Sunday, November 1, 2020

open shelves in the kitchen


One of the projects on our list of things to finish on the house was to build open shelves in our kitchen. Because we repurposed the two existing cabinets that were in the home before we purchased it, we don't have a great deal of cupboard space. I don't mind, as I enjoy arranging my dishes and serving ware on display.  Finding the right style of shelf however, proved more difficult than I imagined it would be, as I couldn't quite find the style I was looking for. I wanted a substantial bracket that had a pretty silhouette to it, and I wanted shelves that were extra deep. The 12" depth allows me to not only stack wider pieces, like dinner plates and cake stands, it also allows me to layer pieces in front of each other, which I find visually makes the shelves much more interesting to look at.

We had our carpenter build a bracket that I had sketched, and cut large pine boards to our custom dimensions. The original design was inspired by Tessa of Nine & Sixteen. Though for anyone asking, I have seen very similar ones, also available to order extra deep, from Home Depot online. Whenever I'm styling shelves, as with so many other things, it takes a bit of tweaking and adjusting before I feel like I've found what I'm happy with. And of course, in time, it will change again, especially as the seasons change. I enjoy the few pieces of brown transferware and a couple pumpkins for autumn, but they'll likely change again come Christmas.



I think a good shelf style includes variety, but also uniform and balance. Mixing heights and depths is aesthetically pleasing. I try to mix a variety of shades of white, from more creamier dishes to cooler white ironstone. And because most are white, I like to add pieces that have pretty details like ornate handles and pretty patterns. I don't even mind a few pieces that are damaged, as usually having them turned a certain way can conceal that damage. Both of these pieces on the bottom right are significantly damaged, but you can't tell.


I also like adding texture, like these rattan highball glasses and my bamboo flatware.


The shelves are quite high, so high in fact that I need a chair to reach the top shelf at nearly 8' high. But the items on the top shelf aren't ones I use often, so I only need to reach to clean them occasionally. The height is also perfect as the ceiling in this part of the kitchen is vaulted and 18' high, so the higher mounted shelves help draw your eye upwards. The also balance the large, mounted cabinet on the opposite side of the kitchen. Having a lot of height to work with also meant that I could space them slightly higher apart. This is perfect for being able to stack items one on top of another, and also, to be able to stand larger old platters behind things.


I will eventually add a small strip along the back to keep the platters from slipping, but they were out. For now, thought they don't move, I made sure to put enough weight in front in the event they did slide forward accidentally.


Here you can see the profile of the bracket. Originally we were going to do a solid bracket, but given the extra depth, and the weight of the dishes, we decided to do a bracket in this design as it's a lot more strong.

I will remove the pumpkins this week. It's funny, I didn't realize until I was editing these photos that the one pumpkin has started rotting from the inside! You can't tell as clearly in person as you can in a bright photo.

While most of these are antique pieces, some of you have messaged for sources,
so I've listed what I can below.

White Dish Set - Antique White by Mikasa
Footed White Bowl and Cake Plate (on top shelf) - Martha Stewart for Macy's
Vintage Bamboo Cutlery - @baltimorevernacular
Rattan High Ball Glasses - Monika Hibbs Home

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