Organizing and Displaying a Collection

When we think of the objects we find beautiful, the ones we collect and keep in our homes because of sentimental or monetary value, we rarely think of ways to display them effectively and attractively. Many of us have our collections hidden in cabinets, drawers or storage boxes, stacked and piled, sometimes neatly, sometimes not. We relegate these treasures to attics and basements, keeping them for posterity and perhaps the occasional turn of use when the mood strikes us. 

Dennis Landon’s collections, however, were gathered primarily for function. He is an avid cook and baker, sometimes offering cooking and baking lessons from his home kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin. His collections of bakeware and cookware are quite extensive, and they are very frequently put to use. When it became apparent that his vast collection of Bundt pans and cake molds could no longer be kept stacked on open metal shelving (there were a few noisy topples) he collaborated with his friend, Bernie Wong, to devise a system that would both corral and attractively display his treasured collection. Dennis and Bernie shared their photographs of the project and have allowed me to showcase the results on the blog. I hope you enjoy them!
The first task was to take inventory of everything that was going to be displayed on the shelves. Items were grouped together by size and style before a plan was developed. 

A corner of his basement was consigned for remodeling and they began the process of designing and building a new system of shelves that would beautifully display the collection while also keeping it close at hand.
Before beginning, the ceiling of this section of the basement had to be dry-walled and painted. Track lighting was also installed to better illuminate the shelves.

Each of the shelving units were designed, built and painted by Bernie and Dennis. As inspiration, Dennis suggested using the dimensions of the top portion of a Martha Stewart craft cabinet, once sold through Home Decorators, that he had purchased secondhand at a tag sale. The dimensions worked perfectly to house his collection.
Bernie made sketches of the shelves first, with all of the dimensions clearly listed. He and Dennis then set about building each of the shelving units; four in total. They were then painted Martha's signature "Bedford Gray" (along with the ceiling) before being secured to the walls. (Dennis had a small can of Martha's "Bedford Gray" paint and had it colour matched at his local paint store).
The Bundt pans and cake molds fit perfectly into the shelves and look so beautiful on display. One-inch dowels were used to keep the larger pans safely upright; some of them are quite heavy.
This glass cabinet was once on Dennis's kitchen counter top. To free up counter space, he decided to place it in the new shelves to display smaller collections of tart pans.
 Small tart tins, mini iron skillets and cookie cutters quickly filled this cabinet. (On the shelf below is a vintage aluminum gingerbread mold made in Wisconsin).
Included in the glass cabinet is some of Dennis's Martha by Mail collection.
The final results are so excellent! Bernie says the next project will be finding a storage solution for the madeleine pans, shown still resting on the floor.
With some of the leftover wood materials, Bernie came up with the perfect storage solution for Dennis's collection of French tart rings.
Dennis's cookbooks and cooking DVDs are also kept in this area. These were also organized by author. If you look closely, you will notice many of Martha's books and DVDs in his collection. 
Among the books is this is very rare collectible: Martha's "Entertaining 1985 Engagement Calendar."
I know Dennis is thrilled with the finished shelves. Now he can access his collection quickly and easily with everything on view. I hope you find these photos inspiring! I know I do! Maybe they'll help you come up with a way to display one of your own collections.


Anonymous said...

This is stunning! A work of art!

Roseana Auten said...

Wow, how fantastic! Martha would be proud!

Anne Van Acker / Saratoga Springs, NY said...

Love your blog! That collection of bakeware is phenomenal, and what a gorgeous way to display and organize it. Keep the great posts coming- they're very comforting in the crazy times we live in.


Anne Van Acker - thank you so much for saying so! I'm really glad you enjoy it.

Allison said...

OH MY GOODNESS! I am very, very behind on the blog! WELL DONE, Dennis and Bernie! I am envious of the collection and what a fantastic way to display it! Martha would definitely say it's a good thing!