Hints on Col­lect­ing

FO­CUS! Home­owner and col­lec­tor Nancy Conescu loves paint­ings, but her in­ter­est in them pales in com­par­i­son to her pas­sion for pot­tery. So­lu­tion? “Buy a paint­ing you like that has no par­tic­u­lar prove­nance; the money you save can be in­vested into the pot­ter

Arts and Crafts Homes - - PORTFOLIO -

started in the liv­ing room, which had “only a floor-to-ceil­ing brick fire­place and two built-in cab­i­nets re­main­ing,” re­calls Nancy. “That gave me de­sign li­cense.”

Nancy’s un­bri­dled pas­sion for Arts & Crafts pot­tery in­flu­enced her de­sign for the liv­ing room. She in­stalled a skele­ton wain­scot topped by a plate rail to pro­vide more dis­play area. Then she de­signed a built-in win­dow seat be­tween two book­cases, match­ing orig­i­nals on the other side of the room.

“The most ‘orig­i­nal’ rooms are the front hall and din­ing room, both of which have box-beam ceil­ings,” Nancy says. The din­ing-room buf­fet that re­cedes into the kitchen wall is orig­i­nal, as is the wain­scot with widely spaced wood bat­tens, copied for the liv­ing room. The sec­ond owner had added three china cab­i­nets ca. 1930; when she re­moved their glass back­ing, Nancy dis­cov­ered a lin­ing of news­pa­pers dated Jan. 20, 1928.

As ren­o­va­tion pro­ceeded, Nancy

says she had a vi­sion of how the house would look. An in­trepid buyer and seller of an­tiques (she keeps go­ing un­til she gets just the right thing), Nancy reg­u­larly at­tends auc­tions in per­son and on­line, pe­ruses eBay, and hunts for Arts & Crafts pot­tery through fa­vorite West Coast deal­ers.

“Pot­tery is my first pas­sion,” says Nancy, but “I’ve got a thing for beau­ti­ful light­ing, too.” Al­though many of her fur­nish­ings were pro­duced by well-known mak­ers in­clud­ing Gus­tav and L. & J.G. Stick­ley and Charles Lim­bert, some of the “no name” pieces are at the top of her fa­vorites list.

“One of the first lamps I ever bought is nei­ther fancy nor ex­pen­sive, but I love it,” she ex­plains. “When I brought it to the house, I couldn’t fig­ure out where to put it. When I placed it next to the lit­tle rocker in the din­ing room, I saw that the glass de­sign matches the pe­riod wall­pa­per I’d cho­sen for the room. It was serendip­ity!”

Nancy re­placed orig­i­nal but unin­spired brass light­ing with Han­del fix­tures. She did, how­ever, re­cy­cle Steuben glass shades from the old din­ing-room ceil­ing light, us­ing them on four bronze sconces she added to the liv­ing room.

With in­fra­struc­ture re­built and ma­jor dec­o­rat­ing done, Nancy and Mike are fi­nally en­joy­ing the beauty of their home, its restora­tion a prod­uct of seeds planted on trash nights decades ago. a for re­sources, see p. 62.

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