Stuart Hough, Sunnyside Trading Co.

What comes to mind when you think about the word “curate?”

A museum? A collector? A priest? To “curate” stems from the noun, “curator,” which dates to the 14th century. Believe it or not, “curate” in verb form didn’t appear until the second half of the 19th century. And since then, both parts of speech have evolved in their meaning and use.

Today, the verb “to curate” generally refers to the thoughtful collection, organization, or arrangement of something. We often think about the act of curating artwork in a museum or as a part of a private collection. The idea of curation has recently expanded in scope, and now references not only what we have, but how we dress and what we read.

So, when you think about it, anyone can curate. But why should you?

Mindfulness, or an overall state of being aware and present, is a helpful framework to apply here. With that in mind, curating at its best involves setting an intention, whether for a piece or a space; taking the time to consider the piece, itself; and then thoughtfully incorporating the new piece into your home or office. Sunnyside encourages all, and especially curators who are just beginning to create their homes, to opt for fewer, higher-quality items…even if it means waiting a little longer to make the right purchase. At the other end of the spectrum, veteran curators may consider the addition of one new piece each year as an annual practice. Whether curating is a new idea, or the way you live, mindful collecting can bring a fresh awareness to how we approach each of our acquisitions.

At Sunnyside, we work directly with antique dealers and artisans. We actively and carefully curate all our goods. I have spent over four decades selecting pieces from all over the globe. Since the pandemic, travel has been more difficult; yet I still explore roughly 1,000 antique and vintage items by photo every month from dealers I know and trust! Of that total, I ultimately choose only 50 to 100 items to purchase and bring into Sunnyside.

With each and every piece, I first ask, “Does this piece move me?  Does it make me smile?” Then, I consider originality and scarcity. Always, I select for craftsmanship. Finally I ask, “Would I happily have this in my home?”

How do you curate? What do you curate? How has being a curator changed you?

This issue features some of the doors we have curated from along The Silk Road. Most of our doors are crafted out of durable Teak wood, and many feature iron strapping. While they were once the portals through which life entered in other parts of the world, today they have the chance to be re-fashioned as headboards; hung as artwork; added to cabinetry; or suspended from barn door slides. Some of our doors still have their original frames and can serve the purpose for which they were originally intended, enhancing any entryway. Mother Theresa once said, “There is no key to happiness; the door is always open.” It is our hope that this newsletter might brighten your day, and we want you to know that our door (to our doors) is always open! 

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