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May: the great juxtaposition – shabby and chic!

Welcome back diners,

Well, I am not entirely sure what happened to April’s second blog, a stirring discourse on egg cups; perhaps it will randomly pop-into someone’s inbox one day and inspire a great new collection! As for May, we are back at it with an exploration into one of my favorite decor styles: shabby-chic.

Like rust and roses, vintage and modern, or farm and mid-century: I love the contrast of each of these décor styles.  I thought it would be fun to take a look at the shabby-chic style – that wonderful mix of shabby –a whole bunch of disparate items like chippy furniture, old wicker, vintage pillows and linens– that creates a somehow pulled together chic look, often with a light and airy feel along with a few glam pieces. Long before Rachel Ashwell made shabby-chic a trendy décor style, it was a simple style of pairing together a variety of items.   And, before it had a name, I knew it simply as great-grandma’s house.   Full of pink wicker furniture, pillows, floral patterns, collections & knick-knacks, flowers, quilts, glass lamps, doilies, runners, and table toppers, and don’t forget those all-important, requisite shabby-chic colors: pink, light green, baby-blue, and white – lots of white.

When my oldest daughter got her apartment during her college years and officially moved out, I turned her childhood bedroom into a guest room al-a shabby-chic style.  It definitely has a very girly feel, which also seems like a natural for shabby-chic.   We had these cute little Juliet balcony’s added to both of the bedrooms several years ago – one of my favorite features of our renovation.

Let’s see how well I did with the shabby-chic style against my own shabby-chic check list-

Wicker furniture: check!  A shabby essential! These are a few pieces that have been around for quite a few years.  Before they were part of my collection, they were a part of my mom’s collection who also has a love of vintage wicker. 

I found this delightful baby-scale several years ago – it is perfect for this room, it now serves as a magazine holder.

Chippy furniture: missed this one a bit, however this cute low-boy dresser did come from my great grand-mothers house.  I stripped it when I was in high-school and can personally attest to the many layers of the requisite shabby colors.

I love the curved front and scroll-work at the bottom. Lots of paint stripper went into this project! Even the brass drawer pulls were painted.

Cozy bed: looks cozy, and the cut-work or battenberg lace dust-ruffle is another important shabby element. The quilt was one of many made by my grandmother, it includes a variety of vintage linens (doilies, hankies, etc.). 

Another shabby-element: a mix of florals. The head-board was an antique mission style, which i covered in this cute floral sheet.

Collections and knick-knacks: hmm, not sure on this one – too many, not enough?  

A vintage wall curio of leaded glass holds a variety of rabbits. The floral wreaths were my daughters.

A bit of glam: a couple of gold-gilded frames with yours truly (just look at those curls) and my grand-parents (pre-WWII I believe). Another leaded glass curio. This one holds a cat and mouse family that I’ve had as long as I can recall.

Well, yes you are correct. That is indeed a chamber-pot! One that pretty must have belonged to someone of means. And what is more girly than toes shoes?

Yes, you could say I am rather obsessed with toe-shoes. These flank either side of these sweet, ethereal, sheer curtains. I added vintage earrings and brooches to the toe-shoes for some embellishment.

Vintage Linens: kind of there – I definitely think there is an opportunity here to add more linens.  Hopefully, my shabby mentor Marilyn can give me some insights on this. 

The dress on the right has been in our four-generation pictures since my mom donned it in 1940-something. Note to Sharon: yes, I do know what year you were born, but was going for a bit of discretion!

Glass lamps: Got it!  I love these cute little glass lamps, I think they are a great shabby edition and these sweet little lamp shades from vintage linens and millinery pieces make great shabby lamp shades.

A different version if you will: vintage punch cups used as votive holders on vintage wall sconces! Love these, unfortunately my favorite shabby-store Whimsical Whites (Kent, WA) went out of business several years ago. This is one piece that remains a favorite, such a cute way to pair random items. The cute wall-pocket (right-side) came from my great-grandmothers.

A final few shabby-elements-

Pink standard poodles are my spirit-animal. This little dog ride on toy was a great find from the 1950’s, I was surprised that they were not older.

At first glance of my shabby room, my husband proclaimed, “no respectable male would spend a night in there”! I took it as a great compliment to my approach. Its a sweet, charming, and tranquil space that still holds Lauren’s spirit as well!

Thanks for diving into the shabby-chic style with me.  Later in the month, I’ll be interviewing my friend and blog-reader Marilyn, a shabby aficionado who will be sharing her insights into shabby-chic as well as distinguishing between shabby, cottage style, and the newest trend cottage core.  In addition, I’ve asked Marilyn to critique my own approach to the shabby style, I am excited to get her feedback to improve my shabby room. Please feel free to comment, make suggestions for improvement, and share your shabby stories.

Until then, enjoy something beautiful! ~d

Springs’s first roses in a hobnail, milk-glass epergne.

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