Saturday, May 23, 2009

a story on every shelf

inspired by the recent rash of exposed kitchen shelving in shelter magazines, i set out to revive and reorganize my mother's kitchen, a true blend of new and old, mix and match. my theory was that with only two people living in the house, their groceries didn't need to take up the majority of the kitchen storage. also, and most of all, i thought that all the special tabletop items they've acquired over the years should be on display and accessible. my father was skeptical, but my mother was willing to play along, so the week before thanksgiving, we got to work. once we cleared off and wiped down all the shelves (definitely the most time consuming part), we started placing items based on weight distribution, mode of use and visual balance.

over many years, the pantry closet in the kitchen became a catch-all for groceries, supplies, medications, liquor, spare dishes and any number of other items, based on the season.

by placing the most often used items like everyday dishes and serving pieces at eye-level, removing them and putting them away is actually easier than using above-counter cabinets. especially in a household with artifacts from many generations and experiences, it's a treat for the people who live there and for their guests to be able to observe the celebration of styles, eras and patterns and enjoy the stories and memories they tell. to me, the inside of this pantry evokes a lived-in beauty that comes from the eclectic layering of materials, time periods and shapes. it's the type of collection that can't be planned or positioned, but just exists honestly. ilove that it's now on display, and think any family home could try a look like this.


although my father was looking for cereal among the casserole dishes for a few weeks, he eventually adjusted and they are now getting more use out of a wider variety of pieces that previously collected dust in the darkest corners of an old china cabinet.
the groceries and supplies benefitted in the same way - by placing them in smaller cabinets and using the space more economically, it is easier to see what is available and avoid wasting or duplicating.

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