Ralph Lauren prototype chair, which was never produced, shown with a Tibetan apron rug, purchased twenty years ago, and was inspired by the daily dress of the artisans.
We spoke with Stacy Weiss, who is the owner and creative director of Pittsburgh design center Weisshouse. She recently redecorated her own space and wanted to share her advice on getting it right.• When you are self-taught, you don’t operate on any given set of rules; I have been fortunate to find art and design that caught my attention and my affection from every area of my life. My first tip would be to embrace this feeling – many of my collections have gained character by combining items from my personal past with new and vintage items that I find and love.
• Grouping is what empowers any collection, and transforms it from clutter into something beautiful and interesting. When each item has its place, within a context that enhances its characteristics, your true sense of style begins to speak to the viewer.
• Let your collection grow and evolve; it will allow you to maintain interest in building it. I’ve collected items based on color, texture, or similarity, but allowed each item to be a turning point for the collection, taking it in a completely new direction. It's not when your collection fits into one design “period” or “mood,” but when it begins to cross over these labels that it really begins to get interesting.
• Never collect on price, but on emotional power. For one stage of my life, I was completely passionate about paper weights. Not fancy objects d’arte, but commercial and “ordinary” desk art. I absolutely loved finding new additions, anywhere from garage sales, to high-end decorating shows. The surprise of finding something new, that can fit with your collection, and you can take home is what makes collecting fun – no matter the “esteem.”
• Edit your collection. It will make it continually stronger as you evaluate which things you really love (and keep down on the “clutter” vibe).
• My largest collection is art, and several pieces in my home were done by my ex husband (photos 5 and 8). I care for these a great deal, and they are some of my favorites. To toss them would be denying my love for them, as art and signatures in my collection. Remember that meaningful pieces can gain new meanings as your collection and your life evolve.
To see more of Stacy's work, please visit Weisshouse.
Images: Weisshouse. Special thanks to Christopher Preis at Pascale Communications, who facilitated this post.