Home & Living

The Glass Menagerie

Inside Randy Kell’s Annapolis dining room.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: We bought a hand-blown chandelier and two sconces maybe 35 years ago in Murano, Italy, and we thought one day we’d have a house to put them in. We actually hadn’t taken them out of the box since we got back from that trip. The chandelier is a more traditional fixture but we put it in this room and mixed it up with some modern stuff. 

SET THE TABLE: For the table, we found this company that handles hand-blown Murano glass tripods, and then we just cut a glass top to fit them, making it more clear, neutral, and modern. 

HAPPY ACCIDENT: I found the installation in the window by accident. I’m a collector of antique cars and motorcycles and while I was online looking up auctions, I saw one by a guy in Minnesota who went into bankruptcy. I had a car in mind, but when I checked the catalog, there was also a mention of this glass piece, and they had a picture of it. I did some research on the artist, and I thought since it was a car auction, no one would be paying attention to this glass piece. And of course there were three or four more people who knew exactly what it was and bid against me. But I was still able to buy it for less than 15 percent of what he paid for it 30 years ago. 

SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY: The gold and brown artwork on the right was actually painted by my daughter, Emily, who is an artist that lives in Portland, OR now. When she painted it, it got a little press and someone stole it and started making productions from it. My daughter got a few calls from friends saying they had seen her work in other places, so she found the guy that copied it. And interestingly enough, he started an internet fight with her, saying he painted it and Emily stole it from him. However, she blew up a portion of the picture and you can see her name woven into the geometric design.

CENTER OF ATTENTION: I was at a doctor’s appointment in D.C. and just came down the stairs in the office building and there was an art gallery on the first floor. The rhino we have on the table was in the window. It’s a cast acrylic piece by an artist in North Carolina, and I thought it would be a great touch of color.