Oh, the linen press! I recently saw a built-in linen press in a magazine photo (see post here) and was just in awe. You mean, some people have this awesome area for perfectly storing their sheets, blankets, tablecloths, washcloths and other linens? Their linens are probably even LINEN!
Traditionally, linen presses were stand-alone cabinets, usually of woods such as oak, walnut, or mahogany, and designed for storing sheets, table napkins, clothing, and other textiles. They were made chiefly in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Early versions were often quite plain, with some exhibiting carving characteristic of Jacobean designs. Examples made during the 18th and 19th centuries often featured expensive veneers and intricate inlays, and were designed to occupy prominent places in early bedrooms as storage closets for clothing. If you have an older home, you might know that older houses didn't have closets in the traditional sense! Our first home in Lafayette Square, built in 1890, didn't have a closet in the master bedroom, so we had to build one in the sitting room attached to the master suite.
Sometimes, a linen press is often a built-in cabinet near bedroom or bathroom, for easy access to fresh bed sheets and towels. So - this would be quite different from my dumpy closet which has flat removable boards for shelving? Uh-huh.
Easy to see why this is a very useful feature in a home, either as a stand-alone piece of furniture or as a built-in. I prefer the built-in variety because it just looks so functional!