Collected Wisdom: Lexington

A Lexington couple integrates global treasures into their midcentury modern home.
Christina Gamota

Christina Gamota has spent the past four decades collecting everything from high-end iconic furniture to flea-market décor. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Thirty-five years ago, Christina and George Gamota’s suburban New Jersey house was splashed across the pages of Glamour magazine. The 1970s abode was decked out with low-slung seating, glass and chrome coffee tables, geometric artwork, and more than a few orange accessories. In short, it was a period masterpiece.

Today, the Gamotas live in yet another magazine-worthy abode, this time in Lexington, outfitted with many of their old iconic pieces, including stylish furniture by Marcel Breuer, Harry Bertoia, and Charles and Ray Eames. George, a physicist, and Christina, a self-described “old-fashioned homemaker,” bought their 5,200-square-foot Colonial in 1986, but, truth be told, the new construction wasn’t exactly what they wanted. Coming from a large Georgian, they were shocked at the area’s prices—their new pad was half the size and double the price of their previous home. But the Lexington house had enough space for the couple’s eclectic art collection, and Christina, a consummate entertainer, knew she could create room after room of comfortable seating.

Lexington

The second-floor drawing room is a study in natural materials, from the chair Christina bought at a consignment shop for $7.50 to a rich cowhide rug and antique wood chests. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Once a strict modernist, Christina now believes life is too short to live amid just one period or style. And her home, which she decorated entirely on her own, reflects this. Opposite a pair of classic Breuer steel and leather chairs are two handmade African wood seats; on a Victorian drawing-room table sits a bright contemporary bust. Exquisite fabric dolls made by Charla Khanna hang among black-and-white animal woodcuts by Ukrainian-born artist Jacques Hnizdovsky in the second-floor parlor.

“You can find amazing pieces everywhere,” she says. “I buy what I love whenever I travel; I even find things on the street. It’s amazing what people throw away.”

Dining Room

Christina sets her antique dining room table, purchased in London, in front of a large painting by Tiberiy Silvashi. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Christina made her first big art purchase in 1964 while George was a graduate student at the University of Michigan. A large Cubist-style oil painting by David Holsworth, it cost “our budget for food for at least half a year,” she says. “Of course, we didn’t tell our parents.” It now hangs in the second-floor hallway.

The Gamotas continue to add to their modernist furniture collection as well, piece by piece. Christina is currently in pursuit of a well-priced set of Breuer nesting tables. And even with its constantly evolving highbrow inventory, the house remains uncluttered. “Things rotate,” she says. “I have drawers and
closets dedicated to storing pieces, especially accessories.” The only drawback? Many of the couple’s paintings are in storage, unframed, because they’ve run out of wall space. “We might have to start hanging art on the ceiling,” Christina laughs. “We simply can’t stop collecting.”

Drawing Room

The second-floor drawing room melds sheepskin and silk pillows with stark black-and-white woodcut prints. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Living Room

The formal living room showcases an acrylic Jonquil lounge chair, Mies van der Rohe chairs, and a pop art print by the artist Richard Anuszkiewicz. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Guest Room

In the second-floor guest room, Christina used a flokati rug as a bedspread. The pink Olivier Mourgue bench adds a touch of ’70s glamour. / Photograph by Eric Roth

Sitting Room

An iconic Wassily steel and leather chair by Marcel Breuer holds court near stacks of art and design books, Victorian silver boxes, and a collection of woodcuts by Jacques Hnizdovsky. / Photograph by Eric Roth