At Home with Bikemaster Thomas Callahan

Thomas Callahan, Brooklyn artists

Bike-builder Thomas Callahan’s studio apartment is right above Peter Luger in Williamsburg. But despite the endless buzzing of fridge motors, Callahan’s happy as can be with his place. So happy, in fact, that he’s lived there for a decade. “The place was a dump when I moved in,” he says with a grin. “There were plants growing in the toilet.”

After that much time, the apartment has truly become his home, a place where the lines between art, work, and life no longer exist. A long board leans on the wall next to his own hand-made bike; a banjo and a guitar share a spot beside The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles; his bed’s a foot from his iMac. As he gives us the tour he bounds around eagerly, showing off his favorite odds and ends, most of which he built himself. And before we go, he plucks out a Doc Watson tune on the guitar. “I never want to leave,” he says. Neither do we, at this point.

What do you do?
I own Horse Cycles.

How long have you lived in Brooklyn?
Ten years.

Why did you move to Brooklyn?
To pursue fine art. I moved here three days after I graduated from college in Portland. I moved into this zone, and lived in my studio for five years until I got an external space. I was doing a lot of other projects, and that’s when I started working with bikes. I used to live in my studio downstairs. It was awesome.

What’s your favorite thing about the apartment?
The farmhouse sink. I got it in Chelsea. There was a building being demolished. I bought it, and one of the things I look for in my home is a place to have respite and take me away from all the external input happening in the city. I want to make it a place I can get away. As farmhouse-y as possible. I want to feel like I’m not in a concrete box. I love old stuff. This old fridge. It’s one of the few things that was here when I moved in. The whole apartment is heated by this firebox here. I built a lot of this furniture in here.


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