A few weeks ago, on one of my routine spins through the Salvation Army around the corner from our apartment, I spotted this cool 1950s sideboard in great condition with plenty of storage.


Immediately, I thought of my close friend Austin, who'd been on the
lookout for something to keep all the vintage silver, serving ware and
linens she collects. Her taste is cool and eclectic—a great mix of
modern and traditional, so this piece I knew would be perfect.
Luckily, she wasn't too far away at the time, so she hopped in a cab
and came right over. 


And as soon as she saw the piece, she loved everything about it! The modernist lines, the porcelain knobs, the sliding glass doors, not to mention every New Yorker's dream—the storage!  Even the wood tone too would be so great in the new apartment she shares with her boyfriend Manny up in Sugar Hill. All that bang for 100 bucks, plus 50 for delivery? SOLD. The next day, just as things were looking a bit too good to be true…


…this is how the glass arrived! Now the Salvation Army may be a place for great finds at next-to-nothing prices, but don't count on White Glove service! Oh, well. We both agreed the piece still had so much potential without having to do much to it. After all, this wasn't going to be a paint job, just propping and organizing. Even if we had to get new glass for it, we'd still come out ahead.


And that's exactly what we did. The old doors that were broken we took to Clinton Glass on 9th as a template for new ones to be cut and drilled. 60 bucks. Not too bad, right? Especially considering how great it looks in her apartment. 


Check it out! The new doors are in and the wood has all been conditioned with lemon oil. This piece really was in such great condition, and the wood itself is exquisite. Now as much as I love a coat of paint, we both agreed this piece was perfect as is. All it needed was a good prop job with all of Austin's stuff—the silver, china and linens she's been collecting for years but never had any place to put…until now.


First thing's first, though. The drawers were already lined with felt, so all it needed was a little light vacuuming. Austin, if you please. (Did I mention she moonlights as a hand model?) And with that…


Voilà! Salvation Army cheap turn china cabinet chic! Finally, Austin has a place, neat and tidy, to keep her growing collection of vintage serving ware. Notice how most of her pieces do tend toward the traditional but their casing is much more modern. The combination makes for a look that's interesting and eclectic, don't you think? I love classic things, as does Austin, but I always try to mix in modern elements just to keep it fresh. Speaking of, how fresh is all that white ironstone against the warm wood tone of the sideboard? Love too the white porcelain knobs! This piece is especially great to display china because there are already grooves notched into the surfaces to hold up platters. Even though the three on the bottom are not the same shape or size, grouping them together still forms a nice backdrop for everything on the buffet. The items behind the glass doors, like goblets, pitchers and casserole dishes, Austin uses everyday. Even the top too is a place to display collectibles, like pressed glass compotes, bowls and (my favorite!) cake pedestals


Here's a detail shot with the glass doors open. Love that milk glass shelf! And how pretty is Austin's decanter, together with her collection of antique pressed glass goblets, all mixed and matched? Each is a little bit different, but I think they definitely work well together. All those onsies you find at flea markets, lonely without a set to match, are sometimes the best finds of the day! Think collectionharmonious without being matchy.


Here's a peek into the cabinet below. Bowls and round plates on top; oval platters and casserole dishes on the bottom. Everything is stacked and accessible, which is going to make all those dinner parties she's going to have so much easier. Saturday at 8:00 works for me; how about you?


And what's a sophisticated dinner party without vintage silverware and linens? Here's a peak into the drawers and all that dreamy storage. Silverware goes on top with felt to keep it from tarnishing; pressed linens and oddities in the middle; and stacks of small plates and bowls on the bottom. Talk about dreamy.


Give me a box (or drawer full) of silver, and I want a closer look. Here, serving pieces on the left; utensils on the right. Soup spoons with soup spoons; dinner forks with dinner forks; knives with knives. You get it. Problem is (and I'm guilty too) we all forget to do it sometimes, but it really does make planning for and cleaning up after parties so much easier if you just take the time to organize.


Austin's sideboard is complete, her china, silver and linens tidy and organized, so I'd say it's time for a party, wouldn't you? Now that the dining table and chairs (good basics from West Elm and IKEA) are back in place, you can see how the two wood tones work together. I think they make for an eclectic and modern pairinga mix of vintage and new, harmonious without being matchy. And Austin, you'll notice, just got promoted from hand model to super model! Or should I say super hostess? (Taste her Meatballs and Sauce, a secret recipe from time spent in Italy and you'll agree!)


Finally, a close-up shot of a setting at Austin's dinner tablesimple and chic. And talk about eclectic pairings! The dinner plates and wine glasses are from IKEA, while the vintage monogrammed napkins and Paris porcelain salad and dessert plates are from the flea market here in town. The antique silverware Jaithan and I found for her birthday on a shopping trip down in Miami. And so, whether mixing furniture styles or silverware patterns, wood tones or glass shapes, keep it simple and the results might surprise (and delight!) even the most super of hostsYou. Oh and speaking of, what do you love to mix and match in your home?