16 December 2007

A Collecting Couple


Recently, my sister and her husband moved from a high-rise condo back to a ground level townhouse. They decided they are just too young to live in a high-rise building and they longed for the advantages of a garage, a garden, a neighborhood. Plus, my brother-in-law really missed b-b-qing outside! I was there the other day helping them hang all their paintings. They're pretty settled after just one week, except for the rugs, which had to be cut down to fit the new floor plan. Both of them are die hard collectors - just of very different things. My sister likes to collect antiques, French and English. My brother-in-law likes to collect - well, I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves!

My sister and I collect many of the same things, but for some reason, her collections are much better than mine! For instance, I'm very envious of her masonware collection - her pieces are more varied and unique than mine and I love going over to her house to examine her masonware. Since we collect the same things, we've often gone out on the search together, which is great fun. When we were first starting out collecting, we would go to the Round Top Antique Fair twice a year to buy new pieces. On birthdays, we try to gift each other a new piece, if we can find something affordable. Now we both collect on Ebay occasionally, but you have to be very careful. I've been burned a few times when a reproduction was sold to me as an antique. Over the years, we've seen our collections increase in value. For example, a transferware plate used to cost us around $50 or $60, but now we are lucky to find one under $100. Antiques are a great investment, as long as you can find a buyer.

Regarding the interior design of the townhouse, originally my sister hired designer Billy Francis who worked with them on their previous home. Francis, who passed away recently, was a well known Houston designer who eventually moved to NYC to live, though he retained business ties in Texas. He used a color scheme of rusts and blues in various shades. The mark of great design, her upholstery all coordinated throughout the home, allowing them the flexibility to move furniture from one room to another, as needed in the new townhouse. Below are a few pictures of their new townhome with an emphasis on their collections. Enjoy!!

As you enter the townhouse, you get your first glimpse of her wonderful Masonware collection. Here are three jugs in the same pattern and a platter of a different pattern.


The living room with its fabulous antique french screen. We found this at the Mews in Dallas when we were antiquing there many years ago.


One of my favorite pieces of my sister's: an antique French bonnetiere. Here her English pewter collection is on display. Some of these pieces are over two hundred years old.



On the side table next to the sofa, is a collection of mauchlineware boxes - small boxes from Scotland made of wood from plane trees.


Also in the living room, another French antique piece holding her collection of blue and white spongeware - notice the jugs up on top of the buffet.


Going down the center of her Rose Tarlow dining room table are more Masonware jugs - all of various sizes. At dinner parties, she puts matching flower arrangements in each jug.




Against one wall are two buffets holding her magnificant collection of Masonware - ironstone made in England in the Mason factory. Most pieces are from the 19th century.




A close up of my favorite Masonware pattern: yellow scale.



Under a collection of botanicals, more Masonware - Bandana pattern jug in a bowl and large platter.


In the family room, another French buffet displays two collections: blue and white transferware and yellowware.



A closeup of her superb blue and white transferware. Her yellowware isn't too shabby either!


On the shelves, a small sampling of her collection of antique biscuit tins.



In the family room, another biscuit tin rests on her coffee table.





The master bedroom features beautiful Manuel Canovas material. The bed rests under a collection of antique furniture prints.



Master bedroom: A close up of her antique French desk.



Close up of the master bedroom.



Pair of antique French beds in the guest room.



My brother-in-law's office filled with sports memorabilia.


The star of the memorabilia: bobble head dolls from college football teams and favorite baseball teams of his youth. Totally organized in a system only he truly understands, this collection of dolls is priceless. These dolls are original, made of papier mache - not the cheap plastic or wood dolls sold today. Many of these dolls, if not all, are extremely rare - this collection took quite a determination to finish and it still is not complete. He's lacking a few bobble heads that he wants. Despite that, the breadth of this collection is phenomenal. It's a unique collection - few in the country have anything close to rival this.


Close up of the bobble heads - this shelf features baseball teams. Don't they have the cutest expression?


The personality of his collection: on the left, the University of Texas football team. On the right, the University of Oklahoma football team. In between, the symbol of the famous OU-UT rivalry: Big Tex from the Dallas Fairgrounds where the game is played each year.