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All the teacups in China

May 12, 2011
by thenestinggame

Here is something I’ve learned about myself. I am not a huge fan of huge furniture.

The one exception are those chair-and-a-halfs (chairs-and-a-half? chairs-and-halves?) My friend Nadia had one of those when we lived together and I loved that thing. Makes me  want to go curl up in it right now and watch Survivor: Australia all over again. Hellooooo, Colby.

So, when Taylor and I started poking around for a China cabinet, we had a few things to keep in mind.

1. There’s an air vent on the wall where we want to put the dang thing. (Isn’t there ALWAYS a freaking vent in the way?) So, we needed something on legs that would clear the vent.

2. Our dining room is pretty small. And when we add leaves to our table, the heads of the table are nearing the walls pretty quickly. So, we needed something narrow.

3. Also because of the small room, we wanted a piece that was glass on 3 sides to visually open up the space. I didn’t want a huge chunk of wood taking up the whole wall.

So, the internet told me what I needed was a “vitrine.”

Many vitrines, according to ebay and Google images, are gilded and Frenchy. Also, rounded. But here’s one we liked:

When I found the image online, I was hoping I could find it at Pottery Barn, but such was not the case, as it was designed by a famous dead Swedish modernist (Josef Frank) and is in a museum somewhere. So, onward with the search. When we were in Crate & Barrel a few weeks ago, we spied this guy.

This one was metal, which was cool, and fit most of the criteria, plus was really tall—87″, so…  almost to the ceiling. Downsides, a little fatter than we wanted: 17″ when we were hoping for more like 12″, a little narrower than we wanted, oh, and A THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Next move was checking out some local antique/thrift stores. We went to a few on Cheshire Bridge on Saturday with no luck and then on Sunday we went to Kudzu’s in Decatur. We came across a couple options, but nothing was perfect. One was too mid-century, one was too fat, one had a farm scene painted on it… And then we came across this guy.

A little more rustic than we were going for. Wooden shelves instead of glass. Only 12″ deep. A sticker on the front said it was Spanish, which is always worth points in my libro. A real contender. They were having a 20% off sale. And it was not a thousand dollars.

We debated for a little bit, but in the end decided to snap it up. Bonus points for fitting in a Honda Accord.

When they loaded it up, I noticed a stamp on the back that said “Hecho in Mexico,” which is not Spain, so the bait-and-switch clearly worked, but at that point it was too late.

We got it home and I wiped the whole thing down with soapy water and Murphy’s Oil. Cleaned the glass. Then we brought it in and I loaded it up with our new china, plus some pieces from my grandmother. As an added bonus we noticed was the two tones of the wood mirror the two tones of wood used in our buffet. (You can see the buffet here, and, if you look at the middle and right drawers, you can see the lighter tone of wood outlining the drawer.) And I really liked the fact that the buffet is really pristine and polished, but the cabinet is worn and rustic. It complements rather than matches.

Psycho bird tea set! Somewhat freaky, but I am strangely attracted. I think it’s the handles.

And at the end of the day, we were surprised/pleased/amazed how close we got to the style we first liked so much.

Josef Frank, meet José Francisco, from the pueblo. Not too grande. Welcome home.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. mamamia2010 permalink
    May 13, 2011 12:51 am

    you could always replace the wood shelves with costum size glass ones. But it looks pretty as it is.

    • May 13, 2011 9:51 am

      Good suggestion! I think we will keep it in its original state, though. It seems pretty sturdy as-is. Those dishes get heavy when they’re stacked!

  2. May 13, 2011 2:58 am

    I love it! It looks great in your dining room. And I’m glad you decided not to paint it, because the rustic/worn look is really nice.

    • May 13, 2011 9:52 am

      Thank you! We noticed some brown paint and some robin’s egg blue paint on the bottom, so we think it’s been painted before, but we like the stripped down look too and will likely keep it that way.

  3. May 13, 2011 8:58 am

    hahaha…jose francisco…

  4. Elaine permalink
    May 13, 2011 9:03 am

    Lovely – perfect for the space.
    Like the fact that it is old and solid wood – a great choice.
    Dinner party time!

    • May 13, 2011 9:52 am

      Next time you’re here, we’ll break out the new stuff!

  5. Melissa permalink
    May 13, 2011 9:12 am

    Love! What a great find – cleaned up so well, too!

  6. Jaime permalink
    May 13, 2011 9:20 am

    Wow, you really did get close! And I love your Jose Francisco comment at the end :)

  7. May 13, 2011 10:42 am

    Kudzu in Decatur is great for folks in Atlanta. Their prices are really reasonable and most of there pieces are vintage in a good way. They even give out free wine and have a pretty darn good blues guitar player on the weekends. Fun just to browse.

  8. May 13, 2011 10:43 am

    Lovely! And so growns up. I hope you are well, my dear. I sure do miss you. xo

  9. Jackie permalink
    May 13, 2011 8:55 pm

    Wow, looks great!! I love how the Murphy’s worked! The dishes look great and it looks like it fits in the space perfectly! Bravo!

    On a side note, we’ve been greeted with wide eyes when people realize we’re hauling things home in an Accord. Brought our patio table home one the roof. Only two miles, yes, but we did it!! Tres versatile! Two chaise lounges, too, if you should ever wonder….

  10. May 23, 2011 1:01 pm

    What a great find! I think this cabinet is charming and I love how you organized everything in it. The bird tea set is so fun!

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