OPEN AND SHUT CASE

in
March 25, 2018
Open shelves show off an orderly collection of plates and serving platters.

Dear Debbie,
I’ve been reading a lot about open shelving in the kitchen and I don’t think it’s a good idea. From my experience too much stuff accumulates on the shelves and they become an eyesore.
Rebecca

Dear Rebecca,
You make a very good point. Open shelves have many plusses, such as keeping items close to hand, and adding visual interest and pops of colour to the room’s decoration. But they only work if they are clean, tidy, and kept under control. It’s an option for replacing upper cabinets in the kitchen if you have the space, and this airy style opens up a room if stacked with care. Before deciding to work with this storage solution, it’s important to manage what is going on display, and not to overcrowd the arrangement. This means discarding excess plates, bowls, cups and glassware.

Group like objects together on the same shelf to save steps in the kitchen. Open shelves for everyday tableware positioned over or near the dishwasher saves steps. If you opt to have an open spice rack, revisit the spices and toss those that are dated or rarely used. Show off colourful canisters, mixing bowls and utensils. Add one or two antique kitchen pieces found at second hand stores for interest and visual appeal. Keep the not so attractive kitchen stuff in closed cabinets. However, if you are feeling stressed by the appearance of open storage, then cabinets are for you.

Dear Debbie,
We live in a small log home constructed by us! Log homes tend to be dark inside due to the natural colour of the logs and the stain applied. Add a stone fireplace and exposed beams and it’s not light and airy in here. I love my home but dream of a white kitchen and decorating in classic cottage style. Any suggestions for decorating would be much appreciated.
Jane

Dear Jane,
You have chosen to build a home with very strong character; log buildings portray a sturdy, rustic, hands-on appeal that you both welcome. It’s not difficult to brighten the interior with a few simple decorative tips and tricks. Swap out heavy draperies and furnishings for pieces that have less visual weight and you will feel lighter and freer in the space.

Show off the legs on chairs and sofas. Whether they are simple pine or hand-turned antiques, don’t cover them up. Cottage style fabrics are easy-care and comfy. Look for ticking, gingham and soft florals with a white or light background. Pieces upholstered in any of these fabrics will wrap your rooms in cottage style. Area rugs for your wood floors are a must. Look for that homemade quality found in braided and hook rugs and floorcloths. Sisal is an option, but I prefer the warmth and the soft, light hues and textures you can find in any type of rag rug.

For your all white kitchen, why not choose painted wood cabinets and a light stone look for your countertops, which would connect with the fireplace. If there is a window in the kitchen, light café curtains will tie in with your cottage style.

Classic cottage and log cabin style is unpretentious and suits a mix of old and new. Give a dresser or cabinet a weathered paint finish or whitewash. Utilize old trunks for storage or extra seating. Go on the hunt for old wood or metal items that can be transformed into a base for a table or lamp. Log cabins beg for stories and you are building a history within those hand-hewn walls.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. Follow Debbie at instagram.com/debbie_travis, facebook.com/thedebbietravis, debbietravis.com.