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Rediscovered treasures

'I've been decorating for 6 years, and I'm not done yet'

One year ago, South Routt resident and artist Mary Beth Galer, painted “I love PCS” on the wall of her kitchen — an unmistakable declaration of her love for her partner, Phil Schaeffer.

“He still hasn’t seen it,” Galer said. “It’s been there over a year. Isn’t that classic? He doesn’t pay attention to detail.”

Ironically, it is Galer’s discipline for details that has turned their log cabin on Lynx Pass into an eclectic house of recycled treasures.



“I’ve been decorating for six years,” Galer said. “And oh my God, it’s still going. It feels like I’ve been doing it forever and I’m not finished yet.”

Galer has been collecting antiques and findings from thrift stores, grandparents and other countries for 30 years.



Most accessories and features in Galer’s cabin have been recycled. Her father’s old fishing rod serves as a curtain rod in the downstairs guest bathroom, she has converted a vintage ironing board into a portable bar and has restored an antique stove she found while renting a house in Phippsburg.

“I like the mystery of little things like that. I like the look and feel of antiques because they’ve been everywhere,” Galer said. “I like creating something new and get excited about putting it together.

“It all evolves. People cast things off to me because I know what to do with them to give them a new life.”

Galer’s artwork is also a reflection of her talent for reinvention. She does mixed media and collage and has recently been experimenting with a bird and nest theme.

“You know how you get something in your head and it sticks there for a while ’til you do something with it?” Galer asked. “My artwork reflects that.”

From the moment you walk in the front door — past a little frame that says, “You are not a Neiman Marcus” — you feel like you have entered Galer’s imagination. Her home elicits a sense of history, fantasy and whimsical originality.

Galer’s goal is to have her cabin featured in “Mary Engel–breit’s Home Companion.” The magazine features home decor and creative lifestyles of artists that acquire and manipulate crafts and collectibles.

“The magazine validates having a sense of playfulness,” Galer said. “Sometimes there’s something I’ve already done and it’s in there.”

The items that inspire Galer include old photographs, classic images of elegant women, boxes and mirrors.

“Everything is like a little treasure,” Galer said. “My friend once said, ‘We don’t like shiny plastic things from China. We want antiques.'”

Galer has many magazine picture clippings littering her art studio. She has images of red velvet chairs taped to a cabinet to remind her of one of her many future projects.

“I love the idea of a red velvet chair in the way that some people have a fascination for a red velvet dress,” she said. “When I make one I will put it at the dining room table like how the princess lives. Because there’s a princess in all of us.”

Galer acquires the majority of the subjects of her nostalgic talent from second hand stores. She has found the best thrift stores between Steamboat Springs and Aspen.

“I read once that if you see a thrift store, you should never not stop at it,” Galer said. “Because you never know when they might have that perfect thing.”

— To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204

or e-mail aplean@steamboatpilot.com


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