They found the house of their dreams (part 1), but when they first walked at in, it was a dark disaster. The only thing that saved the situation, and eventually sealed the sale, was the home’s beautiful clerestory windows (part 2). Now, Paul and Kathy Day, inspired by their travels, interests and their Cliff May ranch house, continue their collecting adventures.
“If we ever get another house, it would be Japanese post-and-beam construction,” Paul says. “But these ranch houses are similar in construction, so Japanese things and anything that’s really simple and minimalist goes in these homes very well. May houses are a very affordable piece of important architecture since you can’t buy a Neutra today for less than $1 million.”
In addition to their other collections, the Days have also accumulated ’80s Memphis items, modern sculptural kachina dolls, an absinthe accoutrement collection, hula nodders, ukuleles and Alessi kitchen accessories.
“You can blame Kathy for the Vespas, the vintage fly rods and the Shasta trailer,” Paul says. She also encouraged him to take up surfing again, and they now have 15 long and short boards in Paul’s “quiver,” about half of which he uses. In her defense, Kathy explains, “What happens is I get a little idea. When we were in Florence I said I’d really like to have a Vespa again. Then you blink and the next thing you know, you’ve got eight. That is my life.”
In the Modernist idiom, they love collecting pieces by Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, Hans Wegner, George Nelson and the Heywood Wakefield company. In addition to their vintage finds, they also mix reissues into their interior. “I have no problems with reissues,” Paul says. “They’re livable and usable. Most of the pieces we use every day are reissues since the vintage pieces, especially the Eames items, tend to be a little more fragile. The shock mounts and the glue may have dried up; antiques don’t lend them selves to daily use. I like my pieces to be in nice condition and the more you use them the more banged up they get.”
Their 1963 Shasta trailer came about because their previous dog, Angus, got sick and they didn’t want to leave him behind while they traveled. When they found the trailer on eBay, it was painted white, and every day for two months, Paul worked to renovate it. Just stripping and polishing the exterior took two weeks. He also sanded and polished the interior wood, repaired the flooring, had the upholstery redone and rebuilt the table. Then they outfitted it with another triumphs in collecting that they term “tiki-Hawaiian-funky-Sinatra era.” Angus, predictably, didn’t like the trailer at all.
But now Angus’ replacement, Lucy, is part of the family and has since been joined by Napili, another female bull terrier. You can easily picture both dogs riding shotgun in the cab of the old pickup with the trailer in tow, squinting in the breeze from the open window, ready for new adventures and, dare we say, hunting for that next great collectible.