A Creative Spirit Fills Her Home with Plants and Art

A Creative Spirit Fills Her Home with Plants and Art

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Chinasa Cooper
Oct 3, 2018

Name: Alina Fassakhova, Artem Churikov and cat Usha
Location: Upper West Side — New York City
Size: About 400 square feet
Years Lived In: 14 months, renting

Working and living in a small space is already a challenge. Add to that a messy (artistic) profession requiring oil paints and large canvases, and it becomes truly challenging to balance work and personal life in one space. But the natural features of this space—like the 11-foot high ceilings and a balcony overlooking Riverside Park—make up for some of the limited space in the almost 400-square-foot apartment that Alina and her husband, Artem, share with their cat, Usha, tons of very green plant life, and Alina's art and art supplies.

As an artist, Alina has found a way to infuse her creative spirit into her home. Her apartment is her art studio where she creates her paintings, which can be "an everyday challenge for me to create large scale oil paintings, avoiding accidental paint spills on furniture and floor and turn that artistic mess back to a cozy living room every evening," says Alina. Her artistic, adventurous creative spirit also shines through in the way that she approaches decor, which includes bringing in as much greenery in as many places as possible and repainting the walls three times in one year: "Don't be afraid to change something if you want to. Don't hesitate for too long, just go to a hardware store, buy some paint and create your new reality. You can always repaint everything back anyway (believe me I've done it many times)," Alina advises.

Apartment Therapy House Tour Survey:

My Style: Artistic with eclectic decor and way too many plants.

Inspiration: Our travels are the main source of inspiration for me and my husband. We travel a lot to the remote parts of the world (e.g. Africa, Papua New Guinea) and usually bring home something special, whether it's a unique tribal mask or a hand-dyed ikat.

Favorite Element: High ceilings/balcony overlooking the park. Eleven-foot ceilings make the space feel larger than it really is and allow us to hang large vertical paintings on the walls without overcrowding them. Having a balcony is rare enough for the city, but the balcony with unobstructed views over the park and the Hudson is a true gem! We enjoy it to the fullest and spend a lot of time outside during summer months.

Biggest Challenge: Small space obviously. I'm a full-time artist and I use the apartment as my art studio. It's an everyday challenge for me to create large scale oil paintings, avoiding accidental paint spills on furniture and floor and turn that artistic mess back to a cozy living room every evening.

What Friends Say: "Wow it's so small!"/ "Ceilings are really high!"/ "You've got so many plants!" / "It's like an art gallery!"

Biggest Embarrassment: Definitely the closet doors. Those are made from wood and covered with a varnish that makes them look bright orange. An entire wall in our tiny bedroom looks like a massive 11-foot tall medieval castle entrance. My husband and I were trying to figure out how to cover it up for weeks, but gave up eventually. It's just too big. There's a smaller built-in closet the same color in the living room and I bought gray self-adhesive wallpaper from Amazon to cover it up. It doesn't damage the wood and can be easily removed when we move out. Took me five hours to apply it; I'm so proud of it.

Proudest DIY: Our walls. We repainted them three times in a single year! The first day we moved in I painted the entire apartment dark gray, in several months painted one wall dusty pink, and just recently repainted one large wall back white. Who knows what I might change again tomorrow!

Biggest Indulgence: Mirrors above the fireplace mantel! We ordered four exactly similar mirrors from CB2 and installed them very closely to each other. It was a pretty expensive purchase considering that it's just a decorative piece, but it was definitely worth it. Right now the fireplace mantel with large mirror installation above it is the most impressive and beautiful centerpiece in our home.

Best Advice: Don't be afraid to change something if you want to. Don't hesitate for too long, just go to a hardware store, buy some paint and create your new reality. You can always repaint everything back anyway (believe me I've done it many times).

Dream Sources: NYC itself! We were walking the streets of SoHo once and saw that gorgeous building painted dusty pink. We got so inspired that we repainted one wall in our apartment with a similar paint within a week!

Resources:

PAINT & COLORS
Gotham (Bedroom, Living room) — Benjamin Moore
Coachman's Cape (Living Room) — Benjamin Moore
Driftscape Tan (Living Room) — Benjamin Moore
Oxford White (Living Room) — Benjamin Moore

ENTRY
Frameless Asymmetrical MirrorWest Elm
Coat Rack — France and Son
Safavieh Seagrass Rug — Houzz
Vintage Teak Wood Chest — Bought in Moscow, Russia
Terrace Console Table — West Elm

LIVING ROOM
Andes Sofa — West Elm
Cotton Luster Velvet Pillows — West Elm
Sequin Silver Pillow — France and Son
Color Block Throw — Ferm Living
Safavieh Seagrass Rug — Houzz
Kilim Rug Large — Ferm Living
Mobile Chandelier Grand — West Elm
Perspective Wall Mirrors — CB2
Monarch Butterfly End Table and Magazine Holder — France and Son
Prince aha Stools (in Black and in White) — France and Son
Plant Box in Dark Gray — Ferm Living
Bau Pot in Dusty Rose — Ferm Living
"Boy" And "Girl" Plant Pots — Group Partner
Two-Piece Raj Hanging Planter Set — CB2
Marble C-side Table — West Elm
Dahlia Marble Desk — CB2
Transparent Plastic Chair — Houzz
Table Lamp Base — Comptoir De Famille, bought in Moscow, Russia
Table Lamp Shade — IKEA
Forsa Work Lamp — IKEA
Wine Rack in Copper — Crate&BarrelSeagrass Storage Baskets — Dufmod
Tribal Masks — Bought in the Sepik Region, Papua New Guinea
Ceramic Lip Plates — Bought in Omo River Region, Ethiopia
Ceramic Cups — LRNCE
Oil Paintings — Alina Fassakhova

BEDROOM
Tall Nail-head Tapered Leg Bed, Linen Weave — West Elm
Wardrobes — Comptoir De Famille, bought in Moscow, Russia
Safavieh Seagrass Rug — Houzz
Color Block Throw — Ferm Living
Frameless Asymmetrical MirrorWest Elm
Seagrass Storage Baskets — Dufmod
Cotton Luster Velvet Pillows — West Elm
Oil Paintings — Alina Fassakhova

Thanks, Alina and Artem!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

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