How to Organize and Stylize Your Bookshelf

Bookshelves can become a cluttered mess if you aren’t careful of the things you place on them or where you place them. If you want the stylized look you see in the magazines follow our tips and we will have your home in the magazines soon too.
 
1. Less is More- Don’t place too many things on the shelf it will become cluttered.
 
2. Color Scheme- You cannot make sure all books are the same color, it simply doesn’t work like that. You can however color coordinate the accessories you use on the shelves. If you are using storage boxes and vases try to keep within the same color family.
 
3. Decorate the inside wall- use a printed pattern or wallpaper inside the shelf to bring more drama to the look of the wall.
 
4. Bold Colors- use a bold color to paint the shelf to stand out in the room.
 
5. Symmetry- if you two or more shelves next to each other try to make them look symmetrical.
 
6. Storage Bins- If you feel there is no way to organize the things on the shelf you can place all the items into a decorative storage bin and place that to fill the entire shelf space.
 
7. Loose Papers and Magazines- These items can be hard to store because they flimsy. Use a desk organizer typically used for binders in a office to store those items upright.
 
8. Layers- If you have deep shelves use these to create layers. Place taller items in the back and shorter items in the front.
 

Give Your Hutch a Makeover!

Hutches can be used to display your valuables and even as a place to safely store breakable items. However after some time, it may need a bit of a facelift. Here are some tips for giving your hutch some TLC.

    • First, remove all of the items in the hutch and wash down the walls and the shelves. Clean any glass in the display so that you can see into the hutch.
    • Look through the items that you took out of the hutch. Are there items that really belong somewhere else in the home? Make sure to put them back where they belong so as to use the space as effectively as possible.
    • If you have any decorative items in there, make sure you take a moment to consider where to put them, prominently displaying your favorite pieces. Using either a plate rail or a stand will help to display plates and mug trees can be used for decorative cups.
    • For the more fragile items, make sure to store them carefully. If you are stacking dishes, put either a coffee filter or a paper plate between each plate. To fit more stemware into your hutch, alternate upside down goblets with ones that are right side up. This will fit them in close together and closer to the shelf and helps to avoid scratches.
    • Any silver items should be polished before putting them back inside the hutch. There are bags and boxes that are lined with soft materials, so make sure to use those as they are made specifically for silver storage.
  • Make sure to wash any linen you may have stored, including any that haven’t been used in a while. Fold them neatly and store them either in drawers or in a box. Do not use the iron or any starch on them until they are ready for use. Starch can attract moths and if left for too long, can cause yellowing.

Following these steps will ensure that your hutch will look practically brand new. If you have any questions about hutches, please contact Carriage House Furnishings today.

What is a Pie Safe?

You may have heard of a pie safe, but they are not used quite as much by Englishers as they used to be since technology has advanced. A pie safe is an old piece of furniture that would be used to store pies to keep them safe from bugs, vermin, and maybe even the children. These were all handcrafted and they were all unique.
 
Pie Safes were designed to have a drawer or drawers on top then below cabinet doors. The doors typically would have punched tin panels. The holes punched into these panels would allow ventilation for all the baked goods inside the cabinet.
 
Pie safes also were used to store canned goods. These cabinets were used before the ice box was invented so they could be used to store all the goods that many now keep in the refrigerator.
 
Englishers may no longer be storing pies in pie safes but they can have many uses and are still a functional piece of furniture. Many people use them for storage in a dining space because they have a nice solid top that can be used to display many valuables in the dining room.
 
They also have the drawer and shelf space to provide storage for the extra linens and dining room service pieces. They can also provide the extra amount of charm you may be searching for to make your house feel like a home. Pie Safes can be used to store pies in but they may serve a greater purpose as conversation piece.
 
If you want to hide the pie from the kids, you’re more than welcome to use it for its original purpose.
 

 

Giving Your Home a Rustic Look

rustic decor

 

The rustic look is becoming more and more the preferred look for homes both old and new. Natural fibers and materials that complement each other but don’t necessarily match, as well as lots of stone and wood, are the accents being used, and old and hand-me-downs are treasured pieces. There are a few things you can do to achieve this look, and you will find putting your home together in the rustic style both fun and cost effective.

 

Mix and Match
 
Using styles of furniture that complement each other, choosing different colors, prints, and textures of fabrics gives a home a cozy and warm feel. There is not as much focus on matching in the rustic style. This makes shopping and decorating both interesting and enjoyable.
 
Used and Second Hand
 
Using hand-me-downs, family heirlooms, and second hand furniture is a great way to decorate in the rustic style. Woods, rattans, and other natural materials are the way to go. Thrift shops are wonderful places to shop and to get ideas.
 
Earth Tones
 
With the use of natural materials you will also want to go with colors that speak of nature. Reds, gold, oranges, and greens compliment and old wood table, or other wood pieces. Decorating with accents in these hues on the mantle of a stone fireplace gives warmth to a room. Don’t be afraid of using pastels or jewel tones on painted and distressed furniture or cabinets for interest. The point is to complement, not to match.
 
Appliances
 
Stainless steel may be trendy, but it doesn’t lend to that rustic feel. Older appliances are more casual and cozy, and tell a story of prior use, and perhaps even family. Of course you want pieces that work well, but stay away from anything that is sleek or formal.
 
The rustic look in a home is both welcoming and highly wearable. Guests will instantly feel at home, relaxed, and comfortable. You won’t be likely to worry as much about dirtying the sofa, or scratching a side table. With rustic, the more worn out it is the better.
 

 

Cleaning and Caring for your Amish Furniture

Amish furniture is particularly special in that it is made with superior craftsmanship, in the old style. So cleaning and caring for it should be your top priority once you bring it home. With the right care, it will last for eons, and can become treasured heirlooms that can be passed down from one generation to the next.

 

When you first get your furniture home, keep in mind that it is still curing, meaning you will want to let it be for a while. It has an adjustment period, and is affected by new environments. You will want to keep the humidity in your house in a range of 35%-45%. That way, the furniture will not crack or warp.

 

Keep sharp objects and harsh solvents away from the furniture. Sharp objects will scratch the surfaces, and harsh solvents can affect finishes. Also keep furniture away from places where abrupt temperature changes occur. Do not put it near furnace vents, radiators or heaters, fireplaces, and keep it out of direct sun. This will prevent the furniture from cracking.

To clean your Amish furniture you can use a solution of water and some mild soap. If you insist on using polish, stay away from polishes that contain wax and silicon, as this will cause a build-up which can make future refinishing difficult.

 

For upholstered pieces, spot clean the upholstery with a mild solvent or upholstery shampoo. If using a dry cleaning product, make sure it does not contain anything toxic, including carbon tetrachloride, and clean in a room that is well ventilated. You may also spot clean using the foam from mild detergent. Whatever you use read the instructions carefully and take care to protect yourself.

 

Your Amish furniture deserves your care and attention if you want it to stay beautiful for a long time. You don’t have to put in a lot of time, but regular cleaning and maintenance is a good idea. For table tops, use tablecloths or table pads to keep the finish in good shape. And if you must put a glass top on the table, be sure there is good air flow between the top of the table and the glass.

 

Amish furniture remains one of the most sought after styles of furniture, especially because of the care with which it is crafted. Using these simple tips, you can keep it in good shape for years to come.
 

 

The History of Amish Furniture

amish furniture

Amish furniture is created primarily by the Amish communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Made of 100% wood, without the use of any synthetic “wood” product; the style of Amish furniture is normally traditional in design.

 

Coming into its own, in the 1920’s; Amish furniture was discovered during the same time period as American folk art. Quickly becoming known for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship; Amish furniture pieces became highly valued by collectors and auction houses. There are many unique styles of Amish furniture design; the Jonestown School and the Soap Hollow School are two of the most popular and well-known styles in history.

 

Both the Jonestown School and the Soap Hollow School originated in Pennsylvania; Jonestown was started in a town called Lebanon, and the Soap Hollow, from a town of the same name. Widely known for painted blanket chests with colorful floral designs, the Jonestown School style of Amish furniture is on display at the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

 

The Soap Hollow style is also very distinctive. The pieces are often vividly painted in red, gold, and black. The style of Amish furniture many of us are familiar with today, can be credited to a man named Henry Lapp. Lapp was a furniture maker who lived in Lancaster County, Pa. It is Lapp’s designs that we think of when we think of Amish furniture within the last few decades. Prior to Henry Lapp, the germanic-style of Amish furniture making was most popular, with painted, floral designs. Lapp’s style abandoned that form of artistry for a more traditional and neutral style of wood furniture.

 

The very first order book Henry Lapp created for his furniture customers was done in watercolors and is now located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 1986, Sothebys sold a piece of American folk art styled furniture for over $200, 000. It was a clock made by Johannes Spitler in the early 1800’s. So you can see the value of a finely crafted handmade wood furniture item over time. Most will not sell at such extravagant prices but they will hold their value throughout generations of family history.

 

Two of the most well-known styles of Amish furniture today are called the Mission and Shaker styles. These two styles of Amish furniture share some similarities but have their own unique characteristics as well. The Mission style is known for its exposed joinery and straight lines. The Mission style of furniture is clean and modern. The Shaker style is known for its simple elegance and durability. For those who love more ornate designs, the Queen-Anne style is just what they’re seeking. Taking a total departure from both the Mission and the Shaker styles; the Queen-Anne is also very popular with a certain number of customers who desire a more lavish design.

 

Making Amish furniture is a skill that is passed down through generations; children often begin to learn the craft by helping out at home and in the furniture shops. Though there are categorized styles of Amish furniture; no piece of Amish furniture is identical to another. All are handcrafted with pride, which makes each piece unique.

All About The Amish Buggy

Amish Buggy

The horse-drawn buggy is one of the most iconic symbols of the Amish. They come in many styles and colors, which would reflect the different preferences of that particular community. However even though many think the popular choice was the black buggy, this actually isn’t true.

 

The Amish have different buggies that are very similar to different types of cars and trucks that the Englishers drive. The market wagon is very similar to a station wagon, which has a rear panel that shifts.

 

The spring wagon, also known as the cab wagon, is the equivalent of a pickup truck.

 

The buggies that have gray tops belong to the Amish, and the Old Order Mennonites had buggies that were all black. Other differences within the buggies can be found based on the level of conservatism of the different church district leaders. These differences include things such as windows, windows wipers, batter powered head, tail, and directional lights, and the choice between rubber and steel rim wheels.

 

There is one facet of modern civilization that has been thrust upon the Amish buggy. After many accidents at night due to the darkness and fast moving cars, the Amish have begun to add reflective tape to the back of the buggies. The less conservative groups will have battery powered lights put on them along with slow-moving vehicle triangles.

 

Some have not conceded to this implementation because it is too “loud” or fancy.” There was even a case that was taken to the Supreme Court in Harmony, Minnesota over a divided community. They ruled in the favor of those who had resisted their use.

10 Myths about the Amish

Amish Myths
 
There are many rumors about the Amish that are simply not true! Here is a list of ten for clarification:
 
The Amish have arranged marriages. Just like all other young adults, the Amish are allowed to go on dates, even if they don’t go to some of the places that others do.
 
The Amish don’t drink alcohol. This is not entirely true- there are some that do. We may prefer wine to chugging beers, but we do enjoy the occasional drink.
 
Amish people do not have to pay taxes. This is not true; we pay income tax, personal property tax, among others.
 
The Amish cannot use electricity. This is not true. While there isn’t the use of technology inside the home, if a man or woman has a job in the secular world then they are allowed to use it.
 
The Amish wont have anything to do with cars. We wont own a car or drive a car, but we may hire drivers in order to take us to the hospital or doctor.
 
Amish people do not eat junk food, just what we grow on our farm. This is also not true- we enjoy chips and soda pop just like anyone else.
 
We have an 8th grade education and are not smart. This is the opposite of true- we do not have sports or extra curricular activities with school so many evenings are spent reading. This includes the newspaper to keep up with current events.
 
We only use outhouses. While some communities do still use these, there are plenty who have indoor plumbing with toilets.
 
The Amish cannot travel outside of their community. We cannot travel by plane or cruise ship, but we will hire a driver or buy a bus ticket in order to travel.
 
We don’t use telephones. This is false. Some Amish have no phones, but some others have a phone booth in their church or community. Some also have cell phones for work related use.
 

Depending on the area, different people will follow different practices.

Making the Most of Your Dining Room space

dining room
 
Many people have a dining room in their house, but many times it gets used as a storage room or the place where all the boxes go after you don’t have another room to move them in. Take back your dining room and use some of these clever tips to bring life to the room.
 
Corner Extra Chairs- Most dining sets have more chairs than there is space for, usually because you table came with a extra leaf for when you decide to have that big thanksgiving dinner. Instead of hiding these chairs in the basement, corner them on an angle to provide functional lively space.
 
Functional Reading Space- Yes the dining room is for dining, but if you do not utilize this space often use one of the corners with an angled chair and add a lamp for a unique reading space.
 
Add storage- Many times dining rooms have china cabinets with drawers for extra things like napkins or table cloths. This will give the room more than one function.
 
Different Furniture- If you do not want your dining room to look like grandmas but you still want storage space, buy an unconventional cabinet that will give you all the space you need, like a old roll top desk or hutch.
 
Change the Drapes- Sometimes a space can get dark and dreary because of the window treatments. Make time to take a look around and find something that will let in light but will also go nicely in your space. They can really change the look of the room!
 
Art- Any art will brighten up the space but only certain art will take it to another place. Use art that continues from one wall to the next to make the space feel larger.
 

 

Birdhouses and Mailboxes

 
When you drive down the streets in your neighborhood you see all the plain mailboxes and then you arrive home and you also have a plain mailbox. You don’t want to fit in with the crowd, you want to be a trend setter and have the mailbox everyone else will want. People will want to ask you where you got your mailbox and you will be so proud to be the first and the most epic.
 
That is exactly how our mailboxes will make you feel. All of our mailboxes are given the care and attention to make them truly one of a kind and special. Our log cabin mailbox may be the perfect amount of rustic charm you want to give your suburban home, and make your yard stand out in a totally new way.

mailbox

If that is the way our mailboxes will make you feel, imagine what our birdhouses can do for you. They are all special in their own way and we like to believe they are all mini condos for birds. Our Large Dome Copper Topped Birdfeeder is one of our most luxurious.
 
The birdhouse is made with white vinyl to make it durable in the weather and to hold up to the use of multiple birds. You aren’t buying a birdhouse just because it will look nice in your yard. You are also buying their piece because you want birds to visit it and make your yard the place to be.

birdhouse

 

 

Jewelry & Silverware Chests

jewelry chests

Do you have jewelry or silverware at your home that is just laying around on dressers or buried drawers?  If that is the case, a jewelry chest may be the perfect solution for you. The jewelry chests that we have available are absolutely gorgeous and will make a great addition to any room in your home.

 

It is so important to take care of jewelry and silverware that you own.  It needs to be stored properly and carefully so that it lasts for years and the heirlooms can be passed on for generations to come.  When you are storing jewelry and silverware there are a few rules to abide by for the best and safest storage.

 

Pearls should be stored separately in a box or bag.  They are very delicate and can scratch very easily.  Gold and silver should not be stored together; this could cause the gold to tarnish.  Gemstones should not be stored near gold; the gemstones can actually scratch the gold.  Gemstones should not be stored with each other because they can also scratch each other.  Diamonds should be stored alone in separate pouches.  Diamonds are so hard that they can scratch each other.  All forms of jewelry and silverware should be stored far away from hairspray, perfumes and cleaning products.

 

With all of the above in mind, we have great solutions to meet and exceed your jewelry and silverware storage needs.  We offer jewelry chests, armories, dressing tables, silverware chests and more with plenty of storage room.

Wooden Toys for Children

wooden toys

Wooden toys have been around forever, and they will continue to be brought into every home where there are children.  There are several reasons as to why wooden toys continue to be purchased each year and are enjoyed by kids of all ages.

  • Wooden toys are practical, easy to clean and they will last through the roughest of play times.  You cannot compare the durability of a wooden toy to its plastic counterpart, it just wouldn’t be fair.
  • They involve your children.  Children must actually interact with the toy, there are no buttons where once you press it the toy takes over and sings its song or dances around the floor.  With wooden toys you have to pull, turn and move it yourself while you lie on the floor or sit in your seat.
  • They are much less dangerous.  There are so many less parts to be swallowed or cut with or broken off and chewed on.  Leaving you as the parent much more comfortable.
  • They last a lifetime.  We all know how it feels to buy a toy and two weeks later it is destroyed and your child is having a meltdown when you have to throw it away.  You are then forced to run to the store and spend another $19.99 on a replacement.  Wooden toys can last generations, there may need to be a quick tune up or repair but the value in the price is there.
  • There are so many wooden toy choices to choose from.  Some of them include: building blocks, board games, wooden trains, pull-alongs, horses, doll houses, puzzles, farms, towns, people and more.  The list of possibilities is almost endless.