When influencer Everett Williams and photographer Nicholas Scarpinato moved into an airy, industrial loft in downtown Los Angeles last summer, they had no idea how much time they’d be spending there. Everett technically worked from home, but as a creative producer whose art lives primarily on Instagram and TikTok, he was constantly attending events and traveling. At the same time, Nicholas had been juggling a full-time content creation job at Sweetgreen, freelance gigs for brands like Postmates, and his own fine art photography print business.
The active, multitasking couple never imagined they’d slow down, but the pandemic has forced them to settle into their space, occasionally unplug, and reconsider their artistic choices as they operate their professional lives remotely. We chatted with the prolific duo about their quarantine activities, apartment updates in the name of productivity, and gratitude for natural light.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Clever: What was your apartment like before the pandemic?
Everett: Our aesthetic is really based on each item, rather than an overall style. We really try to find antiques and other things that give it a unique feel. There is a midcentury-style credenza that I had crafted for me out of repurposed wood, we found a vintage couch that we had fixed up, and we got Wassily chairs from an old man in Thousand Oaks who had them for 35 years, so there are so many stories behind the furniture.
Nicholas: It’s very eclectic. We have a cute, sculptural lamp by Tom Dixon and every time I look at it, I just think it looks like a piece of artwork from the MoMA. It just shimmers in our living room and adds a special touch.
Everett: We took so much of our time finding all of our items. Our space became so special because we didn’t just try and find items to buy. We let the items come to us. They all formed together as time went on.
Nicholas: We also have massive windows. I think there are about 18 that go around the whole space. Everett and I are really affected by light, so that was another hugely important aspect that really sold us on it. It’s the main reason why our photos have a certain quality to them. When it’s bright and sunny, it’s just setting us up for success.
Clever: How have your feelings about your apartment evolved since the pandemic hit?
Everett: We got really lucky. When we first toured it, we knew right away and signed the lease the same day. But before quarantine, I don’t think that I appreciated it as much as I now do. We had focused more on the design aspect of it and what it looked like, instead of necessarily how we live in it. I didn’t really touch our dining area unless we were eating there before, and now that I work there, I’ve found a nice feng shui at the table.
Nicholas: Before quarantine, we did create a studio in our home just purely for creativity and we didn’t appreciate that space. I didn’t shoot in there as much as I do now. Having a devoted creative space is so pivotal.
Clever: How have you altered your apartment to make it conducive to two remote careers?
Nicholas: We really organized our studio in a way where everything is so easily accessible and looks photo-ready. Before, it was almost like a storage closet because we were always outside shooting and traveling. We’ve gotten these cool industrial containers to hold all of our equipment and we’ve installed backdrops that come down from the ceiling. It’s really become a professional working space.
Clever: How have you adjusted to sharing an open floor plan apartment while working?
Everett: We’ve definitely learned how we can work together in the space because I was so used to having the whole place to myself. We have to separate when we have meetings, and we can’t always be talking to each other and hugging and laughing and playing around because then we just don’t get a whole lot done. One of us will go into the studio and the other one will set up on the kitchen counter or dining table. We make sure we’re not suffocating each other.
Clever: Nicholas, how was your transition to working from home?
Nicholas: I’ve been working remotely for Sweetgreen for about six months now. Oddly enough, I feel like I haven’t skipped a beat because we are lucky enough to have built out the studio. It’s actually been great. I have more time for other things because I’m cutting out the commute. I’ve focused that commute time on my own personal creativity and I attack my freelance and my 9-to-5 job with the same amount of time as I did before. It’s really freed up my life.
Clever: How have your creativity levels been affected by quarantine?
Everett: It was actually enlightening. When quarantine first began, we were both really nervous and scared. We didn’t know what to expect and the unknown is terrifying sometimes. I actually found myself connecting with my audience more than ever. I noticed that my stories started becoming more interactive and I was talking to more people each day. People were telling me I was helping them get through it and that I was an inspiration to them, and that really pushed me to dive more into my creative ability than before. We started designing patterns on my head with hair dye and we learned how to make masks out of dust shoe bags.
Nicholas: Before, there was a lot more distraction. I found myself being pulled in so many directions that I didn’t have as much time as I would’ve liked to be creative. Now, I have so much time to sketch new ideas, as well as reflect on the last couple years and what I want to see in the future for myself. I think before quarantine, I didn’t really give myself that mindful time.
Clever: Outside of work, what activities have helped you stay sane during this time?
Nicholas: We used to love working out at gyms and obviously we can’t do that now, so we got these beautiful Linus Roadster Classic bikes and we’ve been exploring Los Angeles. We’ve been riding around the East Side, enjoying air, disconnecting from technology, and using our bodies to see our city.
Everett: We’ve really gotten into unplugging. We’ll go on hikes and leave our phones in the car. We went on a small road trip and went into one of the national parks where you completely lose service, so you don’t even have a choice but to live life without it. We’re always creating, so we can’t separate ourselves from that, but I noticed that it was so easy to naturally be creative during our photo shoots without being influenced by everything that is constantly popping up on our phones.
Clever: Have you followed any of the quarantine fads?
Everett: In the beginning, we went to 15 Targets to try to find a puzzle and we could not find one, so we had to buy one online, but the only one left was this Christmas puppy dog. It was so random, but we did the puzzle, and then we said, “We’re never doing this again.”
Nicholas: We made gluten-free banana bread. Our friend gave us this amazing recipe that had almond flour in it, so we got on that trend and made an actually amazing banana bread. We kind of made it eight times during quarantine.
Everett: It was covered in chocolate chips.
Clever: Are there any quarantine habits you’ve developed that you hope to continue post-pandemic?
Everett: I have learned to trust my vision and my gut, rather than feeling like I have to do things that other people are telling me I need to. I want to continue to create for the sake of creating.
Nicholas: I really want to take away mindfulness and setting aside time for creativity and alone time to think. Before, I was so busy that I never let even myself have an ounce of solitude and reflection. I want to bring that into the future with me, and I don’t think it’ll be hard because I’ve been so in love with how our lives have gone creatively. Yes, we would love the world to get better and healthy, but having this time has definitely been a good reset.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest