Good Design, Collectively
By Margot Clark-Junkins
“It’s my happy place,” says Rye resident Lotte Meister, and there’s no denying it. She’s smiling even as she wrestles a rattan chair through the entrance of The Collective, at 50 John Street in Stamford.
The 13,000 square-foot space in the city’s antiques district is occupied by some 35 dealers who rent booths, each a perfectly curated room. When The Collective opened last fall, Lotte and Susan McGovern, her friend and neighbor of nearly 20 years, decided it would be fun to have one. Both are design mavens and enjoy hunting for vintage finds. “We literally walked in off the street. It was sort of like when you go house-hunting and you say, ‘This is my house.’”
What do they lean toward when selecting items for the space? Lotte, who has been decorating and staging for several years, has a weakness for “anything woven, anything natural”. She loves rattan, wicker, and bamboo. Susan leans toward Lucite and chrome. They both love vintage barware and have a taste for the whimsical.
On the left side of the 10- by 12-foot room, which is painted an inviting gray, a pair of chrome and velvet club chairs with zebra-patterned throw pillows look divine on the cream and brindle-colored cowhide rug. Front and center, an elegant teak bar cart holds court, surrounded by many delightful <objets,> including a pair of white ceramic elephants and a sexy Lucite wine rack. Just off to the right, a pair of twisted oak candlesticks stand guard beneath a port-hole sized mirror which has been set like a diamond inside the most magnificent platinum roundel, encircled by rows of tiny mirrors. An art installation featuring four Modigliani-style faces hangs on the back wall, to one side of an exquisite chrome pier table.
“It’s so fun to style the space,” says Lotte, stepping back to admire the rattan chair in its new home. When asked what one ought to do when redecorating, she advises, “The best and most cost-effective way to update a room is with lighting (table and floor lamps) and throw pillows.” She likes to mix new and vintage chic.
Where will the design duo go to find the next great thing? “On Fridays, we try to get in line for estate sales, where real treasures are to be had.”
The Collective is open seven days a week — Monday through Saturday from 10-5 and Sunday from 12-5. The dealers need not be present at all times, as there is always someone behind the front desk to field questions and handle sales. Call 203-569-9225 for further information.
Twisted oak candlesticks and other tabletoppers
Velvet and chrome club chairs
Booth at The Collective