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The White Cupboard Revisited

Ok, most of us who love antiques cringe at the “Shabby Chic” movement that featured wood antique furniture that was painted white. Sometimes it was distressed and a bit of blue or pink or cream added. Sometimes some decals or stenciling gave decoration. It did look wonderfully vintage and feminine…like an old postcard…but it ruined the old patina of wood or wiped out forever an original paint or finish.

Many of us seem to have one type of furniture that we really don’t like. Maybe it was “waterfall” that our grandparents may have had during the Depression or some poorly constructed Eastlake or maybe even, if we’re not aware of its potential value, the “blond” furniture of the 50’s and 60’s. We may be tempted to think it’s ok to paint something we really don’t like. There is a power in that. It is erasing something that you just don’t like. Many of our parents may have disliked what we now call Arts & Crafts or Mission. It is what it is.

This writer admits to “antiquing” a Hoosier back when she didn’t know better. I turned it blue. There, I have confessed. I haven’t done anything like it since.

But we all know that vintage collections frequently do look good with a painted white or cream background. Here are some from recent reader posts that show that.

from: Jan Barth Hendrickson: “A photo from Jan Barth Hendrickson”

Jan’s cupboard is just wonderful! The top appears to have been crafted from old porch elements. As an architectural piece, and with the surrounding white woodwork, it’s a perfect backdrop for those fantastic vintage chenille spreads and the pastel telephones. Thanks, Jan, for sharing it with us.

from: Lois Peters: “Satin glass”

Lois’s white corner cupboard looks to be a built-in and, we’re guessing, her home has white woodwork. Painted built-in cupboards have long been fashionable and practical as we can see in the US in historic homes dating back to colonial times. It really shows off her wonderful collection of green satin glass.

from Bridget McShane. Bridget’s little cream-colored cupboard doesn’t look to be antique but makes for a very nice back-drop for her vintage china and linens. It’s the kind of piece that does look good painted. It’s simple enough so that the visual emphasis goes to the vintage aprons and the charm of the mixture of textures from those silver salt and pepper shakers to lace to plain wood.

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