Most everyone even the slightest bit interested in interior design and decorating has heard the term “Shabby Chic”.  And, it’s a look so appealing that even if you’re more the transitional or contemporary type you can’t help but appreciate the charm that’s inevitable in classic shabby chic. 


If you like this look, but you’re not quite sure what it is that constitutes shabby chic, it is generally a style comprised of items that are old enough to have the appearance of wear and tear or are distressed to look that way.  (Thus the shabby…)  This is paired with crystal, lace, opulent chandeliers, candelabras, florals, slipcovered furniture and flowy, billowy fabrics.  (Thus the chic…)


The colors in a shabby chic space are more often than not shades of white or neutrals, maybe some pastels.


Notice all these elements in this space?


This is an example of a sort of modern shabby chic.  Clean lines and less clutter, but the combination of a rustic table, simple flowers, the cream transitional chairs.  Not as much fluff and femininity, but shabby and chic nonetheless.


Here you’ve got the old distressed table and chairs, the old hanging “hutch” all in white, the white table cloth, crystal candle holders, lavender flowers, etc…..All so shabby and, no doubt, all so chic.


Creams and neutrals, white tables, chairs and lamps – neutral billowy window treatments and lots of slouchy, comfortable slip covers create this shabby chic space.  See a pattern here?


Lots of white, slipcovered seating and touches of pale blue…..


More white on white, slipcovered furniture, distressed cabinets……


A more modern take on shabby chic with the zebra rug and glass top table, but lots of white with slip covered furniture…..

Shabby Chic Dining Room

And, distressed furniture, simple flowers, cool iron chandelier, the cherub (often seen in shabby chic décor) and a little touch of greenery. 

Sweet, charming, warm and inviting.

Happy Decorating!

Move Over Shabby Chic: Here’s “Hillbilly Hip”


Most everyone has heard the phrase “Shabby Chic” and can instantly conjure up an image of the style it denotes.  But, I propose there’s an even shabbier style one step beyond that……


A bit rattier, tattier and yet still quite chic.  I call it “Hillbilly Hip”.


Even in it’s extreme ratty tatty state it’s still cool….


Once upon a time would you have ever consider an upholstered piece with a patch on it?  I guess if kids can be cool in tattered jeans – we can be cool in tattered upholstery…..right?


The more chipped, the messier looking…..


All the better!


Don’t some of you out there have an old cherry wood desk you’re sick to death of?  Wouldn’t it be fun to do something like this to it?  Takes it from stuffy to hip in New York minute!  (Okay, well maybe a little longer process than that, but you get the picture!)


Take a close look at what they’ve done with these pieces…


All the drawers and doors framed out in some scrap piece of something different….and all mis-matched hardware.  I love this!


A distressed mess….at it’s best!


These pieces almost look as if they’ve been scraped to be painted….but, this is the finished product.




So don’t be afraid to go one step further from Shabby Chic to downright “Hillbilly Hip” and create not only a unique character of your own, but lots of fun with no fuss stuff, too.

Happy Decorating!

Rustic Chic: Cool, Classic and Full of Character


What is it about ratty-tatty furniture that just flat out looks so cool?!  Of course I don’t mean ratty-tatty in the sense that it’s literally falling apart.  Just in the sense it sort of, well, looks like it’s about to fall apart.  There’s something appealing about chipped, peeling wood and aged paint color.


I prefer to call it rustic chic……


You know the look….like it’s been dragged out of an English castle or something.


Maybe because that weathered, distressed look gives us the feel that there’s an interesting story behind it.


Whether it’s brand new and distressed to look old…..


Or whether it actually really is old…..the character it exudes is unmatched.


It gives us a sense of old and yet a purpose in the present and in what’s to come……..kind of the fabric of our lives I guess you could say.  As years go by and we live and adjust and then re-adjust to what life throws us along the way – we age, we weather we “distress”.  And, yet it builds our character and we forge ahead.


And, in the end we’re all still beautiful in our own unique way.


Yep, maybe that’s it…..ya know?


Life can be rustic chic for most of us which may explain why so many of us love the look of it in furniture. Like people it gets old, worn, survives the challenges around them, yet is still full of character……and beautiful.

Happy Decorating!

DIY: Refinish A Chest In Five Hours For Less Than $40.00–Including The Chest!


When I suddenly needed a dresser for my guest room for my son’s girlfriend, who was staying with us for a while after graduating college, I thought at first I’d  buy those plastic bins with the drawers in them to go inside the closet.  But, after seeing that they cost anywhere from $20.00 to $40.00 for three drawers and how flim-flam they were I decided to switch gears and buy an actual piece of furniture that I could just refinish. 

The problem was, due to some very serious family illnesses we were dealing with, I waited till the last minute to get started.  Like literally the last minute.  So on Thursday, a few days before she was to arrive, I found what I thought was the perfect piece at CCA’s (Christian Community Action) Resale Shop.  By the time I went home to double-check measurements and got back to the store to buy it someone else had slipped in and purchased it first!  With the clock ticking, and booked all day Friday with clients, I was beyond frustrated.  Fortunately the next day when my husband happened to be driving by a garage sale some furniture caught his eye. 


He stopped, checked it out and tried to call me to find out which of two pieces I would want.  I was in a meeting with some clients and couldn’t take the call so when he couldn’t get a hold of me he just decided to buy both pieces – a three drawer chest, and a taller five drawer chest – each for a whopping $20.00!  He got both pieces for less than one plastic bin of drawers!  (Knowing how limited I was on time he figured he’d go ahead and get them, because if one or both didn’t work we could just donate them to a local charity.)  Just in case you didn’t catch it – that was Friday; she was arriving on Sunday, which left me Saturday to get it done.


He did good – the smaller chest was the perfect size, but of course, was hideous looking.  This was it after I took the drawers out.  (I always forget to start taking pictures at the very beginning of a project.) By the way, I started the project around 12:30p Saturday afternoon. 


This is what the drawers looked like.


The first thing I did was gather some tools so I could smack it up one side and down the other to give it a mottled, distressed look.  (Although, it was already distressed in a bad way I wanted to give it distress with a purpose.)


So I clobbered it with this hammer….


and whacked it with this gardening tool.


When I was finished “distressing” it I gave it a good sanding.


I repeated the same thing on the drawers.


After going over the piece a couple of times with sand paper I wiped it down really well to get rid of all the particles and dust.


After that – I think it was around 1:30p -  I ran up to Home Depot to purchase paint.  (No, I wasn’t organized enough to have gotten all that before I started!) After perusing the paint section I decided on this spray paint that offered 2 times the coverage. 


I just sprayed the chest and the drawers with one coat and it really did give it nice coverage.  I was pleasantly surprised


When the paint was good and dry – around 35 or 40 minutes later I sprayed over the black with this Hammered Metal Oil Rubbed Bronze.  Just a light coating to give it depth and dimension.  Again, just as with the black paint, all I needed was just one coat to give it just a little more interest and character. 


I hadn’t originally planned on it, but after I had finished spray painting I decided to take it one step further.  Since I had some of this metallic antique gold leafing on hand I lightly dry brushed the chest and the drawers.


This process has to be done very delicately or you’ll end up with too heavy handed a look. 


So after you dab your brush into the paint you blot it really well on a towel to where it’s almost dry (hence the term dry-brush!).


And then very lightly brush it onto the piece….




Which gives it this sort of look.



When I was finished with all the painting I sprayed it with a sealer for extra protection.


By 5:30pm it was completely finished, dry to the touch and ready to move into her room. Yes, really, it was!


And, here’s what it looks like in her room.  Not bad for less than $40.00 in product (including the chest) and five hours of my time start to finish. 


It was ready and waiting for her when she arrived. Nothing like last minute, down to the wire projects!

Here’s the material price list:

Chest -  $20.00

Black Spray Paint = $ 5.96 (2@$2.98)

Hammered Metal – $ 5.27

Sand Paper – $  3.97

My Total Cost – $ 36.45 (including tax for paint and sandpaper)

(The gold leaf and the sealer would add approximately $7.00 – $10.00)

Oh, and one more thing…..

Just for fun I bought this tray at CCA (when I saw the original dresser I wanted) for $4.49 and used the exact same products to refinish it while I was refinishing the chest.







And, it’s perfect for my books, magazines and netbook.  Well worth $4.49 and 20 minutes combined time to finish it. 

Sometimes a last minute frenzy works to your advantage.  All in all it was very productive day!

Happy Decorating!!!


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