A few years ago our daughters and one son-in-law and one son-in-law-to-be were visiting. During breakfast, Patrick asked me if I knew how many plates I had hanging on my walls. There was a discussion about whether there were twenty or forty or sixty. Finally, all four of them got up and went from room to room and counted. They cheated because they counted the ones in the china cabinet, the ones on tables, and those holding bars of soap in the bathrooms. But, the answer surprised even me…65. Sounded impossible, but they claimed that it was true. Then the next morning Patirck said, “Good morning and 68. I found three behind the door in my room.”
Why did I and do I still hang plates on the walls? The reason is simple. They add color and design and give me more room in my dish storage area. Also, plate hangers are inexpensive and you can get a whole lot of “bang for your buck.” I inherited several sets of dishes from relatives and then there was my own wedding china and my every day dishes. It all adds up. With those many moves came multiple dish barrels of china.
Look at the decorating magazines and they will agree with me. You have to look at the more traditional ones and certainly ones from the South. One of my favorite covers ever was from Southern Accents in 2002. This magazine is not published any longer. However, I keep back issues to read over and over. This is the cover that really made me fall in love with brown and white transfer ware. The wall pictured is part of a sunroom in Highlands, North Carolina.
I must have looked at the cover and the inside article so often, that when I got the chance, I recreated it to a small degree. This is a wall in the bedroom of our last house. The wall was a cocoa color and the brown and white transfer ware just seemed to fit in there. I found plates at TJ Maxx and at antique stores and yard sales. It is more fun to look when you have a mission. This was a pretty sight to see when I opened my eyes every morning.
When we moved to the current house in Charlotte, I had to hang my plates somewhere. Heaven forbid that we actually put food on them at the table! So, they ended up in the kitchen area above an old marble top dresser that I use as a buffet.
Many years ago, my cousin Kathy gave me a gift certificate to an antique shop. What did I buy? Plates! I found these reproduction green majolica. Each one features a kind of fruit or vegetable. This color of green is easy to live with and goes with almost anything. Today, they are hanging over the bed upstairs. I like red and green…they are opposite each other on the color wheel and when used together, they make a bold statement. These plates were part of the set that I bought, but they feature ferns on each plate. As I told you before, I am a “fernatic.” You cannot have too many fern images in your house.
In the last house, I hung my great grandmother’s china on the wall in the guest bedroom after I found this tapestry bed cover which features roses. Sometimes I would take these plates down and display white haviland dishes and a neutral comforter. The good thing is that you can change out the plates, but you do not have to add more nail holes in your wall.
It was in that house that we enclosed the cedar deck and made a sunroom. Here are the fern majolica plates behind the secretary in that room. This photo must have been taken at Christmas because my husband’s manger set is on the secretary. I just loved this room…hated to leave it. Note the four fern pictures. I cut them from a calendar and framed them with frames from the Dollar Store. You can see the tray table that I discussed in the post previous to this one.
The governor of Kentucky was from the town where we were living. Every year he and his wife would invite the faculty from the college to a reception at the mansion in Frankfort. In one room was a wonderful trompe loeil design of bamboo and there were…plates hung inside. “Trompe loeil,” is French for, “fool the eye.” Really excellent artists do such stunning three dimensional work that want to reach out and touch it. I thought that I could probably handle some facsimile of the bamboo design that I saw at the governor’s mansion. After all, it was just paint. If it had not turned out well, I could paint over it in no time. Where there is fear there is no creativity! Here is my attempt on the wall of my office. I hung the plates and then determined what size the bamboo “frame” should be. With some craft paint and some time, and of course a level, it was relatively easy.
I was getting ready to paint the book case when we moved. If I had done so, it would have had a back wall of green and maybe chocolate brown on the outside. I don’t think that I like the blue transfer ware in this place….white would have “popped” more once the case had been painted.
There was a blank wall over the tub in our bathroom here in Charlotte. Now, you don’t want to put an oil painting or a print over a tub and near a shower. The heat and steam could ruin the art. What is meant to go into a dishwasher and can withstand water? That’s right…plates.
You have little gems in your cupboard and you can find wonderful plates at garage sales and flea markets. This home which was pictured in “Romantic Homes” magazine features plates with different designs. It makes for a wonderful cottage look.