Shabby chic and the French Collection

This post is inspired by a visit to a decorative home and salvage show last weekend, with my sister. It was held at nearby Loseley House and was a great way to spend a summer’s day. It took place in the grounds and was beautifully set out with a wide range of reclaimed and salvaged materials, garden furniture and statuary, restored and up-cycled furniture, period home fixtures and fittings, decorative and architectural antiques, furnishings and industrial pieces. What really struck us was how many French items there were. In fact my sister remarked,  ‘ is there any tat left in France?!’… This is what I bought…

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Linked to this show is a television programme I have just discovered called French Collection, a Channel 4 series that sets British contestants loose in French flea-markets, or marchés aux puces, with £650 to spend. On their return, they must up-cycle one of their their bargains and then attempt to make a profit by selling their purchases in the UK. I’m strangely addicted to this programme, mainly for the opportunity to see the wonderful places that are visited in France.

french collection

I have always enjoyed visiting markets, brocantes, broderies etc when in France and it is often said that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. This is nowhere better illustrated than at a vide-grenier, literally an “attic clearance”. It is the French equivalent of a car-boot sale. At all of these places, one can find examples of shabby chic, a type of design that can seriously divide opinion.

So what is the definition of shabby chic? According to the Oxford online dictionary: A style of interior decoration that uses furniture and soft furnishings that are or appear to be pleasingly old and slightly worn.

Do you like shabby chic & visiting flea markets etc when in France? I’d love to know!

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