"Just because you know how to buy art, it doesn’t mean you know how to live with it," says Fern Simon, owner of Arts 220 (895½ Green Bay Rd., Winnetka, 847-501-3084), who has been curating this smart and quirky collection of 20th-century fine and decorative arts for more than 20 years. When she had to assign appropriate perches for the objets d’art in her new Winnetka condo three years ago, she turned to Evanston-based interior designer Eric Ceputis (847-864-1124), who works primarily with clients who want to fill their homes with pedigreed pieces. "Eric has an art history degree from Yale. He traveled the world working with a famous muralist. He understands building materials, space planning, and colors. I wouldn’t do it without him," says Smith. With this ringing endorsement, we asked Ceputis to shop with us "at Fern’s" and give us his perspective on living with some of the pieces in her shop. He happily obliged.
Photograph: Eric Hausman
Next: The Results
1. Estela lamp by Fernando & Humberto Campana for Oluce, circa 1997, rubber and electrostatic painted iron, 26 inches high, $2,400
"This arrangement, with the white and lime green, reminds me of Florida in the 1970s. There is something playful about it. You can take a couple elements from this arrangement and use them in any space to add some color and lightness. With the dark background, you tweak the look and play with expectations."
2. Raymor aluminum mantel clock circa 1970, 161⁄2 inches high, $700
"This is a great piece—very architectural. It takes the place of a traditional mantel clock in a modern home. Aluminum, a modern material, is used to ‘describe’ the traditional form of a clock, but as a line drawing, rather than a solid volume. It can add sparkle and wit to a wall of bookshelves or a console table."
3. Free-form vases by Winslow Anderson for Blenko Glass, circa 1951 (clear, 13 inches high; blue, 21 inches high), $900 each
"These pieces were quietly revolutionary for their time. Unlike in Italy, no one else in the U.S. was making such large glass vases then. They are an example of decoration through pure form—no embellishment—and can hold their own on a console. I would recommend the clear glass for a more traditional setting, and the blue, or both pieces, in a more modern setting."
4. Robert Sonneman orb floor lamp, circa 1969, 36 inches high, $2,400
"I love this lamp. It is uncommon to find a low lamp that gives a warm glow to the room at floor level—you get a richer quality of light in a room with lamps positioned at different heights. Traditional lamps are all tall with a shade. This glowing orb reflects the spirit of its time: It was designed shortly after man had walked on the moon."
5. Nobody’s Perfect resin side chair by Gaetano Pesce, signed and dated 2002, $3,500
"With its unexpected coloring and materials, this is a great side chair for either a modern or a more sober traditional setting. Pieces like this—that don’t take themselves too seriously—are important for adding character to a room and preventing it from feeling too heavy."
Photography: Eric Hausman