Mainland Studio by Shyda Hoque

I spent some time with Nat Tingley and Martha Main in their home as it just hit the market for the first time in 5 years.  I have seen many transformations of apartments throughout the years but was blown away by what Nat and Martha created. They were also the design team behind Red Hook’s latest culinary destination, Rita.   I wanted to ask them both questions on their boutique creative studio, Mainland Studio.

How did you start Mainland Studio and where does the name come from?  

Martha Main and I formed Mainland Studio in the Winter of 2016. Martha is an elite level graphic designer by trade, having graduated from RISD with a graphic design degree, followed by years of high level branding work. I’d been working in luxury lighting and furniture design for quite some time, in addition to having an editorial background. With our combined skill set, starting a company together and carving out a place for ourselves seemed like a no brainer.

We named the studio Mainland because of our fondness for the ever changing concept of home. ‘Mainland’ is a word traditionally used in a maritime context; a reference to that distant shore from which you sailed or the destination to which you’re headed. We’re profoundly interested in what makes a home (or the mainland) special and the shape that takes as you move through life. It also helps that one of the co-owners is named Martha Main.

You really made your vanilla box a stunning space.  What one tip would you want to tell people who want to change their space?  

Thank you! We call it the Red Hook Crows Nest, actually  but I like vanilla box! The biggest tip that we can give is to create a space around you that allows for deep breaths. We roll through life like a candy apple covered in sticky caramel, picking anything and everything up along the way and burying ourself in clutter. That clutter, be it clothes or technology or dish ware, can have a suffocating affect on you and your dwelling. They loom and they apply pressure without you even realizing it. It’s our advice to only surround yourself with the objects that are meaningful and only the things that you truly need. You don’t need the souvenir Mets cup that once held your 17 dollar beer. Stripping away those things, even a little, will bring about more moments of clarity and calm- a couple of things we could all use.

What is one of your favorite projects you have worked on?  

Rita is no doubt our favorite project we’ve ever worked on. When our friend Mary Amato came to us and told us she was opening a restaurant and that she wanted us to help her with the overall design of the business, we were so thrilled. There are so many reasons we love this project. I think for us, it’s really representative of what Mainland is all about. Yes, it was a lot of work and at times fairly stressful, but Mary had faith in us and our vision for the space and the branding elements and it came out fabulously. Additionally, and I can’t stress this enough, it was a collaborative effort. Mainland acts as point of connection between builders and makers and designers and clients; a tether that binds fantastically skilled people together to complete a project. Plus how good is the food??

Feel free to reach out to Nat and Martha here.

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