Seller Story: Denver, CO


My grandpa used to go down to Santa Fe a lot, where he fell in love with Native American art. By the 1980s, he had such a large stock that he decided to build a stucco shop in Hudson, Colorado, north of Denver. I was five when they built it, and Grandma would be there all day, manning the counter. There were Navajo rugs and jewelry (Grandma would make a pile of rugs for me when I needed a nap), and baskets and pottery from the Apache and other tribes, all mixed with vintage cookie jars and other Americana. There was even a saddle shop in the back, because my grandfather was trained as a saddle maker. It was a lot of passions in one place.

The shop was where I learned about different American Indian tribes and what they produced, and about some of the makers Grandma and Grandpa collected, mainly Zuni. My grandma passed when I was 10, but Grandpa continued working until my senior year of college. Even after their liquidation sale, there many items remaining that we put into storage. A few years later, I had accumulated a lot myself, and I decided I wanted to become a professional seller, so I reopened the boxes from the shop.

I named my own business, Ruby + George, after my grandparents — I thought of it like carving initials into a tree. I focus on Mid Century Modern meets American West. In 2012, a friend of mine won Project Runway, and she wore some of my family’s jewelry on the show, and then her models wore pieces at her Fashion Week presentation. I now have a 1,000-square-foot warehouse in Denver’s Art District, but I mainly sell through my website.

Seller Story: Denver, CO
Seller Story: Denver, CO
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Seller Story: Denver, CO

There’s definitely a mix of styles in the sale— from Western landscapes to a mid-century Heywood Wakefield desk and vintage servingware.

Even though I grew up in a Victorian home, I’ve always loved the clean lines of Mid Century Modern furniture. But pure mid-century becomes a little cold in my eye. And straight Southwestern feels too themey unless it’s a vacation lodge on a lake. So I like Navajo rugs for warmth and geometric shapes, paired with mid-century chairs. I also think Southwestern pottery really warms up a space and adds character. Then I like to mix in Japanese art—the spiritualism works well and complements the Southwestern forms.

What are some of your favorite pieces?

The Remington print. My grandparents had the same image above their telephone, and I bought this one because it reminded me of growing up. The lot of leather belts, holsters, and boots were my grandfather’s—another of his obsessions was cowboy boots. That was all he wore. The Indian doll is also one of Grandpa’s pieces. He loved a good deal—sometimes I’d have to hold his hand down at auction because he had so much stuff. I also love the Georges Briard glass. He was basically the Jonathan Adler of his time. And there’s a fun faux alligator Samsonite suitcase. I have a collection of that same set, and I love to use them as bedside tables or stacked as a desk.

You have several John Gould prints. Are you a birder?

My parents have a beautiful garden in the country, and they love birds. My mom has always been a fan of Audubon and Gould and naturalists. She has prints like these in her home that I’ve always loved.