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Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Cabinet of Curiosities

I have become bored with the green hutch in my living room. But I won’t be tossing it aside. Rather, it is time to reinvent or reimagine the piece in an entirely new way.

Anita, from Cedar Hill Farmhouse, helped to lead the inspiration.


The hutch has simply been holding dishes. It’s what a good majority of hutches/china cabinets do.

Decor To Adore ORC Reveal 099-001

But I began to think about making it in to something more. Maybe like a cabinet of curiosities.

What is a cabinet of curiosities you may ask?

Such cabinets, also known as, cabinets of wonder, wonder rooms, kunstkammer, and curio cabinets were began during the Renaissance period. They were typically collections of extraordinary objects that most often fell under the category of natural history, religious relics or works of art.

"Musei Wormiani Historia” by Olaus Wormius also known as the Olde Worm.

The cabinets were first displayed by kings, noblemen, upper class merchants and scientists. They are considered to be the precursors to our modern day museums. 

A cabinet portrayed in a painting by Frans Francken the Younger circa 1636

While scientists used their cabinets as a means of storage for things they were studying others used the cabinets as a social device. Collections were proudly displayed and compared to other cabinets.

Recreation of French physician and naturalist Johann Hermann’s cabinet located in the Musée zoologique de la ville de Strasbourg (Zoological Museum of the City of Strasbourg).

In Victorian England, the height of cabinet popularity, rooms of wonder or small displays were often created after individuals went on their Grand Tour of Europe.

Taxidermy Butterfly Fire Screen from Ayre & Co.:

Recently, cabinets of curiosities have begun to make a comeback.

Collection of curiosities via House of Standing:

Sure, they can be somewhat creepy.

birds of a feather:

But they can also be cute.

Toy Car collection

You can repurpose a set of tiny drawers.

Read all about Curio Cabinets just like this one at the Calico Blog!

Or display all of your favorite things on a wall.

Jackie's type case | by lea@pomegranate:

In thinking about my own cabinet I want to change it up seasonally. So, I am currently working on a collection for spring.

I am inspired by the Trompe L'oeil porcelain collection by Bunny Mellon.

Spotlight On: Sotheby’s Bunny Mellon Auction | Tory Daily:

This bird themed collection also caught my eye.

Curious things!  I could pick up each one and look at them for hours!:

Yvonne of Stonegable created a similar theme in her hutch.

Perhaps I will place a few potted plants like Lucy of Craftberry Bush.

How to style a hutch for Spring! Gorgeous pictures....must see. @craftberrybush:

I plan on revealing my hutch during my friend Marty’s Spring Home Tour.

2017 Spring Home Tour #1

If you are curious to learn more I have just begun a Pinterest Board with images of cabinets that I adore. There is also a nice book by Gordon Grice on the subject.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” ~Dorothy Parker



Mildred said...

Good Morning, Laura. I look forward to your spring cabinet makeover. It's ironic that you post this today. I have had "curiosities" in my hutch for a while now, and have been thinking of displaying the china once again! Hope you have a lovely day.
xo Mildred

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh how fun, I can't wait to see how you change this gorgeous cabinet up.

Christine said...

This is right up your ally!
Got a little inspiration from the cars in the dome.

Linda said...

I love this sort of thing! My hutch is a traditional brown one which I won't be painting or anything like that, but you do give me some ideas for some possible changes within. ;) I already have a bunch of curiousities within mine but not in any sort of cute display way and also it contains most of our wine glasses. I think I'll be moving some things around between that and our bar cabinet and see what I come up with. Space is always the issue at our house because it's truly a tiny home and we have very limited places to put all of our stuff (which I'm not willing to part with). Thanks for the lovely ideas (as always).

Jeanie said...

Ever since I got my new hutch last fall, I've been going through periods of revamping it! So, I really "get" the cabinet of curiosities! And now it's spring and I've just started bringing up all the spring things. Well, maybe not spring exactly -- we had a wee bit of snow last night -- but in my heart and head it's time for bunnies and birds nests!

Marilyn said...

My hutch also holds curiosities interspersed with our china. Since our hutch has glass doors, it keeps breakables both safe and dust free. (Well, relatively dust free!)

Marilyn (in Dallas)

Mountain Mama said...

How interesting to see all these cabinets with their odd items - I love the jar of cars, too cute. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Laura, your hutch will be incredible. Have fun and thanks for sharing all the inspiration. Have a great weekend ahead. xo

Dianna said...

Laura, you have shared some amazing curiosity displays, both here and on your Pinterest board. I am excited to see what you have done with your hutch later in the month. I know it will be amazing!

Ginene Nagel said...

Laura, you must have written this post for me because I indeed have all sorts of things to put in a cabinet of curiosities, but I find the shelves difficult to arrange with all these things in my antique shop. I thank you for the inspiration.
When I was a child, there was an old, old woman and her husband that had a summer cabin next to ours in the woods Wisconsin. She had a cabinet of curiosities that would enthrall us for hours. The kind lady and her husband were dead white and they were built like two praying mantises, all long limbed with sharp elbows and knees. She had long white hair, too. There was never anything to do after the sun went down so sometimes our parents would walk over to visit them. We children would sit on the floor in front of the cabinet and look at the curiosities. Sometimes, she would take something out and hold it in her hand for us to look at closer. She had a piece of rice with the entire Bible written on it and we could look at it with a magnifying glass. We believed her then, but I have my doubts now.

Eilis said...

Looking forward to seeing your version, Laura. I know it will be amazing.

craftyles said...

Love this idea and can't wait to see what you come up with on your cabinet. ALso love the patchwork hanger post-those are the cutest. I have to try those-wouldn't a fancy one be pretty for a bride?

Stacey said...

This is a fun idea, Laura. When I was a teacher I always had a place like this in the classroom. Something tells me yours will be prettier though. :)

Bonnie said...

Very interesting post, Laura. Looking forward to seeing your hutch reveal at Marty's spring tour. That will be a very busy week in blogland with so many spring tours and tablescape hops that week.
Hoping you are feeling better after losing your sweet pet.