One thing you won’t find in Brenda and Joel Shavin’s art collection is landscapes.
“The continuity you notice in our art is faces and people. You won’t see any still scenery paintings here,” said Brenda, a retired speech therapist. Joel, a dermatologist, takes credit for being the “detail guy” who brought all the art together.
The Shavins’ 5,500-square-foot home built in 1988 underwent a recent renovation. Interior designer Marni Ratner (Studio M Interiors) and home improvement contractor Randy Glazer (Glazer Design and Construction) teamed up with the Shavins’ niece and nephew, Karyn Sbar and Karim Tahiri of Soleil Design Build, Inc. based in Tampa, Fla.
The result is elevated spaces with transitional modern lines and site-specific installations.
Each and every room is replete with fine lines and punchy, optimistic, well thought-out coexisting art. Envision a Steffen Thomas portrait titled “McCrae’s Mother” looking down upon a modern buffet with menorahs flanking a Hap Sakwa mosaic tea kettle.
Enter designer Marni Ratner, whose youthful “Midtownish” approach oversaw the new construction and design interpreting the Shavins’ need for function in the new kitchen, master bedroom, closet and bath. Ratner and Glazer worked together to accomplish this transitional makeover and bring life to the couple’s vision and needs. Marni stated, “I’m especially proud that our master bathroom design and execution won First Place, and our master suite design was awarded second place in “Atlanta Home Improvement” magazine, Best of the Best Projects, 2014 edition. They were great clients to work with as their art collection has real depth and sensitivity, and they understood what it took to acquire quality workmanship.”
Take a tour through the Shavins’ matrix of forward-facing collections mixed with some rock and roll.
Jaffe: Joel, what was your design input here?
Joel: I take a keen interest in collecting art. Brenda teases me about being particular, meticulous and observant. As a dermatologist, I tend to be a very visual person.
Jaffe: Who are some of the artists you collect?
Brenda: We have a wide array of talent and taste. Mary Engel did the “Watch Dog” sculpture (a collection of time pieces) guarding our front entry. In the formal living room is Leonard Baskin’s well-known “Man of Peace,” the first in his series of large woodcuts. Additional Baskin pieces scattered throughout our home include two Indian prints from a series commissioned by the National Park Service in the early 1970s. I selected “Crow Scout” for the kitchen and Joel chose “Chief Crazy Horse” for the living room. A Baskin raptor overlooks the tub in the renovated master bathroom. The Baskin theme continues as our Passover haggadahs were illustrated by this Jewish artist. We are particularly proud to own three collage pieces by Benny Andrews: “Over the Rows,” “The Date,” and “Blue Skies,” depicting life as a young African-American in the rural South.
Joel: One of my favorite pieces is a mixed-media homage “Tribute to Bob Dylan” by local artist Athlone Clarke, which leans on the mantel above the den fireplace. We commissioned Steve Penley to do a portrait of John Lennon, which turned out to be a wonderful rendition of not only Lennon, but the rest of the group. Other Penleys include “Andy Warhol” and “Vincent Van Gogh.” We collect Lee Bomhoff, a pastel artist, and share his fascination with jesters and ballet dancers. We are fortunate to own two dolls by Akira Blount: “Jester” and “House Story.” This Tennessee dollmaker is represented in the Smithsonian.
Brenda: We have several paintings by Steffen Thomas: “McCrae’s Mother,” “Cece” and “Girl with Red Hat.” Thomas created “The Trilon,” a bronze sculpture located at 15th and Peachtree in Midtown. More of his work can be seen in the Steffen Thomas Museum in Madison, Ga. Lastly, we own two sculptures by Kimo Minton, known for his playful work on sanded birch.
Jaffe: Describe your interest in these unusual book carvings.
Joel: I originally became intrigued by them in tandem with my affinity for medical books. Many of these book artists sculpt serendipitously without an outlined plan. Our favorite artist in this genre is Brian Dettmer and his “You Can Do Nothing” and “Civilisation Part 2.” Since we highly value books, please note that these books were destined to be destroyed before they became art.
Jaffe: Marni, how did you pull it all together?
Marni: We started with the master suite, which was a full-service renovation. We were impressed with the work of Atlanta Custom Closets with fine details like hidden drawers. Then I moved on to the kitchen and den…much of the rest of the house we spruced up to get it “up to date.” They were unique clients to work with because of their contrasting personalities. Joel has an attention to detail like no one else. Brenda was very hands-on. All this led to the success of the project.
Jaffe: Randy, how did you fit in?
Randy: I completed the renovation while they continued to live in the house along with a lot of plastic room dividers. The master wing renovation included the bedroom, bathroom, and closet. It was much like putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The bedroom actually became smaller in the schematic to provide additional closet space. The Shavins wanted straight, clean lines, so most everything was customized.
I have a 12-member team and for the past 25 years have specialized in home improvements from Roswell to Buckhead.
Jaffe: What’s next for you to collect?
Brenda: I don’t think we can find another inch on these walls, so for now we are done; however, collectors never actually seem to stop. You haven’t even seen the lower level, which is wall-to-wall Americana.
Marni: If you ever get rid of anything, let me know!