Vintage French and Equestrian Style

If you are a fan of vintage French and equestrian style,
you have found a home at A Touch of Mink.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is Burlap the Sign that the Age of Austerity has Arrived?

I remember hearing from someone or reading somewhere the origins of puddled curtains and draperies. Apparently in years past ( I believe it was the Victorian era) as a subtle "show" of ones wealth homeowners would have curtains made for the their windows overly long so as to puddle lavishly on the if to say, "Look at my home! I have so much money I can afford to buy more fabric than I need!" without of course, ever really saying that.

I am wondering if this new "age of austerity" we are in is the reason behind the wild rage for burlap, muslin and all things plain and homespun. Remember, just a few short years ago, when EVERYONE just had to have a granite countertop? People were sucking equity out of their homes to install zen shower retreats and stainless appliances. I don't think anyone even thought twice about it. I don't think tasteful restraint was a trait many were aspiring to. I'm not blaming or judging. It is just the times we were living in. Not many of us questioned it.

Maybe too, this return to natural fabrics and prim decor is about desiring that warmth of home. Granite, stainless, metal, those can be so cold when they are standing alone in all their expensive grandeur. A painful reminder of our thoughtless spending. But cotton, calicos, burlaps, leather and raw silks shimmer and radiate a warmth all their own. They've lead a life all their own long before they graced your home.

Perhaps we feel now that it is enough just to have a place to live? It doesn't have to be grand, or fancy or flashy. It just needs to exist. A set of plain little muslin curtains for privacy. A favorite chair covered in a not so perfect homemade slip, suitable for dog or human. Flour, sugar, tea and coffee in the cupboard and a nice bottle of wine to share with friends and the affirmation that another month has passed and you've paid all your bills. Or at least most of them. Looking at your belongings and knowing you own them in all their dilapidated glory. You are not making the 50th payment to Pottery Barn for that sofa you don't even like anymore and are ashamed to have anyone see.

So, if our faded glory style is a sign of lessons learned then I'm glad we've learned them. I think this supposed cold new age of austerity might just be the warmest age yet! :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Before & After on my "RH" Coffee Table, Broken Columns and French Sofas

Since I'm pretty much wiped out of inventory from my sale I thought I'd blog about some projects I've been doing around the house. Remember my "rant" on the outrageous prices of Restoration Hardware and the super cool coffee table I found for $15? This is how it is coming along. First I made plywood panels to fit where the broken glass was (well my husband made them really). Then I sanded off the dirt and moss and put on a thin coat of deep gray paint. Sanded again. Then I put on a light coat of French gray paint. Sanded again. Then I put a little bit of gold leaf paint. Sanded again. Here is the finished product. I've had this broken column sitting around the shop for months. I thought for sure someone would snatch it up and come up with something creative for it. No one did. So I decided to take it home and broke it some more! Then I put some moss and a nest in it and some curly willow and now I have a nice focal point for my "new" table. Lastly, I'll share with you my vintage French sofa find (ignore the dots-it's just my silly camera) I found this extra long, button tufted, pale mauvy grape colored sofa at a thrift store and picked it up for $40. I am half way through the paint job. I'm painting it to match the coffee table. I am thinking of trying out some upholstery spray on it. I think it would look dynamite in gray. But for $40 I can live with the color as is too. It's growing on me. I bought some Simply Spray and I've tried it out on a scrap piece of fabric. It seems to cover well and does not dry crunchy. I'll let you know if I decide to paint the sofa and I'll post pics if it turns out well-or even if it doesnt!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy hunting!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Pics of the Desk Hutch Transformation

I've had so much lovely feedback from friends admiring my little hutch transformation I've decided to post some more pics of it and a little "how to" blog on it. This area started off with one of those laminate top desk thingy mabobber areas in my kitchen that was going to waste. I never used it as a desk. So I started by finding some cute hardware for the drawers. I painted the drawers a nice soft white distressed with a burnt umber glaze. Then I tacked down some burlap over the laminate then put a piece of glass over that. Voila! A new counter top. Then my rock star husband built me the hutch I blogged about the other day. I've filled it with my budding collection of brown and cream transferware. I mixed in some natural curly willow with a little white painted curly willow and twigs of real cotton bolls. The little chair is a set of 5 I bought on CraigsList. These are 100 year old true French chairs and they are so cool. I paid $40 for all 5, can you stand it?! The leather seats were disintegrated but the awesome nailhead trim around the seat was still intact and I didn't want to disturb the tacks by taking off the leather and reupholstering them. So I just made plywood seats, covered them in burlap then made a little pillow cushion to put on top of it. Lastly, I made the little curtain out of muslin and painted the image right on to it. Behind the curtain is a butler's trolley with baskets in it filled with linens and such. There you have it. One useless kitchen desk facing a wall transformed into a lovely focal point in my kitchen!