Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Look: Collections in a Hard-Working Laundry Room

In the rooms which I spend a lot of time, especially while working, I like to decorate with some of my favorite collections.
Brown transferware plate in laundry room, girl with rake
Also, if I'm going to have people in my house (and we host a LOT of family gatherings, more frequently for Mr. P's family than mine), then I'm going to put out some 'stuff' (Mr. P's term) in rooms where people will see it. Part of the fun in collecting is sharing with others, after all.

Take my laundry room, for example.  My laundry room is a hard-working room. Besides being the place where I do laundry, it's a mudroom right off the back door, and a sort of potting shed right near the courtyard. Well, maybe not a potting shed, but it's certainly where I change out hummingbird feeders and water indoor plants. Lighting in here is great for work but, without a window, poor for photographing.

It's actually a full bathroom, not just a powder room, right off the kitchen and sunroom area - a place to shower (or hang laundry or water plants).
Stepstool with whisk broom and crock assortment, orchard ladder with linens (shower is directly in front of this area)
Transferware cup & brush at sink (plate on wall visible in reflection), about handmade rug: here
So, I keep a few utilitarian collections in my laundry/mudroom/bathroom/powder room. What's there is kept out of the way, though, because I primarily need the space to sort, soak, hang and fold laundry.

One of the collections I keep in this room is part of my brown transferware and undecorated ironstone (they count as one collection in my book). On the shelf above my utility cabinets in the laundry area, I have several pieces of the transferware (ironstone with patterns applied in decal fashion) and undecorated ironstone.  I use these pieces for anything from cut flowers to dried arrangements, rolled towels, etc. Few, if any, of the pieces are perfect, but they're perfectly imperfect to me. None are of any particular pedigree, I just like them.
Brown transferware and undecorated ironstone on shelf above utility cabinets, laundry room
The transferware pitcher on the far left of the shelf is an unusual one (from the aesthetic period, 1870-1900). It was a memento from a trip to Lexington, Ky at a place called Joe Ley's Antiques, a very cool, circa 1890 schoolhouse, converted into an antiques store.
Aesthetic period brown transferware pitcher, among other examples
The pitcher on the far right has its original bowl (sitting on top of the dryer), sourced from an auction.
Ironstone pitcher (far right) - part of pitcher/was basin set
All the other vintage and antique transferware and ironstone pieces have been bought at various estate sales, auctions and antique shops over the years.  The old wooden boxes (used as risers) have advertising graphics on them - whiskey, I think.

On the wall with the toilet, I have a small stepladder/stool under the lightswitch plate (photo below). I use it mostly for displays of a couple other collections. The bottom step folds in/out, and it's pretty handy when I do use it to reach the tops of those shelves. The French wire basket on the top of the stool holds extra hand towels, while the bottom step holds a mix of crocks that I sourced from an English chap with a unique story that I told here.
There's another piece of brown transferware on the bottom step, also.  My vintage, utilitarian whisk broom/brush collection is contained by these pieces. The whisk broom with the red in it is a child's, and the one in the small, bloater paste crock in front is encased in a leather sling- a man's clothes brush, also with shoe horn.

I have another brush, of boar's hair bristles, also leather-clad, at the vanity, inside a handleless, transferware cup (below). It is also a gentleman's brush, from a local estate.  The shells are collected from various trips.
Collected shells, transferware cup & boar's bristle brush
Brown transferware cup & leather-clad boar's bristle brush
At the utility sink left side is a little polychrome transferware soap dish. On the right side is my chippy putto, which I use to hold my poison ivy soap and nailbrush. These are my hard-working supplies after gardening.
Utility wash basin supplies: soaps and nail brush, at the ready
Putto, holding poison ivy soap and nail brush
The orchard ladder in the corner of the laundry/mudroom/bathroom (Amish country) holds a few of my vintage linens and grain sacks, mostly decorative, but can also be used.
I've tossed around the idea of hanging a couple baskets (which I already have) underneath the utility cabinets, above the appliances. While it would probably look better than a blank wall, it just doesn't make sense to me because that space is almost perfect for placing my laundry basket (or two) to corral clothes after folding. I like pushing the basket against the wall and still have room to either lay clothes and/or fold in front of the basket.  Plus, if when I dropped something while putting it or taking it out of a hanging basket, it would only aggravate me to have to do gymnastics with a reacher or vacuum cleaner hose to retrieve it. So, the wall remains blank.

Collections can be part of your decor as little accents, or amassed, however it suits your style.  They can be for their originally intended purpose, or be totally repurposed for something else.  They can be placed to provoke conversation, or just simply fill a void.  For me, these collections just made sense in this room, massed together, and with a purpose, if needed.  They are more than just something to look at (which makes me happy and fills my most basic desire); but, because they're mostly utilitarian objects, they can be used today, just as they were years ago.

Do you spend time thinking through placement of your collections?  Do you scatter, group them, or do a little of both?

Sharing with:
BNOTP Met Monday
A Stroll Thru Life's Inspire Me
Coastal Charm's Show and Share
We Call It...History & Home
Savvy Southern's WOW
Mrs. Olson's SYC