A Little About Me:
I grew up in New York City and was thrown head on—out the womb—into the world of art. My father, the owner of a residential and commercial development company had worked for the majority of his life—before my birth—in the both the Pop Art and Film Industry, and could be heard quoting Shakespeare or e.e. Cummings on any given day, at any given moment. My mother, a literature scholar, as well, had doubled and even tripled her workload with extracurricular jobs to keep herself enrolled in university where she eventually graduated, moving into the world of publishing. My name itself comes from two American classics—Quentin, from William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and my completely inconvenient nickname from J.D. Salinger’s “For Esme with Love and Squalor”—both of which, without a doubt, I can recall being read to me a few times, before the age of 8.
The over-saturation of expression was virtually impossible in my household, and as soon as I could string together a thought—much less a sentence—I was handed a marker and paper. As I grew out of my pampers, properly lined blank journals symbolized my winnings as I entered new developmental phases. Lucky enough to be surrounded by art in all its glorious forms, my younger self saw, with undying passion, a world exploding with colors and geometry, dramatic communications and heartfelt moments of laughter and tragedy. And to my absolute delight, all this wonder could be translated to the page, through a little ink and a sore forearm.
While all of expressive stimuli sounds lovely, I also developed major problems with anxiety early in childhood. My parents’ divorce and father’s chaotic disposition, punctuated by years of illness, caused us to move frequently, leaving me feeling unsafe and looking for stability constantly. It didn’t take long for me to understand that I cannot feel calm and at ease unless my environment fits my all inner needs.
At first this started with my interior, wherever in the world I found myself: I cannot recall a time where I was too young to find the strength to rearrange furniture regularly in my room (and anyone else’s—if they let me). As I got older, my quest to fulfill in myself the warmth of “home”, matured into a lifestyle building a well-rounded atmosphere; one filled with organization, peace, expressive stimuli and most of all, food. I had always been lucky enough to be exposed to culinary greatness, but with neither parent knowing how to cook, the grueling chore of self-teaching morphed into the ultimate pleasure of sharing home-cooked meals with others.
I moved out pretty early in my teenage years, returning to my mother’s domicile on and off until I was a few days over 19, when I moved across the country to my father’s hometown of Los Angeles, immediately settling into early twenties’ life as a homebody (or “hermit,” as many close friends prefer) and homemaker. Since that relocation, which is now nearly a decade ago, I’ve renovated and designed three of my own residences and consulted on many more, simply because I love it that much. I’ve worked endlessly with antiques from all different periods and designed north of 16 pieces of furniture. I’ve learned the ins and outs of home remodeling and created areas that work to fit the needs of its inhabitants. I’ve mastered the art of creating a “Happy Home,” and enjoying the full responsibility of sharing this space with others by hosting and opening my doors to a consistent flow of laughter, communication, and full tummies.
Through this column, I want to expand my palette (and palate “see what I did there”) and hopefully my readers’ as well. While my taste is by no means minimal, and my cooking follows no particular trend but I’ll try to share all I know and hopefully hear from you what YOU want to hear about! I want everyone to feel that home is a place to be proud of and to share. I have confidence that my tips and clips can work for anyone because in the end of the day, your space should feel like your own personal oasis, where your guests feel welcome and you can indulge both your naughty and healthy sides alongside me, in the kitchen. And hey, if you’re not reading to get any advice, then I hope you enjoy the articles…remember, this is my first time… leave me some suggestions in the contact section—I would love to hear from you!
Quentin Esme Brown