Designerelish Pantry

Welcome to the Designerelish Pantry!

Just as you might keep staple foods for cooking in your kitchen pantry, here at Designerelish, I like to keep the staples of good interior design in my decor pantry. Open the doors and feel free to rummage through all my tasty favorites. Even the most complicated design recipes need some important basic ingredients. I'm sure you will find some versatile and useful must-haves to snack on.

April 16, 2013
On the shelf: Hand Painted Folding Screen

When I found this hand painted folding screen 5 years ago at a local antique mall I thought that it's scale, shape, and detail would make a wonderful headboard for my guest room. My husband paid $450.00 for the handcrafted wooden screen and it was a very worthwhile investment. Although I have chosen to use it behind the bed to create an interesting focal point for the room, this versatile piece could be used in many ways.

On the Designerelish Pantry shelf this week, I have found this amazing painted screen for $440 from In the first rendering below I have used it as decorative wall art in a living room. This ornate hinged screen stands alone as a piece of art that would work in almost any style room from traditional to contemporary.
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In this second rendering the same screen has been purposed as a room divider in a studio apartment. It creates a temporary wall to mask the bedroom area from the dining area. This could also work in any room where you want to define an area or provide privacy. For example it could provide separation for a home office or computer desk that sits in part of another living space.

Last but not least, the final rendering shows the screen used as a decorative headboard just as I have used it in my own home.
Week of  April 8, 2013
On the shelf: Apothecary Jar

The apothecary jar has been used by people all over the world for centuries: first as storage for precious herbs and eventually by early pharmacists to hold and preserve needed medications. The modern day versions, usually made of clear glass, come in a large assortment of shapes, sizes, and colors. Some have simple clean lines while others have ornate pedestals and lids. They are used for a variety of purposes from canister storage to decorative display. I own several myself, some with and some without lids, and they are definitely one of my favorite go-to accessories. That is why I chose to feature them as a design staple in this week's Designerelish Pantry.
I used these jars bought from Home Goods as decorative accents in my master bathroom

This round jar is used to display green apples in the kitchen
Large size jars make a huge statement in any room and they are readily found at most discount home decor outlets for not-so-large prices. There is no reason to buy an apothecary jar from a high-end store because the less expensive versions are virtually identical. I have purchased most of mine for under $30 from stores like Old Time Pottery, Garden Ridge, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods. Just display colorful and interesting items within and you will get a thunderous bang for your buck.

The apothecary jars are used in the bathroom for decorative storage of soap and bath salts in the rendering below.
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The same jar can be repurposed in the kitchen. Placed as a decorative focal point on the kitchen island, it can be used to conveniently hold apples, dried pasta, or other food related items. I suggest purchasing jars that have gaskets on the lids to keep contents fresh, if you plan on using them as canisters for flour, sugar, or grains.
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They look good in almost any room and the contents can be switched out to create holiday themed decor. Whether it's seasonal candy, easter eggs, or holiday ornaments the result is festive and eye catching.Designerelish Pantry

Designerelish Pantry: Week of April 1, 2013
On the shelf: Antique Mirror

I started collecting antique mirrors in my early twenties. At that time they were sold mostly for their frames and the marred and foggy mirror was largely thought of as detractor. I, however, loved the look of the aged glass. Fortunately for me, the more aged the mirror was, the cheaper the price. I picked up most of my mirrors for under $30. I can remember bringing them home and hanging them up, only to have family members and guests comment, “You know, you can have those old mirrors re-silvered and they’ll look just like new!” I would then have to explain, ”No, I like them the way they are.”

At some point in the early 1990’s, Country Living Magazine featured a wall art collection of antique, foggy, marred, mirrors behind a sofa. It wasn’t long after that, when I noticed prices going up. A mirror that one-year before sold for $30 was now $60. The prices have continued to go up over the years and I have seen some even as high as $200.

I have used these mirrors in many different ways and in many different rooms over the years. I currently have most of them displayed together, gallery style, in my dinning room. There is a famous hotel in Cincinnati that has an art deco ballroom called The Hall of Mirrors. I decided that I wanted my own Hall of Mirrors.

The mirrors are particularly nice in the dinning room where we often light candles on the table for dinner parties. The flames are reflected throughout the room creating a romantic shimmering effect.

Although a collection as large as mine might be cost prohibitive these days, I do recommend purchasing one or two for your own design pantry.  It is a good investment that will pay off for you in years of versatility.

Look for a mirror that has an intact frame, not too may chips, or missing pieces of plaster or carving. If you only plan on buying one, I recommend getting a mirror that is fairly large scale. It will make a bigger impact wherever you decide to use it.

Below we see a large-scale antique mirror used in a living room space. It is hung over a credenza between two mismatched chairs in a living room. Placing a table lamp near a mirror is an excellent way to double the amount of light in dark rooms.
Here we see the same mirror bringing much needed interest to a powder room. So many homes have the same cookie cutter plate glass mirror in the bathroom. A piece like this truly makes your bathroom unique. I really love the rough old foggy mirrors. However, if you are planning on hanging the mirror in a bathroom that is used daily for make-up or shaving, I do recommend getting one with a clear mirror in good condition.

Although you may not be able to afford an extensive collection of antique mirrors, there are many modern and reproduction style mirrors that can be found in discount stores like TJ Maxx and Home Goods. You can mix the antique with the new to get a contemporary modern spin on the artful wall collage.

Week of March 25, 2013 
On the shelf: Antique Victorian Chest of Drawers

When I was teenager my mother purchased an antique chest of drawers. Standing about thirty inches in height, the little bureau had three drawers, a marble top, and the comforting distressed look that comes from a hundred years of use. Its first home was in our little living room beside a comfortable chair. My mother would store her knitting books and supplies in the bottom drawer and she tucked her bills and important papers in the center drawer. The top drawer held this and that, odds and ends, and pieces and parts.  It was the proverbial junk drawer and the perfect place to hide away the tiny but irreplaceable clutter produced by four kids. Over the years my mother has moved several times and the little old chest of drawers has always found a place in each of her homes. It is usually located next to her favorite knitting chair and still contains the same treasures.

My sister has a version of this same antique chest. Hers sits in her entry hall with a mirror hanging on the wall above it.  She usually displays seasonal treasures on the top of the chest right next to a table lamp. It’s the perfect spot for family and friends to drop keys or a purse when entering the house or to check hair and lipstick before leaving. Phone books and table linens are stored within.

Last year when choosing furniture pieces for my great room renovation project, I purchased a little Victorian chest of my own.  I picked it up at a local antique store for around $350. It was like coming of age and now I was part of the club! Mine also has three drawers, a marble top, and that warm antique patina. Sitting next to a vintage chair, it houses magazines in the top drawer and supplies for gift-wrapping in the other two. Funny thing is, when my mom comes to visit she sits in the chair next to the chest and knits just like she does at home.

This first virtual room rendering shows a version of the antique Victorian chest of drawers. Purposed as a bedside table with contemporary pendant lighting hanging above, the little bureau has ample surface space for bedtime necessities. It would be particularly useful for storage of clothing or extra bed linens.

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The versatile little dresser can also find a nice home in an entry hall as depicted in the design rendering below. Here I have added a vintage mirror for last minute appearance checks, and occasional chair to provide a nice place to sit when putting on galoshes or boots, and a convenient umbrella stand for those rainy days. The vintage style is played up even further when antique purses are used as wall art and a bouquet of flowers welcomes house guests.

This final virtual vignette portrays the little bureau in a living room between two matching chairs with a large piece of art hanging on the wall above.

My only regret about purchasing my antique chest of drawers is that I didn’t do it when I was younger.  This adaptable little piece of furniture looks great and is useful in virtually any room of the house. I would recommend a piece like this to anyone. Whether it’s your first home our your last, you will never regret your purchase.

Week of March 18, 2013
On the shelf: Antique or Reproduction Pedestal Table

I have an antique oak pedestal table that we purchased when we were first married 25 years ago. It has four leaves and expands to seat ten people or it makes a perfect round for four when the leaves are not used. The pedestal base allows for chairs to sit anywhere around the table without being impeded by table legs. We originally used it as a dinning room table in our first apartment and eventually used it in our eat in kitchen in subsequent homes. It has a timeless rustic look that works just as well with contemporary design as it does with country style decor. Over the years we have swapped out the chairs to fit with the current design trends. Three children and 25 years of daily use have added to it's "distressed" look but I still love it as much as the first day we purchased it.

Here we see an antique style pedestal table in a rustic wood finish. When paired with these upholstered,  reproduction chairs and vintage style accessories it adapts itself to a French Country design aesthetic.

Designerelish Pantry: Antique Pedestal Table

Below is the very same table with chairs and accessories swapped out to create a bold look that is reminiscent of mid-century modern style.
Designerelish Pantry: Antique Wood Pedestal Table

Again we have our same table. This vignette uses wing back chairs and traditional accouterments to demonstrate this piece's versatility. An antique style pedestal table is a piece that serves well over the years. It's chameleon-like characteristics will allow it to adapt to any style or environment. Purchase an antique or reproduction that is well-made with simple lines and you are sure to get your money's worth out of it over the years.

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