Let’s consider, for a moment, this look of shabby chic. Now I see youth — and honorary youth — dressed in jeans with rips and shreds of fabric appearing on the legs and knees. I am well aware that washed and faded is a popular look, as are torn-at-the-elbows woolly sweaters and wrists adorned with leatherwork or yarn straps. Trendy shirts and the backs of jean jackets are emblazoned with images that appear to be advertising products, such as soda bottles.
I’m not sure where fashion’s shabby-chic look goes grunge, but it surely does — even, I’m sure, in Palm Beach.
When it comes to decorating, the shabby chic look also has made its way onto our little charming island. I recently visited a friend who was decorating her beachfront apartment in the shabby-chic manner, with furnishings acquired from vintage shops in West Palm Beach and other points. She has done the apartment so creatively, with the walls a mix of brick and plaster, all whitewashed to show the irregularities in textures.
Her floors are painted with a lacquer finish and spotted with many paint colors — blues, pinks, oranges and even dabbles of black and white. An old leather sofa — covered in hides that show wear and sun-bleaching — serves as the main seating unit in the apartment, with an old trunk (always good for storage) as a coffee table. Two sling-back chairs sporting black canvas on black metal from the 1950s hugged the trunk.
A pair of drawer-style night tables painted light gray are at each end of the sofa, each with an old figure lamp in chartreuse and black, providing light for the room’s very chic mood. Their lampshades are black but edged in white.
A patchwork quilt in the New England manner has been thrown on the leather sofa, adding a new spattering of color to the room. Window shades that were part of the original building’s fittings are still holding their own without requiring any additional drapery treatment. A homemade tic-tac-toe board hangs on the wall above the sofa, a most-original piece with an “x” figure placed to the side.
A dining table — formerly a kitchen table — of white enamel with black trim sets the tone along with some bentwood chairs painted gray to match the end tables. The entire apartment was put together with homemade talent and with little money — less than $2,000, in fact.
It’s all proof that you can decorate on a budget, creatively and with style!