Monday, February 18, 2008

This is what I herd

My kitchen remodel will completely revolve around the display of my collection of vintage creamer cows.

The picture above represents only the cows acquired since the purchase of our house, five years ago. There are dozens others that have remained safely packed in boxes since the move. They await a fitting shelf.

The display of these cows has determined a future rustic-vintage look in our vintage but very urban home (inhabited by at least one urban and very un-rustic – but increasingly more vintage – homeowner.)
K, (who actually has fond memories of childhood year spent in McCall, Idaho) does not cling to his urban identity as much as I.

Urban or not, I love my cows. Seeing them actually makes me happy! I love to see them all lined up together. They seem to almost sing a concert of moos, their mouths uniformly open, necks extended.

By the acquisition of them, I feel I have also acquired the history they hold. I don’t know how old they are. I’m sure some are not very old at all. Others could carry considerably more history. K recently gifted me one with the highly prized mark "Made in Occupied Japan."
My bovine beauties carry not only the history of the time they were fired, they carry the history of those who first bought them and who first held their smooth ceramic bodies. Who knows how their previous caretakers displayed them? Who knows how often they were engaged in the daily act of pouring cream into coffee? I have recently learned that creamer cows were often a source of salmonella poisoning. They’re hard to keep clean. Rest assured, mine will only be used for decorative purposes.
But back to my point. My kitchen has become about the display of these cows. So really, isn’t my whole house about the display of all my material goods? Couldn’t I spend a lot less money on kitchen cabinets if I were content to go with something a little more modern (but which don’t go with the cows)? When it comes down to it, what was wrong with the house as it was? as I bought it? It had a new roof. Yes, it was as cold as hell, but I’m not remodeling the whole house just for the sake of the drafty windows. Is all this effort and expense really about ego and vanity? "Look at my good taste!" "Look at my beautiful cows!" "Look at all the stuff I’ve collected from all the places I’ve traveled!"
I always wanted to avoid being one of those people whose life centered around possessions. The material world sucks you in, doesn’t it?

Back to the rustic/vintage thing. I hear a wee bit of alarm in response when I've told others that we are going with black kitchen cabinets. But I feel drawn to black cabinets. This is an image from Crownpoint.

Crownpoint is out of my price range but this is the idea. Instead of pottery, you’ll have to imagine my cows lined along those shelves.

The paint will be distressed to give the effect of age. It will be the artificial application of history. How ironic that my 100-year-old house will require a dose of artificial history.

The woman who writes this blog: does a very nice job of distressing her own cabinets. I briefly considered this option. Not to our old cabinets, of course - but doing our own distressing on stock cabinets. The act of distressing adds quite a bit to the cost of the cabinets. Of course. Everything I want adds to the cost. But with so much else to be done, this is a task K doesn’t need.


dynochick (Jan) said...

I think the idea of black cabinets is wonderful. Most of your creamers probably are white or have a white background so they would show up nicely against a dark cabinet.

I like the open shelves also.

Can't wait to see the entire collection on display.

Fred said...

I too think the black cabinets you show are quite inviting.. and go perfectly with what you're trying to achieve. People probably think of black cabinets and they don't picture a more rustic/country look, but rather a modern/glossy look. I wouldn't think those would look nearly as good. The nice thing about black cabinets is you can do accent pieces in a lighter wood (some shades of natural oak, e.g.) and it will go VERY well with the black.

Collecting *anything* these days is a lost hobby. I collect shot glasses - not that glamorous, but I've got 91 of them.

One Project Closer

Why S? said...

Thanks for backing me up on the black cabinets.

Collecting is not lost to us. Not only do I have the cows, I also have a collection of commemorative mugs on British royalty. It's on the verge of being out of hand. And, my husband collects pirate related shot glasses. At least those are useful.

SunnyDee (Debra) said...

Finally getting a moment to update myself with your progress. Love the black cabinets, actually very classic/contemporary and vintage all at the same time. Love your cow collection and I agree they will look fabulous accented by the black. I must say I believe there are still many collectors. I have my grandmoters dimetasse cups and saucers and I somehow have started a small collection of salt and pepper shakers - nothing too serious though yet.
I have neighbors who display their collection of "Hard Rock Cafe" beer glasses from all the various locations they either visited or friends & family have given them. Not as appealing to me as your cows, but it pleases them.
And it is my understanding, from all the HGTV design shows I've watched over the years, that collections should be grouped together as much as possible rather than scatter randomly throughout a house - to make the greatest "statement".
Looking forward to the finished product.