Alina Tsvor is a Chicago-based photographer and my very good friend. She is the nicest person I have ever known. No kidding. We met 4 years ago at her Instagram meet up in Chicago. Can you imagine that? Ok, it is the 21st century and there is nothing abnormal about it, but I am still wowed about how we met. Alina has since shared her story with me: she was pretty shy in college and one day she decided to say yess to any and all opportunities to meet with new people. I guess I must be thankful for that day: maybe that is the reason she said yes to meeting me and my husband Nik.
Alina specializes in portrait photography, commercials, fashion, lifestyle, travel, storytelling and social media content. She has her own vision in photography and style generally, and she travels around the world, working with brands like Adidas, J Crew, Google Pixel, Intelligentsia Coffee, Airbnb, Coach, and many others.
I am very proud to know her, and I will be happy to tell you her story in the future. But today I want to share the details of Alina’s beautiful space with you. I am sure you are going to love it. Alina lives in an apartment unlike any other. It is a living loft and a photography studio in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. I chatted with Alina on how living and working in a space like this one feels like.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SANCTUARY? INSIDE AND OUT. WHAT ARE THE SPOTS THAT BEST REFLECT THE MOOD OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
I LIVE IN THE PILSEN ART DISTRICT, and this is my second year in my loft. The area is lovely. We have some of the best galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and breweries. Some of my favorite local spots are Pleasant House Pub, Moody Tongue Brewery, Duseks, S.K.Y, Ca Phe Da, Pilsen Community Books, etc. Pilsen is also full of thrift stores, if you are looking for some gems. Most of my neighbors are working creatives, so it is just a very inspiring environment to be in especially in the summer when we get to grill out and hang out in our massive backyard.
My loft is a dream come true. Two years ago I envisioned living in a loft, in Pilsen, in that same neighborhood, to be able to have a studio space for myself and rent it out to other photographers.
It just so happened that my friends were moving out of their loft and I did not hesitate to take over their lease. Since then, I have furnished it with some furniture pieces I really liked, and tried to make it as homey as possible but kept enough space to be able to work and do photoshoots in the space as well. It is a balance.
WHAT WERE YOU INSPIRED BY FOR THE HOME DESIGN?
I WANTED MY HOME TO FEEL LIKE it was an artist home, yet very comfortable and furniture that I can live in. I really wanted the couch to stand out and be the centerpiece, so I chose blue velvet. Neon signs are not often in homes, but since it is a studio and a loft I felt like it was a perfect fit. I took inspiration from midcentury, mixed with a few vintage pieces. Really just wanted it to be photogenic and comfortable.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CORNER OF YOUR HOME? AND WHY?
I LOVE MY LIVING ROOM! I can work, read, take calls, and just relax all in the same corner. The velvet couch is so comfortable and welcoming. The neon sign is a nice fun touch to the room, and it is everyone’s favorite place to chill.
WHAT IS YOUR MORNING RITUAL?
I GET UP AROUND 8 AM and do a short meditation with the Headspace app. After that, it is coffee, yoga class, and by 10 am I usually begin work with emails and catch up on editing. Photoshoot days are always different, I can be out of the house at 6 am some days, but I do try to stick to a routine whenever I can.
IS THERE A DRASTIC DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SETTLING IN AN APARTMENT AND A LOFT?
LOFTS ARE USUALLY just big open spaces with no dividers for rooms. This is my first time living in a loft so it takes getting used to not having a separate bedroom and everything just out in the open.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: WHAT ARE A FURNITURE AND DECOR BRANDS OF YOUR CHOICE?
I DO NOT OWN PIECES from all of these brands, but I get inspired by them and look up to their design. Some of my favorites are: Menu World, Vipp, Houz, Schoolhouse Electric, Apparatus Studios, Wolf Ceramics, Notary Ceramics etc. I can go on and on about ceramics, I just find that art to be so beautiful and hopefully can own some of my favorite pieces for the kitchen soon.