As I mentioned in my recent post Taika by Iittala, I often turn to a rich, deep palette for the early months of winter. This year I went in a slightly different direction, inspired by photos in the January/February issues of Victoria Magazine and Southern Lady,
Definitely rich colours, but in a different area of the colour wheel. I began to ponder incorporating shades of mellow yellow, soft peach and deep coral with pewter tones and green transferware. It’s a warm palette and refects the rainbow of colours we often see in tulips and daffodils at this time of the year.
I use the Evernote App to plan various seasonal table settings. I created a new folder for Spring Refresh and gathered images of pieces already in my collection. Doesn’t it make a fun collage? There are pieces from modern to antique in the mix, and I was happy to see Sarah’s Garden again. I’ve had that set for more than 20 years and it’s been out of the rotation for a while.
Feel free to call me completely insane. At each change of season, I switch out the china in my kitchen pantry cupboard. Yes, it’s a lot of schlepping for a couple of hours, but it’s the tableware we use every day, and I like to have a variety on hand that I can mix and match for family meals. It’s all dishwasher safe and fairly kid-proof; there are no tears if something breaks.
The antique and delicate pieces live in the nearby Butler’s Pantry and other than giving that a thorough dusting twice a year, it stays undisturbed.
There are four cupboards, each thoroughly filled – an effective deterrent against adding more delicate glassware or antique pieces.
Here is the “French blue” one. Those bunny bowls will be getting an outing soon, I have no doubt.
This year, the schedule for the house turnover was a bit tight, because we were left for Cape Cod on December 27, and “de-Christmased” the house on the 26th. Three trees, one real and two artificial came down, and all the Christmas decorations were returned to the basement, including two front door wreaths, Glenn gave me the hairy eyeball when I mentioned the kitchen china swap. I’ll admit that it was a bit of a push, but I managed. Where there’s a will…
At the end of the Christmas season, the china pantry cupboard looked like this. The bottom two shelves are dinner plates. The middle three shelves are salad and appetizer plates. The top two are bowls – pasta and soup plates on the lower one and cereal, soup and prep bowls on the upper one (that one remains largely unchanged).
This time I decided to be strategic about the task, rather than employing my usual hit and miss method, which involves taking the stacks of plates I am finished with downstairs and bringing up too many to fit into the cupboards, only to have to return the rejects to the basement. Looking at the picture, I calculated that I could fit six stacks of dinner plates, nine of salad plates and two of appetizers. The plain white of each size remains in place, as well as the white soup plates.
Here is the cabinet after the December changeover.
What made the cut? A lot of the pieces from the collage and some I hadn’t considered until I started digging downstairs.
I also changed the display cabinets in the kitchen: platters, serving pieces, and teapots. Lots of Sarah’s Garden this time.
The lighted cabinets have seeded glass inserts.
You can see better with the doors open, though. 😉
Over on the other side of the kitchen is a small display cabinet where I put a small set acquired in Provincetown many years ago (20?). It’s not great quality, but I loved the soft yellow and sage green palette with accents of lavender. The two small cups have lids, a very appealing feature. They’d be perfect as jam pots or as pots de creme.
The family room got pretty short shrift. I simply removed all the cushion covers and stripped the mantlepiece bare, leaving a fresh clean start for when we returned in late January.
Here are some of the ideas I tossed around for refreshing the family room. It’s gradually coming together, but I’m not quite finished yet. I’ll update you when it’s done.
Meanwhile, here is a sneak peek at a table I set yesterday. I was lucky enough to find a dozen orange parrot tulips and augmented them with coral and orange regular tulips. Oh, happy day!
I hope everyone is having a relaxing Sunday. We’ve had more snow here, but it’s warmed up a bit, so time to get all the dogs (and their parents) out for a walk.
I’m sharing this post with Between Naps on the Porch.
This is spectacular! I love knowing that I’m not the only crazy one who changes out dishes seasonally. But I have to say I envy your storage space. While I frequently swap out my kitchen dishes each season, it’s usually one set for another. How fun that you have all of those options on a regular basis. It does have me thinking and wondering if I could rearrange in my kitchen.Thanks for sharing and all of the inspiration. I’d love to see how you store them in the basement.
Hi Alma. It is a lot of fun! I did a blog on all the storage, including my dreaded basement :). Here’s the link: Where Does She Store All That Stuff? I use fabric boxes with a clear panel so I can see what’s in them. By and large, it works, though sometimes I’ve got to shove things around a bit. Thanks for stopping by!
Where is the link ? Storage envy. We are curious. Do you make labels on when and where you bought them ? How many sets at each home ? I had to slow down the dish/glass display with all these cats. They wiped out four pieces of 70’s green glass in one day !
Oops! The link didn’t attach. Let’s try again: Where Does She Store All That Stuff?
Gorgeous storage space for gorgeous pieces…I adore china and porcelain and have too many pieces to keep in just the kitchen and dining room so some now have a home in a basement ‘pantry’ just for the ones not in use. What a joy it is to be able to vary table settings for family and friends and it is a creative endeavour each special occasion. Lovely posts…thank you!
Yes, you are completely insane! If I changed out every cabinet I’d never be able to find ANYTHING! I keep most things in the basement. I don’t have a lot of seasonal pieces, though. I’d bring more of it upstairs if I had a gorgeous cabinet like yours! In our dining room, hidden behind doors, I keep one of each plate so that I can play around with them without hauling up an entire set.
Can you tell me a little more about Evernote? Is each image stored separately, with tags, so you can say pull up all ‘orange’ things, or all blue glasses? That would be really useful.
(Sorry I haven’t been commenting much – I’ve been so busy with ‘real life’ – but I have enjoyed all your recent posts.)
I sometimes keep one plate of each to hand, for seasonal planning, but mostly I use Evernote. I like the flexibility and portability. It helps me put together different combinations just by copying and pasting from photos I’ve taken or from items available on the web.
Evernote allows any number of options for tagging. You can tag images, notes or notebooks. It’s very intuitive and easy to use. Some people even use it as the organizing mechanism for the Getting Things Done philosophy.
I hope real life is treating you well. Always great to hear from you.
I’ve been using Excel, and copy/paste, but I’m frustrated by the fact that I can only ‘find’ one thing at a time. If Evernote will allow me to tag an image with as many tags as I need (size, color, mfg, material, style, plus every tablescape I want to use it in) that would be invaluable!
If your version will do that, which one do you have?
Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been travelling for my “real business”. I use the Evernote App on both my iPad and my computer. I think it’s version 7.14 for the computer. Hope this helps!
Hi Barb, I think The app Stylebook works really good. It is meant for clothing but you can search multiple fields, take notes, and track what you have, how often you use it etc. My favorite part is that you can take pictures of your items, use an app like magic eraser to make a transparent background, and then combine them virtually into “Looks” (Tablescapes). I have used this to layer salad plates I was thinking of purchasing over dinner plates I already own. The photos on replacements are perfect for this. Deborah
Thanks for that, Deborah! Great idea.
Awesome organizational tutorial and look at your collections. I emailed this to myself for easy referrals. Will come in handy for years!!
If Covid has done anything positive, it’s spruced up kitchens around the globe. LOL.
I am glad you sent this out again. I love dishes and big cabinets and pantries.
You would think some smart person would figure out how to make a cabinet that just swivels around and you wouldn’t have to move them. Kind of like those hidden closets behind the bookcase. Then again it’s such a renewal when you move them and examine them again.
I am a firm believer that you can never have too many dishes or too many cabinets.
Oh – what a marvellous idea. Exactly like a magic staircase! I’m thinking a baize door to the world’s biggest butler’s pantry would work, too. “How many bedrooms, ma’am?” “Don’t care – just a giant shelved storage area near the kitchen, please!”