Friday, April 19, 2013

Dishes and Glasses and Silverware, Oh My!

Where Oh Where To Put It All

When you love all things table as much as I do, you end up with lots of things that need storage space.  In planning our new home, we took all of our collections into consideration for built-in spaces as well as for deciding on antique furnishings.  Today's blog will be about the built-in areas I use for dish storage.

On the "cover" of my blog you see this cabinet.  It was from a convent in Dallas but we bought it in an antiques shop in Athens, Texas.  It's claim to fame was that it was in the opening sequence of the movie, Spy Kids II.  We had it in storage for many years until we built our current home.  Our daughter-in-law was the architect so she worked with us on building in several of our antique pieces.  This is off the kitchen, in what we call the "Butler's Pantry."  Ten sections are exclusively devoted to my collection of LuRay dishes from the the 1940's.  The top of the cabinet has sets of things like soup bowls, platters, and glasses that I use for large group dinners.  The bottom shelf has small appliances that I don't use on a daily basis.  Outlets were built into the floor of the shelf so the appliances can be used right there.  At the far end are three rods for my vintage 1930's - 1950's tablecloths which I change seasonally.  The drawers hold all kinds of things from all our appliance warranty books to one devoted to the daily making of iced tea.  The cabinets below the drawers have glassware, baby dishes, casserole dishes, etc.  I'm not generally in favor of altering an antique but in this case I knew it was here forever so I had our cabinetmaker redo the drawers so they would slide in and out smoothly and put roll-out shelves inside the lower cabinets.  

The major dish area is on the second floor and looks down into the kitchen.  Each of the two sides has 25 cubbies.  Some sets take up two cubbies and some cubbies have more than one small set.  Originally, this area was to be accessed from the kitchen by a rolling library ladder but when the framing was complete and I saw how high above the kitchen floor it was, I knew it would not be safe to climb up and down the ladder carrying dishes.  So, I asked her to rethink how to access it and she came up with the "mezzanine" idea.  Now, you ask, isn't it a pain in the petuty to get the dishes from the second floor to the kitchen and dining room, which is also on the first floor?  Well, yes, but not too bad because we have an elevator.  I have a tea cart parked at the end of the convent cabinet that I use to go up to the mezzanine and bring down dishes.
 It took me three weeks of solid work to transport and put away my dishes when we moved in.  (Thank goodness the two houses are only 7 miles apart!)  I tried to arrange the cubbies attractively, not just stack things by size.  In some cases I added glassware and/or salt & peppers, or mix and match soup bowls and salad plates, or English tea knife sets to compliment certain sets.  I asked the architect to make the inside of each cubby dark wood, rather than white paint, because I thought the wood would show off dishes, that are mostly light in color, better.
Another built in is the back of the banquette where my husband and I eat our meals.  I refer to it as a dish "credenza."  It holds six sets, which I change out fairly often, that I'm using on a daily basis at that time.   I generally do not move the whole set from its cubby, but rather the pieces I know I use all the time; for example, 2 dinner plates plus an extra to use as a small platter, 2 soup/cereal bowls, 2 salad/dessert plates, veggie bowls, and a gravy boat.
The first drawer in the credenza holds various salt & pepper sets, the second silverware, and the third, napkins.
The upper kitchen cabinets all have glass doors.  I knew with a separate pantry for storage, I could use the kitchen cabinets for pretty dish display space.  This one, to the left of the sink, has an antique set of white Johnson Bros with  gold rims, a new set from Pottery Barn, the beginnings of a set of mix and match Mexican motif, mostly Homer Laughlin, and the lower right is for wine glasses I'm using with the credenza dishes.
My 1930's - 40's Jadite takes up two cabinets.  I use the smallish oval platters often as a dinner plates.  I also have Jadite refrigerator storage containers that I actually use, like a water dispenser and a large, shallow, ribbed box that I use for citrus fruits.  My fridge also has glass so the Jadite tray full of citrus colors looks pretty through the door.
This cabinet, to the right of the sink, has my collection of glassware with colored rings and my Taylor, Smith, and Taylor "Vistosa."  It was made for only 4 years, 1939-1942, as a competitor for Homer Laughlin's Fiestaware.  Although they look quite a bit alike and are basically the same colors, Vistosa is easily recognized by its piecrust edges.  I also have several sets in this cabinet of English tea knife sets in their holders.  My favorite is the parrot in the upper left photo below.






















      The cabinet to the left of my stove holds various serving pieces from extra glass veggie bowls, to artichoke plates, to toast racks and extra Jadite mugs as well as a new set of green & white transferware called "Timberlake Camp."
      These are all the built in dish storage areas in our home.  Another time I'll show you my furniture dish storage pieces and also where I store glassware, silverware, and linens.  Hope you're having fun with your dishes and making attractive tables for your family.  I still have as much fun playing house as I did when I was 9 and my Grandparents made an old chicken coop into my area.

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