Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unique Items Populate Couple's Home

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unique Items Populate Couple's Home

Article excerpt

So sky-high is her glee, she talks about "winning" unique objects at auction, rather than having the gumption to outbid everybody else. But when her booty includes a 100-year-old Siberian Eskimo hunter's belt made of reindeer hide and antler bone, as well as an expertly carved newel post that's now the focal point of their staircase, it's hard to quibble with enthusiasm.

Rudy Zapf and her towering husband, 6-foot-5 Mark Grayson, seem ecstatic with their 1905 house. Though never a trained carpenter, he's worked on houses for years during his spare time. The couple's current home, bought six years ago, was originally a two-family flat with a lengthy dividing wall.

To mesh the two sides and accommodate the new staircase that Mark subsequently hand-built, he and Rudy engaged in bag-'n'-drag. They knocked down, bagged and hauled what he estimates to be 50,000 pounds of old plaster, etc., to the Dumpster.

Make that Dumpsters. "We had to spread it all out in all the Dumpsters along the alley," Rudy confides. "Otherwise we'd get in trouble."

"We" seems to be the operative word. Theirs is collaboration based on teamwork and respect. Knowing how much his wife cherished the often-rusty odds and ends stashed in her studio, Mark suggested displaying them.

Inspired by a picture in a book of a whole wall of folk art, Rudy laid out many of her pieces, including a doorknocker and the key they accidentally took from a reportedly haunted Arkansas hotel where they once stayed, on a sheet of paper on the floor. Following her design, Mark hung the objects on the wall just beyond their new staircase. The assemblage is an eye-catcher.

Ditto for Rudy's Eskimo belt. Thanks to Mark, it's a wall hanging, too, easily removable so Rudy can wear it as an accessory to art-gallery openings.

Rudy Zapf and Mark Grayson

Home - McKinley Heights

Age - She's 49, and he's 60. …

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