Date: January 8, 2013 | Story: Diane Carroll | Styling: Diane Carroll |
At Home in Arkansas: When you relocated to Arkansas to become the executive director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, what were you and your partner, Dan Feder, looking for in a family home?
Don Bacigalupi: We have always been attracted to houses with architectural integrity, those that clearly evidence the style of the period in which they were built. Among the homes we have owned, we’ve most enjoyed mid-20th century modernist styles, so we were immediately attracted to this 1954 home designed by architect Cecil Stanfield. And, of course, we hoped to have ample play space for our very active son, Guston.
What was it about this particular house that caused that immediate attraction?
DB: The house is a great example of mid-century modernist architecture. It had good bones—terrazzo floors, stacked stone walls and an extraordinary transparency—from the glass-front walls to the interior courtyard.
What renovations were necessary to help it accommodate your needs?
Dan Feder: While we spent most of the nine-month renovation restoring the original features of the house, we did update certain aspects. Working with designer Meredith Boswell, we opened the kitchen up to the rest of the house and made its space planning more accessible and efficient. We replaced and updated all the systems—electrical, heating and cooling. We also updated the landscape with a structured layout of various native plants and grasses, with guidance from landscape architect Stuart Fulbright.
Was your mid-century modern furniture a response to this space or a concept that continued from your previous homes?
DB: We’ve collected and lived with mid-century furnishings for most of the past two decades. In each home we’ve occupied, we’ve made adjustments and specific purchases to furnish the unique spaces. But our aesthetic has remained constant even as the ‘container’ has changed. For this house, we went in search of the perfect light fixtures—of the period and made from Italian glass—and found them in a Palm Beach antique shop.
Throughout your home, art plays a prominent role. How did your collection begin and how has it evolved through the years?
DB: I began collecting art in graduate school on an extremely limited budget. Those days taught me to seek out the best quality regardless of financial limitations. Since then, our collection has grown and evolved over many years, with some works coming from regions where we lived and favorite artists located there, and some from our various travels, as well as many from auctions, which we have always enjoyed.
Tell us more about that collection of Italian glass—how did you begin collecting, where do you find items, and how did you decide to group and display them?
DF: When Don and I met in the early 1990s, we quickly learned that we had different taste in design and decor. One thing we agreed on was the beauty and vibrancy of Italian cased glass objects from the 1940s-1970s. We began seeking them out everywhere we traveled—in antique stores, flea markets and auctions. Before we knew it, we had hundreds of examples, in a broad range of colors that the Murano glass blowers favored.
Now that you’ve lived in this space for a while, how would you sum up the experience?
DB: We love living in this house. Its proximity to all the activity on the downtown Bentonville square is a tremendous bonus. Gus enjoys having wonderful friends around us, and we are astonished by how many local folks voice their admiration for the house.
Interior design consultation Meredith Boswell, Fayetteville, (479) 790-1771
Contractor David Verucchi, Verucchi Custom Homes, Springdale, (479) 361-5843
Landscape Stuart Fulbright, Fayetteville, firstname.lastname@example.org
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Springdale, (800) 262-2199, metroappliancesandmore.com
Bedding Pottery Barn, Rogers, (479) 246-0118, potterybarn.com
Cabinet hardware Lighting Emporium, Springdale, (479) 751-8184, lightingemporium.com
Counters New Century Counter Top & Tile, Springdale, (479) 756-0093, newcenturycountertops.com
Plumbing fixtures Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Springdale, (479) 927-2793, ferguson.com
Tile Townzen Tile & Laminates, Springdale, (479) 751-4043, townzentile.com
Window treatments Greenvalley Window Solutions, Fayetteville, (479) 695-1770, greenvalleywindow.com