Name: Ekaterina Yaschuk of Meystyle
Location: Waterloo; London, UK
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; owned
Tucked away at the top of a flight of narrow and twisting stairs, over one of the best tapas restaurants in South London, is the glamorous and glossy apartment of the equally lovely Ekaterina, a wallpaper designer with a difference — she makes bespoke papers and fabrics studded with LEDs and crystals.
I admit, I was hoping for floor to ceiling shimmering opulence. Instead her walls are plain white and her apartment has a more low-key glamor. Ekaterina, who was born in Moscow, and raised in Oslo, favors sleek, clean lines and a monochrome palate with the occasional blast of color — like the eye-catching red and black sofa, a 1950s piece of furniture brought back to life with a fabric designed by Ekaterina. “Some people may think it looks crazy, but I love it. It is so mine.” Love it or loathe it, you have to admire such a unique and individual style.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: There isn't a style! It's an accumulation of objects. I don't believe in homes that are put together as soon as you move in. I think a home should come together around you. I have lots of empty shelves, but I'm not in a hurry to fill them. Friends are always giving me little objects, that they know will make me smile, like my little African guy and my trolls. I love it. I have moved a lot and I always bring those things with me. They are like lucky charms.
Inspiration: I like light, and I like clean lines. When I moved in there was a very soft carpet laid by the previous owners. I lived with it for a long while before replacing it with the oak floor. I think the way I decorated was a reaction against that all that softness. I went for very strong, sharp, clean lines.
Favorite Element: My sofa. It is very personal. The sofa itself is from the 1950s. It was restored and covered by my ex-boyfriend's father in Italy. I sent over one of my first fabric designs for the Inlight collection. He did an amazing job. The detail and craftsmanship are incredible.
Biggest Challenge: Budget. I would love to have everything custom-made but I can't afford it. Also getting furniture up three flights of narrow stairs is a challenge.
What Friends Say: "It's very cool". London is a very transitory place, so it's unusual for people my age to spend time decorating their place. I have lots of seating space, so people like to congregate here.
Biggest Embarrassment: The curtains. They are so cheap. They come loose all the time. I staple gunned them to the window. I am reaching a tipping point now, where I know I have to do something about them.
Proudest DIY: I woke up one morning with a very strong feeling that I needed to paint fish. So I made a canvas for my bedroom.
Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen was custom-made to fit the wall. I felt guilty about it but it was important to me that it fit exactly. I'm glad I did it.
Best Advice: Wait for display sales when stores change around the stock in their windows. You will be able to get something you really love that would normally be beyond your budget. The wall cupboards in my living room are ex-display. Take advantage of custom-made or furniture restored with a fabric that you love. It is much nicer than off the shelf and more personal. With the coming of Ikea 20 or 30 years ago, people have forgotten that you can get things made for you.
Dream Sources: Before I bought anything, I would first want to make an immaculate blank canvas with a luxurious finish on everything. I would rebuild the walls and get rid of the skirting boards, then I would fill it with custom-made furniture.
Resources of Note:
- Grey sofa: Italian
- Red sofa: 1950s sofa recovered in fabric designed by Ekaterina
- Wall cabinets: Calligaris
- Coffee table: Habitat
- Side tables: vintage, bought by parents in Oslo, where Ekaterina grew up
- Ceiling, floor and side lights: vintage
- Framed photograph above fireplace: Oleg Mikeev
- Painting on easel: Valery Voenushkin
- Rug: Calligaris
- Cushions: made by Ekaterina's mother from fabric left over from covering the sofas
- Knickknacks: gifts from friends and family.
- Mirror: Calligaris
- Dining table and chairs: Harvey's Furniture
- White gloss units: custom-made
- Bed: Ikea
- Rug: Nourison
- Shelves: a gift
- Wooden skeleton: Mexico "Gonzales goes everywhere with me."
- Bathroom suite: CP Hart
- Tiles: rescued from a builders' warehouse outside London. "They were end of line tiles and I spent hours searching through boxes for ones that weren't broken. I had to call my mum to pick me up because I couldn't carry them. I was so filthy, she wasn't going to let me in the car."
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(Image credits: Rebecca Bond)