies in sustainability and the re-use of materials, a return to handcrafted furniture, and a new ‘cult of the artisan.’  Where do you think these ideas originate, and how did Brooklyn become the DIY/artisan ground zero?

Wendy Goodman: I think Brooklyn became the artisan ground zero as the real estate allowed artists and designers to have access to great studio space in the way that SoHo and the Lower East Side did back in the ‘60’s. But all that will change as real estate prices make it prohibitive for financially challenged young emerging talent to have places to experiment and work. The scene will move to the next emerging neighborhood.”

brooklyn modern: You have covered most of the best of Brooklyn Designers, what are your favorites?

Wendy Goodman: There are so many!  I love Uhuru and MADE, Grow House Grow, Eric Manigian, Flavor Paper, Eskayel…  to name but a few of the plethora of great talent out there.

One of Goodman's favorite paintings by Sebastien Stoskopff

One of Goodman's favorite paintings by Sebastien Stoskopff

Via Readymade: Cody Utzman of Brooklyn Standard

by admin ~ July 23rd, 2009

Readymade is a great site for anyone interested in D.I.Y. projects. I came across an interview with Brooklyn restaurateur Cody Utzman, the chef behind Brooklyn Label (quality food I can swear to) and Brooklyn Standard. The conversation shows how a creative person can persist and succeed on his/her own terms.

Posted by Katherine Sharpe | July 20, 2009, 9:32 am

Mondays suck. Especially if you hate your job. But the day doesn’t have to be a total waste. You can now look forward to reading about ReadyMakers who have worked their way into f*&%ing awesome jobs—and maybe find a little inspiration to jumpstart your own career in the process—right here, every Monday.

cody_utzman

During the cold days of this past winter, a new store opened on the stretch of Brooklyn’s Nassau Avenue that I walk down every day to get to the subway. I was happy to have a place nearby to get good coffee, and when I first went inside of the new shop, Brooklyn Standard, I became positively fascinated. The store is built on the model of a bodega—the ubiquitous NYC corner store, selling basic groceries and convenience items—but with a heavy vegan/locavore/gourmet strand woven into its DNA. So I stop in for Stumptown coffee, and also for sandwiches that take the the city’s quickie eggs-on-a-roll tradition to new lengths (”The Killer,” for example, is eggs, bacon, cheese, onions, oven-dried cherry tomatoes, mayo and tomato gastrique on grilled foccaccia), and especially to see what’s new. The other day, there were bags of foraged dried morels for sale on the counter, house-made kimchi and dilly beans in glass jars in the fridge. So I was very happy to track down Cody Utzman, a restauranteur and the man who’s brought the Standard’s unique presence to the neighborhood.—KS

VITAL STATS
Occupation: Chef / Restaurateur
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Age: 31
First Job: Burger King, Corvallis, Or
Best Job: Private Chef in Boston, MA
Greatest Professional Challenge: Opening three restaurants Brooklyn in less than 3 years.
Salary During 20s: 90k

1. Hi, Cody Utzman. How did you get that f*&%ing awesome job?

I had no other options! I am totally unemployable!

In 2004 I left a very high paying wonderful job as a private chef in Boston, and headed to New York. For five years I had cooked dinner five nights a week for the same two people. I desperately needed a change. When I arrived in New York City I sought out the typical jobs at high-end restaurants, the likes of Daniel and Balthazar. The reality of these kitchens was far different from what I expected and it was quickly determined that I was totally unemployable. Five years as a private chef was looked down upon by these types of restaurants. In addition the pay was a fraction of what I was used to. For the next two years I took random catering, film production and private chef jobs, and traveled extensively. The whole time I was constantly seeking a location within my neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn to open a restaurant. After six failed lease-signing attempts and multiple investors giving the green light only to pull the plug at the last minute, one finally stuck. That was Brooklyn Label, my first restaurant.

2. What’s distinctive about Brooklyn Standard, and where’d you get the idea?

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Brooklyn Standard is a natural foods grocery, coffee bar, bakery, convenience mart, and eatery. It is the new standard for the ‘bodega’: giving the neighborhood what it needs. Everything you love about your local bodega: smokes, soda, cheap eats, egg on a roll, deli sandwiches, newspapers and magazines, and late night munchies. As sustainability-conscious owners, we are focused on local employment and products, homemade food, being involved in the community, and “green” operations. We are always inquiring “what is Brooklyn making?” These products are sold on The Standard’s shelves, with some of the product-makers using the Brooklyn Standard kitchen as an incubator for their creations. All other items are sourced from local farms and companies. We make our own products that are available under the The Standard brand name, from hummus to pasta sauce to fresh vegan pasta, house pickled beets, prepared vegan and vegetarian meals, kimchi, and selected meats. Brooklyn Standard is simultaneously providing the freshest and best, fostering self-employment, and caring for our planet.

3. How did you get started working with food?

My father only knew how to make ham hocks and lima beans and spaghetti…we ate it over and over…ugh! Horrible.

While home one day from school, most likely expelled for smoking, I found some Gourmet magazines above the fridge in the top cabinet, saw all the beautiful pictures and realized there was more to life than ham hocks and Lima beans.

There was recipe for trout almondine. I had just been fishing with my dad, and luckily had a fresh trout in the cooler. I made the trout almondine from the recipe and took it to him. Very proud, he deemed me the new chef of the house. I sealed the deal with the next menu item, chocolate eclairs.

When I was just 17 I started in culinary school, realizing that a chef job would give me the ability to travel and get out of small town Oregon.

4. When did you know you wanted to own your own business?

Growing up, being raised by my father, a self-proclaimed professional hustler/traveling salesman, I was groomed for this type of work. My father never worked for anybody but himself and I quickly took on this rebellious edge. Before age 21, I had never held a job longer then 6 months. I must have been through 20-30 restaurants and cities by then, generally never sticking around long enough to get the swift kick in the ass on my way out the door; that being the situation, references used to be very hard to come by. They where generally written by my best friend Brandon and we had this scheme worked out where if the employer would call to verify, we would piggyback off each other for a number of very decent jobs in the early days. Owning my own business came naturally. When I was 17 I made up business cards that said “Vagabond Catering Services,” with a little logo of a guy and a rucksack full of cooking pans and tools. Every year I crafted a new business idea that I always had on the side. My current restaurant group is really just a hybrid of those early business ideas, the natural progression of constantly working towards something great.

5. Did you have any role models along the way?

There are definitely people I look up to professionally, but what has always driven me is the knowledge that I really only have myself to answer to and that nobody is going to give me anything. Living in New York City you really have to make your own way. It’s a challenge every day to stay on top, focused and moving in the right direction. Nobody’s going to notice you if you fall down. They will just walk right by.

6. What were the steps you had to go through between having the idea for Brooklyn Standard, and making it real?

First off, you have to have a great idea and the passion to work for it. You have to be able to handle hearing “no” a thousand times a day and still get people to say “yes” at the end of the day. You must be able to constantly get back up when you’re down and keep pushing for whatever it is that you want. For Brooklyn Standard, our ‘bodega’ has been all about identifying what the neighborhood in which it is located really wanted from a new business. It was all about getting the community involved and including them in the project. It seems like so many businesses just pop up overnight and really never look at these factors.

As for skills needed—when I was 18, a good friend told me that a great chef was somebody who could handle everything at once and not be shaken; that has really stuck with me.

The hurdles these days are really just the internal battles I think we all struggle with—am I good enough, will I fail, will this work, will they like it? I have a tattoo across my chest that says “TRUST YOUR STRUGGLE.” I think this statement says it all.

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7. What is your typical day like?

I currently work seven days a week, about 18 hours a day. My restaurant group manages three locations, and we are in construction on two more locations. So my day constitutes checking in with all the managers, chefs, and employees first, finding out how everybody is doing, connecting with everybody on a personal level. Then I pretty much live minute to minute, tending to whatever needs to be done. This could include washing dishes, fixing a computer, changing light bulbs—anything from business and financial meetings to painting a bathroom.

I always make time every day to walk my dog Toro, water the garden at my apartment, and check in with loved ones. Three or four nights a week I will eat out at some of my favorite local restaurants, which gives me a great way to connect with my peers.

8. What are the biggest pleasures of the job? What could you do without?

The biggest pleasure is that for the last five years, I haven’t woken up in the morning and had to go to work. When it’s your own business and you’re doing what you’re passionate about, it feels easy to work seven days a week. The rewards are  all yours and there is a satisfaction beyond comparison when you know inside that you’ve truly done a good job, you need nobody to verify it for you…you just know and you’re proud.

I could do with out the petty complaints. I know we’re in the service industry but as of late, the internet has become a place for everybody to become a critic. Review sites like Yelp give great support to restaurants, but people can be nasty. Review the food and service, but don’t cross the line to comment on the personality and appearance of people; that’s just rude.

9. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you’ve done?

When I was 16 my father picked me up from the local police station for some juvenile mischief I had gotten into. He sat me down and said, “Son, you have to get passionate about something. It doesn’t matter what it is, you just really have to want to do it; it has to move you and inspire you. GET PASSIONATE!”

Kim Holleman at The Bushwick Biennial

by Daniel Sommer ~ June 29th, 2009

trailerpark2

by Daniel Sommer, Contributor

To many, trailer parks conjure images of poverty and undesirable living conditions. Brooklyn artist Kim Holleman challenges these misconceptions in Trailer Park, part of the Bushwick Biennial on view now at NutureArt Gallery. In the piece, Holleman turned the inside of a former camper into a live and growing public park. BrooklynModern recently caught up with Holleman inside her trailer and spoke with her about her work.

trailerpark1

“I lived in a trailer when I was a young child, and I could always see to the other side of it. I always knew where my parents were, it was very cozy, it was very enclosed, it was a perfect oasis, and enclosed bubble…When we moved out of the trailer into our gigantic house, everything went awry. (This upbringing) give me the insight other people aren’t going to have.”

Holleman used her construction and fabricating background to turn a trailer into a fertile oasis, challenging ones expectation of what the object holds within. Replanting the trailer every spring, the plants themselves are found objects. Each one was found growing in Brooklyn and was transferred to the custom designed planting beds.

Also on view, Kim Holleman’s The View is a theoretical core sample of what the ground we live on has become. The hanging glass case contains a mini ecosystem, complete with living plants and bugs, but also toxins and pollutants. Over the life of the piece, the ecosystem has begun purifying the toxins and regaining control over the toxins.

theview

The Bushwick Biennial includes shows throughout Brooklyn. Information can be found at www.bushwickbiennial.com

For more information on NUTUREart, see www.nurtureart.org.

David Alhadeff via NY Mag

by Brooklyn Modern ~ May 16th, 2009

david's apt

Click to see images of David’s apt.

David Alhadeff’s Williamsburg store the Future Perfect is one of the city’s design bellwethers, a cheerleader for innovation and craftsmanship, and the place where many New Yorkers first saw Scrapile by Carlos Salgado, or Jaime Hayon, or Jason Miller. But its owner right now is consumed with two new projects.

“To be honest,” says Alhadeff, sitting in a small café near TFP (its shorthand name), “we are answering to the recession.” So in the spirit of the times, Alhadeff is launching two new collections during next week’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). Souvenir Shop is an array of mugs, T-shirts, key chains, tote bags, and household items in the spirit of the Future Perfect (which means fresh and twisted, in the best possible way). The second, the Future Perfect Editions, is made up of exclusive pieces from names like Lindsey Adelman, Miller, Scrapile, and others making functional art for the home.

Alhadeff describes one of the new handblown-glass chandeliers from the Editions collection as looking like a “jellyfish trapped in a net.” He loves its imperfections.

When he founded the Future Perfect six years ago, Alhadeff already had a leg up in the business world. Like many of his peers, he’d started a dot-com that had gone bust. At one time, he says, he was “really, really, really rich, on paper,” but he’s got an older-and-wiser attitude now (he’s 34). “I was too young, and I was a prick,” he says. The Future Perfect may not make him rich, even on paper, but it’s an outlet for his passion about new design, and it’s clearly working. Alhadeff now has Future Perfects here and in Los Angeles. In 2006, he co-founded A&G Merch, and he has a decorating business.

Like many design lovers, he started young, drawing floor plans and making houses for his Smurfs from shoe boxes while growing up in Seattle. Now, living in a former warehouse in Brooklyn, his decorative instinct is to casually great pieces. “I really feel comfortable here. I’ve collected and let that collection say something about myself,” says Alhadeff. “I’ve never treated my house as an interior-design project or felt I needed to justify my belongings.”

Color, lots of it, transforms what could be ordinary space. And the large loft has a colorful history itself: the band Pavement lived here, as did Tony Moxham when he was the art director of Interview magazine. Alhadeff moved in nine years ago. What he loves about the young designers he works with is their sense of experimentation. “They are not jaded,” he says. “They have a fresh, open spirit.” That’s even more important now, he adds; the upside of a bad economy, he thinks, is a renewed sense of community. “The point is now nobody is doing anything alone anymore. My success is letting go and trusting the creative talent of others.” Alhadeff’s decorating mantra is simple. “Throw away the interiors rule book. I am into a creative mix of diverse objects that wouldn’t seem to go together at all, but in the end create a striking result: elegantly playful, casually sophisticated, unpretentiously modern.”

Bklyn Designs Videos & Palo Samko

by Brooklyn Modern ~ May 14th, 2009

In the above video, Design*Sponge, a site dedicated to home and product design, introduces the exhibitors of Bklyn Designs 2009.  While the narrator is impressed with the overall quality of the show, the work of Palo Samko has definitely captured her attention. His presentation caught my eye as well--I snapped shots of his table and asked a few questions.

table
The table is made from reclaimed wood that has been bleached, burned, and stained dark green. Incidentally, Paolo comes from a mountain town on the Czech/Polish border. I find it particularly amazing that he is a self taught builder and has no design school training. Rather, he’s inspired by 1920’s craftsmen, who were able to hand make complex structures like blimps, which you can see in the photo’s background. I wondered why he stained the table deep green, but it makes sense when you look through the window built in the top.

photo
Set below the green surface, a shepherd stands with his flock. Perhaps the table is then meant to reference a pasture, where those who sit, can relax and enjoy the experience. Check out the rest of his work @ palosamko.com.

NY1's Coverage of Bklyn Designs-Click to Watch Video

by Brooklyn Modern ~ May 11th, 2009

ny1Click to watch video at NY1.com

Bklyn Designs Unplugged Via 3rings

by Brooklyn Modern ~ May 5th, 2009

3rings writes:
With just a week left before BKLYN DESIGNS begins, we bring you BKLYN DESIGNS Unplugged, an interview with Carl Hum, CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and Karen Auster, President of Auster Events and show producer. Learn of some insights into why/how this great local display of design talent came to be. You’ll additionally hear from William Hilgendorf of Uhuru Design, Daniel Moyer of Daniel Moyer Designs, and Bruce Marsh of Bruce Marsh Designs.

BKLYN DESIGNS begins this Friday, May 8th in Dumbo and will be running strong through the weekend. I’ll be there every day (Friday thru Sunday) so please be sure to stop by and introduce yourself. Also, a tip to all those great sons and daughters, there’s a Mother’s Day Brunch Sunday. I promise mothers all love BKLYN DESIGNS too!

Daniel Moyer for Bklyn Designs Video

by Brooklyn Modern ~ May 2nd, 2009

3 Rings blog has been doing a great job of covering the designers showing at Bklyn Designs next week. In the above video, furniture maker, skateboard designer, and fabricator Daniel Moyer of Brooklyn explains the thinking behind his work (I’m fascinated by seeing work explained at this granular level of detail and learned quite a bit). Like many of the Brooklyn’s artisans, Daniel is a purist: only wood, only wax, only oil for his pieces. He’s also got a beautiful shop and one of his custom skateboards seems to be suspended in mid-air. I can’t wait to meet him at the show.

daniel moyerIn the video Daniel discusses some of the construction techniques behind his ideas.

daniel moyer

long board

Moyer has created a variety of custom boards. Check out this articles in Inhabitat.

Visit Daniel Moyer Design to see more work. He can be reached at 917.301.2551.

A Conversation with Andrew Raible of Standard 41

by Brooklyn Modern ~ April 30th, 2009

Andrew Raible is a Brooklyn based designer who builds modern, sophisticated furniture. He has a family history in the trade, is schooled at Pratt, and apprenticed with an accomplished Brooklyn furniture maker. His work has been recognized by all of the important interior design publications.

BrooklynModern: You are a sixth generation designer. How does this history affect your design thinking?

Andrew Raible: At a very early age, my father had me working in his shop sanding, using the jig saw or cleaning up. Sounds like child labor now, but it did teach me that I could use the machines to make just about anything. We also discussed his designs and others along the way. I learned very early on to have a critical eye. At first I parroted my father, but eventually I began to disagree and to fight for my own ideas. He also had no qualms giving me his opinion and suggestions on my designs. Often he was right with his criticism (”turn it upside down”) but eventually as my style evolved, the dialogue became more nuanced, concentrating on an angle or a proportion.

laptop

Lap Top Desk, solid walnut, maple, cherry
L55? D32? H28?

BrooklynModern: What motivates you as a designer at this stage?

Andrew Raible: You mean other than the ultimate table leg casting the perfect shadow across the floor and stimulating the conversation that leads to universal enlightenment? Honestly, transitions have always intrigued me. My designs almost always begin with a 3d model of some transition; plane, material, reveal. I love exploring how to move from one surface to another. It’s still four legs and a top, but how can I incorporate some discovery within my design, some detail that doesn’t immediately reveal itself.

Love Chaise, available in solid and veneered walnut, maple, cherry,
L50? D33?  H32?

BrooklynModern: You apprenticed before going out on your own. How helpful was this experience?

Andrew Raible: When I’ve been in communal shops, you can tell almost immediately who has been properly trained and who is self taught. Apprenticing, schooling or working your way up thru the ranks in a large shop, teaches you a discipline and respect for the machines and the material that I think is crucial. The Europeans’ approach to passing on the knowledge, not hoarding it, tends to create a more well rounded craftsperson. They have been doing this for centuries and it shows.

credenza

Slant Credenza, solid and veneered wood walnut, maple, cherry
L60?  D22? H29?

BrooklynModern: It appears that Modernism and Scandinavian design have influenced your work, but is there a particular artist you look to for inspiration?

Andrew Raible: Obviously I’m coming at this from a mid-century ideal. But I’ve been exploring this idea of mid-century for this century. A greener and maybe a bit more sculptural approach to designing. Contemporary artist/designers are: Scott Burton for his form and material-stone, Roy McMakin for his sense of humor, Christopher Wilmarth for his transparency, Judd for his flourish.

raibleinsp
Modern sculpture has influenced Andrew’s work

BrooklynModern: What’s the advantage to being a designer in Brooklyn?

Andrew Raible: 1– The resources that are here. Brooklyn has a slew of craftspeople who seem to defy the modern world; artists who practice centuries old art. But we also have artists who are using the most advanced machines and techniques in the world. 2– The competition.  3– The proximity to knowledgeable forward thinking clients.

BrooklynModern: Whose work in Brooklyn do you admire the most?

Andrew Raible: They’re all no good sons of bitches.

Actually, I just met all the other designers who are showing at Voos, a new furniture show room show casing Brooklyn designers. I have to admit that the owners chose a very strong group. If you want to see what’s going on in Brooklyn furniture design right now, go to Voos.

BrooklynModern: You made yourself a part of the Brooklyn furniture movement during its infancy. How has the scene changed over time?

Andrew Raible: A lot more cache than before.

BrooklynModern: You are making a shift away from exotic wood to more local, traditional wood? Why?

Andrew Raible: Obviously first and foremost, the environmental impact of using exotic wood is just irresponsible at this point. Also, I’m trying to rely more on form now than a BOLD piece of exotic wood. I’ve been thinking more along manufacturing lines lately, and beautiful domestic woods, harvested in the North East seem to make sense across the board.

BrooklynModern: Where do you see your work heading in the future?

Andrew Raible: The Oval Office.

BrooklynModern: What is your dream project?

Andrew Raible: I just started designing a restaurant. I’ve always been particular towards tables for bringing people together. Now with a restaurant, I can expand on that idea 50 fold. Ahhh, community.

Andrew’s work can be seen at Standard41.com. He has several collections and takes on custom projects. He can be directly reached at 917.805.0835

The Woodworking Channel

by Brooklyn Modern ~ April 14th, 2009

sam-maloofMaloof reveals the secrets of his rocker at The Woodworking Channel


I just came across The Woodworking Channel. Looks like it’s new, but has an interesting section of videos. Wood genius Sam Maloof is the subject of a series and goes over the construction of his famous rocker.

Brooklyn Designers

4 korners 4 korners ecosystems uhru manigian big prototype euclid city joinery aswoon brucemarsh atlas bravespace scottbraun palo samko standard41 night woodny todd mccolister wonk total metal resource matt gagnon DFMF the design can robert martin designs wud readymadeprojects Robert Austin Gonzalez benton custom Eric Ervin  

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