Thursday, April 12, 2012

Timeless Tole Trays?


I used to have a large collection of tole trays. Over the years though, I've narrowed the collection down to just a few that I can't part with.

Most of them are in the laundry room because I'm ambivalent about them these days.
Although I can't part with them, I'm still not willing to display them everywhere like I did years ago.

The laundry room seems like a logical place for them.
It still has that French Country/Shabby Chic vibe that I was all about when we first bought the house.

So when I saw this beauty at the flea market recently, I was tempted.
But passed it up. Ten years ago, I would have bought it!

There is a dealer at the Hillsborough Antique Show who specializes in tole trays.
It used to be one of my favorite booths, but these days, I walk on by.
Still, they take my breath away. Especially the black trays.

I love red tole trays too. But they were always a little harder to find.

A wall of random colored trays is an example of how tole trays can be really good, or really bad.
The soft green trays are gorgeous.

I still like a grouping of tole trays on a wall, or just one standing alone as an accent.

So my question is, are tole trays too grandma?
Or are they timeless?

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45 comments:

Lori E said...

I am a tole painter so I love these and recognize several of the patterns used.
The ones with the black backgrounds always look the best to me too.
Too Grandma? Nah. Just set one near your crocheted doily, your travel spoon collection and your kitty cat ornaments...not that there is anything wrong with any of those things.

Anita said...

I just recently became interested in them, and ironically, the two I have came from my grandmother. I don't really think they are "grandmotherly" though. Depending on how they are displayed, I'm sure they can go either way, lol!

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

I definitely share your passion for them! I don't have as many as you do though, BUT I have an antique tea cart with it's original tray AND it's painted in this design. Very ornate. I have seen people get tea carts and remove the original paintings on them AND PAINT THEM "WHITE"! UGH!!! NO,NO,NO it's NEVER out of style, and I think that's what I LOVE most about them!
Hugs to you,
Donna

Kim said...

My heart skips a beat every time I see one, but I agree, they can be dating. I'm not willing to part with the ones that I truly love, so I keep them in a safe place on the Island of Misfit Decor. LOL! I've seen them in homes that I adore, scattered in with some more contemporary decor and it works! So I say they are timeless!
Thanks for a great post Delores!

xoxo,
Kim

PURA VIDA said...

Hi sweets...love your post and I think I could find some of those trays at Tex Kopke's flea market this very weekend! Just wanted to let you know I wrote about you in my post today and put in a link. You inspire me and I am a dreadful copier of your work...I had to laugh at my table(s)I need much practice!

Michelle said...

I'd have to agree with the lady who commented that if you paired it up with a doiley and a kitty kat...then it reminds me of grandma. But otherwise, I absolutely love large cabbage roses. I'd like to have one of these in red or black...very pretty!

Terri ~the dressed up cottage said...

I love them, and I think like all things of beauty, they are timeless. It all depends on what the rest of your house looks like. If you manage to spruce things up with some current looks as well, then I don't believe these would ever be 'dated'. We should always be surrounded with the things we love, that make us happy.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

I don't think I would want a whole wall of them but they are beautiful accents. My favorite are the black ones. My vote goes for timeless.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

I have always loved the colors of the tole trays..I use them throughout my home...I particularly use them in areas where I get lots of sun..where artwork may tend to fade...Love them in my laundry room...they add such great pops of color....

Beautiful trays!!..I so feel they are classic...

Designs By Pinky said...

In the right home, like YOURS, they are beautiful and to me, timeless. XO, Pinky

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Flea Market Makeovers said...

I use to have several displayed in my home too. Today, I am taking my last three red ones to my booth to sell. It is hard to part with them, but I had to be honest with myself and knew I would not display them anymore.

I do think they are timeless, but my style has changed.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

I love your tole trays and I too think they are timeless when displayed accordingly. I had a tole tray which belonged to my mother and chose to line it with aluminum foil and use it because it was just the right size. I sent it loaded with chicken nuggets to a party with one of my kids. Unfortunately, the mom placed it in a warm oven and it ruined it! I had no idea that the design was so sensitive to heat or I would not have used it!

Willow said...

WOW. My Mom had one tray when I was growing up. They are all so beautiful. I think I may look for one for myself. Love the first one you posted.

Kathysue said...

In black, Timeless!! I love them. Maybe not a whole wall, but I think they are a wonderful backdrop and a pop of color in a room. Even if you don't display them all, don't get rid of them. You know what goes around comes back around again!! xo

Desires of the Heart said...

I just love them and have a few, though just one or two that are really in pristine shape. I have most of them on a shelf in our screened in porch and a couple in the kitchen. Just recently purchased a beautiful green one from Penny and I just love it!! I guess, I feel also that is the way they are displayed and maybe have more impact when displayed alone with a few other types of acessories. The beauty of the art if timeless I feel, and the black ones are my very favorite. Linda

Sarah said...

I think they are timeless, especially the black ones. I had a small grouping of black ones, but my husband didn't share my enthusiasm for them. ;-(
A few years ago I gave them to a young friend who wanted to start a collection for her wall. Made me happy that a young girl was interested in this beautiful art form, so I was thrilled to help her get started with a group of her own.
One of the most stunning wall displays I've ever seen was a collection of exquisite black tole trays arranged above a fabulous black Chinoiserie bombay chest. I pull up that vision every time I see a tole tray. LOL ~ Sarah

Tartan Terrace said...

I think that they look beautiful in your laundry room against that gorgeous Pierre Deux-inspired wallpaper. My vote is to keep them and enjoy them.

suzieQ said...

A good friend gave me a large red one when she was cleaning out her home and I treasure it. I have a few more black ones that I have picked up here and there and a huge blue one that I found at a junk sale. I keep them because they are useful and I love them. Whether they are in fashion doesn't influence what I have in my home.
Fashions do come and go and I can remember that I would have hated them when I first set up housekeeping the in mid 1970's.

gme said...

Oh now you are starting to hurt my feelings! I never think of my beautiful collection of tole trays as grandmaish.... I love them! I have my black ones as a large display on my dining room wall. My red and green ones are displayed on a bakers rack. I will never part with them and still get excited when I find a design or style I don't already have.

vignette design said...

Oh, I hope I didn't hurt your feelings, gme. I love my trays too. My friend Jane has 5 or 6 black ones above her fireplace that just take my breath away. They are all exquisite tole trays. I have my favorite one still displayed in the family room shelf (last picture) and I know I can never part with them too. I only showed a few of my favorites, but I do have more. They are treasures for sure. I would love to see photos of your displays. Please? ~Delores

Toni said...

How can anything so beautiful be "Grandmaish"? :o If old, with detail, beauty and character PLUS function is "grandmaish" than my whole house is in trouble. If you love it....who cares!! They are beautiful and so are a couple of mine! Grandma's rule!

Sheila Irwin said...

I feel like gme.... wow, never thought of my trays (of which I have 4 on my family room wall amidst french country style oil paintings of sheep and cows) as "grandma-ish"! I think they are beautiful, but for me, the pastel ones are the ones that can go a little "grandma". The red, and especially the black, are beautiful. There is an absolutely stunning French Country store near where I live, she has amazing taste and gets beautiful items from France all the time. She has a few scattered in the store, in fact, she only recently added them so I was almost feeling like they might be "coming back." True, they are not as hot as they were about 10 years ago, but I think having a few around is indeed, timeless (remember your Sister Parish quote~!). Though now I may have to split up my wall and scatter them more..... food for thought!

Salmagundi said...

I don't know, but I'm a grandma with tole trays!! I've narrowed my collection down to my three favorites. Like you, my heart still skips a beat when I walk by them when out and about. Sally

Table Escapes said...

Hi Delores,
It's so interesting you would bring this up...I have just made the decision to not display any of my tole trays at our cabin...believe it or not it was a HARD decision because I love them...and my cabin isn't so perfect either. I guess that for me...the trays are large and to justify that much real estate...they just aren't that special...I will probably let my daughter sell them on eBay. I do so love those cabbage roses and the way their petals are sumptuously painted...
Am I a tole snob??

Love all of your work!!! Sharon

Table Escapes said...

Ha...I stand corrected, I just walked downstairs and saw the huge tole tray on my coffee table in my front room!! I definitely could never give that one up!!

Maureen said...

I would not think of tole trays as 'grandm-ish'. I think you need to be a certain collector to have more than one! I have one (black) on my rather large kitchen wall near the closet and whenever I see it, I smile. One is enough for me, two would be too many! I have other collections that maybe some would say is too much!

Deb said...

Timeless...

Budget Design Girl said...

I think that they are timeless. Especially in black. I can understand wanting to use them more sparingly these days in your decor though. I think we have gotten away from the overabundance of florals in our design, but I do think that they can look very beautiful when thoughtfully placed. Not too grandma, I say!
xo-Lisa

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

I have a little collection of tole trays (not surprised, are you?). I am always attracted to them, so it never matters to me if others might think they are grandmotherly. (That may just be because I am a grandmother though!). I am also VERY attracted to that French Provencial wallpaper in your laundry room. Love it! laurie

Rooms by Ann said...

Tole trays are timeless and beautiful even if they date you. Thanks for sharing.

SALLY said...

I have several, but only old ones. The new ones seem grandma--ish. But then I rarely like anything that's brand new..

Doug Shomette said...

To me they are just gorgeous - not grandmotherly. However, if you ever feel they are too grandmotherly you could sell them to those of us who admire yours. :)

Marigene said...

Timeless! I would love to find one that I really loved...

Heather said...

I agree with most people commenting that if they are displayed properly, tole trays are timeless.

Macy's Mom said...

Timeless! I believe as accents they are fabulous. The homes I find most beautiful and comfortable are those with an eclectic style. The old makes the home feel warm while the new makes it feel fresh! I'm a mother of 2 year old twins and a seven year old. I'm far from being a grandma and I love my tole trays! :)

venba said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!



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classic • casual • home said...

I love them still...although I only have one. My friend mixes her collection in her beach cottage with lots of white linen, bamboo and citrusy colors...looks fresh.

Victoria said...

I love the black ones hand-painted with flowers. I have a small 7" oval one I bought at a show in the Hamptons many years ago. I love it. There is a fine line between beautiful and granny...I don't know where that line is, but I'll take a black one with well-painted flowers any day.
Best...Victoria

Linda said...

The trays are gorgeous. Who wouldn't want one? I don't own any, however maybe I should venture out to find one. I say timeless.

AntiqueChase said...

I have an enormous collection in..... wait for it..... the closet. I collected two colors back about 15 years ago. I have cream trays and soft sage trays. Had them all over the house. Paid a small fortune for the BIG ones... and then over the last 4 years my taste changed. I sold off the trays that were not my favorites or well done. Kept all the BIG trays and unique shapes but sadly they are in the closet. I don't think they will make a huge comeback at my house but I can't part with all of them {yet}

Shelia said...

I love your trays and I certainly don't think they're too grandma. Well, I'm a grandma, but I know what you mean! :) I only have three! :)
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

rindy said...

Do you know the name of your white rose bush that you posted. I have one like this and would like to find some more. Mine blooms continuously and is very disease resistant. It was already here when we moved in. I enjoy your blog!

Babs said...

If tole trays are "grandma" then call me "granny". I'd love to say I have a collection, but I only have two...which I love. The photos of the antique dealer's booth took my breath away. Great post.
~Babs

Sue said...

The more blogs I read the more I know my house is getting dated ~ tole trays, yellow walls, cabbage rose drapes and toile fabric. But, I still love it and I can't get excited about some of the new trends. In fact I am trying to redecorate my kitchen/family room and have been searching high and low on the web for some inspiration and no luck so far.

I only have a few black trays and I do love them so I guess grandma I am ~ lol ~

Thanks for a thought provoking post and pictures of a fabulous booth. Maybe if no one likes the tole trays any more they will be really cheap? Something to look forward too!

Eric said...

Hello, I was wondering if you would look at a vintage tole tray I have. cannot find one like it anywhere on the internet. it is a depiction of a newsroom on the front, and stamped "Tole, Pilgrim Art No. 207" on the back. when I look this up, it is a different design. Can I send you a picture of it and try to help solve this mystery?? many thanks, Eric

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