Q: Where are you from?
I was born in Siberia, Russia and spent all of my childhood and adolescence there. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not cold all year around, a lot of Siberia has four seasons and springtime is glorious (it typically comes pretty late, snow fully melts around May). When I turned 18, I moved to Saint Petersburg, Russia with my family and went to college. I lived there for four years before moving to the United States for grad school.

Q: Where did you go to school?
I went to college in Saint Petersburg, receiving a bachelor’s degree in international relations. Afterwards, I went to Lincoln University in Oakland for grad school, majoring in business and finance. And finally, I decided to change my career path, and pursued an architectural and interior design program at UC Berkeley, which led me to where I am today!

Q: Tell me about your family.
All my family is in Russia. I try to visit them as often as I can, but lately it’s become almost impossible. I have a younger brother who is a UX designer and a younger sister who is a freshman in college. She is currently studying to become a structural engineer and was hugely inspired by my career path.

Q: What is the last show you binge watched?
The Last of Us. Funnily enough, I’ve been really into foraging and learning more about mushrooms as of late. Mycelium is a fascinating stuff and I’m not surprised there is a show (and a video game) about humans turned into zombies by mushrooms.

Q: Did you pick up any new hobbies during quarantine?
I got more into baking. I really enjoy not only how technical baking is, but also how sometimes you need to trust your gut and experiment with ratios and flavors. And of course, I appreciate when people enjoy what I’ve made. I’ve also decided to learn Italian.

Q: What is the most interesting aspect of architecture to you?
The most fascinating thing about architecture is that buildings and humans have an unspoken connection. There is a dialogue between people and the spaces they inhabit. Client needs, preferences, and desires are what make each project unique. I also believe that there’s a bond between the built environment we craft and live in and its natural setting.

Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?
The best projects are the ones where the client trusts your vision but also pushes your creative mind. I like working on houses that are simple, elegant, and have a sense of belonging to the site. I also like when everything has a purpose, and the design is fully functional.

Q: What are five features you would include in your dream home?

  1. Open floor plan
  2. Substantial fenestration to welcome in more natural light.
  3. Repurposed/salvaged materials like marble countertops in the kitchen – that’s every baker’s dream. I’m also constantly aware of how much natural stone ends up in landfills post demolition, and how special it would be to give it a second life.
  4. Reading nook.
  5. Custom designed shoe display. I’m a shoe addict and collect designer shoes, so it would be nice to have a way to showcase my entire collection.