480″ height=”315″ />Designer Winnie Gundeck is nothing if not a collector. Small details pique her interest. “Twelve years ago I started collecting fortune cookie fortunes,” she says. “It’s a very informal collection that’s scattered all over: in different wallets, purses, and tiny bowls around the house.”
Her Chicago home is a sanctuary for these collections and the passions that have informed her studies in graphic design and her career as a jeweler, but her most prized possession is a bit more assuming than a Chinese fortune. “It’s a series of three pen and ink watercolor illustrations of women in headscarves and cool patterns,” she says.
The pieces used to belong to Gundeck’s maternal grandmother and then were passed, like so many heirlooms, from mother to daughter to daughter again. Gundeck grew up with the works. “My parents have always had an incredible art collection with impressive pieces and big names from around the world. But of all their art these three humble pieces had always been my favorite,” she says. Hence, it was a thrill when her parents gifted her the trio as a graduation gift. Ever since, the art has occupied a prominent place on Gundeck’s walls. “I always hang them together, because to me they have a relationship with each other and don’t have the same impact if they are separated,” she explains.
Fortunately, Gundeck’s eclectic home aesthetic meant the art fit right in. Her house is a mix of everything from heirloom vintage to clean and modern to what she refers to as “tattered and ethnic.” The designer’s main principle is that artwork completely changes a room and is 100% personal so, as long as you love it, you can make anything work. This also means memories have a prominent place. “On a road trip years ago when my husband and I were still dating we got a flat penny at one of those highway stops—the next year I framed it for him and gave it to him for Christmas!” she says. And no rules apply: “I have gallery walls where I hang all my favorite pieces together, but then I also have stand alone pieces that make just as much of an impact.”