Yep; it's fun to have an antique kitchen. I'm really enjoying the challenge of thinking through what I can do to look retro without compromising modern conveniences. As I was noodling the pots and pans issue, I was remembering those wooden ladders that people use as pot racks in some rustic kitchens, hence my above question. I totally take Andy's point, so I'm thinking of putting my pots/pans in lower (closed) cabinets, but I'm now conceiving of mounting the ladder on the ceiling to hang drying herbs from it. I think it will be both practical and evoke the old world charm.
Meanwhile, I'm planning out my upper cabinets. We had to replace every window in the farmhouse for energy reasons, and I now have about 60 window sashes that are each about 29" X 28". I have 9 spots where these could be mounted to fixed shelves to form DEEP doors that would let me see what's there, but keep them a bit shielded from the dirt of the kitchen. This is now my plan for the kitchen... I think!
If you want to see what I'm dealing with here in pictures, you can go here: The Clanstead | Renovating, Homesteading, and Decorating