Ask Jamie Becker to describe his strategy for combining and displaying pieces, and he shrugs. "Instinct," he said. "I have a master's degree in art. It helps."
But press him on the details, and his strategy emerges:
Frame it. Picture frames aren't just for two-dimensional artwork. Becker and his partner, Wayne Beauchemin, have framed and hung many of their three-dimensional collectibles, including antique puppets, an Italian scarf, French toys, Indian medicine men and an African textile.
Group it. They also use frames to group and unify similar -- and sometimes even dissimilar -- objects. Becker took two unrelated pieces of art, one an abstract landscape and the other a portrait, put them in complementary frames and hung them together. "The tones of the pieces were both so, so soothing and romantic," he said.
Multipurpose it. Many pieces in the couple's collection serve multiple roles, depending on the occasion. A vintage Japanese obi, for example, is often displayed draped across the saddle of a wooden horse. But sometimes it moonlights as an exotic table runner.
Minimize it. Becker is a ruthless editor of his own designs. He arranges objects, scrutinizes them, then removes about a third of them -- to get the less-is-more look he wants.