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The Shop Owner’s House

A peek inside the Wayland Square home of ph Factor’s Priya Himatsingka

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Priya Himatsingka appreciates the serenity of white walls. Inside ph Factor, her gift and accessories shop on Hope Street, white walls create a gallery-like vibe and colorful wares are displayed along walls on shelves and hooks, resulting in a narrow space that feels twice its width. This anything-but-stark version of minimalism carries over to Priya’s private home as well. In the Wayland Square Greek Revival she shares with her children, white walls are the perfect foil for motifs, textures, and orderly assemblages. “All my walls are white,” says Priya. “I prefer to introduce color and pattern through art and objects.”

Born in Calcutta, India, from a family of textile designers, Priya moved to Providence from New York City in the late ‘90s to attend RISD. Soon after graduating with a degree in Jewelry & Metalsmithing, she founded her Himatsingka jewelry studio and line. “At heart, I’m a big-city person. However, I’ve lived in Providence for 22 years and absolutely love it here,” says Priya. “The people in Rhode Island are warm and friendly. RISD and Brown offer so much to the cultural landscape of the city. And the restaurants here are amazing.”

Describing her style as “fairly minimal; simple, uncomplicated, and fresh,” Priya generally begins decorating with white walls and wooden floors. “Any color inside the house typically comes from objects – I can never seem to commit to brightly colored walls or upholstery.” she says. Over years of travel and recent buying trips for the store, Priya has amassed an interesting array of art and articles – everything from antiques to patinated machine parts to street kitsch – which infuse streamline spaces with personality.

Oddly enough, Priya’s house was the first of over 30 properties she toured with a realtor. Initially out of her range, the price eventually dropped and she was able to make the purchase. “I absolutely love the blueprint of the house – it feels so bright and spacious. The layout is open and every room has big windows,” says Priya, who enjoys cooking and entertaining. “I particularly like the eat-in kitchen with its French windows overlooking the back deck.”

“Today, I’m a busybody,” Priya says with a laugh. “I split time between my home, the store, and the jewelry studio. Thankfully, all three are within a two-mile radius so I rarely have to drive far. In other words: I’m now a bona fide Rhode Islander.”