Taking the Plunge - Page 2

Original art makes the house look great—but it’s oh so easy to get hooked along the way
Taking the Plunge
Taking the Plunge
Tiffany Chin and husband Ivan Eng (top) in their San Mateo Eichler with a bas-relief of shoes by artist Stan Dann. Above: One of their paintings by Tiffany's brother Alan.

People collect for a variety of reasons. Collections vary from the 'art that resonates with me' sort—that's how Tiffany Chin, who lives in a two-story San Mateo Highlands Eichler puts her collection together—to the more focused collecting of the Lipsons.

Some collect primarily to enhance their home's décor, and others collect as a sort of autobiography, their artwork recalling places they've lived, people they've known, things they have done.

Many collect while traveling, though the art they bring home is often more than a souvenir. And many collectors are friends with the artists they collect.

Chin's collection certainly reflects her life and personality, with paintings by her brother, Alan Chin, who sometimes stops by to re-hang his paintings, or even repaint them, when he is so inspired.

Chin, a designer, also collects wooden bas-reliefs of shoes, by artist Stan Dann, an old family friend. They relate to one of Chin's hobbies, designer shoes, which she both wears and collects. She also collects Chinese dresses from the 1940s and '50s, "the elegant period, going back to Shanghai, pre-Communist China," she says.

Taking the Plunge
Taking the Plunge
Bill and Gary Sanders' (top) art collection came mostly by way of their worldly travels. Above: One of their cherished pieces, by the late Chris Ranes.

Much of Gary and Bill Sanders' collection comes from their travels. They have a room dedicated to the Southwest, and Gary recalls spotting a couple of Italian soldiers drawing in the Roman Forum during their first trip to Europe. "Gee, that's really nice—you're good," she told one of the soldier artists. "Can I buy it?"

They still have it.

But many of their paintings came from closer to home—from artist Chris Ranes, who lived across the street from them, in another Eichler. They learned she was an artist when Gary spotted Ranes lining her works up outside to dry.

Speaking of autobiography, one of their more unique works is a bust of Gary when she was a girl. It was done by a friend of Gary's mother, the Harlem Renaissance artist Selma Burke, known for sculpting the relief of FDR used on the ten-cent coin.

Randall Beren, who lives in a Terra Linda Eichler with his wife Margo and daughter Karleigh, calls his collection of mid-century Marimekko fabrics "a way to brighten the house."

"I'm just collecting for what I like, for what we like, to have a house that feels good, that carries our aesthetic," he says, adding of the Scandinavian mid-century fabrics, "It was an easy way to get big bursts of color."

Beren, who works in marketing and communications, integrates the fabric panels into a whole-house design, favoring oranges and reds, which can be seen in bedspreads, Swedish Rya rugs from the 1960s, and the dog's bed.

The modern design of Marimekko fits well into their home. "It was great finding an Eichler that hadn't had much done to it," Margo says. "The dark wood makes the pieces stand out nicely."