Photographer Michael Mundy has cast his lens for publications ranging from House & Garden to Vogue. In April 2010, Mundy and his wife, Nhi Nguyen, launched An Afternoon With as "a project about people and their spaces." Here now, the duo offers a Curbed column in which they continue to explore the great many ways the people around them live.
CN: How long have you lived here?
Jennifer Blumin, president of The Skylight Group, a collection of high-end event spaces: I have lived here for seven years. James is a more recent addition.
CN: What's the first thing you noticed about the place?
James Ramsey, president of RAAD architecture/design firm: The neighborhood of western Soho is amazing—it still has the qualities of a "real" neighborhood, which is something that's disappearing these days, yet it has all sorts of wonderful restaurants and cafes. Our space is in a building that was formerly tenements, and the authentic patina of the apartment is something you can't buy.
CN: How did you know this would be home?
James: Have you seen Jen? Just kidding, kind of...
Jennifer: It became home organically, as a typical New York real estate story. My good friend was leaving the apartment to "try it out with a guy" in L.A., and I had recently purchased a condo that had not yet closed so I needed a temporary place. I had no idea this would become home for so long.
CN: Did you hire a decorator?
James: I guess that would be me! I enjoy surrounding myself with the artifacts of all of my crazy nerdy interests: origami, light fixtures from the '20s, cooking instruments, my family's brand of artisanal hams, antique scientific tools, and so on.
CN: Name a favorite pieces of furniture.
James: The credenza I made, which is studded with exposed speakers. It's part midcentury modern, part sci-fi, and all rock 'n' roll. The neighbors, I'm sure, might not like it as much as we do.
Jennifer: I also love the Jonathan Adler couch, a flea market find.
CN: Describe a typical weeknight in your home.
James: Jen and I cook as much as our busy schedules will allow. We're both huge food aficionados and we've constructed a kitchen area to suit, complete with a blackboard that helps us remember what we're missing, an in-counter herb garden, and a special hook to hang Ramsey Farms hams, which my family makes in Tennessee.
Jennifer: On any typical night, I am either at the computer and James is cooking, or I am blowing in all cranked up from an event and James is cooking.
CN: If you moved tomorrow, what elements of this home would you bring to your new place? What would you leave behind?
Jennifer: There's a lot that has been permanently installed, so those elements would have to be left behind. The Japanese shoji screens would have to stay, as would the kitchen renovation, of course. I would be very excited in the next place to have a better setting for "stuff," like the sculpture we brought back from India.
James: I'd bring our prized collections of bizarre stuff, our midcentury sofa, and the credenza, first and foremost.
CN: If you could have any one neighbor, who would it be, and why?
James: I'd love if my sister could move into the building. She has a very cute parrot, and she travels a lot, so it would provide tons of opportunities to parrot-sit. The flip side is that it would also provide us the opportunity to get a dog, for the same reason.
Jennifer: Mario Batali. We cure meat, pickle, grow herbs and veggies, and cook a ton, but he would take "borrowing a cup of sugar" to a whole new level.
CN: Tell us which four people, living or dead, famous or not, you'd invite to a dinner party here, and what you'd serve.
Jennifer: Nathan Myhrvold—a founder of Microsoft, dinosaur expert, cookbook author, BBQ contest winner, and inventor. However, we would be so starstruck and awed by his awesomeness that we'd probably be mute dinner party hosts. Beyond that, I'd like to have a good mix of old friends.
James: We do throw tons of dinner parties. We'll typically do something completely excessive, like making our own ravioli with semi-runny egg yolk centers, or experimenting, like the time we made octopus buffalo wings. For our next dinner party, we'll be slow roasting a whole pork butt for 16 hours, pressing our own corn tortillas, and making pulled-pork tacos.
CN: How would you describe your home in three words?
Jennifer: Warm, historical, and functional.
James: Nerdy. Cozy. Cool.
· RAAD [official site]
· The Skylight Group [official site]
· Previous An Afternoon With columns [Curbed National]