The origins of Shabby Chic
By Lena on January 2, 2013
Shabby Chic furniture which mixes old fleamarket finds with new items and reveals distressed or worn-out areas under modern coats of paint, has become a popular way of updating vintage pieces. But do you know where the idea of Shabby Chic originates from?
The term Shabby Chic was first coined in the early Eighties by a British designer in an interview with the American ‘The World of Interiors’ magazine. At the time – during the late Seventies – a new wave of decorating styles had emerged in Britain using paints and paint effects.
Designer Rachel Ashwell used that same term to describe her style when she came to America in the early Eighties and it became so popular she used it as her business name and trademarked it in 1989. By then Shabby Chic was particularly popular on the West Coast of America in places such as LA and San Francisco. There, interior designers looked towards Mediterranean styles as seen in France or Italy and were influenced by the grandeur of French country style living and and Louis XIV style antiques.
Today, with the recent renewed interest in vintage, Shabby Chic has become more relevant than ever and can be easily bought into or created at home without much DYI experience. The colour white, from bright white to warm cream, is an easy way of ‘chicing’ up an old table, chair or wardrobe. Simply add a few layers of paint, add a vintage pillow or mix with vintage shop finds. The great thing about Shabby Chic is that it doesn’t require pristine condition, on the contrary, a few yellowed curtains, a stain here, a hole there, just add to the feel.
If you’re looking to invest in one modern Shabby Chic item, make it French style bedroom furniture such as these French beds. These little white dressing tables or cheval mirrors are inspired by French country house living and perfectly embody the idea of Shabby Chic.
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