Many years ago I learned the cost of expressing to my husband my smallest interest or my slightest fancy. A casual mention one day of wanting a cast iron trivet in my kitchen resulted in an accumulation of more than 100 cast iron trivets over three years. It happened again when I exclaimed “How cute!” over a vintage hat box displayed in a store window in Ellicott City–I now have a lovely, but extensive collection of hat boxes. They are great to store stuff in–I use them for owner’s manuals, cards, photographs, napkins, costume jewelry, etc. But finding a place to store and display the hat boxes themselves is another story. Here’s my attempt.
This tower of three functions as an end table. The bright bold strips and florals stand out next to the white on the bench. On the other end I have an antique milk can that doubles up as a second end table and also a place to stack issues of the New Yorker that Neal and Sandy our neighbors pass on to us.
These three are stacked right below a rosewood mirror in the foyer. I picked the hat boxes that had a distinct “I’ve just been shopping” look and placed the darker and more subdued ones up closer to the dark frame of the mirror. I love how the bright colors and pictures of the hat box on the bottom of the stack look against the green wall.
I picked three with pastels, creams and roses to go in Mr. Kitty’s favorite perching area. The whole area is rather brown–the mirror, wall hangings, the secretary’s desk and even the needlepoint chair seat. But I was hoping that the cream roses on the chair seat would somehow match the roses on the hat boxes. There’s nowhere pastel, rosey or creamy in any part of my house where I can put these, so this will have to do even if it’s a far stretch at “tying” it all together.
My beiges and browns go well with my neutral master bedroom. I especially like the six-sided, gold stripes on cream hat box on the bottom. They sit on two-thirds of a set of Indonesian nesting tables (bought the set at a garage sale with one missing) and under one of my favorite pictures of Roy and me having dinner of the Spirit of DC. On the other side of the wall is a picture of me taken a week before Sky was born. The mini ledge was another great garage sale find for 50 cents. It holds a stack of mini books and knick-knacky stuff, all of which were more gifts from Roy.
This lone, pale grey-blue is the odd one of the lot. I’ve just stuck it on top of a armoir, in a corner that goes unnoticed to stagger pictures of Jez and Sky on a trip to Rajasthan some eight years ago. The tikka and malas were part of the elcome ritual at the hotel. Of course, neither of them appreciate me documenting the moment.
These extra large ones sit on top of my dresser. The ones are the left are Christmasey in theme and hold ornaments. The large Dobbs one has one of Jez’s prized possessions–a basketball autographed by Michael Jordan. The green Stetson hat box is very old and close to falling apart and sits empty.
Finally, my three oval, nested hat boxes in burgundy, gold, blues and greens. They hold sewing notions, thread, etc and sit next to my sewing table, which I especially love for many reasons: It looks out the window at tall pines that reach up so high there’s only blue sky above; Roy carefully salvaged the top of my rosewood foyer table that broke during shipment and fitted it with an antique sewing machine bottom.