The cabinets and cupboards have changed somewhat from the time when they were all handmade. When your grandmother was a young wife or even before she became one, cabinets were made to be more functional than decorative. That is not to say they did not add embellishments to break up the monotony however, the older the cabinet the less likely it was to be ornamental.
Some of the older cupboards from 75 to 100 years ago were the type that had the flour compartment to sift your flour when you were getting ready to bake. On most of these it was behind a smaller door on the either the left or right hand side of the cabinet. The other side had shelves.
A counter of sorts underneath the top shelves, for rolling out your flour to make biscuits or whatever you were making, and a couple of doors underneath or a door on one side and drawers on the other. This was for storing your pots and baking pans. Silverware and cooking utensils could be kept in the drawers. These types of cabinets were also called Hoosier cabinets.
Have times changed? Today the only reason someone would want a cupboard like this would be either for the value or the aesthetics it would provide. Or it could have belonged to a grandmother and you would like to have it to keep for sentimental value.
The cabinets that are today called armoires were called just plain clothes closets not too many years ago. The main reason for the cabinets was at that time not many houses were built with closets. This was not really recognized as a popular addition to homes until later. So hence, the clothes closet was born.
If you stop and think about it, the wide array of items that we cherish today were built out of necessity not so many years ago. Our ancestors never dreamed that the items they used in their everyday existence would become collector’s items.
Do you remember when medicine cabinets actually were cabinets? Not just a hole in the wall with shelves and a cheap piece of glass, but actually real cabinets with shelves and a door. Some of these are still in existence and hopefully the idea will catch on again. So many of the cabinets and cupboards that existed in the past years have changed. They call the change progress but it may not be as much progress as we would like to think.
The cabinets today are mostly the built-in variety. Everything is supposed to be compact and neat. When the look is completed especially in your kitchen everything blends in and your refrigerator can even look like part of the cabinetry.
When you look at the cabinets and cupboards that you see for sale, remember they did not always look like they way they do today and they were not always called armoires, buffets, and credenzas. Once they were known as clothes closets and sideboards.