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Arts & Crafts Collectibles

In the home of an Arts & Crafts dealer, we find prized furnishings, lighting, and tableware, all objects of discernment in an unfussy setting. Because they add color, style notes, and history, small things make the difference.
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There’s a saying amongst antiques dealers: “You can’t be a collector and a dealer.” Well, bartenders probably shouldn’t drink, but some dealers can, and do, collect. The owner of this house, a noted Arts & Crafts antiques dealer, says the solution is accepting that the décor at home is not static. Pieces move in and out.

Mr. DeFalco and his wife had a collection assembled over several decades. It was a case of finding a home for their furniture, not finding a home and then furnishing it over time. Some years ago, when the couple were house-hunting, they looked until they found the perfect dwelling: an 1860s carriage house of rough stone in Connecticut. The building had already been converted to a residence, but needed a complete remodeling nevertheless.

Gustav Stickley dining table

A Gustav Stickley dining table and 16 matching chairs are lit by a Tiffany fixture. As in Stickley’s own home, the furnishings and architectural materials such as the stone fireplace are the décor; there is no applied decoration.

This home differs from the interpretive, revival interiors that have become typical in recent years. Here, the collection is the décor; the owners decided to forego ornamental wall treatments to keep the focus on their “hall of fame” of American Arts & Crafts pieces. Over time, each object was selected with knowledge and discernment.

Despite this dealer’s passion for the Craftsman style, his house looks like neither a booth at an antiques show nor a museum installation. Credit the personal touches throughout. A silver tea service, handed down through the family, lends grace and polish to a Stickley oak sideboard.

Part of the collection of single candlesticks sits on the sill; the silver service is a family heirloom.

Part of the collection of single candlesticks sits on the sill; the silver service is a family heirloom.

Then there’s the collection of unmatched candlesticks. This is a warm and inviting interior that avoids the stiffness incumbent on so many houses “done” in a single period. Yet each piece invites (and deserves) appreciation.

For all the high-end objects that surround him, Mr. DeFalco is still proud to display his first Mission-style acquisition; an octagonal stand with tapered legs, a piece with no provenance. Says he: “It’s unmarked, and I have no idea who made it, but it’s the piece that got me started. I was on a sailing trip . . . I found it and brought it home on the boat with me.”

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