What´s your personal history and why are you now based in Berlin?
I grew up in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, studied Musical Theatre at The Boston Conservatory, and lived in NYC before moving to Munich in 2001. Those Southern roots always poke out in my love for entertaining, good food, great people and lots of music. I’ve had several different jobs - I ran a restaurant in Manhattan, I worked in a shoe store, I sold erotic accessories, I peddled cosmetics, I sang on stages, I built creative communities and networks, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. The connective tissue has always been relationships – building relationships with customers is essential. I moved to Berlin in 2009. I came to Berlin because I was ready for a change from Munich. My friend Tatjana insisted the city held the promise of possibility and newness and at the time, that was exactly what I was after. Almost immediately, I began working for Soho House to open their first member club in Europe.
What do you like about Berlin?
I often joke that the airport (Tegel) is my favorite part of Berlin – because it gets me out of the jungle and it always welcomes me back home. Beyond that, Berlin creates possibilities – both because the city is financially unaggressive and because there’s a celebration of curiosity. For creative people and those that love creativity, this is really a winning combination.
You are a trained musical actor. Why did you decide to become an “interior decorator”?
I’ve always loved interiors and design. As a kid, I would rearrange my room at least once a month. Today, I can spend hours flipping through interior magazines and I put myself to sleep at night not by counting sheep, but by designing a room. So in a way, I’ve turned a hobby into a job. Last year, my flat was featured in an interiors magazine (Ideat) and people began reaching out to me asking if I could decorate their places. That gave me the confidence to understand that there was something interesting about my take on things. My style is very influenced by my travels and my love for classic design and the stories our homes tell about us. Musical theatre is very much about storytelling, so in some ways it’s been a full circle experience.
How and when did your idea of creating the aptm arise?
I have the fortune of experiencing so many people and places and things in my travels. My suitcase was never big enough. I wanted to create a space - 4 walls where I could always return and share the things that I’d seen on the way. So aptm is a space where people meet, where things meet, where ideas meet, where brands meet, and every combination of those. And because food and design and fellowship are the things I love most, we use these as our medium.
What was/is your intention with the aptm?
aptm is a very personal expression for me – it gives me room to explore and experiment and at the same time share things that I find interesting and relevant. My hope is that aptm inspires people to live a bigger version of their everyday lives. Whatever you do, enjoy the process of doing it.
Why did you chose german design as a topic for aptm?
It is quite literally what I am surrounded by everyday. I’ve lived in Germany for more than 16 years now and in that time I’ve discovered that there’s so much more to the culture and the people than the clichés – there is rigidity, but there’s playfulness as well. I wanted to pause for a few moments and see it all with fresh eyes, to dissect it and question it and come to new conclusions. And I wanted to illuminate how this shows up in culture and design. Beside a strong history of function, craft and craftsmanship, there’s an emerging scene of boutique makers and brands trying new things based on those same principals and I wanted to give them a platform. In a strange way, I think my being a foreigner creates an interesting perspective on what it is that people sometimes take for granted.