Col­lect­ing in Real Life

Arts and Crafts Homes - - EDITOR S LETTER -


can be di­vided into Ar­chi­tec­ture Peo­ple vs. Stuff Peo­ple, which is to say

Ren­o­va­tors vs. An­ti­quers, or even more nar­rowly Dec­o­ra­tors vs. Col­lec­tors, then I am al­ways in

the for­mer group. I’m stirred more by a porch makeover than by the search for a tabouret “with

orig­i­nal fin­ish.” Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a room as a whole, I’ll likely miss the price­less items in a col­lec­tion.

Oth­ers have re­marked on this schism. “Dec­o­ra­tors tend to see ob­jects in the con­text of

a room, while the eyes of a col­lec­tor al­ways fall on a sin­gle ob­ject,” wrote mem­oirist Thatcher

Fre­und in an es­say about the dec­o­ra­tor Mario Bu­atta. “En­coun­ter­ing a taste­less room full of

beau­ti­ful ob­jects—no less than en­coun­ter­ing the taste­ful room full of or­di­nary things—helps

one ap­pre­ci­ate peo­ple who care about both,” he says.

That would de­scribe Chuck Mauch, whose beau­ti­fully re­stored, col-

lec­tion-filled, ut­terly charm­ing bun­ga­low is fea­tured in this is­sue. First,

Mauch bought a house built with qual­ity. Then he rolled up his sleeves

(and put on gloves, we hope) to strip ev­ery inch of painted wood­work.

Then he filled the place with great stuff. The ar­chi­tec­ture pro­vides the

back­drop and the con­text for his col­lec­tions, which are not so much on

dis­play as they are part of every­day life in the bun­ga­low. Vin­tage light­ing

fix­tures il­lu­mi­nate rooms in pe­riod fash­ion; col­or­ful din­ner­ware is ready

for ser­vice. An in­formed col­lec­tor, Mauch can de­scribe each ob­ject, but

the ca­sual vis­i­tor just en­joys the scene.

Most col­lec­tors are drawn to the sto­ries that ob­jects tell, about their mak­ers or about the

past. We can see that in how Chuck Mauch be­came pas­sion­ate about the work of artist Sa­muel

Hyde Har­ris, whose com­mer­cial art he col­lects. I’d like to know the story be­hind another col­lec-

tion in this is­sue: the whim­si­cal one on dis­play like a 3D frieze in the fea­ture on p. 54. It’s in a

new house built for down­time.

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