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Light As Air

In this compact row house, every floor even the lower level feels open and inviting.

Some people are serial decorators, never more happy than when they’re immersed in a project to improve their home. That description fits Nadire and Halil Djekovic— Nikki and Hal, as they call themselves—of Throggs Neck, a beachy neighborhood in the Bronx near the bridge of the same name. Readers of Safavieh Style may remember this house from the Fall 2016 issue, which featured, among other spaces, the glamorous dressing room that Nikki’s friends dubbed the “shoe museum.” When the master bedroom suite was finished, Nikki was left with a case of decorator’s withdrawal. What was the next project she could undertake with Melissa Sarhane, her partner in design at Safavieh’s Hartsdale, New York store? It didn’t take long for the duo to get going on the home’s lower level, which opens to a backyard patio and thus has the advantage of natural light.

To make the most of space, Safavieh designer Melissa Sarhane and homeowner Nikki Djekovic carefully chose every detail in this lower level suite. Note how a low, curved bench at the breakfast table keeps sight lines and pathways open.

Although it’s a relatively small space, they successfully carved out what could be an entire home, with kitchen, bath, dining and living areas. The palette was kept light and neutral. Palest gray ceramic tiles, modeled to look like wood planks, cover the floor, along with an ivory colored rug. Light gray stone sheaths the fireplace wall, and much of the furniture is either painted or upholstered in soft white. “By using pale surfaces and maximizing natural light,” explains Sarhane, “we ensured that visitors would have no sense of being in a subterranean space.” The result is just about the prettiest basement anywhere. And it goes to show, with imagination and some help from Safavieh, even a small home can be turned into a showplace. What’s next for the restless Djekovics? “We’ve redone every surface of this house,” says Nikki. “I love it, of course, but we may need to move to a bigger place!”

The tailored kitchen and dining area (opposite) prove that even narrow, utilitarian spaces can be made elegant and uplifting. A guest bedroom (above), finished in pale colors and swathed in soft fabrics, hints at the promise of a deep night’s sleep.

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