Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our Home In The Oman Trib!

The Oman Tribune

The Crispell family abode is filled with eclectic stuff
by Kathy Kaplan
As students at the University of Michigan, Linda and Gar Crispell didn’t have much money and so they bought furniture at local antiques shops. “While we shopped at the Ann Arbor antiques mall out of necessity, we discovered our love for collecting,” says Linda, a collage artist and antiques dealer.

Humble things like Pez and snow globes began to attract them. “We found these everyday objects made an impact, a nice graphic,” explains Gar, general manager of American Girl Place in Chicago.

Twenty five years later, Linda and Gar are passionate collectors of the sort of things most people either don’t notice or simply take for granted.

A delightful mix of flea market finds, junk-store treasures and found objects fills their cozy North Shore three-bedroom home. Items chosen for their unique or historical features became more than what they were intended to be.

Toy metal typewriters, croquet balls, sea glass, cucina dolls are viewed as accessories and displayed as clusters of colour or texture. “When I look at the brides and grooms (that usually sit atop a cake), I look at them as a series of black and white and they create a pattern that a piece of art might create,” explains Gar. Similarly, a grouping of little metal souvenir buildings from around the world (Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, etc.) becomes a reflective element that as a collection feels like a single piece of sculpture.

As their collections evolved, so did their respective talents. “I’m great at going into antiques malls or junk stores and spotting something that has been tossed into a corner,” says Linda. “I bring it home and Gar can immediately figure out where to plug it into the house,” she adds.

Gar, who studied fine art in college and whose parents were both artists, says, “Even though I have the formal degree, I consider Linda more of an artist than I am now. She has a very good eye and an innate sense of what’s interesting or colourful or unique.”

Deciding how to display and move things around is Gar’s task. “My experience in retail (Gar has worked at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s) translates into merchandising the house,” says Gar.

Linda considers herself quite lucky. “I’ll go to bed and then come back down in the morning and he will have rearranged the room in such a way that never occurred to me. My friends all want to borrow him.”

But a week later the room may be completely different.

With all they have, the Crispells are careful to avoid clutter. Much is kept in storage only to be displayed periodically. “We will pull things out because it’s now the right colour or it feels right" says Gar.

But no one takes this house too seriously. The ever-changing landscape reflects its owners’ sense of humour and casual approach. Nothing is precious or untouchable. Linda feels the lesson of “collecting ordinary objects is that you aren’t putting importance on material goods.”

The Crispells’ two children have embraced their parents’ avocation. Once a month the entire family visits the Grayslake Flea Market. Deke, 10, loves vintage toys and food icons like Big Boy and Green Giant, and thinks that collecting is fun. Lulu, 14, collects junk jewelry and vintage purses, and has recently become interested in political memorabilia.


Tumble Fish Studio said...

Oh, Miss Linda. It is so nice to know that I am not the only one that relishes every little detail of your home and collections. What a wonderful article, obviously written by someone that has pure appreciation for your very large piece of art - your lovely home - and your talents for design. Congratulations on all of your talents and hard work being recognized again in print! I am so excited for you! Now, get busy on that coffee table book so I can get my fix everyday.

I am so far behind on commenting. I've been peeking a bit under the radar but tonight finally had the 4-5 hours it takes me to get through everyone's delicious blogs that I truly love to visit. You have so many perfectly lovely posts below, and though I may not comment them all, I have snooped through them all, basking in your exquisite perspective I find so invigorating, inspiring, and charming. You are such a talented class act with so much to show the world. Okay - I'm mushy, I know. You just amaze me.

Have a great weekend!

Joan@anythinggoeshere said...

Fun to see the article that brought you so much "national" attention.

Jennifer Conway said...

Oh what a wonderful article!! Sounds like you and Gar are a perfect match! (I'd like to borrow him too!) When I come home with a new "must have" object, my hubby says the usual "where are you going to put that thing?". I just love to peek into your house and collection! *smiles* ~Jen

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

Fabulous article, Linda! I love to collect in the same way you do...if I love it, it'll fit in somewhere! I love that you said that you don't take your house too seriously. Honestly, that's the best way to enjoy new finds and create new ideas! Thanks so much for sharing your exciting home!


Your house is so FUN! I love all of the treasures that you have found over the years. Congrats on the press.


LiLi M. said...

Where there any photos too? Perhaps the same as in the last article.
I guess you can expect the requests for adoption coming out of Oman now every minute!

Gabriela said...


~ Gabriela ~

adrienne said...

What a delightful article. I'm in a bit of a redecorating mode this summer, so I appreciate the inspiration! Your house sounds so charming.

I glanced at your recent posts - that peace sign brie is awesome! My daughter would be crazy about it.

Saucy said...

I love that article. We never knew Gar worked at Saks or Bloomie's. Artists, living with art, as artists.

C.E.R. said...

What a fun article! Congrats!

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Very cool article--it sounds like you two are a match made in heaven--and I would love to see that house firsthand because from the little I've gotten to see in your blog it IS incredible (and full of whimsy!).

Rebecca Ramsey said...

This is SO COOL!