On Collections (and a makeover)...

Chinoiserie (blue and white pottery pieces with Chinese motifs) is definitely having a moment in interiors.  Look on many home blogs and you're likely to see a piece or two.  I love Chinoiserie because, while it is definitely traditional, it's so timeless that it mixes well with many different decor styles.  

And while I love a single Chinoiserie vase or plate, a collection really shines.  My nunnie gave me a Chinese Happiness ginger jar several years ago, and it quickly became one of my favorite decor pieces.  Over the past few years, my collection began to grow.  I'd pick up pieces at estate sales, thrift stores, and flea markets.  Friends and family started finding pieces for me and slowly, I had more than I could display.  Every piece brings back a memory.  The egg seen in the background here, I found with my mom at a thrift store in Pittsburgh.  

So, when we put an offer in for our house, I began a hunt for a cabinet to display my treasured and growing collection of Chinoiserie.   I wanted it to have a lot of open glass in the front to display multiple pieces and something closed on the bottom so that I could store my good china.  

When I found this faux bamboo, vintage Thomasville curio cabinet, I knew it would be perfect. After some negotiating, we got the piece for a steal at $100.00, which was good because it needed a lot of work.  In fact, my mom and Josh both thought I was insane because it was so ugly before.  Josh pleaded with me not to take it to our new house.  I knew it would be great-- nothing that a coat of paint and some elbow grease couldn't fix. The trick with finding furniture on Craigslist or thrift stores is to look beyond the color and see the bones of the piece. Colors can be changed.  Paint can be stripped. Hardware can be swapped out.  

I knew that a coral would show off the blue and white and turn the collection into a true focal point and conversation piece.  I cut off the top finials with a jigsaw to give the cabinet a more updated look and added navy tassels to the rings-- a nod to the blue and white pieces inside. I stripped the hardware, which was painted the same yellow as the dresser and wired the cabinet so that I could light it up at night.  I love having multiple sources of light in a room and the soft lighting from the cabinet is beautiful and interesting at night.  I also added some of my larger pieces to the top to increase the height and add more visual interest. 

Since the cabinet placed is in the corner of the living room, it helps with the flow into the dining room.  The chinoiserie is repeated in the plates on the wall and the bamboo is carried through with the buffet.  It's not matchy-matchy (I prefer an eclectic, collected look) but still looks like it all belongs together.  

What collections around your house could you group together to display?  Brass vases?  Vintage tea cups? Antique globes or your grandmother's milk glass?  By grouping them, you immediately increase the impact and create a focal point which becomes an easy conversation when entertaining.  I love going through the cabinet and sharing the stories of the pieces inside-- maybe even more than the pieces themselves.