INTERESTING OBJECTS

BY DAVID MUNK | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

Anyone who has visited Lost … Again or met Beth Callahan, one of the design community’s most cheerful, vivid voices, knows with certainty they will be greeted with a warm smile, positive energy and a passion for directing her customers to the exact right place in the store to find what they seek.

Although the store brims with beautiful, interesting objets d’art, many of Callahan’s customers make their way to three particular shops-within-ashop, each an extension of one individual’s design sensibility, educated eye and personal taste.

The first of these is Linda’s Designers Group, the creation of fascinating Linda Feld, a self-described “frustrated designer”; in the end a misnomer, as an abundance of talent, most obviously an innate sense of balance, color and form, soon betray her modesty. Occupying a space large enough to express her many design interests and a life spent learning, Feld’s shop reveals a unique ability to combine seemingly oppositional design elements together into a clear, cohesive whole.

Callahan describes Feld’s collection as “curvy, colorful mid-century,” but it is more than that. It is full of surprises and aesthetic why-didn’t-I-ever-thinkof- that juxtapositions: A gasp-inducing Murano glass chandelier hovers above an ornate, gilded console table where a pair of Chinese Fu dogs reside. A few feet away, an amorphous fainting couch upholstered in elephant-gray suede beckons. Behind it, a round chrome-andglass étagère houses a selection of vintage designer handbags by Gucci, Dior and their peers.

Feld’s interests extend to fashion accessories as well. “I love vintage handbags and jewelry, so many things. What can I say? I love statement pieces and have been letting my eyes direct me for 50 years,” she says with a chuckle “I have an established clientele for vintage and antique jewelry. They know me,” she adds. “Dallasites don’t always have the time to source special pieces, so they come to me.”

Abutting Linda’s Designers Group is Dinostaur Dallas, owned by retired family physician Dr. John Morgan, who has amassed a stunning collection of natural products: minerals, fossils, corals, taxidermy and butterflies from the Amazon (the rainforest, not the retailer). A dazzling amethyst geode the size of a jukebox jockeys for position with its cousins, citrine and quartz. Behind them, beautifully lit china cabinets illuminate coral specimens and fossils.

Dr. Morgan’s collection is reminiscent of the Perot Museum’s Gem and Mineral Room. “Minerals were my first interest,” Dr. Morgan explains in a warm, avuncular tone. “Minerals and coral,” he adds. The now-retired doc has been working with Callahan for over 10 years in what appears to be a mutual admiration society. Pieces from his collection are routinely used in photo shoots and were even featured in Star Trek: The Next Generation. These fascinating, natural works of art are reasonably priced and have the ability to elevate and anchor a room’s décor.

The third member of the Lost … Again design power troika is a brand called The Machine Icon, a highly curated collection of American-made Machine Age, designer art deco and industrial design from the interwar period (1925 – 1950). Owner Jamie Rafftesaeth explains, “I’ve been collecting since the late- 1980s in this genre and working at it full time since 2005.” His father was an antiques collector, which planted the seed. Rafftesaeth continues: “In the 1980s in D.C. I fell into a group of deco aficionados. I was drawn to it 30 years ago and exploded it from there.”

The Machine Icon appeals primarily to the high-end collectors, museums and museum benefactors. Recent items featured in Rafftesaeth’s decasa .com online store include a super handsome Donald Deskey for Widdicomb asymmetric desk, a gleaming deco Jean Theobald for Wilcox silver plate company dinette set, and a Gilbert Rohde art deco sofa and coffee table for Heywood-Wakefield.

A visit to these vendors and the rest of the talented merchants who make Lost … Again so special inevitably ends as it began: with Beth Callahan’s good cheer and an invitation to “come back Saturday and have a few drinks.” Repeat customers know that to meet Callahan once means you made a friend.

David Munk, a recent transplant from New York City, is a content creator and storyteller. His blog is stargayzing.com.