Let’s abandon minimalism altogether shall we? There is no room for it here. None, zip, nada. Wow, this has to be one of the most exciting spaces I’ve laid my eyes upon in quite some time. Please let me introduce you to the creator of all you see here, Polina Raïko (RIP), a mother from Tsyuryupinsk, a remote Kherson region of the Ukraine who had never picked up a paintbrush until her late sixties. I love this story, I find it so utterly romantic.. Polina’s interiors are completely covered in flourish, flowers grow from the windowsills, mythological beasts roam the edges of rooms and primordial forests grow beside kitchen cupboards. It is outsider art at its very best, it is heavenly and I want to live here forever ever. Forever ever? Forever ever. I imagine myself propping up in bed below the roosters, washing dishes while talking to birds and lying down on the sofa surveying the cherubs on the ceiling, that bless you with their every breath. Hi honey I’m home.


Polina started painting her house at the age of 69 after the death of her husband and daughter, an expression of beauty and love in any case. She painted with regular house paint and took inspiration from images found around her, on chocolate wrappers, water bottles, wine labels and religious postcards amongst many. Religious imagery also ended up on the walls and ceilings, including saints, wonderful winged figures and those heavenly birds I mentioned earlier. Simple things, everyday pleasures, higher powers.


In the last years of her life, Polina’s interior superior was discovered by tourists and from there came many visits from all over the globe. I’m putting it on my “Homes to travel thousands of miles to visit” list and yes that list exists! After Polina’s death in 2004, a painted phrase was found on the garage door: “How to find a way to paradise…” Indeed. X

Anyone wanting to visit Tsyuryupinsk in the not too distant future? Please message me. To find out more about the “old women that paint their houses”, please visit intothehermitage. Images by Oleksiy Kachmar, with thanks.


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