Interiorssneak peeks

An Art Director At Home in Park Slope

by Annie Werbler

Whenever art director Ashima Jain isn’t glued to her computer or critiquing the typography in Dr. Zizmor ads on the subway (a frequent sight for any New York subway rider), she can be found playing soccer in the park or riding her favorite folding bike about town. Ashima has lived in this colossal (by Brooklyn standards) 1,200-square-foot 1931 Park Slope row house apartment for nine years now, and Frankie, her 14-year-old pit whippet mix, helps hold down the fort. A happy and frequent host, Ashima makes use of her space for entertaining as much as possible — a favorite being annual birthday parties that accommodate over 100 guests. Despite being in the midst of a career shift, Ashima feels, “grateful that my home has been a sanctuary.”

Years ago, good friends on the building’s garden level tipped Ashima off to the vacant top floor unit she now inhabits. Ashima plowed through 17 apartment showings in 10 days, and even though this one needed lots of work after sitting vacant for eight months, she could feel the potential upon seeing its morning light and interior skylights, transoms and glass pocket doors.

“It has been a long process. It took about two years to furnish the apartment in a livable way,” she shares. Armed with only her computer, a bicycle and a couch, Ashima slept on an air mattress for her first four months until she found a suitable bed. Crafty neighbor Lauren Shields rescued a chalkboard from P.S. 39, and another friend (who happens to be a bridge engineer) helped Ashima fashion it into a headboard. “It feels like a great design project,” Ashima says, “and I promise to keep seeking beauty and inspiration from near and far.” –Annie

Photography by Poul Ober

Ashima's bedroom, with its homemade headboard from a rescued chalkboard. The pendant light and bed frame are West Elm. Finally, the only successful non-succulent houseplant that has survived in Ashima's care for more than three years pokes out by the window.
At the bedside, this Saw Home Wythe table holds a little owl creature that was picked up in a Parisian shop, along with a vintage clock from Los Angeles.
Frankie, the pit whippet mix, still plays like a puppy at almost 14 (human) years old.
Ashima borrows the Miesian adage "less is more" to describe her overall design philosophy. She purges everything she can to keep the space minimalist despite its large size.
In the living room, a large mounted photograph is by Poul Ober. A Design Within Reach Eames rocker and IKEA light hold court nearby. The school desk was rescued from P.S. 39. A Brooklyn Flea hunt yielded both the vintage glass jar and employee time card. Ashima located the sofa on the Upper West Side 15 years ago and had it reupholstered by J & Y Interiors in Park Slope.
The apartment's dining room, where Ashima serves many soccer team dinners. The light hails from ABC Carpet & Home.
Still an avid soccer player, Ashima's collection of trophies span from her childhood to just last season!
The dining room's main closet holds accessories, kites, tape, and tools. And that enormous leftover trophy that won't fit on the shelves (no big deal).
In the library, a collection of vintage and new Penguin paperbacks with their iconic orange spines. An original 1931 ceiling medallion circles the light fixture.
In the office, Ashima scored her $30 Paul McCobb desk "from people at a church sale who had no idea what it was." The orange wire desk chair is by Bend, and yet another Eames piece to the right was a lucky Craigslist find. On the floor rests a black-and-white image by Photoville winner Angela Jimenez. The telephone desk was listed on Craigslist in south Jersey, which Ashima then had reupholstered by the trusted J & Y Interiors.
The graphic design inspiration cabinet in Ashima's office also contains a repurposed IKEA knife rack that holds all her tools.
The long main hallway, with its pendant light "rescued from a junk shop down the Jersey Shore," presents an entire collection of framed Flair magazines from 1950-51.
More sports memorabilia includes a longtime collection of vintage golf drivers. Ashima collaborated with Pete Goetz at Quincy Street Custom to make this clever coatrack.
Ashima Jain
"What I love most about my home is that it feels like an extension of my design sensibility - simplicity + fun." - Ashima Jain
The floorplan of Ashima Jain's Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment.

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