At home with… Stefka Czarnecki Fanchi
Stefka Fanchi knows something about how to transform a structure into a home. During the day, she works to promote affordable housing; at home, she and her family shape their own space, which she says is in a “constant state of renovation.” Both jobs reap hard-won and gratifying rewards. “Working side by side with the homeowner, I really understand what that means for them,” Fanchi says. “When you put work into that place you call your own, it makes it so much more than signing a mortgage. Your blood, sweat and tears are in those walls.”
As for her own home, Fanchi describes it as “small and simple.” She joyfully explains that her family has taken what they have and steadily transformed it to fit who they are. The kitchen is the heart of their home—a hub of hospitality and a true testament to the loving labor she and her family invest in their dwelling. Fanchi and her husband knocked down the kitchen walls themselves, created their own design and opened up the space. “Now it’s hard to get people out of the kitchen,” she says. But she doesn’t seem to mind. For Fanchi—at work and in her own space—family, friends and a busy kitchen are signs of a happy home.
“The hammer belonged to my husband’s grandfather. It is a great symbol of what we do at Habitat for Humanity. Part of the magic of Habitat is the real work. You put your time into it and then there’s a structure there.”
“They love to do all kinds of arts and crafts,” Fanchi says of her daughters: Isabella, 5, and Naomi, 3. “Our home is decorated with all kinds of projects, both finished and works in progress.”
“The central relationship in my life is family and with my husband. People, not objects, are most important to me. All of the objects in my home are things related to people.”
“I purchased it from a man on the beach in Brazil,” Fanchi says of this hand-carved wooden artifact. “I watched him make it and I carried it away with the paint wet. I love to travel.”