Keyholes: Inside the literary leaning abode of writer Sue Shapiro

Written by Marissa Maier on . Posted in Dwell OTDT.


When you’re the author of over nine books and an NYU/New School Journalism professor, and your husband is a successful television and film writer, your profession is bound to rub off on your home. Such is the case for Greenwich Village-based writer Sue Shapiro and her husband, Charles Rubin. Their fifth-floor apartment, located off Broadway a mere stone’s throw from their respective campuses—Rubin also teaches, at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts—is a dazzling collection of books and hallmarks from their careers.

The arrangement of their abode, which was fashioned from two units purchased in the 1990s, is a perfect compromise for the couple who have distinct preferences when it comes to working. As Shapiro leads a tour through her home, she notes that her open living room—a space that could easily contain most New Yorkers’ entire apartments—often serves as a literary salon for her many classes and workshops and as a reception space.

It was here that she recently hosted a book party for her newest work, Unhooked: How to Quit Anything (Skyhorse Publishing, 2012), which she penned with her former therapist, Dr. Frederick Woolverton.

While Shapiro enjoys the company, Rubin prefers the solitude of one of his two writing rooms, one of which the couple has dubbed “the murder room,” since it houses Rubin’s vast collection of mystery literature.

The bookcases in the living room are decidedly Shapiro’s realm and include everything from offbeat sculptures and trinkets to a collection of her work, like the whimsical, cupcake-inspired cover of the Italian version of her book Five Men Who Broke My Heart, which is currently being adapted into a film. The walls, however, are Rubin’s terrain and are lined with framed comics from publications he once worked for.

“I’m a neat freak; he has his collections,” Shapiro said of their respective living styles.

The couple, however, seem to share an affinity for black, as evidenced in their kitchen and bathroom, where the shower features black marble tiles. And one thing the couple can agree on is that their apartment, at around 2,500 square feet, was a sound purchase as the abode would now fetch in the seven figures if put on the market.

Shapiro and Rubin, though, have no plans to sell any time soon. “This is the fantasy…the dream home and office,” she said.

 

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