After touring Nate and Darlene Mall's house for today's Home of the Month feature, many things stick in my mind, including the animals.
No, not just their chocolate and black Labs, Louie and Shango, decked out in sporty dog scarves, but the decorative creatures placed here and there throughout their clutter-free contemporary home.
An 18-inch-long lizard – a birthday gift – hangs on the chimney in the living room, while a resin owl takes up residence on the floor. A ceramic pig – yes a pig! – greets you on the landing of the stairs. In the kitchen, a trendy white deer head and elephant make themselves at home on the soffits above the cabinets.
These all offer elements of surprise and good cheer. It's not as if you enter the house and see before you a vast collection of zebras, frogs or cats. It's more subtle than that – but still memorable.
And these accents were not expensive, the couple pointed out.
“It developed from just being in stores and seeing something fun for maybe $20. These were pretty much impulse buys – things that if you didn't buy then, you'd wish you had a few days later. Then they would be gone,” Nate laughed.
A few days ago, with such animals still on my mind, I was flipping through Jonathan Adler's quirky decorating book – “Jonathan Adler on Happy Chic Accessorizing” (Sterling Innovation, $17.95) and came across a page with “Faces are fabulous!” printed in big, bold letters.
There were decorative human faces but also monkey, squirrel and cat faces in various forms. The carved squirrels were pretty cute, but my favorite was the large monkey sculpture sitting on an off-to-the-side countertop in a bathroom. Can you imagine that goofy, grinning face greeting you every morning as you stepped out of the shower? How could you not start your day with a big smile on your face?
“Visages humanize inanimate objects. Every arrangement needs a focal point, and faces are my surefire faves,” writes Adler, an exuberant fan of animal heads, neoclassical busts and, in his words, “cheeky vases.”
I also had to smile when I turned another page in the book and saw a tall statue of a dog seated proudly in a foyer with four human hats piled on its head. Welcome home!
Now that spring is officially a month away, I see chick, bunny and bird decor showing up in stores and catalogs everywhere. Frogs playing music, dozing cats and what one company refers to as “amusing avians” want a place in my garden.
But I have to wonder, do I really have a spot in our yard for a resin 2-foot-long grazing sheep?