Langdon Hyde Design

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Carefully Curated Cupboard

“Curated” is a word that crops up time and time again in design speak. What exactly does it mean? Dictionary.com’s definition is “to take charge of (a museum) or organize (an art exhibit)”. It is certainly a word that is more commonly associated with galleries and museums and, to my knowledge, has only recently been used when describing a domestic interior. My interpretation would be a “the careful selection of items put on show”. In someways similar to “pared back” but perhaps not quite as minimalist – just choosing  a selection of objects that you wish to have  on display.

With this in mind, I have been busily rearranging book shelves to ensure that the contents look attractive; curated, even. It is very easy to display books in a conventional fashion, side by side, but with a bit of imagination they can look far more interesting if interspersed with ornaments and photographs.

Cook books as part of the curated display

One evening this week I literally had a lightbulb moment. For many years I have owned a beautiful hand-painted vase which would look far more at home in an art gallery than in my country cottage. I have tried it in many different places but none seem to show it off. I also have the worry of it being knocked over and broken. Not to mention the time my father offered it to my next door neighbour for her to put some flowers in. Fortunately, she realised that it hadn’t come from the local store and declined his kind offer!

My flash of inspiration came as I gingerly put it back on top of the kitchen cupboard from where it had come. It had been put there, semi on display, but also out of the reach of little hands, and clumsy ones. The cupboard itself is glass-fronted, and lit internally from above. It has glass shelves which have been home to dozens of mis-matched drinking glasses, and a selection of china which was chosen as it matched the general colour scheme of the room.

It occurred to me that if I removed one of the glass shelves the space would be tall enough for me to display the aforementioned vase.

I set about emptying the contents of the cupboard and took out each glass shelf and wiped it clean of dust and debris. I then put the vase on, what was, the middle shelf. It achieved the desired effect of shining light onto the beautiful hand painted vessel;  finally bringing it to life. It was, however, a little low in the void that I had created so I looked around at the objects I had removed to make room for it. There were a number of cook books which only get the occasional glance, but have been kept as they contain real one-off gems.

Some of their jackets were ripped, or stained, so I removed these and uncovered some beautiful hardbacks underneath. I chose several that created the mood that I was looking for and piled them high for the vase to perch upon. I was really pleased with this arrangement.

Hand painted vase on cook books

I still had the task of rearranging the objects that I had taken out from the cupboard. This gave me the opportunity to take charge and organise. This inevitably led to some being rejected and some returned, but in a different position. I was careful to put glassware on the top shelf to allow the light from above to filter down to the other shelves.

Light filtering through glassware

I returned the cook books, some with their jackets, and some without, and even added more.

Cook books

Finally, I added my tagine to the display as it had been sitting in a sideboard where it was never seen and rarely used.

Tagine

I’m happy with the end result as it creates a wonderful picture that displays the objects I love rather than the ones that didn’t need to be on show.

Carefully curated cupboard

And my beautiful vase finally has a home where it can be seen but remain safe from harm.

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