Reader Jan Bradley writes, "If you could show us more living large in small spaces, I would be very grateful...

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Reader Jan Bradley writes, “If you could show us more living large in small spaces, I would be very grateful. . . . One can solve just about any decorating problem with money; what might be done with wit and art and be joyous and comfortable as well?” Jan mentions that she and her husband live in a quite nice condominium, 865 square feet, beautifully appointed, with plenty of room for them and their 300+ hedgehogs, which they keep in an antique dental cabinet.


We at Pacific Northwest are absolutely compelled to ask, “Jan, why do you have 300+ hedgehogs in a dental cabinet?”

Reader Jan Bradley writes: “Where else would I put them?

Of course. We go right over.

Jan and Doug Bradley are tucked into their tastefully clever First Hill condo amid a cornucopia of collections — the hedgehogs (little ceramic critters called Wade Whimsies) being just the appetizer.

The Bradleys are hunter-gatherers, on expedition for all 24 years they’ve been married. Antique shops are their urban savanna.

“These are accumulations,” Doug says, “not collections.” Doug’s humor is dry.

Jan laughs, opens drawers lined with swizzle sticks. There are several hundred of these — Jim’s Steak House, Lord Elgin Hotel Ottawa, Hotel Tropicana, the Elks, the Sea Thief. More.

“Once it’s known you have some, everybody brings you swizzle sticks,” Doug says.

Jan points out the globes — 14 globes, which Doug swears he does not collect.

“They are not a collection. They’re interesting objects that look nice in the house.”

And they do. So do the old checkerboards stacked along a wall. And the frames in the tiny dining room filled with old black-and-white family group shots.

“When I met Doug he had BRIO Toys and eye charts, but I think it was the roll-top desk that got us started,” Jan says. Roll-top desks hold lots of stuff.

There are marbles and dominoes and billiard balls and beach glass and board games. And bowling balls, when there was a yard.

Reader Jan Bradley writes: “At least we do not save aluminum foil, string or newspapers. We positively do not collect anything else, unless it is Roseville pottery, children’s books, globes and puppets, split-finger baseball gloves or souvenir plates.

“Somehow, Doug has put everything where I cannot bump into it — my primary requirement — and has done it in such a charming way. He has a master’s degree in art, and this apparently has made him disinclined to ever do any art, except this.”