Our oldest son, his wife and daughter were in town for a visit earlier this year. On their last night in town, they spent the night at our condo since they had an early flight the next morning and our condo is a quick 10-minute drive to the airport. They had not actually been to our condo in a couple of years so it was their first opportunity to see what all we had done since their last visit.
When I was dropping them off there, I took it as quite a compliment when my son walked in, looked around and said our condo looked like it had been curated.
I’ve written before what a wonderful, vacation-like place our condo is and how we have worked at making it a special place. And I absolutely have to give my wife tremendous credit for decorating it with the help of her life-long friend. Whether by strict curatorial discipline or a wonderful vision, I had to agree with my son’s assessment. That is because everything hanging on the walls is an original piece of art and many of the pieces of furniture are vintage mid-century modern, almost one of a kind period pieces that my wife has found on the Internet or purchased at estate sales.
In early December 2013 once we had purchased the last of our furniture—barely 6 months after completing the extensive renovation—our walls were completely bare. But even before we had reached this milestone, my wife had been busy scouring treasure. And one of her favorite venues for this is a silent auction where the thrill of winning a prize exudes from my wife with child-like delight when she ends up being the top bidder.
The first five pieces of art to be hung in our condo all came from three different silent auctions my wife attended while we were still busy renovating and furnishing the condo.
All of these looked very nice, but being someone that likes to complete one project and move onto another, I soon grew impatient wanting to add more to give that finished look. My wife on more than one occasion made it clear to me that she did not want to take any existing art from our home down to the condo. And for a long time, I respected her choice by not bringing pieces from home to fill the empty walls. Not surprisingly, I began to ask her when an upcoming art auction might be in the hopes of discovering more art. But several of the next ones we attended proved fruitless despite my strong desire to advance our art decorating.
Case in point, this small blank wall between the door to our kitchen and bedroom proved quite difficult to fill.
For a while, all that was there was a 1950s set of nesting tables my wife had shipped from Denmark. A small cabinet eventually replaced this; another Internet find.
But we had trouble finding what would go on the cabinet as well as above it on this small wall. Then one time when my wife was out of town, I brought two of my favorite items from home just to try them out: one that I refer to as my “fake Chihuly” and the other a three dimensional piece entitled “Collecting Dreams” that we had gotten one year at the River Arts fest.
I recognize and willingly accept that if a more appropriate item is discovered in the future, that these items will be replaced but at least for now, the space is not empty even if it is occupied with temporary “squatters.”
Over the next couple of years, a few other small pieces have been added…
…as well as a couple of my favorites. A tribute to our local microbreweries we found at the Cooper-Young festival…
…and a vintage photograph by Don Newman, a local photographer from the mid 20th century, that my wife gave me for Christmas one year.
The spot over our bed was also empty until my wife made another successful discovery on the Internet, a tile mural.
And for the longest time, our bathroom walls were empty but thanks to another silent auction and a visit to the old Tennessee Brewery, appropriate photos were obtained.
At this point, I felt we were nearing completion but still at least two more spots needed art, one over our dresser and the other next to our vintage dining room table. The spot over our dresser was filled following a trip to Asheville, NC when I ran across a panoramic canvas photo of the famous Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway, my favorite road in the entire world.
The other was the printing and framing of four different photos my wife and I had taken on some of our trips to Amsterdam, some of our own art.
The final piece that I had been wanting to add for some time but had not been willing to spend the money on was a Vitra Design Museum miniature chair to sit on our vintage end table next to the vintage ash tray.
Thanks again to my wife, she gave this piece to me for my birthday this year.
As I reflect back to the comment my son made, it is easy to see how he would have concluded this. Over the past three years, each furniture item and each piece of art has been carefully selected from a multitude of sources. So the condo—our condo—that I have referred to before as my vacation condo is now, thanks to my son’s assessment, also a personal art museum. And with our lifetime memberships in hand, my wife and I are free to visit any time we want.