Houses: Storage that goes far beyond utility

You might think of storage cabinets as utilitarian. But designers are always fascinated by how a simple wardrobe can be constructed, dressed and adorned in ways that showcase craftsmanship and inventiveness.

There are sleek, low consoles with jeweled handles. Chic deco style bar cabinets. Rustic credenzas carved in wood. And some pieces dressed in artistic flourishes, or that are even art themselves.

Far from being workhorses, these casegoods are dressage ponies, ready for their close-ups.

“These new cabinets are detailed in a way that isn’t just a rectangular box with straight metal legs. They have some interesting details. And people who design storage furniture these days think about those details, think what the legs and doors, etc. look like says San Francisco interior designer Jay Jeffers.

He also says that “the use of mixed materials is a trend – rattan, ebonized oak and grasscloth-covered furniture”.

Jeffers has designed a new collection of cabinets for Arteriors. The Cantu Oak Cabinet, one of his favorites, features fluted brass hardware and an arrow-like beveled outer edge. “I designed it to look like a work of art,” he says.

Jeffers is mindful of multifunctionality when designing a wardrobe: the Cantu piece, for example, has shelves that can be pulled out to store clothes. And he loves using it as a bar cabinet for entertaining.

Contemporary Italian furniture maker Poltrona Frau collaborated with Shanghai-based architecture and design firm Neri+Hu on the Mi cabinet series. “Mi” can mean “watch” and “secret” in Chinese, and the pieces play on the term by placing the contents behind an oblong leather outer shell, then placing the top marble shelf a few inches above the base, creating a peek-a-boo space.

Designer Lindye Galloway from Costa Mesa, California draws inspiration from her roots in the Golden State. Its Bixby hutch features the rounded silhouette of the arch of Big Sur’s Bixby Canyon Bridge, in natural teak trimmed in black. And its California credenza brings a modern coastal vibe to a teak-framed, rattan-fronted cabinet with brass accents.

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