Monday, July 21, 2008

Covetable China Closets and Cabinets




Did I ever tell you that my well-used magnifying glass not only gets a workout over photographed libraries but comes in handy to peer into china closets and cabinets too? I was reminded of this little proclivity of mine when I posted about Gene Hovis' fabulous china closet a few weeks back. I've never met a salt cellar or a champagne saucer that I didn't like, so it's only natural for me to be a bit nosy when it comes to others' collections of table accoutrements. In fact, my excitement over these things is such that I might want to don evening wear whilst in the presence of my china and silver- much like Kelly Wearstler above.

So which china cabinets and closets have struck my fancy? Well, there have been many, but here are some of the more memorable ones. And remember, with the aid of a magnifying glass, you might just find some type of table oddity that you never knew existed. After all, you never know when a pudding trowel or a caster might come in handy.



The china closet of the late Geoffrey Beene. Beene obviously preferred a sleek and well-edited collection. See how great the white china looks with all of that silver and crystal? (Photo from House Beautiful Entertaining)


Christopher Spitzmiller did an excellent job of displaying his collection of china and copper cookware in his small New York kitchen. You can tell he is someone who likes to cook and entertain- my kind of guy! (Photo from Elle Decor, photographer William Waldron)




Spitzmiller was inspired by this New York kitchen of Wade McCann. Now, I know that some of you may be overwhelmed by the amount of "stuff" in this kitchen, but look at how wonderful the stuff is. I think I'm fascinated by the breadth of this man's collection. And to think that I always believed you could get away with only two or three decanters! (Photo from Private New York)


I completely get Bunny Williams. Maybe it's our shared Southern heritage, or perhaps it's our love of fine things. Whatever it is, this closet in her Connecticut home is right up my alley. First, her pressed tablecloths are stored on hangers in her entertaining closet. A very clever solution that I would like to try someday. And buying candles in bulk? I've done that too with my late, great Williamsburg candles. Basically, this closet is so well thought out that it would appeal to all neatniks. (Photo from An Affair with a House)


And for a historical reference, here is the games room at the 18th c. Music Pavilion, the last standing structure of the estate of Comtesse de Provence, the wife of the man who would become Louis XVIII. Purchased by the Bazaine family in 1960, the Pavilion has been restored to its former glory. The cabinets in the games room are filled with Vieux Paris dinner services as well as Sevres porcelain.

(Image at top from Domicilium Decoratus)

28 comments:

  1. Jennifer - I've always admired William's closet - both for the storage and the contents. That kind of space would be such a luxury.

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  2. I've always liked what Spitzmiller did so it's a treat to see the comparison with McCann's kitchen. Love the details you shared here.

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  3. Gorgeous post! I'm crazy about china...and I get a bit envious looking at all the beauty here...I've got to work on my collection :-)!! My favorite is the top one; So elegant, love the combination of colors, and those green plates looks amazing...got to get out my magnifying glass on those!!

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  4. My favorite set up is that of Bunny Williams. It actually reminds me of the characteristics of my grandmother's entertainment closet. As a child, I was always amazed that she would hang her pressed tablecloths. In fact, I would assist in pressing some of her pieces. This image is an absolute dream:)

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  5. Patricia- I know, I never tire of looking at Bunny's closet!

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  6. Courtney- Me too! Interesting to see the influence of color and such!

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  7. mandco- Absolutely. There are a few pages of Wearstler's china and such in the "DD" book. It's worth taking a look.

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  8. Brandy- It sounds like you come by your love of entertaining closets honestly! I'm sure your grandmother's closet was full of inspiration :)

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  9. Anonymous1:22 PM

    J:

    I am glad to see you are doing your part to bring back "whilst"!

    --pt

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  10. PT- Just trying to do what I can to keep these Middle English words alive! And yes, I had to consult the dictionary to see if it was Old or Middle English! ;)

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  11. love it, especially Bunny William's closet. My boyfriend's mother has a large room off her kitchen to store her entertaining items, cookbooks, and espresso machine. It also had warming drawers, a little fridge, and a tv so she can sip her coffee and watch The View! haha, I will have to send her this pic of Bunny's place - if she hasn't seen it already, she is a design mag junkie- thanks for sharing!

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  12. I love Bunny's closet - it's almost pretty enough to be on display! I need one just like that - must be so nice to be so organized with so much SPACE!!!!

    great post! as always!
    Joni

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  13. Jessica- Your boyfriend's mother has the perfect setup! What else do you need in a space like that??!!

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  14. Joni- I agree... on both counts!

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  15. Would you believe I've been in Mr. Beene's china closet? I do miss him!
    It's my birthday today and I am treating myself by reading all my favorite blogs.

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  16. LOVE,LOVE,LOVE Bunny's closet! Looks like a little jewel of a china boutique! Great post!!

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  17. Vamp- Happy Birthday to you!!! Was Mr. Beene's apartment as wonderful in person as it was in photographs??? Do tell!!! He was such a talent.

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  18. Poppy- I know- the closet is perfect, the china is perfect. It's perfect! :)

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  19. I have been a subscriber for a short time. So many of the objects, rooms and courtly manners that you admire are about a way of living which is slow, thoughtful and rich. Not rich in the sense of wealthy but in the manner of living. Can you do a series on the rich life, on the shared table, on dinner with friends - on those events and attitudes that recover the richness of our humanity when we share it with those we love?

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  20. David- You are very eloquent! I think your idea is marvelous, because sometimes we all need to be reminded to slow down and enjoy the good life. And by good life I don't necessarily mean material things, but luxuries like celebrations with family and friends. Thank you for the suggestion.

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  21. Oh I can only dream about having that much stuff for entertaining, and the space to put it all in!

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  22. I just discovered your web site a few days ago. As I was looking back at June 26, I saw something amazing. It's the black and white picture of the bed with the tassels on the wall behind it. It's the hands holding the ropes of the tassels that caught my eye. Just as you like tassels, I like hands. I especially like hands that have been designed as lamps. Were these popular in the 1930s? I'm sorry that my comments are out of chronological order.

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  23. I LOVE LOVE all these closets ...but my favorite is ...(I'm sure you will guess ) the comtesse de Provence's one !!

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  24. dsb- I can't speak with authority, but I do think that the hand motif was found more often back then. When you look at those glam rooms from the 30s, you will occasionally find plaster hands on walls, holding banisters, on sconces. I'll see if I can drum up any photos.

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  25. Brillant posting -- and these photos are simply breathtaking! What a joy to be able to simply walk into the entertaining closet and create magic! Lovely -- my favorite photo is the one from Bunny Williams' home in her book "An Affair with a House" (sounds like a movie title! LOL) That book literally lives by my reading chair! Thanks for sharing such gorgeous dreamy rooms!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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  26. Ah, that luscious space...I wish I had 1/10 of it but alas, it's not to be in my teensy NYC apt.

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  27. I spied with my little eye an up close view of a very familiar bookcase (Miles Redd's, you can even see a snapshot of him on one of the shelves) in the August 08 LivingEtc, just in case you are interested... no magnifying required :)

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  28. Thanks Mackenna! I've got to see that!

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