Annie Sloan has mesmerized multitudes of Americans. She has convinced us that every single piece of wood furniture in our homes must immediately be covered with paint. Not just any paint, but shabby, scruffy, worn and buffed Annie Sloan Chalk Paints.
We’ve managed to take the family heirlooms and make them look like something our Grandmothers would have thrown to the curb. But for some reason, we love it! The Cottage – Shabby Chic movement looks like it’s going to be here for a while.
I think Annie Sloan’s ultimate plan is to make us paint all our furniture, then wait until the design pendulum swings the other way and make her second fortune selling us paint stripper.
Most Southerners can trace their family roots back to good ole’ country folk where “shabby” wasn’t so chic. My North Florida Grandparent’s home had beautiful old pine floors – which they covered with wall to wall carpeting. “Why don’t you let your floors show?” I once asked. “Those old pine boards? Why, they are just plain old wood!” was the practical answer.
Carpeting was something they didn’t have when they were young during The Great Depression, so as they furnished their first new home together, “new” was a sign of achievement. They were perplexed when my husband and I pulled up our carpet and put down wood floors. There’s that design pendulum again.
My mother once burst into tears when she happened upon her Father-in-Law burning an old trunk. He thought it was just a dilapidated piece of junk, but she saw the beauty in the aged patina. He felt so sorry for her grief, that he went and found another old trunk in the barn, which made her happy, and made him scratch his head.
Somehow, old and beat – up, now looks fresh and new to us. It’s casual. Fun. Lighthearted. The furniture has an air of “I don’t really care how this old place looks, I have much more important things to think about than polishing and dusting stuffy formal furniture!”
Could it also be that we are longing for simpler times? Times when formal dinners were just basic suppers with cornbread and dessert wasn’t picked up at a Publix, but made by a sweet Granny with a homemade apron around her waist?
Years ago, my Hartselle, Alabama Grandmother painted her china cabinet a queasy shade of 1960’s Avocado Green. When it came into my possession in the early 90’s, nothing would do except for me to strip the hideous paint. Days and days were spent in the sweltering Gulf Coast heat, wearing big gloves and inhaling chemicals.
If I didn’t love her so much, Grandmother would have been cursed, right there under the Magnolia tree in my backyard. I declare, it was the closest I’ve ever come to breaking a real sweat. Thank goodness for cold lemonade and good breeding!
The stripped cabinet now proudly sits in it’s glorious, original walnut beauty in a corner of my family room. I use Lemony Pledge on it every now and then to bring out the natural wood luster.
And honey, don’t you know, now I’m itching to paint it teal! Kind of a beat–up, beachy teal would look fabulous! I’m trying to decide between Annie Sloan Provence or Greek Blue.
If I ever find the courage to paint the cabinet, I have a feeling that someday, my yet-to-be-born-but-promised-to-me-by-God-because-I’m-raising-two-mean-boys-Granddaughter, will spend days and days stripping off the bright paint.
But I’ll head off any animosity on her part by leaving a note tucked inside the china cabinet that tells her. . .
“Annie Sloan made me do it.”