When they go on a trip, interior designer Bruce Kading and his wife, Marcia, always bring an empty suitcase to fill with artifacts from their destinations.

"I like to surround myself with things that have meaning to me and bring back memories of places and people," Kading said. He encourages his clients to do the same. "Collections reflect your personality and what you like to do better than buying something from a chain store."

Kading, owner of Bruce Kading Interior Design in International Market Square, has filled his 1930s Tudor in south Minneapolis with everything from antique Asian artifacts to bronze animal sculptures from a Paris flea market. "I remember lugging that antique drum on the subway in Korea," he said.

Korea was one of the Kadings' more memorable trips because they brought along their adopted daughter so she could learn about her heritage. A curio cabinet holds two cherished 500-year-old Korean rice bowls that the couple plan to pass on to her.

But Kading has been collecting since long before he adopted a child. In fact, he's been hunting for what he calls "earthy, timeless pieces" since he was 18. Most of the home's cabinets are full, as are tabletops and radiator shelves.

"I can edit my clients' houses much better than my own," he said. "My collections are so personal I have a hard time packing anything away."

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619


Maximize and define a collection. Kading groups his cobalt blue vintage jasperware pottery, mixing a variety of shapes and sizes that include compotes, teapots, vases and candleholders. "I elevate some to give them different heights," he said.

To create depth, cluster objects together instead of placing them in a line like soldiers.

Try asymmetrical arrangements, especially on a mantel. "It's not so formal and feels more inviting," Kading said.

Display special larger objects individually.

Add lighting to highlight choice pieces.

Keep it interesting by rearranging, rotating and adding to your collections. "It shouldn't be static -- but something to grow and build on to reflect your life," he said.