“The home should have a soul, then everyone living in it will be friends”, says Russian watercolor artist Nastasya Kerzunova who lives in France. The charming 18th century cottage in a Provence village that Nastasya shares with her husband and their three sons is filled with this philosophy. While their cottage is a temporarily rented home and the family does not put any special effort for making it cozy, it simply comes with having warm personality and an inimitable atmosphere.
The smell of delicious coffee prepared Turkish style, the aroma of fresh pastry, quite jazz music and the patters of kids running downstairs pervade Nastasya’s home. Natural and artistic as well as well kept and hospitable. This home embraces its guests with a sense of calm and wakes up their creativity. It feels effortless, light and magic just like watercolor of Nastasya.
“My husband likes to say that at some point of life it becomes important what you can see from your window and I feel that way.”
“The house was built in 18th century and was not intended for wide bulky furniture. So some of our furniture did not fit and we still keep it in the garage on the first floor.”
“This mouse is our most unusual inhabitant”
“Our work in progress..”
“I simply cant stop looking at flowers”
“Our dining table is my temporary studio and I love it.”
“It is such a treat to eat outside and have this little land spot as a kitchen garden.”
What is the home?
The home is a nest. I must add it is a small nest.
How did it start?
It is amusing but we did not have the opportunity to have a look at this house before renting it. We were staying in Russia for a little bit but the kids needed to return back to school. We knew that we wanted to be in this village so our agent offered us this house on the phone and we were happy to take it because it is difficult to find a house in this area. Then the most interesting part started. The house was built in 18th century and was not intended for wide bulky furniture. So some of our furniture did not fit and we still keep it in the garage on the first floor. We have a lot of funny stories. For example, it took us 30 minutes to squeeze our matrass into the house. The whole family was participating in this project.
Do you have any guesses about the previous life of the house?
There is no proof but I think the back part the house actualy was demolished in order to have a little outside patio. And I am so pleased with it. It is such a treat to eat outside and have this little land spot as a kitchen garden.
What do you see outside your window?
An old school with two separate entrances for boys and girls which is now used as a library, pigeons sitting on the roof, and far away there is a serpentine rail road with a train going to Paris and back. Looking from our windows is like watching a movie. The setting can’t be more romantic that this. Sometimes I am loosing track of time while doing it.
Describe your home in three words
Homey, cozy, beautiful, with a soul
What is the strangest object you keep in your home?
Oh, it is our mouse. Look it even has it is own room! A friend gave it to us for luck when we moved to France.
What is your favorite place at home?
I have so many. I really like my sons’ bedroom, especially a cozy nook on the second level where the bed of my oldest one is. I also love our bed. And of course our dining area which is also my studio from time to time. I temporarily do not have a studio so I usually work on my paintings at the dining table.
What is your home missing and what are you dreaming about?
I am dreaming about a home cinema. I would like to have the whole room which can be used only for watching movies. I do not need a big modern TV screen, just a projector will be great.
What is for lunch?
Quiche with spinach and broccoli, and a green salad.
Tea or coffee?
A cup of coffee in the morning and tea during the day.
Bath or shower?
I dream to have a bathtub in our home but currently we only have a shower.
What do you always have in your fridge?
Adjika. We usually bring one jar from our trip to Russia and it last us a year.
Nastasya´s tips on
Try adding some mineral water with gas to your eggs mixture and the quiche will be fluffier.
It is better not to think how you are going to do this or that. I prefer to deal with it when it comes. It always helps.
Nobody is the same and we all enjoy diffident things. We can’t think that everyone you meet will be excited about the similar things as you are. I am in love with our little village and every time when I need inspiration, I simply go outside. Every corner looks beautiful to me. But I can’t expect it to be so exciting to others.
Learning to paint at home
You simply need to start doing it. Do it every day. For example, when your kids are playing and you only have several minutes. Just make a simple drawing with a pencil. It is important to make it a habit. I also highly recommend a book by Betty Edwards “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. Several years ago it helped me a lot.
Photography – Anna Pisareva
Watercolor photography – Nastasya´s Kerzunova