She has a dream, and, step by step, Anna Kocharian, 28, is making it real. Like other young professionals, discovering who she is and what she wants to be is an exhilarating process of self-discovery, independence, and trial and error. Kocharian wants meaningful work. She wants to travel. And she wants a retreat to come home to that reflects her taste.
Check. Check. Check. “I’m lucky. I get to travel and do something I love,” she says. “It’s such an exciting time to be in New York and working in design.” She is a digital editor at Domino, a taste-making brand helping people make the best of their—sometimes small—living spaces. And she understands small. Her walk-up studio apartment in Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood, the first home of her own, is under 300 square feet. Even so, like many her age, she needs help from her parents with the rent—despite a full-time job. “I’ve tried hard to create a calming space,” she says. “My apartment is an escape from the hustle and intensity of the city, and, ultimately, that is what brings me joy.”
It is orderly, spare, and multitasking. Her dresser doubles as a TV stand, and her desk becomes a serving area for entertaining. And she’s hyper aware that staying organized and intentional is key for maintaining a calm aesthetic in tiny quarters. “I’m a hard-core minimalist. Every time I buy something, I ask myself, will I really love this?” She collects tiny objects abroad: a trinket dish from a visit to Greece, a vase from a business trip to Copenhagen. “I love to fill my home with the pieces I procure. They’re often colorful and look beautiful against the all-white backdrop.”
“My apartment is an escape from the hustle and intensity of the city, and, ultimately, that is what brings me joy.”
Wanderlust is in the blood. Her surgeon father and math teacher mother moved from Armenia when Kocharian was six, eventually settling in Princeton, New Jersey. Kocharian graduated from Rutgers in journalism and psychology while her brother, who is training to be a neurosurgeon, followed her father’s footsteps into medicine. She’d like to visit Armenia again soon, or live in Europe sometime. “I love wandering,” she says.
For now, she roams closer to home. She’s a foodie, but, like many New Yorkers, that means discovering restaurants, not cooking at home. Her mini fridge is empty; she and her friends go out to socialize. For people her age, she says dating is challenging. “It’s impossible. It’s easy to meet people, but there are so many options.” She adds, “Maintaining a work-life balance is a struggle and seems to be for everyone.” On a workday, she spends three waking hours, tops, in her apartment, and says that 70 percent of her life is “internet-driven”—working, shopping, communicating. As the day closes, she’s so sick of the computer screen that she reads actual paper books. “Most city dwellers spend little time at home; when we do, it’s special,” she says. The small things make her happy—her air plant, a ray of sun. “If it’s Sunday and I have the windows open with the light shining in, it’s cathartic to be in that moment. I can be working or creating or reading.” Living the dream.