Meet Poppy and Guy

Note: I haven’t posted here in a while. But for those who haven’t read Making Things Work and will be visiting the Lost Art Press storefront this weekend (you lucky dogs; I am dying to meet Suzanne Ellison), you can buy the book there.


Guy and Poppy were a pair of retired business professors who had traveled the world. Judging by what I saw as they showed me around their home during my first visit, they’d brought a good bit of it back home with them.

They had been referred to me by a contractor who assured them I’d be ideal for their project. “We just bought a reproduction of a piece of sculpture,” Poppy wrote in her introductory email.

The first photo shows the original swan at the S. Museum, and the second is the reproduction in the museum shop, just like the one we have. We need to have a cabinet built to display the statue, ideally with a couple of doors in which we can store other items. Please give us a call if you’re interested in helping us with this.

It wasn’t the type of job I ordinarily do, but since they’d been referred to me by a professional whom I like and respect, I called Poppy and arranged a meeting.

Their house was stunning: a classic of modernist style, inside and out—not that I would have guessed as I pulled up to the windowless façade, a gray stone rectangle apparently modeled after a freight container. But no sooner had I set foot inside than the scales dropped from my eyes. All of the other exterior walls were glass, spectacular in the house’s wooded setting.

Works of art filled the interior. Here a Coptic embroidery flanked by a pair of Yoruba masks, there a threesome of prints by Warhol, Schiele, and Kandinsky. A sixteenth-century Japanese screen formed a movable divider between the living room and the kitchen, itself a perfectly preserved marvel of original Sixties design. Clearly these people had excellent taste and understood the value of art and craft. I made myself a mental note to send the contractor a letter of thanks for the referral.–Excerpted from Making Things Work by Nancy Hiller

About nrhiller

cabinetmaker and author
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2 Responses to Meet Poppy and Guy

  1. ctdahle says:

    Such a great book. Stuck at home with some flu bug, I pulled Making Thing Work off the shelf just to finish this this story but got side tracked by reading the first few pages. Keep drifting off to sleep and having bizarre dreams of shivering in a dirt floor work shed with shavings piling up around my feet. There are worse ways to recuperate.


  2. roco says:

    Not quite sure of the photo of the broken cup and the reference in the post about photos 1&2.


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