Two NYC Painters Crafted a Creative and Eclectic Rental on a “Shoestring Budget”

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Living room with tan vintage patterned sofa, star pattern flatweave rug, slatted black coffee table, apothecary style drawer black dresser, framed portraits on sofa wall

Name: Mauro Baiocco; roommate, Yvette Bacina (aka Vexta)
Location: Crown Heights — Brooklyn, New York
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 1000 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there. Both Yvette and I are painters; I tend to work a lot with found paintings and photographs and try to flesh out from them a new story to tell centered in humor. Yvette, as a street artist, works in a much larger scale than me and is continuously exploring new topics. We both appreciate and foster a quiet atmosphere in the home and enjoy coming back to it to chill and recharged.

As an artist, I love patterns and color so I wanted to create different areas and vignettes that foster creativity and respond to different moods. I also try to toe the line of maximalism without fully embracing it, so I’m constantly editing things out and finding new homes for items that no longer serve me.

I love a bargain, so most of my furniture has been amazing finds from craigslist (Milo Baughman arm chair for $400 or a dresser I use as credenza for free!); Facebook Marketplace (the couch and loveseat both were $60, a mid-century bench I use as a coffee table was $15 because one of the legs was unglued); or found on the street (green metal cabinet that holds all of my paper art supplies). The entire living room/dining room was done for $1200. I just know instantly if something is gonna work in my space or not so I can make quick decisions when I run into something I think is cool.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less. Colorful, vintage, eclectic on a shoestring budget.

What is your favorite room and why? My living room because it was a pandemic project that kept me entertained.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I bought was the dining room chairs and vintage Moroccan carpet from HiLo Brooklyn.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t get caught in following trends, avoid creating a time capsule room, buy things based on their bones and quality, and most of all have fun with it — if you really like something you can make it work. Oh, and for heaven’s sake, hang some art on your walls.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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