The Schears are no strangers to the arts and crafts market. Their new Midtown flat falls somewhere between sassy and folk-driven.
Linda serves as the president of the Museum of Design Atlanta, where she oversees the board of the only facility in the southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of “all things design,” offering rotating exhibitions and educational programming for children and adults.
Abe, a partner at Arnall Golden Gregory specializing in retail leasing and international investment, chairs the Law Firm Management Committee of the International Bar Association, which takes him to meetings all over the world.
“This allows us to see the local side of some very exciting cities, knowing nice people in many places,” Linda said.
Speaking of exciting, the Schears recently downsized to One Museum Place. Their vibrant sea of art dances in and out of Linda’s own fantastical studio, where she turns out creations like her wood-drawer pyramid, carved, painted and adorned with collected knobs.
Experience their assemblage of surprises and artful living.
Jaffe: How did the downscale project from a Buckhead home of 37-plus years evolve into a one-floor Midtown condo?
Abe: Linda was our designer. Much of the larger furniture and some of the art and accessories didn’t make the move over. The huge Penleys of our children (1993) of course made the cut.
Linda: The building is new and opened in 2017. It took 10 months from contract to closing, time to get some walls moved to meet our needs, and we are very happy with the results. One big difference is not being able to let Zelda, our sweet pit bull, wander about in a fenced yard. We’d previously given up having a formal dining room and did so again in our more limited space. Our expandable table can still seat 12, so we went with the open floor plan.
Jaffe: How would you describe your style?
Linda: High and low. We mix real art and fine furniture with craft fair and flea market finds, like the coffee table. It houses the “SCHEAR” letters from Abe’s grandfather’s grocery store sign in Dayton, Ohio, and is topped with glass. Our main theme is color. Vibrant tangerine, sea foam, marine blue, scarlet, lime and amethyst — all play off of each other on furniture, rugs and art. It all begins in the elevator lobby, which shouts, “We love color!” We eat and serve largely on ceramics and don’t own fine china.
Jaffe: You’ve attended art and craft shows for the things you’ve collected?
Linda: We attended the Bellevue show, sponsored by the eponymous Seattle museum, years ago and brought back the spinning sculpture on the porch, the “Bird House on a Bowling Ball,” a funky metal side table, and we met an artist who later made us amazing “Crazy Plates.” We’ve had pretty good luck at shipping delicate, large items. The “Woman Running in High Heels” sculpture is from a gallery in New Orleans. Many pieces are from the American Craft Council show that comes to Atlanta each March. I saw this tongue-in-cheek dog ceramic in Amsterdam, loved its humor and had to have it (it looks like Zelda). I spotted this oil by Nisi in Ravello, Italy, not long after I’d lost my parents. It struck me as something they would have loved. I look at it daily and think of them and that lovely place. The small painting with a metal bicycle is from a tiny gallery in Antibes, France. We love to buy things while traveling because we bring home memories of the place as well.
Abe: We also have some sentimental pieces inherited from my parents, like the 3D Agam and the Rookwood Pottery my mother collected. Northside Cabinet created the custom built-in to house and display that and other collections, including a host of small Nancy Kubale figures. The “Woman Jumping Through Hoops” wall piece is by local artist Kirsten Stingle. Especially sentimental is our ketubah by artist David Moss. Amazingly, we randomly met his son at a tour of the Great Synagogue in Rome 30-plus years after it was created.
Jaffe: What are some of the most unusual pieces you have?
Linda: Our daughter Hana did this dramatic, four-piece fiberglass sculpture while at the Minneapolis College of Art, and we framed it with wall paint to set it off. The 7-foot-tall walnut clock by artist Jim Borden (TimeShapes.com) works totally on weights and is a real conversation piece. We commissioned the rolling sunflowerlike ottoman of felted wool from a small shop while traveling in London. Our powder room holds our collection of signed Broadway play posters, Playbills and programs — a room full of memories for us.
Jaffe: As president of MODA’s board, what are some exciting design themes being addressed there?
Linda: Everything we see and use is designed by someone. MODA offers a look at how, why and what’s next. Prior exhibitions have included food, 3D printing, architecture, graphics, fashion, urban planning and so much more. The spring 2018 show is called “Designing Playful Cities” and addresses ways cities create sources of play for both children and adults.
Jaffe: Last words. How did you get yourself inserted into the Cincinnati Reds oil painting?
Abe: I grew up in Dayton. The Reds were my team, and I was a huge fan. It was a gift to myself I commissioned from my friend Bill Purdom.
Linda: To me, home is where the art is. I like colorful things that make me smile, and meeting the artists makes everything more special. In my studio there’s a small Georgia O’Keeffe-inspired wall piece that says, “It’s not what you see, it’s how you see it.” That’s so right.