Collecting contemporary glass has become very popular relatively recently in the art world. Glass is known for its significance when it is blown, signed by the artist and displayed in the best possible light source. Some would add that it has an emotional component for collectors who bring back pieces from world travels.
Interior designer Linda Bressler Wand and dentist Ron Wand did just that by reconstructing their entire main level, opening up and extending curved walls to maximize the natural light so their art and glass could do the talking. The views are to the landscape and beyond. The space is infused with temporal and colorful experiences that capture persimmon and cinnabar hues from a field of poppies to a bursting tangerine sunrise. Linda touts her style as “California contemporary,” but the fun begins when Ron goes out back to cluck with his hens. Linda says, “You would not believe how delicious our eggs are! They are indeed their own work of art!”
Marcia: What are the special touches that you as a designer bring to the table?
Linda: I (Linda Bressler Designs) accommodate all kinds of styles; today I find most want a transitional look. I like to design unexpected options like adding contemporary lighting to a traditional home or using an abstract artful fabric on a more traditional chair. I focus on tactile surfaces like in our kitchen where I (yes, by myself) hand-troweled the sheetrock mud to imprint a wave pattern, incorporated metal tiles in the backsplash and a border around the ceiling line. We have a hand- painted metallic textured wall covering in the master bath.
I had a metal artist customize the railings, each topped by a glass egg separating the entrance foyer from the living room. In the center of the foyer is a custom floating spiral light fixture illuminating it. Most of our lighting is customized by the Lighting Loft.
One of the most fun and practical tips many of my clients enjoy is selecting a wall or small room (ours is adjacent to the kitchen and back hall) where we have mounted travel pictures on foamcore fastened to the wall with Velcro, which are easily interchanged for the next adventure.
Other decorating tips: collect what you like and fit it into your space. Don’t try to match the art to your furnishings. Just hang it and enjoy what you like!
Mix many interesting textures. Don’t be afraid to mix metals, glass, and textured walls – all make the space more interesting.
Marcia: What are some of your most unusual and favorite pieces?
Linda: Our favorite pieces are the three Chihuly glass pieces in the living room.
Also, one of my favorites is the Erté in the entry. The tall glass sculpture from Vespermann Gallery is definitely the most unusual, called “Queen Column” by Susan Pelish and family. They work with recycled materials like industrial discards and sea glass. They strive to capture the moment when everything becomes “as clear as glass.”
Another unusual piece is the alabaster shirt we found in Volterra, Italy. I thought it was a wearable shirt and wanted Ron to buy it to wear. When we went in the shop, we realized it was stone!
The rose purple bowl on the dining room table is by Dan LaChaussee (Washington State). The glass and acrylic custom cocktail table in the family room is by an Israeli artist Shlomi Haziza (now California). I selected the base hues and the glass kidney-shaped top. The sofa pillows are all hand painted from South Beach.
Marcia: How would you describe your art?
Ron: Our art is mostly contemporary and colorful, therefore the white walls and lots of grey are accentuated by the art which becomes the highlight of each room.
The Alexandra Nechita on the dining room wall is a serigraph, “True Love,” which she created at age 12 to show unconditional love for her mother and grandmother. We like the textures of New York artist Curt Barne’s painting in the dining room, which is an abstract acrylic and wood.
I like the orange and chartreuse cheerfulness of [James] Rosenquist’s “Brighter Than The Sun” heading downstairs. We have a drawing, “Baskets,” by Dale Chihuly, located by his three glass pieces. We also like Frabel and David Goldhagen, who did the elliptical purple glass bowl in the living room. His glass is on display at the Beck Museum as part of Miami’s oldest synagogue [Beth David Congregation] (1912).
Another favorite painting by Bettie Ward (Alabama and San Miguel de Allende) is over the ceramic and glass tile fireplace. Ward touts that she “grew up around desert flowers in the prairies as the cowgirl daughter of an old-world rancher and whose art represents listening, growth, change and romance.”
Marcia: How do you use the outdoors?
Ron: It’s very peaceful by the pool. Note that its geometric shape mirrors the angles of the house.
(Laughing) My chicken coop needs no explanation. We get about six eggs a day and take very good care of the colorful hens. Note no roosters as it is illegal to have a rooster here. We did have to construct a safer fence to keep out the raccoons.
We love having the grandchildren over to enjoy the outdoors.
Marcia: You have a passion for glass in surfaces?
Linda: Since I like to work with glass and unusual countertops, I used various colors of glass on our circular terrazzo bar top. In the lower powder room I had an “optical illusion” vessel sink set into a concrete faux-finished countertop with imbedded glass shards.
Marcia: Last word?
Ron: Frank Lloyd Wright said, “A home is more a home when it’s a work of art.” We agree.