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Written by Larry Jordan · 3 min read >
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An Artist’s Gothic Townhouse, crammed with Octopus-fashioned Lamps Stepping inside Adam Wallacavage’s three,500-rectangular-foot Gothic Victorian South Philadelphia brownstone, bought with the aid of the sculptor and lighting fixtures fashion designer in 2000, is like being transported right into a grand turn-of-the-20th-century Louis Sullivan constructing crossed with a pirate ship

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The 12 overstuffed rooms, spread across three flooring, are packed with Victorian and artwork Nouveau-inspired particulars, comparable to Tiffany-style lamps and taxidermy, that consider according to the buildings’ ornate crown moldings and pocket doorways

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but greater attractive nevertheless are the fantastical nautical artifacts he collects, including a six-foot-lengthy fiberglass alligator and a fragile paper duplicate of a coelacanth fish purchased from an Atlanta flea market

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the foam-eco-friendly and aquamarine painted partitions are also lined in works with the aid of Wallacavage’s artist pals — in the parlor, inches from the Victorian wainscoting, is an long-established spray-painted tag by means of the Philadelphia graffiti artist Cornbread — and his own curbside finds

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within the kitchen, a mint-circumstance sign from the long-lasting native company Bambi Cleaners, fished from the trash, appears down from atop an ivory-painted Nineteen Forties-period cabinet

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Wallacavage’s own work — he is universal for his whimsical octopus-fashioned chandeliers — stems from his lifelong fascinations with duration structure and the ocean, which he traces again to his upbringing within the beachside town of Wildwood, New Jersey

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Wallacavage began his profession as an artist in his home state, taking pictures photographs for Nineties skate magazines like Thrasher and Juxtapoz

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however after he constructed a black-and-white octopus chandelier for his living room on a whim in 2000, using hand-sculpted clay and a brush-on latex mildew, the aquatic creature “simply grew to become this limitless supply of thought,” he says

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The chandeliers, which he now hand-sculpts in his third-floor studio, cling in many rooms of his condo, together with the first-flooring lounge, where four white models circle his fashioned black-and-white mannequin

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That room, which is also decorated with dried starfish and a nineteenth-century diving bell, is a homage to the French creator Jules Verne, whose surrealist works, including the 1870 traditional sci-fi novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues below the ocean,” are regarded influences of paintings Nouveau style

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in the relaxation of the domestic, unconventional colours and prop-room curios are juxtaposed with cautiously maintained genuine Victorian period particulars

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Upstairs, in Wallacavage’s gothic-kitsch bed room — certainly one of 4 total, each with its own tub — he sleeps in a Nineteen Fifties-period Murphy bed, a present from a ventriloquist chum, below a ceiling painted pitch black

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a nearby visitor bedroom, meanwhile, elements a picket replica of a 19th-century chinese language bed, additionally a gift, with a blowfish-formed lamp affixed to its cover

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Wallacavage reconfigured the domestic’s first floor, which outdated homeowners had grew to become into a doctor’s workplace in the 1940s, to its normal Nineties floor plan, with a entrance parlor and formal eating room, which he outfitted with a Victorian-era mantle, replicate and sliding doors, and topped with handmade egg-and-dart moldings

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within the early 2000s, “there have been no YouTube instructional video clips,” he reminds; he learned to create his personal plaster moldings after befriending Kathy Vissar of the Philadelphia ornamental plasterwork atelier Wells Vissar, who lent him her molds

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Upstairs, in the second-flooring living room, he put in salvaged woodwork, including a group of ornate constructed-in bookshelves, extracted from a soon-to-be-razed mansion designed through the famed Gilded Age Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer

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a friend who works in salvage had instructed Wallacavage in regards to the constructing closing summer, earlier than the 100-12 months-ancient condo changed into demolished to make means for a brand new middle school

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For Wallacavage, the find become a fruits of his lifetime obsession with period structure

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“I’ve simply at all times loved this aesthetic,” he says

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“If I’d had this woodwork when i was more youthful i would have been demise.” however Wallacavage’s ever-evolving domestic isn’t yet complete

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He lately started portray over his hallways — which he’d lined with white primer years earlier than, but never accomplished — in colors of bright blue, and he frequently accepts new finds from trash-identifying chums, or trades objects with other artists

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One contemporary alternate with the artist Julia deVille resulted within the addition, to his sitting room, of a taxidermied raven

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Wallacavage, who has all the time cherished birds, additionally opens the room to a rotating assortment of live, stray hen — often parakeets — within the style of a Victorian menagerie

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At one factor, he had a flock of 15

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during this method, his house is a little just like the ocean he so admires, changing with the tides

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