This Plate Display Idea Gives Gwyneth Paltrow’s Kitchen a Run for Its Money

published May 26, 2023
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corner of room with undersea themed wallpaper, aqua colored bar cabinet full of glasses,liquor bottles, etc on top

If you’re lucky enough to live in an old home with structural exposed beams — or you’ve remodeled to add faux ones — there’s no denying how much visual interest this architectural feature can create in a room. However, bare beams can be a little, well, bare, and if that’s a little too bland for your taste, then I invite you to do as Evelyne Klerx did and pull a Gwyneth Paltrow with your favorite vintage china in this very spot in your house. 

Klerx lives in a 969-square-foot barn on a farm in The Netherlands with her husband, Matthijs, and their two sons. The property that Klerx and her husband purchased came with a main farmhouse, but they sold it to Matthijs’ parents and decided to convert the barn into a single-family home for themselves instead. So far, the couple has spent four years renovating the barn. While it’s still a work in progress, spaces like the kitchen and living room are already finished and turned out beautifully. 

“We love to renovate, and as my husband is a carpenter he is very handy and can do everything himself,” Klerx says in her house tour. In regard to the design choices inside their home, the overall style is a compromise between Klerx’s love for color and sourcing secondhand mixed with her husband’s more modern-leaning aesthetic. “Most of the things in our house have been made by Matthijs, [and] the rest is from thrift stores,” she says. “It gives our home a very unique, individual feel.” 

One item that Klerx makes a beeline for while thrifting is traditional blue-and-white vintage plates, which she’s been collecting for years. And instead of displaying her plates in a traditional china cabinet or with a full-wall plate rack setup à la Gwyneth P., she mounted them right onto her ceiling beams in her open-plan dining-kitchen area. 

“I love to thrift and find something that excites me,” Klerx says. Vintage plates fit this bill for her, and I love that she’s found a way to add a highly personal touch to her home in this unexpected spot without spending a fortune on something trendy. If you have wooden beams on your ceiling or you’ve considered installing a few faux ones, you may also want to consider decorating them versus just leaving them bare. 

Vintage plates work really well for Klerx because they have flat backs that lie relatively flush to the beams. Plus, they’re light enough to comfortably have hanging over your head (as long as you don’t live in an earthquake-prone area). You might argue that drilling into the beams isn’t the best idea for older materials, but if you tire of displaying your collected plates in this unconventional spot, you can either fill or patch those holes or just live with the extra character they bring to the beams’ surfaces. 

When asked about what inspires her design choices, Klerx finds it hard to choose just one source. “There’s no one, single element that inspires our home’s design,” she says. “Inspiration comes from everything around you.” Seeing her plate collection languishing in a cabinet might have been just the spark she needed to come up with this striking idea. If beams draw your eye up naturally, now there’s even more to look at overhead.