Nasir & Nicole
Photography: Kyle Johnson
Walking into Nicole Greenwald and Nasir Zubair’s home, we take in the two-story high ceilings and a wall of warehouse-style windows overlooking the ferry terminals and Seattle Sound. Their Pioneer Square apartment is a stunning industrial space that now doubles as “a cocoon and creative laboratory.” The output of this incubator is a genuine desire to connect and share with their community. Nicole’s project, Shelterwood Collective, weaves holistic healing through her psychotherapy services and in partnership with other practitioners, in areas like reiki and yoga. She is also a pillar of Karachi Cowboys, Nas’s pop-up of Pakistani soul food, where we have shared many dinners and conversations that stretch past the last bottle of wine. We spent an afternoon sharing food in their cozy home and learning about how they met, their new home rituals and goals for the future.
"We’ve made a ritual of sitting on the floor around the coffee table. It’s where we share our morning coffee, create plans for the day, and light candles to enjoy dinner."
Creating Karachi Cowboys
NAS: "I grew up in a Pakistani household but also spent a lot of time with my African-American grandparents. It’s been hard to find restaurants that bring me back to the flavors and levels of hospitality I grew up with. I was inspired to master some of my favorite dishes on my own and that sparked passion in me. As I dug deeper into the flavors and techniques I started to pull from my Texas roots and African-American culture, too. Creating Karachi Cowboys has been a process of claiming my mixed race identity and owning that I have something unique to offer."
"I am so grateful for the support Karachi Cowboys has received. I don’t take it for granted that I’m able to pursue my dream. We are working hard to stay nimble and hopeful in this pandemic. I’m focusing on honing my craft and refining recipes and steadily working toward a long-term goal of having a brick and mortar. We are currently popped up at Fair Isle Brewing in Ballard on Sundays, which has been such a great homebase for us. We are looking for a residency where we can be popped up a few days during the week, too. And, we are curating some of our most loved snacks, pickles, and sauces to create a line of pantry goods in time for the holidays."
NAS: "We are both trying to do the things we care about the best we can. We respect that in each other and it feels natural to help wherever we can. Nicole is a pillar of Karachi Cowboys. She is my PR guru, production manager, and CFO. Whenever I need to bring some delight or might to a situation, I bring my tough little bunny. Her partnership allows me to focus on the food and the culture we are building."
NICOLE: "I have loved witnessing Nas lean into food as his creative expression. I’ve seen something come alive and emboldened in him. It has felt vulnerable for both of us to make space for him to fully focus on Karachi Cowboys, but I believe in his dream and want to see it realized. I bring my energy for people, communications, and building systems to the team. I am Nas’ hype woman, roadie, strategist, and taste tester."
NICOLE: "When I was beginning as a psychotherapist I worked in a space with random, oversized furniture, and no windows. The mission of the clinic was beautiful, but the space itself was not inspiring or nourishing. Working with trauma and holding space for people who are feeling broken, scared, or stuck can sometimes feel dark and heavy. This experience really pushed me to think about what I needed to sustain. A friend and colleague, Bethanne, and I started dreaming about creating a space with the body and soul of the practitioner in mind. We found a beautiful building in Pioneer Square with huge ceilings and big windows. This crystalized our vision and together we created Shelterwood Collective — a nourishing, creative, light-filled space for healers to practice in community."
"We are currently seeking somatic practitioners and spiritual healers to join our collective as we evolve and expand. Some of the projects we are anticipating in the new year are rituals and resources to support healers and healthcare workers during this season and a community apothecary. People can get in touch with us at shelterwoodcollective.com"
We’ve been in Pioneer Square since 2011 and our practitioners provide psychotherapy, mental health counseling, career coaching, and spiritual care to the community.
"Our home is a place where we recharge from all the charged energy outside."
NICOLE: "This season has really allowed us to be in our home. We both love experiencing the city so pre-pandemic we were often out and about. I definitely miss that but I’ve also appreciated the simplicity of being home and having time to savor quiet moments here. Our building is over 100 years old and many of our neighbors have lived here for decades. We have great neighbors and we love being a part of the Pioneer Square community of residents and businesses."