As a part of our maudern people series, we asked LA-based creative director Brady Tolbert for insights on modern intimacy. An interior designer and prop stylist, he is currently the creative director of Bobby Berk.
What is your relationship status?
In a relationship
With social distancing & quarantine, how has human contact changed for you?
The saying goes, "don't know what you've got till it's gone" and it rings true now more than ever. I am very much a person that loves to surround themselves with friends, family or loved ones. With social distancing and quarantining the new norm getting used to the lack of human contact has been hard for me. I am very lucky to have my boyfriend Jason with me during this entire process but I look forward to a few months from now when I can be close with friends, hug them and share that emotional and physical connection that we as human beings need.
I've never spent this much time inside our home but I am learning to appreciate the walls that surround us...and the opportunity that we have to look inside rather than out.
How do you make time for intimacy?
Intimacy for me is all the in-between moments. It's never been those fancy dinners or the big dates. It's the moments when you first wake up in the morning and my boyfriend smiles at me or the passing glances we give each other throughout the day. The sincere and candid moments that come and go so quickly. Being quarantined in the same small apartment we are experiencing an entirely new type of intimacy in our relationship with spending 24 hours a day/7 days a week together. It's been a learning process for us but it's brought a new emotional intimacy to us that I am so grateful for.
How has your perspective on your home/space changed?
As a designer and creative director, I am very much influenced both in mood and demeanor by the atmosphere that I am in. My entire adult career has been spent designing and perfecting the spaces of others as well as my own. I've never spent this much time inside our home but I am learning to appreciate the walls that surround us, the health that we have, the beauty of being together in this space, and the opportunity that we have to look inside rather than out. You wake up in the morning and can choose to make the most of the space that you are in or let it get to you and I've made the conscious decision to focus on the positives of our situation and do the things in our home that make me happy at the end of the workday.
How do you keep busy? Do you separate the weekend and weekdays?
Routine is so important for me during all of this. Waking up at the same time, making coffee, turning on some music. The ritualistic things that I always have done continue to help me navigate the unpredictable nature of each day and the situation that we are all in. We've made it a point to take walks together at the end of the day outside to decompress and turn off from "work". On the weekends we try to spend as much time as possible outside—we can't go to parks or the beach so we've been spending time up on the roof of our apartment getting some sun and allowing ourselves to disconnect from the weekdays.
What is a new activity you are planning to try?
I've been very fortunate in the fact that my work has stayed just as busy as it was before—so my day to day doesn't allow me to do much in the form of new activities. But when the day is over and when we aren't outside on the weekends I've taken nesting to a whole other level. Cleaning out all the cabinets and closets, purging what we don't use, styling and restyling, moving things around. I've always done it but now that I am spending more time at home it's become a laboratory to experiment and have fun. You don't really realize how little you need in the form of "stuff" until you're in a space filled with it. It's been a lesson in simplicity for me—letting go of those things that aren't necessary or don't make me happy and leaning into the memories, experiences, and people that are in your space. It's about the memories more than the materials.
Do you have a book or movie on your list while home?
Designing Your Life is the next book on my reading list.