redefining “shabby chic”

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Today my friend Abbi came down from North Jersey and we went antiquing and junking through Chester County. We’ve known each other since we were either 14 or 15, so we always have a good time. Today we had a fun kind of Junk Gypsies kind of day.

We started out at the Smithfield Barn in Downingtown (of course !) where I scored a totally amazing (and old) clear glass hobnail cake plate – I needed a taller one and pretty ones are hard to find. I use the cake plates for many foods not just cakes. Cheeses and cookies look fab on old cake plates too, and when I’m setting a holiday table I like having them in different heights. And I’m doing a buffet for family on Christmas day, so this new cake plate will round out my others perfectly.

Of course I also couldn’t resist just a few more vintage Christmas ornaments. My friend Abbi got some amazing depression glass candlesticks and a couple of other cool things.

Then after other stops and a beautiful drive on back roads, we went to the open farm day at Yellow Springs Farm on Yellow Springs Road in Chester Springs. It was fun catching up with Catherine and Al Renzi and buying some fabulous goat cheeses. Check their website, because they have open farm days in December as well. They are producing their own goat milk yogurt now, and I suggest especially try the cinnamon flavored.

After that we made one last stop at Resellers Consignment on Route 30 in Frazer. I have been looking for a small Persian or Oriental rug to put in the kitchen to accompany a larger old Turkish rug I have. This rug is not fancy, it is warm and welcoming. Is definitely shabby chic, and almost threadbare in places. But I love it just the same.

You see that is just a shabby chic thing I love: old and almost threadbare Turkish, Oriental, and Persian rugs in places like kitchens and bathrooms, or scattered about instead of other kinds of interior door mats.

I’m not talking priceless carpets here, I am talking about shabby chic ones with character left that aren’t so filthy you can’t clean them up. I think they make a kitchen especially feel more warm and homey.

So while I looked from one end of Reseller’s to the other I was amused by some of today’s crowd. There were a few Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch younger power couples.

One Tory Burch ballet flat wearing, Herm├Ęs Birkin bag toting gal was the most amusing. She had a look of total disgust on her face wandering through. It was totally amusing because you could tell she had a very limited idea of any of what she was looking at , but if an interior designer or antiques dealer bought half of what she was looking at askance and cleaned it up a little she would have been happy to pay the cost mark-up and tell all her friends about how she found whatever at a “darling little store.”

However I am completely fine with that. She can shop at her “darling little stores” and I’ll go digging for treasure where I find it!

And today I finally found my little Persian rug! It has been on the sales floor at Resellers for over a year which meant it was half off. So for $25 I have a very cool rug. And all it was a little vacuuming!

To clarify, when I talk about redefining shabby chic, I don’t mean all pink cabbage roses and floral patterns on wrinkled cottony canvas. I am talking about cool vintage things that might have a comfortable lived in look.

Now some people love the look of things that only scream new. I do not. I think older and vintage items truly have a comfort to them. Don’t know if I’m articulating the charm properly, but maybe that’s a better word for it: charm.

I like mixing old with new. I like a lot of more vintage pieces when it comes to furniture because as much as anything else, the dimensions and quality are often better. The problem I have with a lot of the sofas and chairs manufactured today is they are just so big they are oversized for a lot of rooms. And as I learned with a family room sofa we bought at The Dump, if you can find good dimensions it doesn’t mean the quality is there.

I saw all sorts of cool pieces at Resellers today, including amazing Edwardian sofa that was still in its original horse hair and not too sprung on the bottom.

Even if I’m not buying, I like looking. It’s fun to always have a few new ideas in the back of your head for “someday”.

There are so many possibilities out there to achieve looks literally like you see in magazines. And you can do these things on a budget. And that’s whether you were looking for a country living look or something a little more mid-century modern or even classic meets funky.

And I’m not trying to put interior designers or antique dealers out of business, but face it , this is still a tough economy out there and if you can get a great deal you appreciate your home even more in my opinion.

Besides, there is the whole thing about decorating your own home and achieving your own look. Sure you can pay someone to do it, but if you really want to make your home your own you have to do at least parts of it yourself.

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