Less isn’t always more.
Arranged on a fireplace mantel, hung on the wall, or displayed on a console, collections of objects and art can bring a living room to life by injecting it with the homeowner’s personality. Adding collections to a home’s interior design scheme not only communicates individual passions, but also creates a distinctive decorative statement that visitors won’t see anywhere else.
Happily, they don’t have to be expensive.
I began collecting tin sand toys from the 1940s-50s while living in Michigan – I missed the white, powdery sand of Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches. (Walking across dirty brown gravel to plunge into the icy waters of Lake Michigan wasn’t much fun for me.) Today, sand pails, sifters and shovels cluster atop my kitchen cabinets, where I enjoy them every morning as I make my coffee.
Regional design celebrity and author of “The Collected Tabletop,” Kathryn Greeley defines collecting as, “The passionate search for items that speak to you, that you can use on a day-to-day basis…or enjoy as art.”
I’ve seen unusual items add zip to a home:
– Antique musical instruments suspended from tall ceilings.
– Rubber duckies nesting on bathroom shelves.
– Model trains running on suspended tracks around a family room.
– Large antique apothecary jars holding rocks, shells, marbles, or other small objects in a single dust-free display.
Collections are an ideal way to fill the void in any room. They add interest, spark conversation and bring your personality into what could otherwise be a sterile decorating scheme.
According to designer Greeley, who has created uniquely personal environments with collectibles in the Southeast for more than 30 years, “It’s of no joy to you wrapped up and packed away in a closet.”
I read somewhere that everyone collects something…how about you?
TAMPA – Lou and Carol Radwanski know how to set a mood.
The creative couple – Carol sells visual merchandising to department stores and theme parks, while Lou owns The Arrangement Florist – will be married 42 years next month.
“We’re both workaholics,” Lou admits. “So we schedule a weekly date night and we share the chores. But the real secret to our marriage’s success is that we’re best friends.”
Their instincts were good from the start – the couple became engaged just two weeks after meeting. And like many lovers, they prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home.
“It is the biggest, single day of the year for florists,” Lou explains. “We’re usually working around the clock in the days leading up to it. ”
Once, years ago, the couple decided to celebrate the holiday with a few friends.
“I fell asleep in my mashed potatoes,” he says. “I learned that Valentine’s Day is not a night for florists to go out.”
So Carol pulls together the perfect romantic celebration at home by decorating a few key areas with symbols of love:
1. The Entrance – Decorating your front entrance starts the night with a nice surprise for any Valentine. Carol hangs a sparkly heart wreath trimmed with white silk flowers and ribbon on the door. For added color, she plants pink, red and white flowers by the walkway, along with a tiny cupid flag.
2. The Dining Room – Nothing is more romantic than having an intimate dinner with the one you love. In lieu of a runner, Carol scatters rose petals along her black lacquer dining table. Red chargers beneath white plates, red roses in glass cubes and red candles add to the affectionate atmosphere.
3. The Bath – The Radwanskis enjoy red walls, a golden baroque mirror and antique fixtures in their bathroom all year long. For Valentine’s Day, Carol adds a vase with red roses, red hand towels and a sexy note written in lipstick on the mirror! Heart-shaped soap dishes and aroma candles also are inexpensive ways to add a bit of love to your bathroom décor.
4. The Bedroom – Two red robes lay waiting by a dessert tray topped with Valentine coffee mugs and a box of chocolates. “Carol knows I love eating chocolate and watching Jay Leno,” Lou says, with a grin.
Scattering rose petals on the floor might indicate a slightly different program…