If you’re looking to complete your living space with a rare vintage find, or even if you’re not, Austin’s Mercury Design Studio is sure to tickle any one of your fancies. With a treasure trove of goods ranging from the wildly exotic to a well-curated selection of gifts and accessories, “You could walk in at any given moment and find an amazing something,” says cofounder Steve Shuck. The former apparel executive with a proven knack for ferreting out unique wares credits the women in his family for fostering his love of beautiful things, as well as the ultra-glam film set of the 1950s classic Auntie Mame. But it wasn’t until 2005 that Shuck turned his lifelong interest into a full-time business, scouring the marketplace and selling what he loves: restored antiques and vintage art. “I grew up surrounded by objects that have a story,” he says. “I love a bit of history but nothing that’s too precious. The more imperfect something is the better; it’s that imperfection that gives a piece its soul.”
LX: What do you collect?
SS: Indian deity figures, 20 th -century art and design books, and classic paperback novels from the 1970s.
LX: Most interesting acquisition:
SS: A Milo Ray Baughman sofa and loveseat that I found at a dive bar in Austin. I loved them so much, I bought them on the spot!
LX: Favorite restaurant:
SS: The Rotunda in San Francisco. The food is good but the space is beautiful; it’s like being in the middle of an opera house.
LX: Favorite decorating sources:
SS: Grange Hall in Dallas and John Derian, ABC Carpet & Home and Mantiques Modern, all in New York.
LX: Design muse:
SS: Art director Malcolm C. Bert; he was incredibly talented at creating an era, a mood and a spirit through his set designs.
LX: Most amazing find:
SS: A pair of Lucite Chippendale chairs in immaculate condition; they’d been put out with the trash.