Q&A

An ac­claimed in­te­rior de­signer of­fers her tips on cre­at­ing pol­ished dis­plays.

Flea Market Décor - - Contents - BY KATHRYN DRURY WAG­NER PHO­TOG­RA­PHY COUR­TESY OF MINDY LAVEN

MINDY LAVEN RUNS A FULL-SER­VICE RES­I­DEN­TIAL DE­SIGN FIRM based in Yorba Linda, Cal­i­for­nia. We ad­mired her work—which of­ten fea­tures vin­tage items—and her beau­ti­ful, or­ga­nized of­fice. We asked her if she could share some of her tips for cre­at­ing stun­ning dis­plays on shelves, and luck­ily for us, she obliged with some great ad­vice.

FLEA MAR­KET DÉ­COR: TELL US ABOUT THE VIN­TAGE ITEMS ON DIS­PLAY ON YOUR OF­FICE SHELVES.

MINDY: I have a fab­ric-bound copy of The New York Times Cook Book, green glass gar­lic beads from Greece, De­pres­sion glass ice cream cups from a tag sale (see those at left), brass roost­ers and var­i­ous hand­made pot­tery pieces that I can’t get enough of. I don’t col­lect any­thing that I don’t love, and I don’t worry about where some­thing is go­ing to go. If you love some­thing, you will find a place for it.

FMD: WHAT SUG­GES­TIONS DO YOU MAKE WHEN WORK­ING WITH CLIENTS WHO ARE HAV­ING A HARD TIME CHOOS­ING WHAT TO DIS­PLAY?

MINDY: When I have a client who has a lot of won­der­ful things that are col­lected or have per­sonal mean­ing, I be­gin by sort­ing those items by color. It’s pleas­ing to the eye and it mar­ries pieces nicely. I may use all white for a win­ter or New Year’s dis­play, and then ro­tate those pieces out to a more color­ful group­ing of greens and yel­lows for the warmer sum­mer months. Ev­ery­thing you own does not have to be dis­played at once, and the nice thing about a ro­ta­tion is that you main­tain the spe­cial­ness of your trea­sures be­cause they aren’t al­ways in plain sight.

FMD: HOW IS OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION PART OF THE EQUA­TION WHEN YOU ARE DE­SIGN­ING?

MINDY: Col­lec­tions can look clut­tered or they can look like an art in­stal­la­tion. It’s all in the pre­sen­ta­tion. I like to keep

group­ings to­gether for im­pact. Sprin­kling milk glass dishes in ev­ery room doesn’t have nearly the same ef­fect as group­ing the en­tire col­lec­tion to­gether on kitchen shelves or on the top of a buf­fet.

FMD: WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE US NON-PROS WHEN IT COMES TO FRESHENING SHELVES?

MINDY: Vin­tage books with leather bind­ings or mar­bled cov­ers are works of art, so I of­ten use books as the base for ev­ery­thing else that will go on a set of shelves or in a book­case, build­ing my vi­gnettes on top of them. Also, add in some pre­cious met­als. A pair of brass can­dle­sticks or a vin­tage ster­ling teapot can pro­vide miles of style.

FMD: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FA­VORITE PLACES TO FIND UP­CY­CLED HOME AC­CES­SORIES?

MINDY: Tag sales and es­tate sales. I’m on email lists for com­pa­nies that have reg­u­lar es­tate sales, and I’m al­ways check­ing Craigslist to see which sales are hap­pen­ing near me. A few months ago, I bought a Chip­pen­dale mir­ror on the last day of an es­tate sale in Mon­tecito for $225. When I checked the value on 1stdibs, the ex­act mir­ror was sell­ing for $4,500! I couldn’t be­lieve it!

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