Three Ways to Style a Vintage Kitchen Cabinet

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Welcome to the Virtual Book Club!

I join three bloggers during the fourth week of each month to share our interpretation of a different book.

On Thursday, we share a home-decor related post and follow

on Saturday with a culinary post, both inspired by the month’s book.

Bringing back memories

This month’s book club choice sure brought back memories for me. I coached “Battle of The Books” teams when my son was in fourth and fifth grades. If you’re not familiar with this program, it’s a reading-incentive competition where teams read a selected list of books over a period of months. The books are chosen by the local library, which holds a competition quizzing teams with questions related to the content of the books. Teams prepare by assigning every book to a member of the team, with each member reading multiple books. Parents and the coach create sample questions and teams meet for mock quizzes in order to be ready for the real competition.

Anne of Green Gables was on the list when my son was in fourth grade. Our team, The Reading Rockets, was comprised of all boys. The book is pretty long, and none of the boys wanted to read it. Since his mom was the coach, my son had to take one for the team and read the book. We read it together while I created a list of questions, and we both enjoyed the book and the experience!

Anne of Green Gables

The book, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, is set in the late 1800s and recounts the adventures of an orphan girl, Anne Shirley, who is taken in by a pair of middle-aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The siblings had intended to adopt a boy to help out on their farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and they were quite upset when Anne, a girl, showed up by mistake. Anne is quite imaginative, dramatic and adventurous. She gets into a few scrapes and, along the way, wins the hearts of the Cuthberts. My son enjoyed the adventures, and I was taken by the charming, fictional village of Avonlea, where the book is set.

The inspiration for styling a vintage kitchen cabinet

Anne’s adventures take place during the late Victorian Era. While the kitchen was not specifically described in the book, I have watched several movie and television adaptations of the book over the years. The kitchen in the most recent movie features a free-standing cabinet. Because Anne lives on a farm, the furniture is less ornate than typical victorian furniture.

My inherited vintage kitchen cabinet

I have a vintage kitchen cabinet that belonged to my grandparents. I think it’s from the early 1900s. I’ve seen lots of cabinets like mine in antique stores. While I’m sure that it once served as a storage cabinet in my grandparents’ kitchen, from the time I was small, it was kept in their basement and was always stocked with canned goods and homemade jelly. I was often sent to the basement for canned pickles or a jar of jelly. Since the sweet treat was my favorite, I’ve always called it a jelly cupboard.

I inherited the cupboard not long after my husband and I were married, and I had it painted green. It originally had black iron hardware and stenciled bubbled glass in the top doors. I foolishly replaced the hardware with painted wood knobs and had new glass panels made for the doors. Then, I discarded both the hardware and the glass. What I wouldn’t give to have the cupboard in its original state!

Kitchen cabinet styling inspired by the book

A vintage kitchen cabinet, painted green housing a purple and green teaset

The kitchen cabinet sits in the space between my kitchen breakfast nook and the family room. The drawers and bottom cabinet house extra flatware and serving pieces. It’s great extra storage. I enjoy styling the top cabinet for the seasons. There is a scene in the book where Anne hosts a tea party for her friend. Since the cabinet looks like a piece that might have been in a farmhouse kitchen during the era that the book was written, I styled it with a vintage tea set from the period. I’ve also included a chocolate pot and matching cups. Chocolate pots were popular in North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In a nod to the original use of the cabinet and the likely purpose of a cabinet in during the Victorian era, I’ve added a couple of jars of jelly.

Styling a vintage cabinet with everyday dishes

Vintage kitchen cabinet, painted green, housing cherry blossom dishes

In the book, Anne was mesmerized by the beauty of Prince Edward Island and especially loved the cherry blossoms. The dishes in this styling have a cherry blossom motif. They were my mother-in-law’s, and she used them for everyday dining. I envision late 19th-century kitchen cabinets housing the dish ware that the family used on a daily basis. I used some pretty books to vary the heights of the pieces on display and add interest.

Styling with a favorite collection

A favorite way to style this cabinet is with my copper kettle collection. Collections look best when grouped together. I think the copper really pops against the green. All of my copper pieces are thrifted. Another mistake of my youth was getting rid of several copper pieces that were given to us as wedding gifts. I think that they tarnished, and with the busyness of life, I didn’t have time to take care of them. Caring for the three little humans in my house took precedence! I’ve mixed a copper bowl and pitcher with the kettles. I have a couple more kettles, but using a select few allows them to shine. I wanted to add some Mason jars and spray painted the lids to make them blend with the copper theme. The farmhouse landscape is a constant on the top of this cabinet. It’s one of my favorite pieces of art, and I think it’s especially appropriate for the Anne of Green Gables theme.

The Virtual Bookclub

Please visit my blogging friends to see what beautiful inspiration they have drawn from Anne of Green Gables!

Hi! I’m Erin. As life evolves, so does a home. Join me as I share DIY projects to update, renovate, decorate and improve my home to complement my empty-nest lifestyle.

6 Responses

  1. I love how you styled this vintage cabinet Erin. Seeing it with different colors of decor was very informative because it got me to think outside of the small box I design in. Beautiful post as always.

    1. Thank you, Crystal. I’ve styled this cabinet so many ways over the years. Anne of Green Gables was a fun inspiration to change it up!

  2. This style of cabinet is one of my faves! We gave one a major furniture makeover a couple of years ago for a custom client. Yours is so pretty, Erin! I love the copper in it! Pinned !

    1. Thank you, Cindy! I love styling my little copper collection in it, because I think the copper really pops against the green. Thank you for reading!

  3. Erin – I love the history behind your cabinet and each styling is lovely. What a fun piece to showcase your collections each season. I love the story of your son’s Battle of the Books team. I can just imagine that this book would be a tough sell for 4th-grade boys. It’s probably one of my favorites. Your home decor interpretation is spot on. I too think that a cabinet just like yours would have been in Green Gables.

    1. Thank you, Lynn. Anne was a great inspiration for a new way to style my cabinet. The book really was a tough sell for those boys, but I’m glad it worked out the way it did. My son and I had fun with it.

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