Rethinking Shabby Chic

February 2, 2016

I’m trying something new today by including a musical track for this blog post, just to share the musical love a little. Click above to enjoy “The Woods” by Hollow Cove.

Rethinking Shabby Chic

I am aware that chippy paint is something of a major trend. You know, “shabby chic”. In theory I love those two words together but I have come to resent the term in many ways. Partly purely because it is in fact so trendy and therefore we might be overloading on it. But mostly because some uses of it are extremely generous if we’re truly trying to stick to the “chic” descriptor.

Let me be clear: My mantra with interior design has always been that you should decorate with what you makes happy. Even if your neighbor or favorite blogger thinks it’s weird or tacky or outdated or “so 2015”. All that matters is that when you look around the room it makes you smile.

Let this just be a gentle suggestion to the world that real chipping paint is fantastically more charming than faux distressed finishes. And there are so many more elements to true vintage and antique furniture and architecture besides chipping paint that bring depth and beauty to a room. This is why faux finishes just can’t come close to the real thing. They’re missing that je ne sais quoi, the character and story behind truly old stuff. Don’t take my word for it. Feast your eyes.

Rethinking Shabby Chic Rethinking Shabby Chic Rethinking Shabby Chic

I should pull back for a moment and note that I am not opposed to all types of faux-ing. Many reproduction antiques are very well done in their own right and usually much more affordable than the real thing. I like things that are vintage-inspired, or distressed ever so lightly. I just can’t deal with the side table that’s been painted bright teal with random bits scraped off and then stenciled with “Love Is All You Need” on the top. Can’t. There, I said it. Sorry, not sorry.

Rethinking Shabby Chic Rethinking Shabby Chic

I love a lot of real distressing. The chippier and rougher, the better. Well, to a point obviously. If it’s falling apart that’s not good. 😉 What do you think about the term “shabby chic”? Do you like the version of it in these photos? I don’t know if this would even be considered “legitimate” shabby chic but it’s my shabby chic anyway.

Rethinking Shabby Chic

one | Natalie Warady
twoFinbarr O’Dempsey
three | original source unknown
four | original source unknown
fiveRicardo Labougle
six | John Derian
seven | original source unknown

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  • Reply Meg | Hello Farmhouse February 9, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I love this post, Christina. “Authentic” is one word that has been driving my style as I renovate and decorate my old house. I am so drawn to things that are actually timeworn because each item has a history and each mark tells a story (unlike a modern reproduction made in a factory overseas).

    • Reply christinajoy February 10, 2016 at 9:40 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, Meg! Authentic timeworn stuff is all I seem to be able to think about lately in regards to design. I gotta get me one of those old houses too! No really, this is a need not a want. ;p

  • Reply Mia Bell February 15, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Well, if this is shabby chic, I think it’s a bit too “shabby” for my tastes… all of these shots look like they’re honestly from a house from the 1800’s or something. Some people dig that though I’m sure, and the photos are great even if it’s not somewhere I’d actually like to live 🙂

    • Reply christinajoy February 16, 2016 at 8:21 am

      Yup, I would love a house that was built in the 1800s! I’m hardcore about my shabby. I do recognize that it’s a little weird and maybe not the MOST practical idea ever, haha. Like you said, one can glean some inspiration from photos like these even if a home and style that old isn’t really the end goal. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Olivia Marsh August 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Hi Christina, I like most of the rooms except the one with the fireplace and built in bookcase. That part of the room looks like it was exposed to the outside weather. I might update that room a little. The other rooms look comfortable and well worn with a story to tell.

  • Reply Jason January 20, 2018 at 8:09 am

    I love this post, Christina. “Authentic” is one word that has been driving my style as I renovate and decorate my old house.

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