Shabby Chic

yes - a nice chair but- Oh for goodness sake...paint it!

I sat and read a glossy magazine last evening. I’ve mentioned before that I first came to dummy boards through a ‘House and Garden’ type magazine and I do occasionally find a nice fireboard in them. I don’t read them very often- in fact I used to get a few of them on subscription- but now I am more ‘picky’ and choose them for what might be inside, advertised on the cover.


I groan out loud when I see yet another article on how to impart charm to your house by adding a distressed and rusty garden chair, to the bedroom – no one tells you not to put anything on it for fear of

  • Snagging that something on the rusty screws or bits of metal sticking out- remember …this thing has been outside for 20 years!
  • Getting rust on your favourite cashmere jumper!
  • Making rusty marks on the carpet from the feet.( Oh course, we are not meant to have carpet !)

I recoil, as I did last evening, when I see an article in which rustic and mangled meat safes or some other such ‘boxes’ are used as kitchen furniture. Dull, scruffy and bitty was my thought. And to be honest, not really all that useful. They aren’t as practical as a proper cupboard.

But then, how much of fashion is practical ? The secret is to find something that is both novel, and practical, whilst also being decorative and well made.

We seem to have forgotten all about- well made!

That we cannot say about the historic dummy board.

They were, in their day, novel ( and fun ) practical ( see the previous post – and more of the same to come ) whilst also being decorative ( most of them ) and well made ( in the main). And they are still here to tell the tale, in some cases almost 400 years later.

I can see the attraction of something that has been well loved for centuries. However, it seems to me ( correct me if I am wrong ), those things that have been well loved are generally in a fairly good state now. Our house is full of such things. They are all “fit for the purpose.”

In the past you would have been laughed out of the establishment if the item you were selling was not “fit for the purpose”.

Thank you Malcolm for the photo of your 'shabby chic' sweeping maid! Possibly English, late 18th century. Probably been left outside...

How different is our own age!

No doubt I will return to this theme later.

One Response to “Shabby Chic”

  1. The Fashion for Fripperies. « Pastmastery's Blog Says:

    […] further. There is a fashion at the moment, for Vintage. I’ve touched on it before in…Shabby Chic and said how I deplore it. Rusty old garden chairs, scarred wooden furniture, items that really […]

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