I’ve always loved big old Victorian houses with creaky floors and crooked doors. When we were first married and talking about buying a home, I suggested my grandparents home, which was a three story home with grand pocket doors and ornate woodwork. He said NO.
I am drawn to vintage items with lots of wear and tear. In fact, the rustier, more dented and distressed, (except on my piano) the better. Then one day, while perusing Pinterest, I discovered that style had a name. “Shabby Chic”, popularized by designer, Rachel Ashwell. Instantly in love, I spent the next several years updating our decor to incorporate antiques and items with chippy layered painted, repurposing old doors and thrift store finds, and sanding woodwork to give it a natural distressed feel. Turns out others like it too as the phenomenon has entered all of the coolest home stores across America. Most of those items are manufacturers, though, and most of mine are true vintage.
For a look at previous shabby, chalk painted project, see Restoration through Craigslist
The picture below is the set of closet doors in our Master Bedroom that I finished this fall (ideas from Pinterest). You’ll notice the distressed shiplap wall behind the door – inspired by Joanna Gaines, it gives our bedroom a nice old cottage feel to it – comfortable and lived in, just like me. Our bedroom update was done just this past summer, and I truly love how peaceful it feels now. The doors were a Craigslist find a few years ago, and I knew what I’d do with them evenually – they needed stained and painted with several layers of paint, then polished with dark furniture polish to give them an “aged” appearance. I love the way they turned out. (Incidentally, the dresser beside the doors is also a Craigslist fine – a set of two that I “reburbished” and aged this past summer – I also love the way they turned out..
Below are some of the antique and distressed items I’ve collected, many of them on Craigslist, some in resale and antique shops, and some from my own family. Everyone has an old “explosives” box, right? And a finger-joint music box? The scrolled corner shelf and mirror were from my grandfathers house. The tea cups were moms, and their display stand came from my favorite resale shop in Greensburg, PA. The loveseat (adorned with my dog below) was a Craigslist find that was originally an olive green and maroon brocade. Rather than reupholstering (which seemed daunting), I dyed it brown, which turned the shades of olive and maroon into various shades of brown. I love the way it turned out.
In my laundry room hangs an antique ironing board. When it was given to me, it was covered in tattered fabric which I removed. Upon removing the fabric, I discovered the wonderful burn mark deep into the wood! It was glorious, and I made up a story in my head that accompanied the burn! I knew instantly I’d have to make something special with it to hang in my laundry room! Because I’m good at spilling food on my clothes, I settled in the on the saying I painted:
The shelf below I made for my sons room when he was a baby. One of his baby blankets used to hang from it. I’ve repurposed it in our bedroom and set the wooden advice board on it, along with the fleur de lis set I found at an antique shop in West Virginia and the jade glass vases I found at Goodwill.
For me, this shabby chic style was “love at first sight”, I believe mostly because I connected with it. This style hollers,
which describes me to a T. It shouts, “fix me up!” and “make me new”, and that’s just what God did with me. Oh, I’m far from perfect, like the items in my house, but my dents and scratches, bruises and scars give me character (at least I like to think so). But like the items in my house that each have a story to tell, I can share my mistakes and bumps and bruises with others to encourage them or help them along their way.
Shabby but happy, be blessed today, my friends!