It was the natural light, separate kitchen, and high ceilings that first struck Natasha Nyanin about the space where she now lives. After subleasing, sleeping on a friend’s sofa, and living with her uncle on Long Island for a year, she was glad to have finally found her dream New York City apartment, a 350-square-foot Lincoln Square studio on the Upper West Side.
Natasha, the child of diplomats, was born in London and raised in Ghana, and moved to the U.S. nearly two decades ago—later moving to New York, in 2016. She has a fascinating résumé: The consultant, freelance writer, and travel aficionado has a degree in neuroscience and worked at the Centers for Disease Control for seven years before ultimately deciding to pursue her creative side. “I applied to jobs at fashion magazines but fell into travel writing when a friend of mine had an assignment he couldn’t take on,” she says. “I’m still very much delineating what I do, but the ultimate goal is to span the cross-section of literature and television and put my talents into those arenas.”
When it came to furnishing her new digs, Natasha’s international upbringing showed through. There’s a Brazilian multi-planar coffee table from Sao Paulo, which was her first find. “I was lying on a mattress on the floor, but I had this amazing table,” she recalls. Giacometti lithographs, an Eames plywood folding screen, a blush Joybird channel-backed sofa, a midcentury desk from Etsy, and a custom handmade rug from India are just some of her unique pieces. “I designed the rug with a friend of mine and found a company that will dye rugs to match Pantone shades,” she says.
The fashion-forward, well-traveled Natasha didn’t want her space to feel delicate, and threw in varying shades of blue and gray alongside striking jewel tones and pastels for a retro feel reminiscent of a “midcentury Parisian apartment,” she says. She has a navy velvet dining bench from Shop Candelabra and complementary sapphire chairs. While things are close together, “it’s a small price to pay knowing that I can have friends over for dinner and be able to fit six people at my dining table,” she says. Maximalist in feel, “there’s not a single piece in this apartment that isn’t essential,” she adds.
To help with space planning and the overall design, she brought in her friend the interior designer Nina Blair. “In a perfect world, I’d have more space, but I had to decide what would work,” she says. The pair dramatically elevated the space with simple cosmetic renovations, which included repainting the living room and bedroom in Clare’s Seize the Grey and the bathroom in Clare’s Blackest. Natasha added $40 worth of vinyl peel-and-stick black-and-white kitchen tiles from Amazon inspired by a project she’d seen from Brady Tolbert, switched out the light fixtures and switch covers, and changed the doorknobs. She even regrouted the tile in the bathroom. “The devil is really in the details,” she says.
When guests come over, one of the first things they notice is Natasha’s impeccable taste for art, which is just as eclectic as her furniture. There’s a bold piece she sourced from Ghana over her living room sofa. While she tends to “shy away from anything that screams ‘I’m from Africa,’” she couldn’t help but fall in love with the electrifying painting. A watercolor from artist Emeline May hangs in the bathroom, there’s an Alice in Wonderland–inspired print above her bed that was shot in Sorrento, and Samsung’s Frame TV currently displays work from Belgian-born Marcel Ceuppens—a clever buy that doesn’t disturb her chic gallery wall.
The home is an intimate place full of items—“a jewel box,” as Natasha likes to call it—that perfectly showcase the budding creative’s personality and life story.
Near to Natasha’s Heart
Below, the writer shares her favorite places to shop and find inspiration, and favorite elements of her home.
Destinations for design inspiration: “Morocco. I go every year and love Fez, Tangier, Marrakesh, and have been to the Sahara twice. Ghana, of course. When it comes to African art and design in the West, there’s a very limited idea of what it is, so I’m trying to figure out what’s fresh and new but still evokes the traditions I experienced growing up. I love Danish design as well.”
Favorite detail in your home: “My Nuura light right next to the sofa. The two small side tables are both Danish as well.”
Last thing delivered to your home: “A vintage decanter and a somewhat futuristic Lobmeyr by Oswald Haerdtl candy dish that was designed for the 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris.”
Best thing about your neighborhood: “I love how close it is to the park and to Lincoln Center. It’s a neighborhood of convenience with a plethora of gyms and grocery stores. It feels a little less hectic than living downtown.”
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest