Getting Rid of Things Before Our Big Move
What do you do when someone gifts you a gorgeous 100 year-old china cabinet when you’re trying to downsize your stuff? You keep it, of course.
Less than a year ago, we sold the little cottage we’d been living in for the last 25 years. It was a ranch style house with plenty of attic space, numerous closets, and a huge pantry that held groceries, an extra refrigerator for drinks, my sewing nook, and homeschooling books. The new house we were building had more square footage and a two-car garage, but it also had an open floor plan and less attic space. The open floor plan left us with few out-of-sight places to cram things. Putting stuff in the garage was a no-go for me. I wanted to put our car in the garage, not our junk. Plus, I knew if we started putting things in our garage, they might never come out.
How I rationalized Keeping the China Cabinet
We threw things away in waves as we had the heart pine flooring refinished in our old house, when we moved to the apartment, and when we finally moved in our new house and realized we couldn’t keep everything we still had. In the midst of this process, a neighbor offered us her 100-year old, absolutely gorgeous china cabinet. This very special neighbor also happens to be the mother of one of my husband’s best friends. Bringing in a huge, heavy cabinet seemed like a bad idea. So, I had to rationalize why I needed this particular piece of furniture. I justified keeping the gifted 100-year old china cabinet with the following reasons:
- It will hold more dishes than my china hutch did.
- The glass in front creates a prettier display.
- The mirrors in the back will reflect light.
- It’s an antique.
- There are wheels on the bottom so it will be easy to move.
- I’ll get rid of the china hutch.
- My amber glass, Johnson Brothers China, and milk glass can finally be displayed.
- The china hutch is in perfect condition.
- It will tell the story of friendship.
The Day of the Big Reveal
On move in day in Our New Charleston-Style Home, we brought in the things that were in the two bedroom apartment we’d been living in for the previous five months. The company that refinished the floors in our old house didn’t bring the furniture from our storage shed until the next week. I agonized over the china cabinet, just like I’d worried over my countertops, backsplash, and cabinets before they were installed. Will the darker wood of the cabinet look awful with my lighter, midcentury furniture? Can I fit all of my favorite dishes inside? Is the china cabinet the right size to fit in the space allotted?
As usual, all of my fears were unfounded. I adore my century-old china cabinet and love to sit and stare at the contents.
My Dish-Loving History
A few years ago, I had a store on eBay where I sold vintage dishware. I decided to stop because I spent hours of my homeschool mornings packing and shipping dishes for too little money. Also, our home was filled with stacks and stacks of cups, plates, tureens, and even punch bowls. I was continually spending precious time researching American pottery and glass companies and the value of their wares.
On the bright side, I came away with a great love and appreciation for dishes in general, and a fair amount of knowledge about dinnerware and serving pieces. I still collect certain brands and styles of dishes, and use them in my tablescapes and other decor, I just don’t sell them regularly anymore or try to keep every plate I like.
Styling My 100-Year Old China Cabinet.
In styling my 100-year old china cabinet, I wanted to group my collections together, create contrast, and have a focal point in the china cabinet and on top.
On Top, My Amber Glass Collection
I’ve always been drawn to amber glass. Maybe it’s because I like warm colors, or because it was prevalent in my grandmothers’ homes during my childhood. The green cut class is perfect because it pairs naturally with the amber. You can see my tiny green Anchor Hocking pitcher and my collection of avocado, amber, and carnival/iridescent Loganberry candy dishes. This dish-loving girl would love to find the marigold and clear colors to go with that set. I found most of the other amber Depression glass pieces on the way to the grocery store one day. I was driving along the backroads from my house to the store when I saw a flash of light to my right.
There was an older man standing outside of a modest home on the water. He was leaning on a cane in front of three camping tables loaded with amber and pink Depression glass. We talked for at least an hour. His wife, who was in poor health, had storage sheds full of dishes. He said they ate their nightly dinners on Courier and Ives or Fiesta Ware. He was trying to clear out some of her things. He sold me three boxes of Depression-era glass for $100. I sold almost all of the pink pieces, but kept the amber Depression glass.
I put my mother’s jade Avon decanter in the center because I wanted it to be the focal point. The colors in our new home are persimmon and blue, with pops of vintage green, so the pop of jade was perfect. You can read about my obsession for vintage Avon items in Vintage Avon Collectibles.
The First Shelf is Filled with Milk Glass
The top shelf is filled with milk glass I collected while thrifting and selling dishware. The cooler tumblers and snack plate and punch cup sets are Indiana/Colony Harvest Milk Glass. I collect the Harvest milk glass pattern almost exclusively. The Hobnail hat was made by Fenton. The hats/toothpickholders are rare in all of the patterns, so I scoop them up whenever I see them. My husband bought me the bunny shakers a few years ago.
Johnson Brothers China on the Bottom
One of my best friends generously gave me this set of Johnson Brothers Staffordshire china in the Bouquet pattern. It is one of my most precious possessions. Little did I know then how perfect it was for my tastes. As I mentioned before, I love warm colors. We use this china about once a year, usually on Christmas or Thanksgiving.
I never worry about being able to replace dishes. While I don’t want them broken, I know they’re going to break. They can always be purchased on eBay, in thrift stores, or at Replacements.com. If you are looking for the name of an unmarked dish, go to Replacements. You can search it by color, shape, material, and etc.
My son and his girlfriend brought the Chip Beauty and the Beast coffee cup back from Disney World, and the binoculars are tucked away for bird watching. I enjoy watching the marsh hens behind our new house go all across the field, eating bugs.
Homer Laughlin Coventry
There is a story behind the Homer laughlin Coventry pieces on the third shelf. I think I love the stories behind my dishes as much as I love the plates, cups, and bowls. We have a shaker set, creamer and sugar bowl, and a gravy boat on display. Once I found the name of the pattern of the plates my grandmother kept on her corner kitchen shelf, I purchased all the pieces of the set from far and wide. I even joined the Homer laughlin Facebook group. If you want, you can read that story in How I Won Back a Stolen Piece of My Childhood Through the Purchase of Homer Laughlin Dishes. Not only did I buy and sell dishware in my recent past, but I also love to write about it.
The Pioneer Woman Shelf is My Favorite
Since my kitchen is decorated with various Pioneer Woman products, I wanted the china cabinet to have a few PW items as well. I found a fabulous set of salad plates with various patterns on Amazon. The colors of the salad plate set pop against the more neutral items on the other shelves. If you are sitting in our living room, your eye is naturally drawn to that colorful second shelf.
The shelf also includes several PW Flea Market and Vintage Floral shaker sets, a PW Flea Market creamer and sugar bowl set, a Vintage Floral butter dish, and a few items from our Disney World trip in 2008.
Colors that pop, surrounded by neutrals, are very on-trend right now. People are tiring of the all-neutral palette of yesteryear and craving more color. Colored glass, especially Depression glass, is also sought after right now on Etsy and in the world of vintage collecting. Being on trend with the styling of our china cabinet was an added bonus.
I hope you enjoyed the story of How We Styled Our 100-year old China Cabinet. Having a fresh start in a new home has been lots of fun!
If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to Love my Little Cottage Blog Here.