The works in artist TM Davy’s darkly enchanting show at Company Gallery, “Fae,” with their satyrs, fairies, tiny monsters, and magical caves, were made in a live-work loft with high ceilings and throwback charm in East Williamsburg that itself seems protected by a powerful bohemian spell.
Davy and his husband, gardener Liam O’Malley Davy, found the apartment on Craigslist in 2010 in a building that was once a sewing factory. It has a double-height main space where Davy paints, and the bedroom/study space is stacked over the kitchen.
North light is always preferable for painting, and their place faces south. “But you can’t have it all,” Davy says, laughing. “The plus is that my husband used to teach in a public school in this neighborhood, and it just kind of beat him up; he left teaching a few years ago, and he’s a gardener now. He’s working on Fire Island, and he’s brought a lot of plants into our life over the years, so that south light is really fantastic.” Some of the containers filled with large plants beside us are also in the show.
The apartment is furnished with an array of collected things: “Mostly, a lot of it has been inherited, but honestly, the hallway is this great exchange in this building, at least it used to be this great exchange — you’d put things out and pick things up. I get paint on everything, so we don’t buy too-nice things. We’ve picked up a lot of stuff over the years.”
In 2017, after a series of rent increases threatened to price them out, they and their fellow tenants got together and appealed to the New York Loft Board.
“It was a weird nightmare,” Davy says. “A lot of people chickened out; they didn’t feel it was worth the stress. What were they afraid of? I don’t know what, exactly. I did feel that fear at the time, but I am glad we stuck with it.” In the end, their apartment became rent stabilized.
Davy says that back in 2011, “we debated me getting a separate studio, but I like to paint really late at night and then climb into bed and not have to think about the journey. So it works for me to kind of live/work.” Besides, he adds, “I don’t really know that there are many places left like this.”
More Great Rooms
- Living With His Husband and His Own Furniture Designs in Greenpoint
- Craftsman Home
- The Empty Dry Cleaner That Became a Printing Studio