ay hello to Beata Kanter, spirited co-founder of Maak Haus artist collective, restaurant manager at Peasant, and space holder of a converted tobacco factory on Splacer. She is currently working on launching an online platform for her company whilst simultaneously hosting events at her lovely art-filled loft. We caught up with Beata to learn more about her work, experiences, and life in the City.
SPLACER: Tell us a little bit about yourself…
BEATA KANTER: I was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. My family moved to Allston, Massachusetts (inner city) when I was 2 years old. We moved out to the suburbs 6 years later. My parents don’t mess around, they hustle when they need to. I went to public schools in Massachusetts and I was very fortunate to go to some of the best public schools in the country. College was a series of applications, try outs and dropouts (Massachusetts College of Art and Design, SFD). Now I manage an Italian restaurant in Nolita called Peasant. I also co-founded Maak Haus, an artist collective which is an audio and visual collective launching an online platform in the next few weeks.
SPLACER: Can you tell us more about Maak Haus, like the main idea behind it and how it got started?
BEATA KANTER: It’s been forming for many years. I moved to New York City when I was 20 and I dropped out of college twice. Then I started interning for Rag and Bone but decided to drop out of that too because I realized it was gonna be a lot more work for not that much money. I started working in the hospitality industry as a hostess. Over the course of five years, filled with growing pains and deep-end learning experiences, I rose the ranks and became a manager. The artist collective was born out of a desire to create a sustainable platform for my friends.
SPLACER: And what brought you to NYC?
BEATA KANTER: The internship at Rag & Bone. I was eager to leave Boston so I dropped out of SFD (Fashion Trade School) and never ever looked back. I swear, the moment my feet were planted firmly on NYC soil, fresh off the chinatown bus, my spirit was unleashed.
SPLACER: Can you tell us what your loft is like and how it’s different from some of the other places you’ve lived in since moving here?
BEATA KANTER: So I live in Williamsburg in a loft that’s very skinny and tall. I actually just got booked for my first Splacer. It’s gonna be a photo shoot for a guitarist. There’s a lot of light and a lot of space. Even though it’s narrow, it feels bigger with all the light. Compared to other places in the City, this apartment was a total adventure in every possible way. When I first moved in here it was hard for me to make this feel like a place of residence because it has such a strange layout, but over time everything came together.
SPLACER: What attracted you to it initially?
BEATA KANTER: Honestly, I loved the lofted element: tin ceilings, sky light over the bed, the dichotomy of a tight but free and open space. When I first walked in I had no Idea how to furnish the space. It seemed near impossible but I couldn’t bring myself to turn down the challenge. This apartment and I were meant to be somehow!
SPLACER: What are your favorite things about your loft?
BEATA KANTER: My armoire because it’s just like the one out of ‘the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, the skylight over the bed because it makes for the sweetest mornings, the liquor cabinet because it allegedly belonged to Johnny Cash and the painting above the couch (my best friend painted it and it’s the first work of art I’ve ever commissioned/or owned for that matter.)
SPLACER: How have you furnished the space to fit your style?
BEATA KANTER: There’s a company called Build it green (now called Big Reuse), it’s a really sweet furniture consignment store in Brooklyn. They are kind of like a treasure chest of amazing pieces (like my Johnny Cash cabinet.) I feel like every time I’ve moved into a different place I’ve gotten a different vibe which has inspired me to design the interior.
SPLACER: Tell us about the neighborhood…BEATA KANTER: It’s dope. I live off of the Graham stop on the L train which is a quiet, scenic and incredibly convenient oasis in the midst of hipsterville (no offense). Super cool neighbors, quiet streets, and every convenience. There are a ton of amazing restaurants, awesome bars, a 24hr/365 day KHIM’s across the street which literally has everything you could ever need and they never close (not even for natural disasters). There is a laundromat in the building, 99c store, cobbler, butcher, fishmonger, nursery, hardware store…I could go on. It’s perfect.
SPLACER: What drew you to collaborate with Splacer?
BEATA KANTER: I was asked by a Splacer employee via email and I felt very flattered. I didn’t see a downside to it at all. Also concepts like airbnb seem like a violation of my own space. This is my place of residence so obviously everything in here is very important to me.
SPLACER: What’s your favorite space in NYC?
BEATA KANTER: The place that I work, the restaurant Peasant. To me it’s incredibly beautiful and it was designed by the owners who are husband and wife. They have this very rustic aesthetic in the way that they prepare food and in the way they design things. I’m just very inspired by it.