Tag Archives: turquoise

Aesthetic Preference – Beach Cottage Nautical

Ship's Wheel printable

Ship’s Wheel – please copy and print if you like

From my Etsy treasury: Clean lines, bleached wood, nautical, fresh, stripes, adirondack chairs, white, driftwood, canvas, ticking, Martha’s Vineyard,To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday” (1996), shells.

Add sea stars and sea horses, beadboard, sea glass, and sand encrusted candles, picture frames wrapped in rope. Sailboats and nautical images, the windswept beach of “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” (1947), espadrilles, lighthouses. The Lake House” (2006) – only it’s winter.

Gull Cottage

Gull Cottage built for “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”(1947)

The idea behind this is to bring the sense of a summer weekend at the beach into your house. As usual I have made a Pinterest Board to illustrate the concept. Lots of white paint and pale turquoise – in common with Shabby Chic, and certainly some beach cottages go that way. But I think the differentiating features are usually clean, shiny, fresh and “ship shape” – chrome and brass instead of worn pewter and rust.  And yet bleached by the sun and sea. Very little use of florals. but think of grasses instead. 

Bring it into the decor:

  • spray white paint over rope covered picture frames or bottles,

  • stack well stuffed pillows made from ticking, sailcloth and striped poplin,

  • place shells and sea glass in glass bowls

  • hang framed nautical images (feel free to print these ones)

  • keep it very clean and a little minimalist.

  • Bring a pair of adirondack chairs into the living – painted a nice clean white

Here are some more ideas from Emma’s Decorating Blog.

Beach House Decor

Beach House Decor – leaning to shabby chic (note the chandelier).

The truth is this is a very simple aesthetic to describe. As long as the lines are simple and boxy, the palette limited and built around white, it’s easy to add nautical, beach cottage elements. You can take it tropical and start hinting at surfer chic with a few colors, but it risks getting luau – and grass and raffia are terrible for holding dust. And the only trouble with white sofas is how quickly they start to show dirt (especially if you have pets) so maybe try navy blue for your sofas?

Is it something I’d want to live with every day? Not necessarily the whole house – but for the sunroom, or the studio with plenty of sunlight streaming in. I don’t mind a few shells, or shells as a motif. 

Scrapbook layout with Sammy the Seal

A scrapbook layout with beach cottage colors and elements.

Aesthetic Preference – Shabby Chic

Lois Crowley Heritage layout

Lois Crowley Heritage Layout

I’m talking about Shabby Chic this week, because it follows on so sweetly from Romantic Country Cottage.

The term was coined, and trademarked, by textile artist and interior designer Rachel Ashwell. The style in home decor is characterized by a lot of whitewashing and very pale pastels. The accessories, textiles, and furniture are usually old or look old with intentional distressing. The watchword is Texture.

Hallmarks of shabby chic style include using glamorous and luxurious elements like gorgeous chandeliers in casual settings, and layering folk art elements like quilts and lace tablecloths.

There are two ways to achieve the worn and distressed look on furniture or other items. The most effective, in my opinion, is to sand back the paint at the edges, high spots, and places where “wear” would naturally occur. Using a nice wax based colored polish will add patina.

The other way is to add paint in a rough, even sloppy, way so that the underlayers show through. The best way to achieve that is to use crackle paint finishes, which are designed to shrink as they dry and reveal the underlayers as if they were aged in the sun and rain over decades.

Shabby chic designs include laces, textures, and frayed edges. Printed and stenciled texts remind us of old flour sacks or tea chests. Chalkboard – black with white lettering – is another recently popular element. Empty picture frames, sometimes stacked, suggest the idea of incompleteness.

A shabby garden would have more white flowers, and wild flowers, rusty metal elements, old bathtubs filled with shrubs, lavender (again) and peonies. Clothing would include antique and Victorian lace blouses, tulle layers, granny boots and textured tights (roll on winter). I think faded velvet shawls too.

To me fairy tales sometimes feel shabby chic – the cottage in the forest that is run down and filled with old books, the strange old castle with wrought iron fencing.

Here’s how I described it in my shabby chic treasury:

Simple, aged, distressed, neutral colors & pale, weathered, folk. Old lace. Connection, history, folk tales, burlap, farm house, sheers. Timeworn. Miss Haversham. “To Kill a Mockingbird”. “Picnic at Hanging Rock”.

To this I would add pale lilac, mint green, robin’s egg blue, blush. Wabi-sabi all over again.

Quail Eggs in a dish

Quail Eggs in a dish

Ways to Bring the Shabby

It’s popular because it’s easy.

One way to add shabby chic elements to your decor is to paint vintage or old things – tins, hooks, wood boxes, candlesticks, ornate picture frames – with white or pastel paint and sand the edges. The paint color adds a unifying aspect.

Another is to bleach floral prints and incorporate plain muslins, lace, crochet in cream string, doilies, and many layers of sheers as the textile elements – drapes, table cloths, pillows and slipcovers.

Include vintage and aged garden accessories – especially urns, wire frames from topiary work, and baskets.

Add nostalgic and memory elements – like hanging a vintage baby’s christening robe on a twisted wire hanger among a bunch of silk hydrangeas. Use old pewter and tarnished silver cups and jugs. Mercury glass.

Bring architectural elements, carvings and castings, that might normally be on the exteriors inside.

Shabby looks great in company with industrial, mid-century modern, or minimalism, and loves Beach Cottage style too. However, in my opinion, it doesn’t work as well with Traditional – since it either looks like you aren’t done refinishing the rest of the furniture, or that you have a bunch of old stuff that needs refurbishing. In a house full of very Traditional furniture, I would stick to a few pillows, and small items.

There are a lot of scrapbookers using shabby chic style in their layouts. It works especially well with a touch of glam – silver beads, tiny rhinestones, pearls and old buttons.

Family Ancestors mini-album

Family Ancestors mini-album

Because it is all about the white, it is also a very popular wedding theme.

Plus it’s a great way to affectionately showcase beloved heirlooms.

Carved old mirror

Carved old mirror


Please visit my Shabby Chic Aestheric Preference Pinterest Board to see more examples. Do you love it? 

So Follow me on Twitter for the Daily Tweets. Please Retweet and use the share buttons!

If anything turns out to be useful to you, please let me know in the comments.