Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love Shabby Chic ... but ....

Shabbywhitemainix5 I guess Rachel Ashwell gets the credit (or blame) for the shabby chic decorating.  Mind you, I like most  shabby chic decor.  Old picture frames, mirrors, vases of flowers, chandeliers, lots of white and pastels.  It can be very pretty.  And I really like the idea of rescuing old furniture, dishes, and pictures.  I've tried to incorporate it into my own home and our family's cottage.

I'm just not so keen on flaky furniture.

For one thing, who knows how old the paint is on this furniture.  Until the late 1960s, most paint was lead based.  That's not good.  Lead is a deadly poison, and at it's best, if you inhale or eat the stuff (I'm not saying grown-ups would, but children are attracted to lead paint because it has a sweet flavor), it can damage you.

Flaky painted furniture That's only one reason I don't like flaky furniture.  The other?  It's kinda ugly.  I can't see why someone would want to incorporate something that looks like that dry sink on the right into their home.  Mind you, in all the books and magazine articles I've read on shabby chic decorating, I've only seen one that warned about the dangers of lead paint, and suggested anyone incorporating such a piece of furniture into their home should seal the piece with polyurethane.  Of course, the purists scream that ruins the patina.  Well, better that than brain damage -- but that's just my opinion.

Mind you, I do have a piece of flaky furniture in my house.  It's my second computer desk.  I bought the table my iMac sits on about ten years ago at a yard sale.  (Quite a coup at $8.)  I didn't buy it because it was shabby chic.  I bought it because I needed another computer table.  And I had every intention of repainting it.  The problem.

Flaky desk2 I'm lazy.

The thing really needs to be stripped, but that's a lot of work.  That said, I was worried about that lead paint, so I at least took lengths of sealing tape and pressed it on the entire surface, lifting off any loose paint.  I may yet strip it and take it back to a natural look--or paint it.  But I'm not in any hurry.  I have a lot of other stuff ahead of it on my to-be-done list.  And I'd kind of hate to lose the floral decal on the front of the table.

What do you think about flaky painted furniture and shabby chic decorating?