Inside a West Village Home That Doubles as a Cabinet of Curiosities
A wunderkammer, if you will.
Published Feb 27, 2019 10:08 AM
“I much prefer stuff to the traditional components of great interior design,” says Jed Krascella. “I’d rather focus on the paintings and forget about the curtains.” In his West Village apartment, where he’s lived with his partner for 18 years, collections of expansive size and origin define the space. The creative, who designs sweaters, throws, and more under his eponymous label JED, finds himself constantly adding to his home, rearranging his troves of treasure, and relishing in a space that’s simultaneously engaging and nostalgic.
Krascella is the exact opposite of a minimalist. His love of things has driven him to fill his home with findings from all over the world, from a collection of Ottoman calligraphy and an assortment of silver hand-shaped reliquaries to pieces of Amish stumpwork and Japanese robes. He often arranges his stuff in categorial groupings and has filled one wall ceiling to floor with framed artwork. Through his home, hardly any surface is left bare.
“I like layers of things,” he says. “Things acquired over time, inherited, carefully collected and curated. This is the heart of a great room for me. I cannot bear a room that is too period, too minimal, too new, too current, too old, too slick, or too designed.”
With items scoured globally, both antique and contemporary, Krascella’s home does indeed seem to transcend time. In fact, it appears to be more of a wunderkammer—a kind of cabinet of curiousities—than what you’d expect of a typical New York apartment. “All our rooms rather look like someone is doing research or making something,” he says. For the Krascella, this kind of inspiration is crucial in his own work, as a designer and a creative consultant.
Not every collection in the creative’s home is purely decorative, though. Walls not filled with artworks provide storage space for countless books and classical music CDs—many of them extremely rare—all of which provide a different source of inspiration for the couple. And yes, they do all spark joy. “I am not at all troubled by never getting rid of any,” Krascella says. “Who cares?”
A few vignettes stand out in the designer’s curious abode. One grouping of vases by Greek artist Anastasia Komseli makes an impressive display on top of a dresser and holds personal significance for Krascella. “I first saw Komselis’s work when shopping in Plaka in Athens in 1988. I bumped into them in one of my favorite shops and I bought that first vase in seconds. I have been buying them ever since,” he says. “Frankly, I wish I had a million of them.” A longtime fan, Krascella has placed a few of Komselis’s rare vases for sale in JED’s online shop (“With any luck,” he jokes, “they will never sell!”).
With such expansive collections of curiosities, Krascella does find his own methods of organization, though by and large, he relies more purely on instinct and innate feeling than studied style. Some findings—like a wide array of evil eyes—are arranged altogether for a more graphic impact, while others—such as assorted globally sourced ceramics—are scattered throughout.
Good luck trinkets from all different cultures (including American Magic 8 Balls) are found sprinkled through Krascella’s home, adding a spiritual element to the space that’s already so deeply rooted in personal and global histories. “Talismans and amulets are just lovely,” he says. “The idea of someone spending such time crafting these beauties in the service of providing hope for oneself and others—it cannot get much sweeter than this. I just love the sentiment, whether they work or not.”
Above all, Krascella trusts his intuition and prioritizes treasures that have a story behind them. His home is, in its own unique way, a sanctuary for things that comfort, inspire, and work together to make one inimitable tapestry. “I am more impulsive and emotional when I buy something. I always collect from the gut, not from the head,” he says. “I don’t pick anything for decorative value alone. It’s got to have a soul.”
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