It began when I sank into the world's most comfortable white slipcovered sofa in the Shabby Chic
store in New York's SoHo in 1999. I got hooked on Shabby Chic. I watched the TV show, I slept on the supersoft sheets and I emulated everything Rachel Ashwell, who coined and trademarked the term and style, did.
But as time passed, I found myself transforming my furniture and style — I pared down the accessories, sanded down the peeling paint, spray painted my benches and wicker chairs
semigloss black, replaced the pastels with bolder hues and decorated so that key pieces and my growing outsider art collection would stand out. Shabby Chic
grew out of a mashup between Ashwell's love of cozy flower-bedecked English cottages and her modern lifestyle on the California coast. Not hemmed in by strict guidelines, Ashwell started to incorporate what she dubbed Zen interiors into her aesthetic, as well as looks for "the Shabby Chic man" by the end of the TV show's run, talking up warm woods and natural objects like stones.
After all these years, "Shabby Chic" still continues to be one of the top search terms when it comes to home design. But how can you adapt this look for the 21st century? If, like me, you still have a soft spot in your heart for the shabby but are striving toward more chic, the ideas in these rooms may strike your fancy.