Text by Lisa Frederick
Pat Camp has always felt a pull toward the past. As an art history major in college and in the decades following, she spent time immersed in the world of antiques and old houses, gradually building a base of expertise through a combination of osmosis, good instincts, and the occasional university course. “I love to tour old homes,” Pat says. “I like cathedrals and museums, and I like to read about them.”
It’s no surprise, then, that her home is a testament to her passion. When she and her husband built their house eight years ago, they worked with architect Hank Long and builders Francis A. Bryant & Sons to ensure that Pat’s most treasured antiques would have pride of place. Amassed through the years and from various points across the globe, the patinated pieces layer in a sense of history that counterbalances the home’s newness.
“Antiques are warm; they’re friendly, and they have stories to tell,” Pat says. “The provenance is very important.” That’s not to say that she chooses pieces based on pedigree alone. Throughout her home, fine French and English furnishings keep company with more humble finds such as a vintage butcher’s jar, rustic Mississippi pottery, and miscellaneous groupings of pitchers. In lesser hands, this mélange might have looked like a mishmash. But with Pat’s touch, every piece looks as though it were designed specifically to fit into a pleasing whole.
“It all has to work together to make it symbiotic and a pleasure for people to come into your home,” Pat says.
A simple, clean backdrop keeps the focus on the collection. Pat prefers a neutral palette and solid fabrics to brilliant colors and prints, and eschews any finishing touches that she deems unnecessary. In turn, that same sense of restraint helps her to edit her collection judiciously, leaving room for her to discover other gems down the road. “Through the years I have learned that I can let go,” Pat says. “There’s always more out there.”