Vintage Shabby Chic

by Rachel Ashwell

For as long as I can remember, I have appreciated heirlooms, antiques and vintage treasures.  I was introduced to unique, soulful furnishings when I was a little girl. Some were valuable beauties, some were secondhand hand-me-downs (found at English jumble sales).

Way back when my mum would bring home tattered ribbons and my dads dog eared books, I always liked to hear the history that was passed along.  Sometimes I doubted the stories, but I liked them anyway.  Some 40+ years later, I am still drawn to the uniqueness that comes along with timeworn treasures, and the process of the search.

Vintage Decor is now a huge component in the retail industry, whether by way of reclaimed woods, distressed fabrics or pieces in their original glory.

For Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture stores, vintage is at the very core.  I experience as much excitement and anticipation today as ever when I begin a vintage shopping trip.

While I typically have a loose "shopping list" of needs, from vintage china, vintage rugs & vintage lighting, to vintage coffee tables, end tables, dressers, armors, beds, mirrors and vintage art...I am always open to being side tracked to something that is just beautiful and special.

When hunting for wooden pieces,  I am usually  looking for authentic paint in the Shabby palette (white, ivory, pale pink & blue, grey teal or bleached raw wood) or pieces that can create a rustic vintage decor and on a rare occasion I will repaint.  I get great joy when I see pieces come through our "restoration for reloving"  process.  Each piece is cleaned, shored up if wonky, drawers and shelves lined with vintage wallpaper, new glass, marble or hardware applied...and when ready we proudly tack on our branded brass plaque.

With the world of retail blending into fewer sources, it causes many to look similar to each other.  I am proud that in the World of Shabby Chic, each one of our stores have a selection of one-of-a-kind, hand picked and restored treasures.  Ready to become heirlooms, all over again, when they are placed in their new homes.

Vintage Shabby Chic Furniture carries history by way of energy, or evidence of wear and tear.  A ding, a scratch, distressed paint or thread bare fabric.  Each unique in their beauty of imperfection, within the World of Shabby Chic. Vintage selection currently available At ShabbyChic.com...

TEN TRIED & TRUE TIPS

1 - Be clear about what your looking for, aesthetically, functionally and financially. 2 - Have good measurements (especially access of doorways and hallways). 3 - Take tape measure with you. 4 - Cash allows for bargaining. 5 - No what you want to pay for something before you even ask how much. 6 - Understand the scope of renovating.  While projects are satisfying I have a few too many that I have never gotten to. 7 - I typically scope a market first quickly and then start to buy on my second round, (unless I see a great treasure). 8 - Leave empty handed rather than with stuff, just to buy!! 9 - Make notes of where you buy things if you're not taking with you straight away, including the phone # of the vendor, just in case. 10 -  Patience, it may take a few visits to get your confidence up and your editing skills, but like with anything, practice makes perfect!

5 comments


  • I’ve been looking for some vintage furniture for my home. Those pictures in this post were absolutely beautiful! I appreciate the tips on how to find good furniture. http://www.blackwellenterprise1.com/default.asp?dept_id=36210

    Giovana Correia on

  • I adore the hunt for vintage treasures & just like you love to hear & imagine the stories behind each piece. I have a beautiful hand painted Coalport breakfast mug, which must have been part of a well loved set, lovingly repaired with old metal staples. To imagine how precious this must have been to its owner, way back before we became so throwaway.

    Rachel Norman on

  • These are very good tips for furniture hunting and the furniture you have found looks really wonderful!

    Balustrade Components on

  • These tips for vintage furniture hunting are so useful – I absolutely love the distressed furniture look with big, beautiful flowers surrounding the furniture. The small vases of flowers on the tables and chests also look so pretty.

    Phoebe Bray on

  • Some truly good info, Sword lily I observed this.

    Daniela on

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