Some time ago Port.Folium talked to a young decorator about difficulties of this kind of job these days, about people’s expectations and the practical side of interior design.
Nastya is an extremely nice and smiling young woman. From the very first glance her creative nature can be seen as well as good natural taste and “sunny” nature. Though she’s Russian, she lives in Prague with her not less creative boyfriend and their charming little daughter.
The result of our conversation you can find below:
Q: I know that you are from Novosibirsk, how did you appear in Prague? Tell me the romantic story!
A: The romantic story started when I was studying in the fifth grade (note: around 10 years old) and started studying french language. I’ve just understood that moment that there’s life somewhere much more interesting than life in Novosibirsk. And I decided that I want to move to France. So I graduated and tried to find some options, at that moment it was Aupair, but it didn’t work. So two years passed, I started having my other interests and I decided to forget about France and start doing something else, search for some other places. Me and my friends, we started searching some other options and that’s how we’ve found Czech Republic. We found out how to make everything, collected the documents and just moved. By the way, we’ve never been in Czech before! We’ve traveled a lot and knew how it can be in Europe, of course.
And when I applied for the visea and came back, Misha wrote me in my blog. He wrote that I’m beautiful and so on and so on, – Nastya smiles. – And he lived in Prague already that time. So we were exchanging letters and finally I came here.
Q: Did you know what you will do when you arrive?
A: First we thought that we’ll open some touristic shop but actually we were not sure. And when we came here we understood that we were moving to nowhere and it was of course a mistake. How can you live without work? It’s difficult. I was worried for some time, couldn’t find myself, couldn’t nderstand what I want. Of course I was doing photography also in Russia and it helped me to find a job of photographer.
Q: Were you making photography in Russia professionally or it was just a hobby?
A: Yes, professionally, but like for a year. Mostly I was making portraits but here of course I get my money from weddings, so here I started doing it more actively.
Q: And why have you started making also decoration?
A: It was the thing that started already here. I like flowers, so I thought that I could open a flower shop, I thought of working with flowers. I didn’t want to study at some school so I started searching for some professionals who could teach me for free and I could work for them. And that’s how I found Tanya. We couldn’t manage the meeting for a while and when we finally did, in some cafe, we started talking and she proposed me to make decor and she will take care of the flowers. It just came out during the talk itself. And I understood that that was it! I understood that when I was thinking of the flower shop I though of how I will make the windows but not about flowers itself! So that’s how it happened.
And later she offered me to make decoration of her daughter’s birthday as a first project and I did. I was nice, not perfect, but quite nice. We’ve even made the name for us immediately, right there, at the cafe. One hour talk with an unknown person and it changed everything.
Q: And so, do you continue?
A: Yes, if I need flowers, I ask her. But you know, now it’s a bit sad that people usually ask about decor and after it all turns to decorating tables with flowers. They just don’t understand why paying so much money for something that will be there for some hours only. A lot of my things are handmade so it just can’t be cheap. Try to make a million of small details…
Q: So, you’re not only decorating but you are making the decor yourself?
A: Yes-yes, I like doing things with my own hands. Of course I like to buy some things as well, but I like handmade more. I was always doing something myself, blankets and so on. I like to imagine something and than make it…
Q: And so mostly you make the decor for celebrations?
A: Lately I had more apartments actually. But in these cases I don’t make the decoration completely, I just come to people, take a look of what they are missing. Usually they have everything bought there and it looks nice but not cozy. And they think: why? And they call me, I look at that and tell them that they’re missing this, this and that. I make either one-time consulting, write a big letter about colors and what to add, what to take away, or sometimes I also go shopping with them. Sometimes clients say that they don’t know what to buy, that they are afraid to buy something wrong, and so we go.
Q: So you are a practical designer, instead of saying: “tale this all away and buy everything new” you try to make the best from what they have?
A: Yes, but, for sure, you can’t make a candy out of nothing. If they have ugly awful furniture and they want a leather couch… I like also working with furniture, but you can’t cross some level here. Sometimes it’s so much nothing that it doesn’t worth working with it.
When I was making the purple apartments, they just brought me to an empty apartment and said: “Here you have the apartment, here you have the money – do it”. And I made it nice.
Q: And do you work only with Russians or with Czechs as well?
A: Mostly with Russians, it just happened so. In common, I don’t care with whom to work. The most important is that the clients were normal and they understood that sometimes you can’t make something out of nothing, so you just have to buy some things, which means some spends.
Q: Do you have any special education or not?
A: No, I don’t. For me it’s more a natural feeling I have. My mother is making repairs, I was helping her. She also makes some things herself, imagines something, invents.
Maybe I would like to study something but I haven’t found something that if perfect for me in Prague yet. London or Moscow could be nice. And Misha says: “Why studying if you’re making everything nice already?” So now I’m making everything as it comes to my head. I just like everything white! My mother also liked it. Even during the soviet times we had everything white which was surprising for our guests! No black floors or wardrobes. I like colored things as well, but I can’t make it myself. I don’t try to make the things when I’m not sure about it.
Q: Let’s imagine that I’ve just rented an empty apartment and I came to you asking for help. What would you do? What would you like to start with?
A: First of all, if you came to me, it means that you like what I do already.
Q: Sure, but you can make it differently anyway!
A: I would for sure take a look on your interests. I would have asked which colors you like and so on.
I don’t work with 3D MAX so all my work is based on trust of people. If they like my taste or not. I think I have a feeling if this thing fits or not. Once my clients asked me how I know that this fits and I just see it. I feel the border between “too much” and “fits”. And that’s what helps me, I think.
Q: Does it influence you somehow, that you started making the design?
A: I can’t say that it influences me now, it’s more me influencing it. At first I was reading a lot, I used to buy magazines and so, now it’s more Pinterest, cause you have there everything you need. But I’ve bought lately some books about decor, one of the IKEA is nice. They’ve made a project with different apartments with IKES furniture and they have some nice interiors there.
I think that when you make everything correctly it doesn’t matter how much it costs. I was never reach and don’t feel the necessity to buy a couch which costs thousands of euros. On the opposite, I try to save some money for my clients, my head just works like this. Of course there are some designer things but it’s different, you pay also for having something unique! If the client has a possibility – using of such things can make the interior unusual and very special. But if he doesn’t have such a possibility – we can also search for something on the flea markets, there you can find real treasures sometimes!
Q: And do you want to try something with your own place one day?
A: Yes, I’m dreaming to have a house and there I would have made everything as I want. We don’t have any particular plans, but I’m believing in this idea. I think that even dreaming of something can bring you a bit closer to you goal.
As Christmas is coming, Port.Folium would like to wish Nastya succeses and new horizonts in her work, understanding clients and, of course, her own little house =)
Contact Nastya Meliskin | Interior designer and photographer