If I ask you what was the most important room in your house, what would you say? If you answered the kitchen you’re not alone. In a recent poll, visitors to houzz voted the kitchen most important at a rate of 2 to 1. The kitchen was also named one of the two most important rooms when selling a house by trulia.
I remember as I was growing up the kitchen was the center of activity. It wasn’t just where we ate our meals, everything revolved around the kitchen table. There was always hot coffee on the stove, and everyone that visited had to have a cup. My Dad loved his coffee.
So, with all the interest this room gathers, it is not surprising that the kitchens today are becoming increasingly cozy. Be it Rustic Farmhouse, Cottage Chic, French Country, or Tuscany there are things that blend well with any style. Vintage or antiques. While choosing the appearance that fits your cup of tea is vital. So is picking the best accessories to decorate your dream kitchen.
Sure vintage style odds and ends are flooding the market. Cheaply made to give that certain look. But why pay top dollar for something that just looks old? With a little knowledge collecting true vintage is really quite easy.
Choosing the Right Pieces for a Rustic Farmhouse Look
Vintage accessories are perfect decorations for a farmhouse style kitchen. With their open shelves easily displaying your collections. Choose Stoneware Crocks, a Wash Basin Pitcher or a galvanized bucket flower vase. Vintage adds a nostalgic flair to your room. Remembering rustic weathered accessories add to the charm.
Pottery always played a large roll in rural farming communities.
Prior to indoor plumbing every home had a dry sink and water pitcher, used to clean up when coming in from the fields. Heavy Crocks had many uses around the farmhouse kitchen. Food storage, fermenting sauerkraut and pickles, and as a container to churn butter.
During the 19th and early 20th century, there were many US companies which produced exceptional pottery. Most of which have now closed their doors. Generally marked with a hallmark, pottery is fairly easy to research on the internet.
By far the most collected is McCoy. Founded in 1848 by J W McCoy the company span nearly 1-1/2 centuries of business. Managed by 3 generations until shortly before they closed the doors in late 1990.
For more information on the McCoy line as well as hallmarks and dates the McCoy Pottery Collectors’ Society is a good place to look.
Crocks and How to Spot Reproductions
Today crocks make wonderful decorations for a rustic farmhouse kitchen and are still as useful as ever. I remember my mother searching for one when she decided to make 7-day pickles.
Pennsylvania crock makers were the first to introduce Cobalt Blue decorations in the early 1800’s. Primitive patterns and figures hand painted on the pottery prior to glazing. Valued from a couple hundred dollars up to several thousand, according to their size, condition, and the cobalt blue design.
As with anything collectible, especially in the price ranges of antique stoneware, there is a large market of reproductions or flat-out fakes. Identifying before purchasing is a must. When shopping for an antique crock this is what to look for.
- Look for striations or bands. Handmade crocks will show these marks.
- The use of salt glazing. The pottery should have a light gray shiny glass-like finish with random bumps. Adding salt to the kiln near the end of the firing process creates a glossy orange peel finish.
- Hand-painted artwork or decorations. Stamping or printing never appeared on Antique Crocks. Also, the artwork should be below the glazing. Never added after the firing process.
- Pay close attention to any crock with advertisements. Again, the advertisement should be below the glaze. Not a decal added after firing.
- Etched letters, numbers, and hallmarks. Stamped labels are a dead give away of later production.
- Look for signs of use and crazing. Originally bought for use an antique crock will show its age.
As time goes by a well-preserved crock will only increase in value. So not only could a nice antique decorate your farmhouse kitchen, it could also be a nice investment.
Vintage Kitchen Tools
Old vintage tools used to prepare meals are another way to add nostalgia. A time where home-made biscuits graced on every table.
There was an array of these utensils in the earlier homes, from wooden spoons and rolling pins to food scales and coffee mills. These along with hanging pots and pans to give easy access during meal time.
Usually found at flea markets or antique stores these items are generally inexpensive, adding a lot of charm for their cost. There was always a coffee percolator sitting on the stove in the house where I grew up. Usually with hot coffee ready to drink.
Dried food storage, often displayed close to the utensils used to prepare the meal. Mason jars of dried beans, rice or coffee beans lining the shelves in these rural homes..Both Mason and Ball Brothers still produce these jars today. Even the coveted blue jars are available online.
Farmhouse Kitchen Art
The artwork in the traditional farmhouse kitchen was mostly everyday usable objects. Wicker baskets, flower pots fashioned from tins which food had come in, or items such as bread boxes with farm animal prints. Basically re-purposed items.
Rural families were tied to the land and little went to waste. One of my Aunts had a gallon glass jar pickles had come in, which she filled with water and leftover egg shells. This was used once a week to fertilize the flowers she grew. Used coffee grounds were saved for the same purpose.
The one thing that always seemed to be in farmhouse kitchen themes were farm animals.Be it chickens, pigs or cows it seemed every kitchen used them. Of course, the rooster and hen being the most prevalent. They were painted onto various things such as crocks and bread boxes. Used for decorations on plate settings. Even some dish towels were decorated with roosters. Often a grouping of rooster and hen figurines were used to decorate the kitchen table. Whatnot, as they were called in western North Carolina where I grew up.
There are hundreds if not thousands of vintage figurines on the market. From companies such as Gorham, Lenox, and Royal Doulton to name a few. These manufacturers took great pride in marking their productions and Antique China Porcelain Collectibles has an excellent database of these marks.
A Quick Check to Spot Vintage figurines
Another quick check when looking at a vintage rooster or hen figurine is to pay attention to their feet. Vintage pieces from the 1950’s and before will have feet formed into the cast. The feet will rise above the cast. You should be able to feel the toes of each foot. A newer piece will have the feet painted on.
Trying to depend on dirt or worn color to identify a vintage or antique figurine can get you into trouble. Some antique pieces can be very valuable, no matter what condition the piece is in. That said and as I have mentioned before. With anything collectible, your going to find fakes and reproductions.
If you enjoyed my notes on Choosing Vintage for your Country Farmhouse Kitchen you might like Collecting Valuable Vintage Cameos as well. I hope this information helps you pull things together in your farmhouse kitchen and I hope you enjoy your new kitchen as well.