Enter Martin Rubenstein's West End home and you walk into a repository of art and collectibles from around the world. Included among the displays are his own paintings in vibrant colors. Rubenstein, owner of the Cary Street design firm Martin, decorated the contemporary ranch house he and his late partner, Martin Schwartz, purchased three years ago to reflect their lives, travels and major interests.
Rubenstein used the move from the Fan to suburbia to create a showplace. Here he has grouped items "for design, balance, color and texture," although they were purchased "because I liked them," Rubenstein says. "You're constantly refreshing and re-evaluating," he says.
Take his "everyday living room," where Rubenstein spends most evenings after work with his Yorkie, Sophia. The room, done in rich reds and browns, creates a warm, comfortable area for relaxing. Most of the furniture was purchased or redone for the move. Cabinets on both sides of a wall bookcase and television hide a bar and CD collection.
Decorations in the room attest to Rubenstein's love of animals and travel. The room is full of pieces from collections of hearts, angels, Halcyon Days enameled boxes, crystal and pottery. They sit beside family photographs, books and functional items. The room also reminds him of his global travels with Schwartz. Represented throughout is memorabilia from visits to Hong Kong, Africa, Portugal, Italy, China, Russia and France.
Rubenstein merely has to look at the wall above his sofa to think of his African travels. Some might even call the living room the horned room with its display of horned animal skulls that complement two lamps designed to look like a pair of elephant tusks. An African ceremonial leopard mask purchased during one of Rubenstein's treks is on prominent display in the lounging area.
The interior designer relishes his memorabilia from foreign locales, because touches of the exotic add flair to his house, but the attached memories are what make it a home.