Carly Martin, founder Clementine Studio, lives in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, along with his wife Scott and dog Norman. “I’m always attracted to old houses,” she says. “I appreciate the craftsmanship – carpentry, handles, mantles. It was fun to find whims. Of course, it’s always dusty no matter what! “Here, she takes us on a tour …
In a friendly city: We moved here from New York four years ago. Bucktown is such a neighborhood – so many families and dogs. I like the approach in the west. People wave and smile as they walk the streets. I feel myself softening around the edges.
About working with space: The apartment itself has so much character, so we left it to the house guide how we arranged it. For example, the fireplace begged for a bookshelf. So my husband and father-in-law made them from the Home Depot. We also wanted a lower couch because we didn’t want to block the front window. My husband searched Craigslist and found a bed for western elm.
Favorite place: Norman is the mascot of the neighborhood. During the colder months, they will sit on the bed and look out the window. In the summer it will sit on the front and is very royal. I’ll go inside and hear passersby say, ‘Hey, Norman!’
After surviving the winter: In winter we spend a lot of time in the fireplace room. My husband and I both have seasonal depression, so natural light is great. Also, WALK. It took me a while to truly connect, but after a few years here I ended up trying to pretend the shitty gloves were warming me up! I invested in an ankle-length coat and under layers Uniqlo Heattech.
In effect boredom: I listened to a TED talks about boredom, and I’m stuck at how creative your brain becomes when you’re a little bored. It’s hard these days to get bored of the internet, the phone, the TV … so I keep some board games and paper in the living room. If I feel like craving a scroll on Instagram, I’ll take my sketch instead and see what happens.
On an attractive tiger: I took pictures this tiger in watercolor and then sent the file to one of the last remaining American weavers based in North Carolina. They are woven by a digital weaving machine; it’s so great. We hung the blanket on the front wall so you can see it from the street.
About watching shows: I watch everything that is talked about. I just finished Bridgerton. I have a group text chain with my five college friends and I talk to my sister a million times a day. So, I want to keep up to date with things! Especially during quarantine, it’s so nice to have something to check on your friends around.
In the natural central parts: Whenever Trader Joe’s has these big flowering branches, I get them – they add such an architectural element.
At the meeting sweet: My husband and I met in college. In the beginning, we were close friends. I’m definitely an introvert, but that notion wasn’t on my radar at the time. My roommates were kind of wild and we went out all the time, but I remember one night when we were in the apartment where Scott lived and everyone was going out and he decided to stay home and read Time magazine and watch a hockey game. And I was like, wait, can you do that? Can you decide to stay? And that was the moment when something changed. I was like, he’s my speed.
In an interesting form: The walls are a little sloping, but we don’t need a big bedroom. I had to find these little nightstands and lamps to fit into the corner spaces.
On your favorite bedding: This winter, when it was so cold, I longed for the flannel sheets of my childhood. Well, I found them on Goal; these are the same sheets I had when I was 10 and they are so comfortable.
About bedtime routines: Norman goes to bed first. He’ll be leaving around 8:30 p.m. Then we follow. My husband makes fun of me because the book will literally crash in my face and then I know it’s time to go to bed. I read a lot during COVID, but I had to switch to light books. I devoured a food critic Memoirs of Ruth Reichl. I feel like I live in them as I read them.
On eucalyptus: When I lived in New York, I was close to Union Square Farm Market. There was a seller of eucalyptus and he would always have huge irresistible bundles. They refresh the bathroom and smell so good.
On a better mat: We had so many terry mats every year and they always looked so rough. This teak solves that problem!
In career change: As illustrator, I have been designing wedding dress designs since 2014. When the pandemic hit last spring, couples started panicking and had to postpone weddings. I’ve worked with several clients to design a “save a new date” digital template. It unlocked something I had long wanted to do – which was meaningful in a way to offer my signatures with watercolors at a more affordable price. I made more digital templates and named them Clementine to go. I am so grateful for the time I had to do this year.
About choosing a company name: I didn’t want to put my name in my company. As an introvert, I thought it was too personal and I knew it would be easier for me to be the person behind the company that would help her sell it and sell it against her name. It took me a while, but I went back to Clementine because I eat those pounds in the winter!
Thank you very much, Carly!!
(Photo: Carly Martin.)