October 30, 2010

Organize This: Curio Cabinet

One of my favorite parts about moving into a new space is the ability to organize my stuff exactly the way I want it - in a way that makes sense functionally and looks good aesthetically. So, I am beginning what will probably be a series of posts titled "Organize This" which features some of my most recent put-stuff-where-I-want-it projects. Most of it will take place in the kitchen - where I have a bounty of new cabinets. But I'm going to start in the Dining Room - where I just finished organizing my corner curio cabinet.

If you remember this post last week, we just finished painting the trim and walls of our dining room and had a blank slate of a built-in curio cabinet in the corner of the room.

So, I decided it was finally time to bust out all my china - which has been packaged away for quite a few months now - and set it up in the cabinet. I went back and forth in my mind on whether or not I wanted to use the cabinet mostly as storage for everything I had or if I really wanted to display a few pretty items.

I was thinking that since the cabinet only has glass doors on top and has paneled doors on bottom I would have the ability to create a display section on the top shelves and a storage section on the bottom shelves.

The problem I ran into is that I have 3 sets of china (that's right - 3!), and that's way too much china to store in mostly the bottom section. And in addition to the china, I wanted to store some glasses too - like stemware and goblets. So, I decided I needed to combine display (form) and storage (function) to make the most use of the space.

I started with the upper section of the cabinet - the part where you would kind of see what's inside (through the glass doors that is) - and determined that I wanted items in here that were mostly color neutral and wouldn't clash with the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas decor. I started with the bottom shelf and worked my way up the cabinet.

The first shelf already had hooks installed to hang teacups. So, I decided I would use this shelf to store my 12 (yes - 12!) place settings of white and silver china (Noritake's Crestwood Platinum). While there were about 9 hooks available, I chose to hang only 6 cups so that it didn't look too crowded. I then stacked the plates evenly and set 3 more cups on the front 3 stacks. The white china looks really nice against the painted walls. (There were 3 cups left over that I'm just gonna store in the lower section of the cabinet.)

I decided to use the 2nd shelf to store some glassware, which includes 10 water goblets, 5 fruit/sorbet goblets, and 4 glass pineapple taper holders. This is the glassware that I'm most likely to use on a regular basis. I put the 5 fruit glasses in front of the water goblets because they're more interesting looking - with a fruit design on them - and they're shorter than the goblets (so you wouldn't see them in the back anyway). Again, I like that you can see the painted wall color through the glass. It helps make the glasses stand out and still make the whole cabinet feel cohesive.

Third shelf up is where I put my blue and white china. Blue is going to be the most frequent accent color in the room (hence, my blue ceiling and coordinating blue kitchen) and I decorate the dining room with a blue and white "winter" theme from December - January. So, this antique transferware (Wedgwood's Countryside) that I've been collecting since childhood will coordinate well with these colors. I put the different size plates in 3 stacks (which look mostly white from the front) and then set the teacups on top and in front for the pop of blue color.

The top shelf of the cabinet is the least visible of all the shelves. And considering how "full" the first set of shelves were, I wanted to keep this shelf streamlined and simple. So, I just put my white soup tureen and salt and pepper shakers (Pfaltzgraff's Heritage) up there.

As a whole, here is what the top section of the cabinet looks like with the doors open. There is a good combination of white/blue/silver/glass items which gives it variation, but doesn't look too busy since most are very neutral colors.

And with the doors closed, you can still see most of the items through the glass.

Moving on to the lower section of the cabinet, which has 2 shelves to store the remaining items I couldn't fit above. Even though the items are hidden behind painted wood doors, I still felt the need to keep things (mostly) organized (it's the OCD coming out in me).

I divided the remaining items into 2 sections - the top shelf contained the rest of the glassware, including my wine glasses (that I don't use that often) lining the sides and a pretty cake stand (that I also don't use that often) in the middle.

You can see that we chose not to paint the inside of this lower cabinet given that you can't see it behind closed doors and as a reminder of what the "original" cabinet looked like before we took over.

The bottom shelf now contains my 3rd (but only partially purchased) set of china (Lenox's British Colonial) of which I have 12 beautiful glasses, but only a few dinner/salad plates and 1 bowl. This china will be swapped out with the blue transferware above in the spring/summer.

So, there you have it. One whole cabinet combined from a lot of different parts. Very functional, but beautiful when you look at it as a whole. And now that I have easy access to this china (some of which has been packed away for most of our marriage due to space constraints), I hope to use it more often. But in the meantime, at least I can stare at it!

So what do you think? Did I make good choices for the layout of all this stuff? Is there anything you would have arranged differently?

And what have you been organizing recently? Please share! Pin It

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