This house is filled with color and comfortable, beautiful furnishings thanks to designer Ian Stallings. Stallings has a fine arts background, so it’s no surprise he began with the art. “You can just assemble pretty things and make a good room,” he says. “But it’s so much more interesting if you tell a story. Art is a great way to begin the tale.”This painting, “Alpha Epic II” by Jagannath Panda, sets the scene with surrealistic images that include a sacred ox covered in bright prints, a large branch or root-like shape, and sleek airplanes taking flight in the background. A ledge holds tribal spears. “The piece sets the color scheme,” says Stallings. “The blue and orange come directly from the ox.” The spears were the inspiration for tribal elements such as the zebra-print chairs and the pillows.
With a room full of shelves and not a single book to put on them, Stallings created a cabinet of curiosities.
In the 17th century, a cabinet of curiosities was something of a personal museum, with much of it dedicated, but not limited to, natural wonders. Sometimes it was a mere cabinet; sometimes it was an entire room. Using nature as the starting point, Stallings assembled an array of objects as diverse as the collections of our ancestors. Displayed are cast models of dragonflies, butterfly specimens, religious paintings and midcentury salad bowls that vaguely resemble African art. He put them all together with the eye of the painter he used to be.