Displaying the Collection v.2.x (2005 - Present)
UPDATE (December 2006)
As I continue to refine both my collection and the way I display it, I finally invested in a half-decent Canon PowerShot SD600 6.0 megapixel digital camera to replace my ancient Olympus 2.5 megapixel p.o.s. I'm still learning my way around the settings, but the latest batch of photos shows major improvement and even some promise.
UPDATE (August 2006)
Ironically, I found myself not spending as much time in this wonderful room as I originally imagined. One day, my wife hit the nail on the head, and observed that the room--though impressive and obviously pulled together--was cold and uninviting. She observed further that since I use a wireless laptop to work and surf the net, the desk was superfluous. And frankly, I never sat at it anyway.
With her interior designer instincts, my wife helped me reimagine the room as a lounge, with a comfortable leather loveseat and chairs to invite people to relax and enjoy the display.
Of course, we stuck with IKEA pieces, and kept the retro-contemporary look, which one friend accurately described as "Original Series Star Trek Chic".
As I've noted, the display room is a constantly changing environment, and I find that much of the fun comes from experimenting with new ideas. Meanwhile, the prop lounge has become the new hangout in my house....
Early 2006 heralds the arrival of an au pair to help my wife. What was previously my office will become her bedroom. And what was previously an unfinished storage area has become the display room of my dreams. With much time to ponder how I would improve on earlier efforts, I decided to emphasize quality over quantity, and tighten the overall look.
With some ideas in mind, I wandered through the local IKEA one day, and stumbled on the Bonde system, which perfectly captured what I had envisioned in my mind's eye. I decided to abandon the orangey beech wood finish and go with a lighter birch effect. Also, I decided to put away the toys and trinkets, and focus on a museum-quality display environment devoted exclusively to props.
For those interested in a similar environment, here's what I bought to replace my old display: (1) six birch effect Bonde bookcases (27 7/8 x 57 7/8 inches) with upper glass and lower solid doors; (2) a birch effect Jerker desk (love those crazy IKEA names), to replace my old beech finish desk; (3) a 25-inch high Lack plant stand for Sauron's helm; and (4) a red leather Malung recliner. These items set me back approximately $1,600.00, which isn't really so bad for an entire home office. I already had the mesh desk chair from Staples.
Of course, displaying the collection is a never-ending process, and my home office/display room is still a work in progress. I'm lucky to have a fair amount of remaining space with which to work to accommodate growth, and I'm constantly devising better ways to showcase my props.
In the meantime, the result has exceeded my wildest expectations. If I have one misgiving, it's that my new office is so pulled together that it almost seems too perfect, like a new car that one obsessively guards against scratches and spills. But I'm certainly not complaining....