50 DECEMBER 2 0 1 9
Photos by Yelena Dzhanova/BORO
hang like curtains along the window, casting
shadows in their shape onto the floor
Others trail along bookcases, hiding precious
photos and wedding remnants, almost
as if the plants are guarding them.
The two are “professional communicators,”
Banks said. She works at an ad agency
in SoHo, and Donovan is a technical writer
and content marketer.
They love entertaining — which is why
they fell in love with their apartment,
Banks said. Their old Sunnyside apartment
didn’t have ample space to host
compared to the 2.5-bedroom in Astoria
they now inhabit.
During dinner parties with friends, the couple
covers the table in white paper and puts
out colored pencils and wine, encouraging
their guests to partake in free expression.
The creations go in the trash right after the
Keeping the art is “not the purpose of
it,” she explained: “It inspires a freer expression.
That sense of rather than existing
to document things on social media,
that like consistent performativeness, just
like what does it mean to be here in this
The extra space also allowed them to be
more creative with their furniture and decorations.
The coffee table in the living room on
which several plants live has a single wheel
in the middle. Banks had kept it in the corner
of her small Sunnyside home for years until
she moved to Astoria and realized she finally
had space to display it.
Some stuff has no explanation or sentimental
meaning. On one bookshelf are
framed photos of what looks like ancestors
at first glance. Banks revealed that the faces
belong to royalty and politicians displayed
on foreign currency. “It’s just funny,” she said.
When guests go to the bathroom, they always
ask about their shower curtain, which
has an almost life-size drawing of a man
punching a bear in the face.
“Buying a shower curtain is generally one
of the most boring things you do in adulthood,
so you're like, what is a way to make
that interesting,” she said.
On the dining table are little hamsters that
seem simply ornamental at first, but double
as salt and pepper shakers. There’s a Viking
horn, a tribute to Donovan’s Icelandic heritage
(his middle name is Thor), from which
the two drink and pour wine.
The absurdity of it all makes the home fun,
“I care about aesthetics and I'm interested
in having things look a certain way, but I'm
also interested in disrupting the usual and
having the joy of that,” she said. “Every time
I see these things, I smile because they’re