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Name: Giovanna Macejka, partner Deanna, and pup Desi
Location: Ridgewood — Queens, New York
Size: 1,300 square feet
Type of Home: Condo
Years Lived In: Almost two years, owned
Giovanna Macejka is an interior designer and owner of Dream House, a full-package design studio, as well as the owner of Dream House Vintage, a vintage and secondhand Instagram shop. These business names are quite appropriate, since Giovanna considers this condo, shared with partner Deanna and pup Desi, as a dream home.
“I was on the hunt for the perfect apartment as I was a first-time homeowner. I had a friend who was in a similar situation just a few months prior who gave me the advice to look for apartments just outside of my dream neighborhood because it’s likely they’ll be closer to my price range. So, I did just that,” Giovanna explains. “One morning, while searching StreetEasy, I came across a two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo in Ridgewood, Queens, a neighborhood that I’ve never explored. But it was close to Brooklyn and there were rumblings that it was the next hot spot for people who could no longer afford Williamsburg or Bushwick. The fact that it was a two-bedroom was ideal, but what was even more of a dream was the massive terrace that stretched the length of the entire apartment. Outdoor space is so hard to come by in NYC so the moment I saw it I knew I would be moving in in no time.”
Giovanna says the space felt small on the first viewing, but at the final walk-through, the potential of this blank space became obvious. After figuring out how each room would best function, Giovanna tackled the home’s style, which is best described as a “maximalist 1970s retro vibe.”
My Style: I like to describe my style as a representation of my inner world; eclectic, playful and full of color.
Which time periods/decades inspired your home’s design the most? The goal when designing the apartment was to make it feel like guests were entering into a time capsule when they came over to visit. To do that, I leaned into a maximalist 1970s retro vibe that relies heavily on mixing patterns and textures, going bold with color, and creating movement throughout the space. I like to call the design of the apartment controlled chaos, and that’s essentially what maximalism is, always giving the eye something to look at and making it all make sense at the same time. And by sourcing mostly vintage furniture, it allows for that ’70s retro feel to be even more apparent. Oh, and the disco balls.
Favorite Element: My favorite thing about the apartment is that almost all of the furniture is vintage or secondhand.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest design challenge was that the living room and kitchen are open concept so I had to make sure that I was designing the space in a way that made the areas feel separate while also remaining cohesive and functional. I did this by opting for an island instead of a dining table to save floor space and give extra counterspace and although a sectional is often cozier, I opted for a three-seater sofa so that I could add an accent chair, allowing for more conversation in the living room area.
Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY project was my coffee table. I found an S-shaped coffee table on Facebook Marketplace just a few miles from my apartment. The table came with two round stools that doubled as storage bins and fit right into the curves of the table, but I knew that it would make more of a statement without them. The table was originally black with silver hardware but when we brought it home, we removed all of the hardware and spray painted everything using Rust-Oleum paint in “Heirloom White.” The final result is the most epic coffee table that fits perfectly in our living room.
Biggest Indulgence: Our couch has been one of our bigger investments, especially when we bought it without seeing it in person first. Desi had just destroyed our last couch and I saw our current one listed on Dobbin St Co-Op’s Instagram for less than five minutes. I had one of those “if I don’t buy it now, I will regret it for the rest of my life” moments and sent them a DM with a deposit.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The most unique aspect of the apartment is that we conceal out TVs by covering them with fun blankets. There’s nothing that brings the vibe of a room down more than a big black box when the rest of the space is bursting with color.
Where are your favorite places to buy or find vintage home decor? Omg, where to even begin. I have found incredible vintage and secondhand decor on Facebook Marketplace but being part of the vintage home decor community on Instagram has to be my favorite. Craigslist is also an oldie but a goodie. And I can’t forget about the brick-and-mortar shops like Dobbin St. Co-Op, Dream Bait and Tackle, Mother of Junk, and The Swan’s House.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t be afraid to take risks! What we think we want and what we actually want are usually very different. So, if something is bringing you joy that you wouldn’t typically be drawn to, think about what it would feel like if you followed that feeling. The best homes are ones that we feel excited to be in.
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
This piece is part of Throwback Month, where we’re revisiting vintage styles, homes, and all kinds of groovy, retro home ideas. Boogie on over here to read more!