The first time Asya Ambaretsa moved to New York City, she was placed in the middle of Manhattan. Coming from Los Angeles, this was a shock. "Los Angeles was chill and covered with plants," she says, "but there every time I walked with my dog, there would be crowds of tourists and people trying to push away my dog."
So when Ambaretsa was drawn back to New York with her boyfriend a second time, she sought out a quiet neighbourhood in Brooklyn, close to parks and away from crowds. "We needed to find an apartment in two weeks, and we didn't have a lot of time," she says. But they lucked out with this gem of a one-bedroom, and got around to decorating. Luckily, with years of picking up and moving, bopping from country to country, she had a few tricks up her sleeve to make the space feel homey.
Watch her video tour above, then read on to learn more about her decorating aesthetic.
Can you talk a little bit more about how you found the space?
"We just used StreetEasy; all our friends recommended it. But both me and my boyfriend, we didn't have a credit score and my experience before when living in Los Angeles was you met with your landlord, you're like, 'Hey, I'm a normal person,' and they say, 'Yeah you seem normal, the apartment is yours.' In New York, we paid a lot when we first moved here. We needed to get a guarantor, but we got it through an agency where we paid one month's rent to this agency, and that's it. Then we put a deposit for the last month and the first month. Luckily for us, we didn't have to pay for a broker's fee, but I never did the guarantor thing before. Next time, I'm going to be super prepared."
It seems like you move around a lot.
"I've gotten used to travelling around. When I stay in one place for more than 3 months, I feel a little bit anxious, like I need to go somewhere."
Does that affect where you buy your furniture and decorate?
"We go to Ikea a lot. It's the place where you might not sleep there for a long time so you might not want to invest a lot into the furniture. Ikea is a nice compromise. I do a lot of Muji for things for the bathroom, small decorations or organising things for the apartment. And you can find a lot of cool stuff on Amazon."
What are your decorating rules?
"The rule is keep it simple. But we do like colours; we have yellow lamps and a pink couch, which I was really surprised when my boyfriend chose it. I feel like New York is a grey city, so when you’re in your apartment you want to have some colour in there."