Holistic Home Tour: Alina Fassakhova In Upstate New York
After years of wanting to live in the company of trees, Alina Fassakhova packed up her Brooklyn loft and moved to a cozy forest home upstate. Here, the artist shows us around the space she shares with her husband and two tuxedo cats; a minimalist retreat that gets its color from nature-inspired paintings and 80+ plants.
What are three words that describe your design philosophy at home?
I would describe my home's design style as eclectic, organic modern, and dynamic. I don't stick to a certain style when choosing furniture and décor items. Some things I brought from my travels over the years, while others were found at flea markets in the city.
I like to keep a color palette neutral to make artwork and plants stand out. As plants grow and my paintings on the walls change, the space changes as well.
Your artwork is beautiful! Where do you look for inspiration?
Nature and organic forms found in the everyday are the main sources of inspiration for my work. It can be anything from plant leaves, the movement of trees in the wind, to light and shadows around the house in the afternoon.
Is your home also your art studio? What do you look for in a painting space?
Yes, my home also doubles as my art studio. Light is the key when it comes to choosing the right space for work. The fact that this house is so bright was one of the determining factors why I chose it. House plants are also a very important part of my workspace. Aside from being a source of inspiration for my art, they also give my eyes rest after I have been painting for hours.
How do you choose which art pieces to display in your home?
Once I finish working on a piece, it goes straight to the wall. It lives there until it's sold to a collector. Having my paintings around like this helps me to decide where to move next in my work.
My biggest recommendation for choosing art to hang up would be to not follow décor trends. Rather, buy something that speaks to you. It's also important to understand that it takes years to build a collection. It cannot be done in a week or a month.
What's the most meaningful object in your home, and what's the story behind it?
The most meaningful object is probably one of the tribal masks I brought from Papua New Guinea several years ago. It was bought directly from a local artist who made the mask, and it traveled with me from there on a canoe, by car, and several planes all the way to NYC.
What noises can be heard in your home? What smells are there?
In the summer, the house was filled with the sounds of birds and cicadas. Now as it's getting colder and the windows are closed, we have a fireplace going. It fills the house with calming sounds of crackling fire and the smell of burning wood.
What object in your home brings you the most joy and why?
Although I'm not sure they can be called "objects," my plants bring me joy on a daily basis. I have 80 to 100 plants around the house, and plant care is a big part of my life.
How does your home support your health & well-being?
This house is in a very quiet private setting, surrounded by forest. Being so close to nature on a daily basis is an amazing way to slow down and decompress. In addition to that, as I mentioned earlier, I have a lot of house plants, and plant care has always been a form of self-care for me.
What does the word "home" mean to you?
Home is where my family is: my husband, our pets, and plants. Over the years, we have moved from one place to another many times, but I always felt at home no matter where we were. Home is where I feel safe and peaceful.
Recreate the look:
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.