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Some Things You May Not Have Known About Taxidermy Enthusiasts

Perhaps our day-in-the-life-of-taxidermy snapshot a few days ago was a bit unfair; perhaps it was just a cool photogallery, an exaggeration that bore no grounding in reality. Leave it to the New York Times Home & Garden section to stick it to us and reveal what the existence of a true taxidermy enthusiast looks like. Today's Habitats column pays a visit to Deborah Lutz, a Brooklyn denizen who's filled her modest railroad apartment with a mixed bag: furniture rescued from the street, interesting sculptures, and, of course, Victorian accessories involving taxidermy. It's a fascinating story that answers a bunch of questions: what does someone like Lutz do for a living? Wear? Hang on her walls? The anthropological findings are revealed here:

· On careers: "Ms. Lutz, who teaches at Long Island University and is the author, most recently, of a book titled Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism, is, like so many New Yorkers, living a life very different from the one into which she was born."

· On tabletop pieces: "A two-inch-high glass jar holding the whiskers of a departed cat is on display in a shadow box Ms. Lutz built from a discarded drawer."

· On bedroom furniture: "Vintage leather suitcases, complete with brass keys and other people's initials, are stacked above her wardrobe. 'I don't know any of these people,' Ms. Lutz said, 'but I love the idea of their stories, of the lives we might have witnessed but didn't.'

· On jewelry: "Ms. Lutz also has a love of mourning jewelry—rings and lockets made with strands of human hair that in Victorian eyes represented powerful ways to mourn and celebrate the dead."

· On late-night shenanigans: "Another time, after a lively night out with friends, she discovered a 60-pound mahogany bookshelf that she lugged home atop her slender back. 'Being a little drunk,' she explained, 'gives you superhuman strength.'

· On finders keepers: "Still other finds included a black rotary telephone bearing the number CI 8-1296 that had mysteriously made its way to Brooklyn from City Island in the north Bronx, and a small doll with stringy blond hair and a missing foot—'wounded and bereft in an interesting way,' said Ms. Lutz, who keeps the doll on her bed."

· On wall decor: "A papier-mâché mold for a deer's head, just awaiting its fur, glass eyes and movie-star eyelashes, is mounted on one wall."

· On wall decor: "Small grainy snapshots of someone else's relatives—she has no idea who they are—are tacked above a love seat."

· Her Decorators? Flotsam & Jetsam [NYT]
· Ten Examples of Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Taxidermy Decor [Curbed National]