Hooray for versatile furniture forms! Yesterday, we decided that we just haven't had enough to do lately what with trips all over the state and an auction preview, so we thought we'd reorganize the house. With new furniture from a big box store, there's no way you'd be able to move many pieces of furniture out of your bedroom and into your living room. Perhaps it's partly that with antiques, it just seems more acceptable - after all, if you're going to collect pre-1850 furniture, you're going to have a hard time finding a coffee table and people are kind of expecting you to come up with an alternative, but antique pieces also lend themselves willingly to wearing all sorts of different hats.
Empty the stepback cupboard in the dining room, unloading china, candlesticks, and tapers, and haul it upstairs to the bedroom, where it suddenly becomes a bookshelf/linen cupboard. Shift a piesafe into the same position, fill the lower shelves with china and stuff the upper shelves full of towels. Take the linens out of the linen press and - ta da! - you can fit a Cuisinart, griddle, stand mixer and all sorts of kitchen paraphenalia into it.
Perhaps because we have such a small space, we're very appreciative of this. We've often looked around our little house and wondered how non-antique people could live here. We're constantly emptying yarn and knitting needles out of a blanket chest only to move it over by the stove and fill it with stove pellets or sticking a quilt on the back of an extra windsor from the dining room and poking it into a living room corner to serve as a seat for visitors. It's nice to be freed from constraints about what forms go where and how they can be used. Case pieces are essentially big wooden boxes and there are no rules about where they can go or what you can put in them, and many antique chairs are just that - chairs - and you can put them wherever someone needs to sit.
Okay, around our house, there are a few rules, because taking things upstairs means hauling them up a ladder into a loft. This morning, we're going to get a chestnut cupboard up the ladder (mercifully, it's two pieces), but if we don't post by Wednesday or Thursday, someone should probably come looking for us....