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