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HTX Comforts of Home 2012
Ligne Roset
High/low aesthetic

My favorite room: Dining area in Museum District apartment mixes mini-gallery and plant hospital

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Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Natalie Svacina, a curriculum coordinator for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, stands by a Debbie Carlos poster and a small selection of plants in her dining room.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Ostrich, a torch drawing by Helen Altman, hangs above a sideboard equipped with hosting essentials and topped with travels memorabilia.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Friends seek Svacina out to revive ailing plants or keep them while they're away. Her rug is from IKEA. Photo by Whitney Radley
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
An IKEA table is topped with brass from the collection of Svacina's mother.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
A leather butterfly chair from Urban Outfitters is cozied by a hand-sewn pillow and a knitted stuffed creature from a close college friend. The open doorway looks out onto the living rom. Photo by Whitney Radley
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home
Whitney_Natalie Svacina_my favorite room_comforts of home

Natalie Svacina moved to Houston just a year ago to take up a post as curriculum coordinator for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston after finishing her art history masters degree in Lawrence, Kan., but it didn't take long for the recent Bayou City transplant to make a Museum District rental her own. 

A small dining alcove is at the literal and metaphorical heart of her apartment, open to both the living room and the kitchen. This is where Svacina — a North Texas native — entertains new friends and visiting family. 

Her walls have become a gallery space for the burgeoning art collector: A torch drawing by Fort Worth artist Helen Altman hangs above her sideboard; a petite Art-o-Mat painting, one in a series of gifts from her brother in Austin, leans against a turntable; a large bunny poster from photographer Debbie Carlos is pinned up behind a plant stand, offset by a sculptural himmeli mobile and hanging planters picked up at the Eastside Urban Harvest Farmers Market and a Kansas boutique.  

 This high/low aesthetic defines Svacina's cozy home, where vintage furniture, borrowed family heirlooms and collected treasures elevate IKEA staples. 

This high/low aesthetic defines Svacina's cozy home, where vintage furniture, borrowed family heirlooms and collected treasures elevate IKEA staples.

"I'm drawn to warm colors and pieces with a little bit of masculine edge," Svacina explained to CultureMap. "Raw woods, lots of brass and leather."

The large western-facing window is crowded with potted plants, many gifted or adopted, several on loan from friends to be revived by Svacina's green thumb. 

"My dad is a huge gardener," she said of her talent for plant care. "I love bringing them in."

Other items tell of Svacina's travels: A painted bird figurine from the Archäologisches Museum Frankfurt, a handmade bowl from a ceramicist based in Marfa, a pair of wooden puppets from Germany, rocks from her grandmother's land in Arkansas. 

Eames-esque chairs encircle an IKEA table topped with brass vessels and candlesticks from Svacina's mother, within easy reach of her '80s-era bar cart and her curated record collection, a mix of indie rock, pop punk and familiar hits from the '60s and '70s — essentials for her intimate fêtes. 

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