A Colorful, Maximalist Mini-Museum in Massachusetts
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Name: Hank Scollard and his two cats
Location: Inman Square — Cambridge, Massachusetts
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 16 years; Rented
When Hank Scollard was a child growing up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, his mom would take him to open houses. The family wasn’t looking to move, but Hank’s mom loved to glimpse how others lived in and decorated their homes. These informal “house tours,” along with his mother’s penchant for DIY projects, undoubtedly influenced Hank, who grew up to be an architect and repurposer of objects within the home. Now Hank has come full circle, opening up his Inman Square apartment to a tour. Filled with the best and most bizarre, Hank’s home is a small slice of history and, like all collections, is subjective to the eye and heart of its curator.
Hank is a self-described maximalist. He jokingly recalls the name of a shop that used to be in the neighborhood—The Museum of Useful Things—and acknowledges that his apartment is more like a “Museum of Useless Things.” Indeed, the items in Hank’s apartment, from curbside rescues to family heirlooms, are each given a sort of museum status. In this museum, items are treasured not for their fame or price but for their quirkiness, amusement factor, or personal connection to Hank. Hank’s not afraid to mix styles—the more you add, the fewer rules are left to follow—but he’s meticulous about compositions and careful to give pieces breathing room. The result finds a Pee-wee Herman doll resting atop a cuckoo clock, surrounded by Homies—yes, those tiny figurines found in 1990s vending machines. It’s uniquely Hank, and it works.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Maximalist. I see nothing but potential and possibility. Pretty much everything I buy/find/am gifted gets a shot somewhere, to see if it can work.
Inspiration: The ’60s, and, to a lesser extent, the ’70s. There was a real exuberance to home design in that era, a lot of space-age influence. Probably the last time we were unreservedly optimistic about the future.
Favorite Element: It’s gotta be the kitchen wallpaper. An absolute throwback to the ’70s. I find it very comforting, probably because it reminds me of the kitchen in the house I grew up in.
Biggest Challenge: Dust! Lots of stuff = lots of dust. Everybody’s least favorite chore. Also, several rooms have a southern orientation, so I need to be careful about art and furniture placement to avoid the deteriorating effects of solar glare. Leveling furniture in an older apartment also presents a challenge. If something is out of plumb by just a little bit, it’s very noticeable (at least to me). I shim things as subtly as I can.
What Friends Say: If you’ve ever taken a cat to a new apartment, you’ll notice that they immediately run around and visually survey every room, object, surface, etc. That’s typically how newcomers act in my place. There’s a lot to take in all at once.
Biggest Embarrassment: Nothing really comes to mind, though I know that my mom is a bit embarrassed by the little Homies figures that sit atop many of the artworks in the apartment.
Proudest DIY: Probably the entertainment center, which used to be a vertical storage cabinet. A friend once spooked me about what would happen to it in the event of an earthquake, so I tipped it on its side, and before long I had tricked it out with caster wheels, interior shelves, and sliding fronts. It houses my all my audio and video equipment and allows me to discreetly deal with wires and cables. (I can’t stand seeing them, and I have a cat that likes to chew them.) I’m also proud of the wall lamp I made out of a stained-glass window my mom made some time ago.
Biggest Indulgence: The sectional sofa. Probably the only piece of furniture I’ve ever purchased at full-price, in a real store. Also my first chair with arms. But it’s a 20-year investment, right? It took me several months to pull the trigger on the purchase. I’m very happy with the color and fabric. The irony is, just after I received the sofa, I took ownership of two cats and now I have to extra-vigilant about hairballs, claws, and the inevitable catsick.
Best Advice: Slap something on the wall and it immediately becomes art. Anytime you take an object and re-contextualize it, it becomes infinitely more interesting. I’m not so much a tenant as a curator of this apartment, and I tend to treat it like a museum. Turn a chandelier into a table lamp. And speaking of lights, avoid recessed ceiling lights. Floor, table, and chandelier lamps are also art objects; they have utility value even when not illuminated.
Dream Sources: As much as I love and respect outlets like Design Within Reach and Room & Board, and would love to be able to shop there with impunity, in the end I would probably feel like I’d bought an off-the-shelf identity. I love the Mid-century aesthetic, but I prefer to cover my tracks. I’m drawn to a look that is more vague, uncanny. It looks like something, but I can’t quite pin it down. For that reason, I’m happy to trawl through antique markets and thrift stores. I find the best ones to be in places like upstate New York, close to metropolitan areas but far enough away that there is less competition!
PAINT & COLORS
Most of the walls, floors, and ceilings in my apartment are neutral, but everything else is fair game. I like bright, bold colors, and the more of them you have, the more will work with them. At a certain point it becomes impossible for something to clash; I think I’m at that point. I’m not wed to particular colors or paints, but I gravitate to orange and I use a lot of Montana Black spray paint for my DIY projects. They have a great range of colors.
Panton chairs: Innovation
Bubble chair: gift from client
Panton rug: Machine Age
Sofa table: Gus
Floor lamp: Artemide
Entertainment center: re-purposed vertical cabinet
Chrome/glass tables: Salvation Army
Marble-top tables: grandmother
Small cabinet: parents’ house, refinished by mom
Table lamps: thrift store
Large artwork: Laylah Ali, intentionally hung in wrong orientation
Remaining artwork: Laylah Ali, me
Table: parents’ house, refinished by mom
Dining chairs: Mario Bellini for Heller
Saarinen Tulip table: yard sale
Eames conference chair: thrift store
Grandfather clock: grandmother
Cuckoo clock: grandmother
Glass mosaic table lamp: re-purposed chandelier
Space-age floor lamp: thrift store
Side table: repurposed display tables found in thrift store
Curio cabinet: grandmother
Henry Winkler life mask: eBay
Postcard artwork: Michael Segal
Table: yard sale
Chairs: Crate & Barrel
Cabinet: Commonwealth School gymnasium
Everything else: thrift store, grandmother
Bed frame: Innovation
Dressers: inherited from aunt, re-painted
Mid-century wood/metal chair: yard sale
Headboard: found on curb, repainted
Floor lamp: thrift store
Large photograph: found at Piano Craft Guild Apartment Storage
All other art: found on curb or re-purposed
Shower curtain: Marimekko
Artwork: mostly made by friends
Custom drafting table: made by cousin in the ’70s
Stock drafting table: Alvin
Computer center: DIY from bookshelf parts
Lamps: parents, thrift store
DEN A.K.A THE MAKE OUT ROOM
Armoire/hutch: parents’ house
Funky ottoman: made by mom
Boring ottoman: found on curb
Panton floor lamp: thrift store
Rug: antique store
X’s: Laylah Ali
Silhouettes silkscreen: Lee Daugherty
Other artworks: yard sales, made by grandmother
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