Meeting the Mastermind Behind @DecorHardcore

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Courtesy of @decorhardcore

From gold-plated, swan-shaped taps to avocado green, roll-top bathtubs, this Instagram account celebrates all of the weird and wonderful objects Ebay has to offer

“I am an Ebay freak!” Ksenia Shestakovski, the mastermind behind off-kilter deco Instagram account @DecorHardcore tells me over the phone, as good as opening our conversation with the confession. “Ebay is big in Germany, especially for clothes and interiors.” The success Ebay has had in Germany – it is a greater phenomenon there than anywhere else in the world, Shestakovski tells me – is partly due to its longstanding socialist tradition; German people are predisposed to exchange and donate, rather than to buy new objects when things break, and the hunger to avoid paying commission means huge treasures often go for as little as one euro. “It’s an El Dorado for girls who like special things.”

A magpie for unexpected sartorial treasures, Shestakovski began saving images of the other knickknacks she came across while browsing, mostly small household goods like lamps and ashtrays. “Little things that can be shipped,” she continues. “I was running into quite specific images and I started to collect them. I had to share it! I’d show these crazy pictures to people and they’d say, ‘I remember my Grandmother had something like that.’” From the moment Shestakovki took to Instagram, she knew she’d found her audience. “At the beginning I was wondering what would happen if I ran out of material, because I post a lot,” she says. “But every time I went on I realised it was endless. It’s like an ocean of treasures! So I’m not concerned.”

Nowadays, the feed is a never-ending amalgamation of weird and wonderful tchotchkes – from shiny chintz bedspreads only a Wes Anderson aficionado could love, to gilded swan-shaped bathroom taps and avocado green roll-top bathtubs surrounded with matching paraphernalia. It has become a collaborative effort; Shestakovski receives scores of submissions every day, each with the same ineffable, off-kilter quality. “It’s always quite sexy I think,” she muses, “in a weird, strange way. I’ve found out a lot about people’s tastes.” Her criteria, though distinct, is difficult to describe. “I like interesting design, and original photography that’s quite ‘bad’, as it creates a really good atmosphere,” she explains. “An emotional connection is the most important thing. It has to create a little heart-pinch. I’m pinched quite often when I see these pictures, I’m completely overwhelmed.” At other times, the objects she finds are so aesthetically displeasing that she can’t resist them – a phenomenon she calls ‘the 666 factor’. “Sometimes it’s so extreme that I have to post it! These might be things I would never buy for myself, or as a present, but the pictures are incredible.”

Likewise, there are a few recurring themes that she’s utterly powerless to forgo. “I cannot resist pink velvet!” she confesses. “It’s stronger than me! Especially combined with gold – no-one can resist that. If you want to build a successful place you need to deck the walls in pink velvet, with pink sofas, and clear glass tables with golden finishing. There. You’ve nailed it. It can’t fail.”

More than simply a gratuitous collection of the bizarre and the beautiful, however, there are anthropological elements are the centre of @DecorHardcore’s appeal. “I’ve come to several conclusions,” she states, decisively, on the subject of taste. “I think that people suppress a lot – they abide by aesthetics that are cool, or ‘in’. People try to be classy by creating a neutral space, making their homes like an Ikea catalogue, but the outcome is kind of sad. One girl wrote the greatest comment the other day – I think she revealed the essence of it: she said, ‘These may be my darkest desires displayed on Instagram'. That’s exactly what I think.”

Her dream, she continues, is that her visual inspiration might encourage onlookers to be a bit more outgoing in their own tastes. “Why not? I just want people to have a little bit more fun. There’s an alternative option to Scandinavian design, and IKEA, and Eames. People are so very serious. Decor hardcore can be yours and mine because we can get it, it’s affordable. You will always be able to find something you will go completely bananas over.”

For more, see @DecorHardcore.