< Back to Safavieh.com

The Collector’s Room

In the mythical world of the show house, designers can be as quirky as their hearts desire.

Show houses offer a chance for Safavieh’s staff designers to flex their creativity, and sometimes the results can be whimsical. “You’re referring to the stuffed antelopes,” nods Joe Murphy, Safavieh’s head designer, surveying the room at the Mill Neck Manor, a Tudor Revival mansion on 86 acres overlooking Long Island Sound. “It’s true we don’t sell mounted animal heads. But the story we were creating seemed to cry out for taxidermy, so off we went to the taxidermist.”

The Collector’s Room was conceived as the refuge of an explorer, naturalist and collector. Given a thoroughly traditional backdrop—the oak paneling, salvaged from Tattershall Castle, dates from the Wars of the Roses—the design team from Sa- favieh made the room come alive with a mixture of contemporary and classic furnishings. The room is part of Mill Neck Manor, a Tudor Revival mansion on Long Island’s North Shore.

The trip was actually to a favorite local antiques dealer, who happens to carry a lot of exotic animal mounts. Murphy admits getting carried away with accessories. On a huge library table, an eel fork, which looks like Neptune’s trident, rests atop a gigantic book of hours illuminated by monks in the 14th century. Next to it are fossilized dinosaur eggs and a contraption that looks like a lie detector. “I’m not sure what that machine is for,” says Murphy, “but I like that it seems a little sinister.”

A bold mix of primitive sculpture and natural objects help give the Collector’s Room its exotic flavor. With its faux horn frame and hair-on- hide upholstery, a cast resin armchair, below left, echoes the décor on the walls. The purple tufted sofa punctuates an otherwise neutral palette, beckoning the visitor to sit and unwind.

“We dubbed this the Collector’s Room,” continues designer Karin Krinsky. “It’s inspired by the Vanderbilt estate in Centerport, New York. We wanted the feeling of entering an old museum.”

Along with a cabinet of curiosities and the antiques-strewn table, the room contains many bold, fun pieces that are in fact sold by Safavieh, such as an enormous framed print of a zebra, faux fur throws, and layers of hand-knotted rugs from Morocco and elsewhere.

A latter-day Gomez Addams would feel in his element in the study area of the Collector’s Room, where the look is casual, transitional and decidedly masculine. On the adjacent verandah, however, the décor shifts to garden-party feminine and formal.

Says Krinsky, “This was our most challenging show house ever because we couldn’t change the finish on the walls, floors or ceiling.” Understandable, as the walls, for instance, are clad in oak paneling salvaged from Tattershall Castle, home of Ralph de Cromwell, Lord Treasurer of England during the reign of Henry VI. “We couldn’t go painting over that!”

Adjacent to the Collector’s Room is a verandah, furnished by Safavieh in collaboration with The Enchanted Home. With its wicker furniture, monogrammed linens and Chinese porcelain, this feminine space is the antithesis of the antiquarian’s lair. Indoors, one expects to see Gomez Addams come around the corner at any moment. Outdoors, it’s not Morticia but Mrs. Astor who could be conjured forth. The two spaces together seem to prove the adage that opposites attract.

Book Your Design Consultant