When we first met ceramic artist
Paula Greif back in 2012, she had set out to make every utensil in her Brooklyn kitchen herself out of clay (see The Handmade Kitchen). (We date our infatuation with small-batch pottery to that post—and Paula’s work remains the standard bearer.) Since then, the former graphic designer and director of music videos and commercials has devoted herself full time to her ceramics, and set a new goal: To establish her own all-in-one studio, home, and retail shop in an impossibly skinny three-story structure in Hudson, New York. Join us for a tour.
Photography by Justine Hand for Remodelista, unless otherwise mentioned.
The Shop Above: Located on Warren Street, Hudson’s shopping hub, Paula’s new quarters are a mere 10 feet wide (nine feet on the inside) and “must have been built as an alley infill,” she says. The building, likely a commercial space to begin with, was used as a house in recent years. Paula gave it a gut renovation, including introducing a storefront and painting the exterior black (it’s Benjamin Moore Black Tar). The shop is at 419 1/2 Warren St., sandwiched between Vincent Mulford Antiques and Minna Goods, and is open Saturday afternoons or by appointment. Above: Paula worked on the project with her friend Stephen Shadley, Diane Keaton’s longtime interior designer, who happened to be building his own place across the river. Starting on the ground floor, which houses the shop and studio in the back, Paula had every room paneled with pre-primed horizontal poplar Trim Boards for a shiplap effect: “This was my splurge. It makes the place feel like a treehouse in Scandinavia, or a glamorous trailer.” Above: Paula works in stoneware, porcelain, and terracotta, and uses a range of techniques: “hand building, slab, wheel, pinched.” Most of her pieces are one- or few-of-a-kind. Her shop is the best source, and they’re also available online at Paula Greif Ceramics, but tend to sell out fast. (Paula sends alerts to subscribers every few months when she replenishes her site. You can also follow Paula on Instagram @paula_greif for the latest shop updates. Finally you can contact Paula directly.) Above: Paula’s work and her new setup are inspired by celebrated ceramic artist Lucie Rie, who fled Nazi Vienna and had her own live/work studio in a mews house in London from 1939 to 1995. Above: A porcelain bowl and compote with hand-drawn lines. Similar Striped Nesting Bowls are $300 for a pair, and a 7.7-inch-tall Footed Bowl is $295. Photograph by Paula Grief. Above: Ceramic serving utensils–which look something like pieces from a children’s book illustration brought to life and are fully functional (even dishwasher safe)—are displayed below the stairs, which lead from the shop and studio to the living quarters upstairs. The Living Quarters Above: The interior narrows from 600 square feet downstairs to 400 square feet on the second floor, home to the living room and kitchen. In the living room, Paula’s vintage Knole settee, a long-ago purchase, is “in its fourth life, last slipcovered in white canvas and now upholstered in yellow linen.” The floors throughout are painted Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White in a gloss. This room doubles as guest quarters thanks to this pair of 1940s chairs that each convert into a twin bed. Above: An avid collector, Paula furnished her intimate home with the best of her antique collection. These she paired with her own work, as well as that of friends and family, to create a truly one-of-a-kind interior. Above: Flanking a center stair, long halls on each of the upstairs floors connect the light-filled rooms at either end. Here’s a view from the living room to the kitchen. Above: I did everything at the lowest cost possible,” says Paula, who credits her builder Glenn Young of Catskill, New York, with “always having the right solution.” In the kitchen, that involved coming up with an affordable combination of custom cabinetry with white Formica counters on plywood. Paula looked for white appliances and paired an Ikea built-in range (a since-discontinued model) with a Whirlpool cooktop and a 24-inch-deep Summit refrigerator (“the cheapest counter depth you can find”), both special ordered for her by her local Home Depot in Catskill. Paula sprang for a Bosch dishwasher and vent—”worth it for their soundlessness.”Paula’s Grohe Minta Pull-Out Spray Faucet came from Faucet Direct: “I was hesitant to buy stuff online but was blown away by the service; I had to exchange things and there were no questions asked and shipping was free.” The aluminum cabinet pulls are Ikea’s Blankett design ($3.99 for two)—”not bad knockoffs of Sugatsune.” Above: Paula’s open shelves provide a place to display her wares. Above: Works by a friend hang over the dining table. Above: A mini gallery at the base of the second-floor stairs includes a drawing by Paula’s daughter Anna Zanes, Paula’s own plate, a ceramic comb by Paula’s former assistant Sula Burmudez Silverman, and a photograph by a friend. Above: In Paula’s tranquil bedroom, a bench from the Essex Street Market in NYC holds one of her terracotta vases. The bed has Ikea white linens topped with mustard yellow throw from T.K. Home just up Warren St. Above: On a bureau from “legendary antiques dealer” Joel Mathieson rests a Jackie Kennedy work by Earl Swanigan, a local folk artist in Hudson. Above: Another long hall leads from the bedroom to the master bath. Above: Beneath a painting by Chicago folk artist George Colin and one of Paula’s own vases, the Wyndam Collection’s 5.58-Foot Laura Soaking Tube is another Home Depot special order (“They, too, were great to work with, and we got a contractor discount”). The sink is a Kingston Brass Sierra Square with a Grohe BauLoup Faucet in Starlight Chrome, both from Faucet Direct. Above: A small plate from Paula’s blue line collection make a perfect soap dish.
Where Paula goes, we follow. Take a look at her previous
Brooklyn apartment and peruse more of her ceramics.
N.B.: This post is a photographic update; the original ran on Jul 10, 2015.