Photography By CHICHI UBIÑA
The Collective and Fairfield County LOOK present the curators at The Collective. The Collective is a group of exceptional dealers of both vintage and antique finds. Visit their 13,000 sq.ft space located at 50 John Street in the antiques district of Stamford, CT. Just south of I-95.
Name: Pamela Savage Neal
Company Name: Six Feet of Style
Where are you from? Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Old Greenwich, CT, then spent several years in NYC and Brooklyn before returning to Greenwich. The east coast is in my blood, but the west coast is in my dreams.
Describe your personal style: As a creative, I tend to lean towards the funky, edgy, and unexpected. I try to balance that side of me with my more traditional upbringing but don’t see myself ever embracing chintz or victorian. I love mixing vintage from all eras and finding pieces with a history to share. I have 70’s Thonet chairs that are marked “6th floor Estee Lauder”, an antique dresser owned by the famous opera singer, Licia Albanese, Roberto Cavalli python skin pieces from his short-lived Miami restaurant, and countless finds from the most interesting homes in Greenwich. If it has good lines, good bones and the right price, it will be mine!
When did you start collecting? As a child, I collected glass animals, that I still have, and dollhouse furniture, amongst other things. At some point my sister made some very seventies sparkly pieces to replace the “Little House on the Prairie” type of furnishings that we had in our dollhouse. I found that to be a game changer. Redecorating that house led to redecorating my room, and challenging myself to repurpose pieces as a creative outlet. I once turned a large wall mirror into a table, and put black and white striped tape around the edges to hide chips. At the time, I thought it was sheer genius! Needless to say, I became a graphic designer instead of an interior designer. As for collecting and reselling furniture, that can be traced to my return move to Greenwich in 2003. With nothing more than our prized Eames Lounge Chair, I began my estate sale hunt and was hooked. My transition into becoming a dealer happened very organically and when I opened my first showroom at Hiden Galleries a year ago, I knew this was my calling.
What might we find at your booth in The Collective? My booths are my grown-up dollhouses, where I can experiment with mixing styles, colors, and era’s. One is currently more modern and colorful, featuring a gorgeous black/brass fifties Asian Kent Coffey dresser on one wall, a Signed Bert Stern photograph of Marilyn Monroe on another and a French Trumeau mirror above a new Lee Industries leather sofa in between. The other booth is heavier on the natural wood – featuring a huge antique farm table, a 7ft bamboo armoire, Ward Bennett and Saarinen chairs and lots of brass and glass for reflection of light. They are both ever-changing with the common sale leaving room for more goodies.
Have your life experiences affected how and what you collect? My sister has always been an early adopter and introduced me to the world of Ebay long before most. She taught me the art of identifying iconic pieces, the importance of research, and how to flip everything from Vintage Snurfer Boards to enough Simon Pearce glassware to fill a store. My husband is also a super trend-setter who has an appreciation for modern architecture, modern furniture, and street art. He bought a couple of Shepard Fairey prints from a show held at a street gear store on the lower east side 18 years ago. In the early 90’s I drove into the city to buy him a Phillipe Starck toothbrush, because I knew that was his favorite designer. When he says something is cool, I listen!
If you won the lottery, how would you go about enhancing your collection? I have always wanted to go to Palm Springs. I would drive cross-country and stop at every thrift store and flea market I came across and then stay at the most interesting accommodations I could find along the way. I am forever on the look-out for hotels and restaurants that will leave me feeling excited and inspired. I would also love to get my hands on some big 1970’s chrome and velvet lounge chairs that I can sink into in front of the fire with a nightcap in hand!
What are the pros and cons in your business that people don’t realize? Why take chances buying newly manufactured furniture covered in formaldehyde, flame retardants, and other chemicals, especially with children around? When you smell the off-gassing of a new piece of furniture, that means it will continue to let out chemicals into your home, sometimes for years. Vintage is usually much better quality, most likely made in the US, and less expensive. You are saving pieces of history from a landfill and extending its product life. I truly can’t think of a reason NOT to buy vintage. Be original! Be fun! Find that piece that screams your true personality and keep the chemicals away from your loved ones.
Who would feel most at home with your personal style/collection? (And why?) I think my style appeals to open-minded individuals that take chances and aren’t afraid to stray from the norm. They appreciate and embrace a piece that may not be perfect, and have a vision for how it will enhance their lives. Many of my clients run their own companies and have incredible taste that is apparent when they send photos. Some discover a piece that recaptures a memorable time in their life – dining chairs they had in the 80’s or a campaign dresser like the one they had as a child. I have sold a rattan hanging egg chair to the show “Treehouse Masters”, a supercool bar cart to the show “Mr. Robot,” and several pieces to movies and other tv shows that need a certain look that set designers have found in my collection. There really is something for everyone and if you don’t see it there today, just come back next week!