Custom Cabinets for Antique Sheet Music

Custom storage and display for antiques

“Getting my husband’s entropy under control,” is Kathryn’s reason for commissioning a custom cabinet to display and store her husband’s acquisition of antique sheet music from the Metropolitan Opera Collection. Joking aside, doesn’t a unique collection deserve an equally unique housing? “He bought these and called to inform me this sheet music was coming. There are all sorts of old signed programs and letters to friends and colleagues from conductors. All I could see was them getting thrown in a corner and crushed or carried off by our cats.”

Custom lamination

How do we properly store the sheet music and create a flexible system to display them? Those were the big questions when designing what would ultimately become the cabinet for the sheet music. Kathryn notes, “I knew exactly what it was I wanted long term. I had seen a very simple frame for kids’ artwork. You basically open them up and store them behind and change them out from the outside.”

Consulting on custom framing and furniture finish options

Designing the Custom Cabinet

Jessica, the project coordinator at Armand Lee, described the process of refining Kathryn’s idea into a series of elegantly designed floating cabinets. “She came to us with an idea to protect and display their collection. She wanted a case that could display multiples, while internally housing the entire collection. I came up with the design to make a furniture cabinet and incorporate her initial idea of a multi-windowed frame as the door panel. I worked in tandem with our furniture artisan to come up with the best design with structural integrity and a complementary design aesthetic per her specifications.”

Custom cabinet design

There were many small design elements that added to the cabinet’s overall utility of storing and protecting the collection. Jessica realized the idea of vacuum sealing the sheet music into laminate pockets as well as inserting felt pads in the bottom of the internal storage boxes for extra protection. Kathryn needed easy access to open and swap out the sheet music, so she requested that the doors swing downward. She recalls the special hardware we sourced for the doors, “Jessica suggested that we should make it so the door stops and holds its weight so that you can safely change out the sheets.”

Custom hardware and custom gloss finish

“Jessica and Jill were great.” Jill, from our partner frame shop, recommended Kathryn to work with our artisans. “Jill has a really good eye for what I like.”

Jill’s eye for color in framing paid off during the finish selection. Particularly stunning is the custom cabinet’s high gloss black lacquer. The gloss, meant to mimic the finish of her husband’s grand piano and match their Art Deco themed room, gives dimension to what would otherwise be a basic black finish. On the process of achieving that finish, the project’s craftsman said, “This finish is actually called a ‘piano finish.’ It’s not super shiny. There’s just a fine satin layer using black primer and gloss on top.”

Custom lacquer finishes

“The materials were beautiful and everything was done exactly as it was supposed to look like.” The cabinets accomplished exactly what was hoped of them, storing up to 130 individually sealed pieces of sheet music while also beautifully displaying and allowing for the rotation of them.

Being an orchestra conductor, Kathryn’s husband values everything related to his field. The four cabinets are wall-mounted in different areas of their home complimenting their piano and the existing collection of framed concert posters from his performances. “He very much likes this connection to the music and the people who create the music he loves so much.”

Custom lacquered storage for antiques