Quite a Find

I can’t remember if I first saw the mention for Keith Johnson’s new show Man Shops Globe in Elle Decor or on Style Court, but when I did see it I thought, “I remember their (Johnson’s partner is Glen Senk) kitchen from House and Garden.” And, since I am a crazy person, I hunted and pecked and was giddy to discover that I still had the issue. The March ’06 issue, not the issue of the obsession with House & Garden, though I have that, too.

It’s a pretty jazzy job, Johnson’s, to find antiques and inspiration for Anthropologie, and I wondered what it’s like to shop for a living. Travel and shop. Seems if one were design obsessed, it would be a dream come true. “There are so many things that can go wrong. I have painfully discovered them all,” says Johnson. Like all dream jobs there are details and logistics the dreamer might not imagine. “Getting things back in one piece from far flung places is a big one. You may recognize when something looks good where you are, but correctly guessing if it will look good back in the States is a major challenge.”

Based on what I’ve seen, I’d say Johnson guesses pretty well. Keith Johnson and Glen Senk’s current New York apartment appeared in Elle Decor in October. In the article Johnson said everything in the apartment was found with the store in mind, but it seems it is a bit more chicken and egg than that, “I am always falling in love with things that end up in the store. I consider everything on a personal level at first. It’s the best way to know if it is truly worth buying. I just had an artist in Provence make a flock of antique fabric covered birds. I am sure when I see them next month I will be buying some for myself. I bought a school of fish a couple of years ago made from motorcycle gas tanks. I love to share my finds.”

While he shares them through the stores he also seems to hang on to things himself. You’ll notice that many of the pieces in the older HG images turn up again in Elle Decor including the lamp and sofa in the image above.

The mask in this image above rests on the base of a gothic cabinet whose shelves housed it in the earlier apartment.

I am in full-on frothy envy over the Alexander Calder curtains that Johnson found at a flea market in Manhattan. I’m a little light-headed just imagining uncovering such a treasure. Surely Johnson is more jaded as this kind of discovery must be quite routine for him. Not at all. “The rush when you find something truly great is still the reason I travel. It’s very addictive.”

This from a guy who met his partner when he was nine years old. He must know a good thing when he sees it.

I am not a fan of most design-related t.v., but this show is intriguing. Man Shops Globe premiers tomorrow at 9 CST on the Sundance Channel.
Top three images House & Garden, March, 2006; photography by James Merrell. Next three images Elle Decor, October, 2009; photography by William Waldron. Johnson and Senk image from Man Shops Globe premier, photograph by Sara Jaye Weiss. Series artwork borrowed from the Sundance Channel.
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15 thoughts on “Quite a Find

  1. I loved that feature in HG too-Their kitchen is inspired.You are not crazy- just obsessed and for that I thank you.GT

  2. Hello Mrs B-

    I hope you have not been nabbed by the Popcorn Police or the Goldfish Gendarmes and are lingering or malingering in a fusty jail somewhere in Kentucky.

    Glen Senk and his partner: as you intuited, the show and the decor are surely about their relationship, the confidence and warmth and friendship and love they have for each other. I wish them both much happiness and many more antique finds and great stuff–for the stores and for the show. cheers, http://www.thestylesaloniste.com

  3. Well, now I can't wait to see the fabric covered birds. When other stores all start to look alike, Anthro never fails to surprise. Even the art direction for the catalog is inspired.

    Great interview questions Patricia.

  4. Wow- so many things to comment on. I am intrigued with the fabric covered birds- I must remember to watch for them.

    What fantastic taste and what a dream job- I am turning moldy with envy.

    And what a sweet couple-and knowing it since 9 years old. The love between them is truly endearing to see.

  5. I know, those curtains, kill me. LOVE. THEM. I'm surprised Anthro hasn't reproduced them.

    How about that green in that kitchen. I'm going right now and checking on the color, this may spawn a kitchen redo in my own house.

    ….and tivo is already set.

  6. Can't wait to see that show, I would love – I mean LOVE to shop and travel. I am good at this too!

    All I need is a budget, then let me loose!


  7. Oooh – thanks for the heads up! I'm a long time lurker. I saw your first picture and knew exactly where it was from and that I had it in my files. Thank you for jogging the memory … now if I could just remember the rest of my life as well!

  8. Mrs. B-

    I watched the show last week and loved it! Mr. Johnson doesn;t hae the biggest personality in the world, but makes up for it in charm and wit.
    The show will surley create at least a tinge of jealousy with any design enthusiast. I kept thinking "I want that guy's job"!!
    I enjoy your blog tremendously…Especially when you talk about the family!
    David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

  9. Hi,
    Wonderful blog. Another credit the House & Garden, and Keith & Glen forgot to mention is Architecture by Dana J. Laudani.
    I was very proud to design the apartment for them (we had met while I was working for Pompei AD designing about 13 Anthropologie stores across the USA). Keith was responsible for the final paint colors and funiture placement. It was my very first solo project and it never occurred to me to require credit in publications. The re-thought floor plan, the millwork designs, bathroom and kitchen were all my original design. Keith came up with the inspireation of Laduree in Paris as a color theme and general feel. I love Glen and Keith, truely wonderful clients – brave, smart and fun.
    It's great to see that the tiny apartment (800 sqft.)is so well liked by so many people, unfortunatly I've been unemployed for more than a year now. My new website will soon be up: http://www.danajlaudani.com
    Thank you.

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