Anyone who lives in an old house – one earlier than about 1880 – knows that closets are a modern invention. But what did those earlier homeowners do with all their possessions?
First, we have to remember that people had fewer things to store. All but the grandest women would have just two dresses, one for everyday and one for Sunday. Most families would have just enough plates and cups to serve the family. A library of five books would seem extravagant.
Then, storage was arranged in a number of ways. Every room had its pegs for hanging herbs, implements or clothes. Every new bride brought storage boxes and chests with her. Cupboards and armoires as we know them seem to have appeared around 1400.
In the finer homes, cabinets, cupboards and armoires might be crafted from expensive woods such as oak or mahogany with fine carved detail and were sometimes built into the paneling of the room. Simpler pieces were made by local householders and joiners all over Sweden. These were typically made of pine with one or two doors that might conceal shelves and hand-carved pegs for hanging. In some cases, drawers were added under the storage compartment. The larger examples were made to disassemble or “knock down” for ease of transport. Iron hardware, or sometimes pewter or brass, would complete these more modest pieces. Many cabinets were grain-painted to imitate more expensive woods or decoratively painted to brighten and enhance the dark, candle-lit Swedish interiors.
The cabinets and cupboards at Cupboards & Roses are from 18th and 19th century Sweden. They are in excellent condition, usually retaining their original surfaces and hardware. After all this time, they are still useful and attractive, bringing a little Swedish ambiance to today’s homes