Wednesday, 27 August 2014

What’s this fascination with the ‘distressed’?

For once, I don’t mean the jeopardy within a Psychological Thriller – I mean ----> décor…

According to eBay, ‘Shabby Chic’ items top the style charts. The term, coined in the 1980s by World Of Interiors magazine, is a catch-all for comfortable, cosy, worn, lived-in-but-loved, interior design. Domestic items are deliberately chosen to show signs of age and wear and tear or 'distressed' to achieve the appearance of an antique. At the same time - it's soft and opulent.
So - it’s not just about chipped mugs, peeling paintwork and faded curtains – (think Withnail and I – this is NOT the look.) 
Photo: WithNail and I - The Kitchen - Handmade Films UK

Items are often heavily painted, with the top coat rubbed or sanded away to show the wood or base coats. It can be summed up as 'characterful, colourful, used but not abused' and people seem to like it because it's safe, fashionable and has an ancestral feel. 

Personally, I’m hooked. In researching my latest book (which involves a cottage and therefore requires perusing lots of Pinterest images of English Country Cottages – honest!), I’ve fallen in love with this style. I realise, however, that it’s been on my radar for years without me being fully aware it if. I love it when strands come together like that and you can find a label for it! My subliminal penchant for shabby chic stems from the following:

The Pig in the Wall, Southampton
  • A long-term interest in National Trust properties. 
  • One of my favourite cafes, The Pig in the Wall in Southampton, is ‘shabby chic’. Enjoy these lovely photos. 
    The Pig in the Wall, Southampton
    Tiles on the floor in the loo at The Pig
  • I’ve turned our garden into a ‘cottage garden’. 
    Our 'cottage' garden
  • I love walking around country villages and visiting gifts shops such as Cornflowers in Winchester. I surmise that Cath Kidston (doing well on high streets, it would appear) is essentially shabby chic (with more emphasis on the 'chic').
 I’d love more of it around my home – here are my first few paltry items!

I would add that a fondness of this style does not extend to 'shabby' items of clothing - wearing pre-distressed jeans and ripped T-shirts with raw seams is not for me...
Going off at a complete tangent - my brave hubbie did the MND Ice Bucket challenge - you can see his video here!

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AJ Waines is the author of Psychological Thrillers:  The Evil Beneath and Girl on a Train.
Both books went to Number One in 'Murder' and 'Psychological Thrillers' in the UK Kindle charts.

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