By Berlesu Kerimoglu
— This March, Amsterdam University College held a contest in which students voted and elected their favorite style of dorm rooms. The winning rooms were Roxy Frey’s, 22, single room and Luana Carretto’s, 25, double room, which she shares with her husband, Dennis Polli, 35. Frey and Carretto will each be awarded 50 euros and their rooms will be showcased to prospective students and international board members in the upcoming months.
Even though they won the same contest, both rooms reflect different designs and personalities.. While Frey’s room consists of white and black furniture accompanied by pink flower patterned wallpapers and decorations, Carretto’s room has a mix of Asian and Indian designs and colorful cushions.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Frey describes herself as a very happy, outgoing, and “flowery” person. She is creative, enjoys drawing, and has a passion for singing. Frey has been interested in interior design since she can remember. She recalls one of the stories her mother told her of when she was three years old. “We were invited to a friend’s home, and I was the only kid there,” she said. “All the parents to the kitchen and I stayed in the living room and when they all came back I had rearranged the entire room.” Frey said she and her mother were very embarrassed, but the house owners ended up liking the new arrangement.
Frey states that her rooms went through different stages when she was growing up, but they were always very colorful. She recalls several designs such as African, ocean, and sunflower themed rooms. “I always have one wall that I paint in a really bright color,” she said. In the sunflower themed room, she painted one wall bright yellow and drew big sunflowers on it. Additionally, Frey likes to buy little boxes that match her room design, and when she wants to redecorate, she trades them for other items with her friends.
When asked how she designed her current room, she said that she brought a lot of furniture with her from her old room in Bonn, Germany. Before she had decided on how to decorate her dorm, she considered several factors, such as the size of the room and the coziness. Frey says that she had to balance the proportion of color to the room, stating that, “if I put too much color in it, then it would have made it very small.” Her favorite thing about her current room is the reddish wooden floor. She added the flowered wallpaper to make it cozy and added comfortable furniture.
In the future, Frey hopes to have “enough money to build her own house, from the outside to the inside.” She says that she likes Greek- style temples or old mansions like the villas she once saw in Argentina. She would like it to be “small, white from the outside, have a nice porch and look inviting.”
On the other hand, Carretto chose to use wooden materials to design her room. Born in Italy and raised in the Netherlands, Carretto describes herself as a very hands-on and aware person. Her personality and passion for sustainability are reflected in her lifestyle and how she designed her room. “I have always been creative, and I have been drawing for quite some time now,” she said. Recalling her last room, where she hung up CDs on the walls, she said. “I thought the sun reflected really nicely on them.”Carretto states that her parents were very helpful and handy. Her dad was not creative but always encouraged her to use tools in order for her to be an independent woman.
Carretto said that during her travels with her husband, they really enjoyed spending time in teahouses at festivals. “It was pretty relaxing and calming, and when we got this room, we thought this would actually be a place where we could create this atmosphere,” she said. “It was very much designed to receive a lot of people and for them to feel comfortable.”
The room has fabric hanging from the ceiling and many cushions. “I don’t like sitting up straight, so I wanted everything to be low for me to be able to lay down at the end of the night,” Carretto said with a laugh. Her husband and his father constructed the bed, which forms the second floor of the room. “It is a very big room so you can hear the echo, but it really helps to have something blocking it and it saves space,” she said.
Carretto and her husband also make their own furniture from second hand items or objects she finds on the street. “I never like buying new furniture, I am always keeping my eyes open because I know people throw away a lot of useful things,” she said. Their couch is made out of pallets and old mattresses of AUC students, while they found their table on the streets. Moreover, Carretto made hooks from tree branches, kitchen shelves from an old bed, bookshelves from wooden crates, and she constructed a special type of garbage bin that can hold five different buckets for recycling purposes.
In the future, she would like to find a piece of land in Europe where she and her husband could live as self-sufficiently as possible. “We know it’s probably not going to work 100%, but we could have solar panels, and see how we can make the water system as sustainable as possible,” she explained. Carretto added that she likes organic forms and would want to avoid having corners as much as possible. She has been looking into houses made of mud, clay or hay.