This content was originally published on and has been republished here as part of a merger between our two businesses. All copy is presented here as it originally appeared there.

Placing shelves on walls was easy enough for the roughest carpenter. In this Ohio house, good design uses closed cabinets and scallop-end display shelves, all in mustard-color milk paint for a warm glow. The open corner displays crockery and ceramics and other practical items. The plain window treatment adds color and movement.

Gallery preview

A craftsman in the way of fine carpenters and furniture makers who came before, the owner of this house was happy to find a true original, a Massachusetts Federal. He made the colonial-style cabinets with their distressed finish. Open shelving displays vintage (though not antique) ceramics and dishware. The owner built the apothecaries, which hide small appliances; he also refinished existing glass-fronted cabinets to match. His wife made the woven runner tacked up over the window with rosehead nails.

Centered between custom cabinets is a display niche, with shelves that hold the family’s collection of antique salt-glaze crockery and assorted boxes. An early painted country table doubles as a tabletop and kitchen prep area. The table is also used for casual meals. Early houses had similar setups, where display and storage met.

A bowl rack becomes an object of beauty in this house in rural Ohio, built in colonial style. Hand stitched and hand built are keys to the look. Every object in the room is unique, antique, or handcrafted, with the varied textures of brick, wicker, wood, and metal. One door in the cupboard is often left open to add display space.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Old House Journal

Old House Journal

Founded in 1973, Old House Journal is the original authority when it comes to old-house restoration, traditional house styles, period kitchens, bath & kitchen restoration, DIY projects, gardens & landscaping, and more-- from Colonial and Victorian through Arts & Crafts and Mid-century Modern homes.

Learn More