Many of today's curio cabinets are as beautiful as the treasures they display.
Accent on Fresh
To keep your visual display fresh and inviting, rotate the accessories and trinkets that you display, suggests Renee Silvestre, designer for The Platt Collections.
Clocks & Curios
An introduction to today's time keepers and treasure cases.
- by Tracy A. Mozingo
For some reason, my husband is fascinated with clocks. Maybe it is because his grandparents owned an antiques shop and his grandfather serviced them. Regardless, his dream is to have a house large enough to host a grandfather clock. For him, it’s a status symbol.
For many, clocks are alluring. Maybe it's easier to watch time pass by if the encasement is attractive. And as time goes on, we collect more memories and more memorabilia. Constant reminders that a good life should be on exhibit.
Time for a Clock
As a society, we are pretty dependent upon our mobile phones these days. If it tells us the time, do we really need clocks anymore? Of course! Just because you have ready access to the hour on your Blackberry doesn't mean you can't enjoy the beauty of a classic timepiece.
"An attractive clock is a useful accessory in the kitchen or bedroom," explains Renee Silvestre, designer for The Platt Collections. "It's a lovely focal point when used on a mantelpiece, but today's clocks are almost purely decorative given that we have ready access to the time on all sorts of electronic devices."
There are a variety of different types of clocks available today, including:
- Mechanical clocks: ones that use no electrical components, but are powered by springs, coiled springs or falling weights. They must be wound up and have been in existence since the 1300s. The enduring "tick, tock" noise is prevalent in these types as well.
- Pendulum clocks: mechanical ones that use a pendulum to regulate the dividing of time. The longer the pendulum, the more accurate the time-keeping.
- Grandfather clocks: long-case clocks with a pendulum that stand six-and-a-half to eight feet tall. A grandmother clock is about six feet tall, and a granddaughter clock stands about five feet. These styles are also seen as elegant pieces of furniture.
- Mantel clocks: small clocks that gained popularity in France in the 1700s. Because of its size and placement, this clock is seen as a decoration and is subject to changing with fashion trends. For this reason, mantel clocks appeal to collectors as well.
- Cuckoo clocks: intricately carved wooden clocks that feature a bird to chime the hour. Originating in the Black Forest of Germany, this clock is also a collector's piece.
- Other: types include electric, quartz, master and atomic clocks.
Call them Curios
Curios are multifunctional pieces used to display favorite items, collectibles or other small objects—and many of today's curios are pieces of art themselves.
The type of cabinet is determined by the way the objects are displayed and by the shape of the cabinet.
- Étagères usually feature open shelves for displaying items, and they sometimes have an enclosed cabinet as a base. These can be baker's racks for the kitchen or corner shelves for the living room, and they originated in France in the late 1700s.
- Standard, full-size curios attract great attention to their contents and are perfect when you have many items to display. These can range from highly ornate to basic styles, and usually feature glass doors and sides encased by a wooden frame.
- Corner cabinets are much standard curios, but they maximize room space by fitting nicely into the corner.
- Console curios are also designed to maximize space, so they’re perfect for an entryway, foyer or hallway.
- To add an elegant look to the room, choose a half-round glass cabinet. The rounded glass makes for an intriguing piece.
- Wall display units and mantel or table-top pieces can accent small collectibles and become a conversation piece themselves.
The Perfect Fit
When selecting the best piece for your home, Silvestre recommends you "look for quality of workmanship. Why invest in something that you'll be replacing when the product prematurely breaks?"
Another piece of advice Silvestre offers is to rotate your decorative accessories to keep things fresh. "Just like with jewelry, you should choose a few key pieces. I tell clients to rotate their accessories," she says. "Move them to another room after some time and you'll find a fresh look. Store your extras and take them out another season, and you'll be surprised at what you find."