THE CORE OF DECORHARDCORE
The option to demonstrate taste is a privilege known only to those who have access to things. So, how does one display aesthetic inclination when personal effects are dictated solely by the limited availability and variability of merchandise?
“Decorating your home in the Soviet Union wasn’t an easy task — anything that could've been acquired any which way, was much appreciated,” Ksenia Shestakovskaia recalls. Ksenia, the ultimate maximalist decor queen and editor of @decorhardcore, an emotionally packed instagram account full of moving interiors, is also one of our beloved contributors to *This is Badland*.
Ksenia, the ultimate maximalist decor princess and editor of @decorhardcore, an emotionally packed instagram account full of moving interiors, is also one of our beloved contributors to *This is Badland*. We first met her in 2017 and immediately clicked with Ksenia’s cheeky humour, down-to-earth attitude, and aversion to everything shallow and predictable. It’s fascinating that her lavish extroverted taste comes from a rather introverted person. She is shy but radically honest. These traits are hard to find in today’s flimsy social media-obsessed world. Born to a Russian mother and a Ukranian Jewish father in Serpukhof, Russia, Ksenia experienced the downfall of the Soviet Union in the late 80s. She remembers her parents’ emphasis on functionality above everything, and especially how they rejected the aesthetics of excess and what it represented.
“Having a flashy home wasn’t something society approved,” Ksenia explains. “People were ashamed of standing out in circumstances of struggle.”
It’s now been 20 years since her family emigrated to Israel. Ksenia was 15 years old then and she remembers that her family brought very little with them. She wishes they’d have kept their treasured flower wallpaper or their lace curtains. Elder immigrants like her parents, she notes, have different priorities than pattern matching decors but “I love my parent’s current home, if only for the fact that they’re still there and well, I don’t care about anything else.”
Decorhardcore is, in a sense, a paradox and very much the opposite of her upbringing. In it, you'll find post-on-posts of lush maximalist interiors, fantasy decors featuring scandalously flashy furniture and it leaves no space for anything bland. She notes that she doesn’t follow any particular recommendations, or idols, or gurus, or gods for that matter, but instead lives by a quote of her cherished eccentric entertainer Liberace:
“More is more and no surface is too shinny.”
She drools as she thinks of his glistening figure and his “completely unapologetic opulent taste.” Ksenia says she’s “inspired by atypical personalities, especially the way they use language and the way they translate their character into physical environments. It has nothing to do with taste but with a certain type of a unique self-truthfulness.”
Her wardrobe style is a mix of hippie and psychedelic raver; though her fashion choices are mostly based on functionality over aesthetic, she admits. When she ponders of what shaped her visual perception most, she says: “I think Tumblr was the hardest visual pill I’ve ever swallowed, just because of its variety — from gay porn to doll houses, you had it all there! Too bad it’s not like that anymore.” But the influences from her Ukrainian background are inevitable and also remind her of her husband’s home in Zagreb, Croatia. “They use the same little crochet napkins all over the place, covering nearly every imaginable object in the house,” she recalls. “This, and the religious elements as well as flamboyant lace curtains, immediately made me feel at home.”
Archival photos: Avraham Shestakovski
Text: Rafaela Kaćunić