feature image: bo bedre
by Marica Fick
Rose recently spotted a lovely article on Emily Henderson’s blog that set the inspiration cogs in our heads turning. In the post, “Why You Should Be Using Armoires in Every Room”, Emily elaborates why furniture pieces like armoires should not be hidden in the bedroom but incorporated as feature pieces in the rest of the home.
Before we get all tripped up over terminology, let’s quickly look at the definition of “Armoire”…
As we have previously defined in our Decorating Dictionary, an Armoire is a large loose-standing two-door cabinet, usually containing shelves, hanging space, and sometimes drawers below. Generally used for storing clothing or household items, interestingly enough it was originally used for storing arms.
Emily had the following to say about this atypical trend:
“Let’s talk wardrobes, or armoires if you’re feeling fancy, and how to bring it into our modern day lives because even though likely none of us are currently living in a sprawling French chateau, these heavier pieces of furniture can be used successfully (and VERY chicly) in nearly every room of the house. It’s one of those pieces that are often overlooked, but let’s all agree to stop that right now and consider the armoire.
Sure, with a name like “wardrobe,” you’re thinking they have to be relegated behind closed bedroom doors. But we’re all for thinking outside the box around here at EHD and like to be trailblazers in anything if we can. We’re not in this instance, but we’re loving what we’re seeing from other like-minded people. Because really, armoires are essentially just cabinets for storing things so why can’t we use one anywhere and everywhere we need storage, right? Plus, because they take up more vertical space than horizontal, they’re great for smaller footprints.”
In her blog post, Emily shared some gorgeous examples of both traditional and contemporary armoires used as storage and display in various unexpected parts of the home – from the bathroom and entryway to the dining room and living room.
Here at Design Monarchy, this type of out-of-the-box thinking is something Rose and I also aspire to. On many occasions, we have proposed to our interior design clients to use traditional furniture in a non-traditional way.
One project, in particular, comes to mind. Our client had a dark and shabby-looking French armoire – btw, when I say “shabby” I’m not referring to Shabby Chic, it was just tatty – that she was just about to toss out. We however immediately saw its potential and had it transformed into something all-together different than its initial purpose of clothes storage. We gave the armoire a silver and white distressed paint technique, added some glass shelves, wallpapered the back, and later replaced the wood panels in the doors with wire mesh. It now houses a collection of ceramics in the formal lounge (featured in Home Magazine January 2016).
Now, this made me think, if armoires can fulfil the purpose of vitrines, then surely vitrines can surely fulfil the purpose of armoires!
Vitrines, as per our Decorating Dictionary, are free-standing glass-paned display cabinets. These glass cabinets, which usually stood in public areas of the home, had shelves on which to display porcelain, figurines, china, etc.
If armoires, which are traditionally used to store clothes, can be used outside of the bedroom as unusual display units, the same must be true for the vitrines. If one can transform an armoire into linen storage in a bathroom and china display in a dining room then surely a vitrine can be used as off-beat shoe storage in the bedroom! What a flip-side idea!
It is rather sad that today’s smaller sized homes and standard built-in wardrobes have made the use of stand-alone armoires difficult and superfluous. We actually found that decent wardrobes are a hard find in the South African retail market. You would probably have to explore second-hand furniture stores and antique dealers to find an armoire you can repurpose in your interior.
Furthermore, what if you have a contemporary styled home and a vintage or antique piece would stick out like a sore thumb?
Well, do not fear! A quick online search of our local furniture designers and homeware stores delivered a lovely selection of beautiful, chic and contemporary armoires and display cabinets. This is excellent news for those who want to incorporate contemporary storage cabinets and wardrobes into their interior space.
SO, for all you lovers of armoires, vitrines, and contemporary South African design – here is our round-up of trendy, chic, and beautifully contemporary storage cabinets for your home…
8 Contemporary & Chic Storage Cabinets:
Luderitz Display Cabinet
A gorgeous display cabinet crafted from oak and walnut wood with glass doors and beautifully incorporated internal drawers. The black-painted interior not only allows for a natural and sophisticated feel but also ensures that the items you choose to display will pop against the dark backdrop. Available from Weylandts
The Clifton Wardrobe made from lovely Birch plywood would make for a functional contemporary feature in any bedroom or dressing room with its hanging and shelving space. Customize the hanging space into shelving and it would make for a perfect match in a work environment as a designer filing or storage cabinet. Available through Multiply Furniture
This striking distressed storage 2-door cabinet in grey would work beautifully in both a contemporary and in an Industrial or Coastal styled home. Available from La Grange
Joburg Kas 09
Now isn’t this drop-dead gorgeous wardrobe designed by David Krynauw just a work of art?! It is so beautiful, it would almost be sacrilege to put any clothes in it! Rather put a velvet rope around it and put it on display! Designed and manufactured by David Krynauw
Slant Botanic Cupboard
This striking cabinet features a black and natural Ash finish, with a premium quality wallpaper lined interior. The Botanic Cupboard is papered in gorgeous botanical wallpaper design by Cape Town-based, Room 13. Designed and manufactured by Kino
Damara Storage Cabinet
Designed by Anna Weylandt and graphic designer Anelle Mostert, each piece in this exquisitely engraved walnut veneer range goes through 120 pairs of hands before completion — a true labour of love. Available from Weylandts
Ling Cabinet in Green
Inspired by the design of the orient this piece is perfectly suited to add a touch of eclecticism and luxury to your space and that in a punchy and eye-catching green colour. Available from Block & Chisel
Répertoire Display Unit
A contemporary and quirky display cabinet made from solid cherry wood. The Repertoire Display Cabinet features glass doors and two internal drawers crafted from solid sycamore. Available from Roche Bobois
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OUR CONTEMPORARY STORAGE CABINET ROUND-UP? DID ANY OF THE FURNITURE ITEMS CATCH YOUR EYE? LET US KNOW ABOUT YOUR CABINET WISHLIST (AND OF COURSE WHERE / HOW YOU WOULD USE IT) IN THE COMMENTS BELOW…