We've been searching for new and creative ways to incorporate the Fall season into our home, and have found some major inspiration along the way. We wanted unique ideas. Something fresh for fall.
You hear the words "Shabby Chic" and you think soft cottage style with distressed, vintage items. This can also include new items made to look old, or reused materials turned into something different (such as using old doors or shutters as a headboard).
You hear the words 'Farmhouse Style" and you picture a rustic, country look with earth tones and natural textures (such as wood and greenery). This includes other organic items like burlap and twine, as well as cottage style items like mason jars and linen
When you start hunting for either style, you begin to see the line between the two blurs. Shabby chic is a term that was created in the early Eighties by a British designer in an interview with the American 'The World of Interiors' magazine. But it was Rachel Ashwell that created the movement.
She used shabby chic as well when she described her style in the early Eighties. It then became so popular that she trademarked the term in 1989. She started the shabby chic, french country chic on the west coast and it spread like wildfire.
More recently, you see the words "Farmhouse Style" being used to describe what looks like, in many ways (to us), shabby chic style. With the immense popularity of Joanna and Chip Gaines, the "Fixer Upper" style took over in the past few years, creating a new way of looking at both shabby chic and farmhouse style.
Joanna loves to use shiplap, rustic wreaths and greenery, as well as linen and burlap and industrial farmhouse items. It's almost as if shabby chic has evolved into farmhouse style. Or perhaps farmhouse style took what it liked from shabby chic and added it's own twist?
We don't know exactly how to pinpoint it, but either way you look at it - farmhouse style can be shabby chic, but not all shabby chic interiors are farmhouse style. Just a little interior chatter this week as we search for our own interior inspiration. What do you lean towards when designing your interiors? Farmhouse or Shabby Chic?
We will be exhibiting at the country living spring fair again this year, in its new venue at Alexandra Palace or 'Ali Pali' as Gary and I remember it!
The venue is of historical importance and extremely beautiful with lots of natural light to really showcase all the goodies on display. You wont miss us if you visit this year, we have a great location and a big stand so we look forward to meeting our customers old and new.
Our stand was very 'shabby chic' last year - this year we will be exhibiting our more contemporary linen so a very different look! I love this part of the job - its really hard work, but the challenge of creating a display that represents your brand in a small space ticks all my boxes!
THE BEST LINEN MUSEUMS OF EUROPE
European vacations can be dreamy, stunning and certainly educational. With countless museums and galleries to explore, it’s probably not often you hear someone saying “lets go to the linen museum!” However, for designers and lovers of fashion and interiors, the following museums offer interesting exhibits that take a deeper look into the technology, business and labor behind the linen industry.
The Irish Linen Centre (Lisburn, Ireland )
This modern addition to Lisburn’s Market House opened in 1994, and is attached to Lisburn Museum. ‘From Flax to Fabric’ is the permanent exhibition offering a visual tour through the history of linen, starting with how it has been made and used since Egyptian times. There’s even a piece of linen from the tomb of Tutankamun himself, dating from 1500BC!
The House of Linen (Routot, France)
The “La maison du Lin a Routot” in Normandy offers visitors a unique journey through the history of linen, and of France (Upper Normandy is one of the biggest producers of flax in Europe). The exhibits explore the culture, craft and industrial applications of the ancient fiber through audio-visual film and animation. And don’t forget to save some money for the boutique gift shop – it’s a linen lover’s dream!
Bruckbach Hoarstub'n Flax Museum (Attersee, Austria)
This authentic Parlor in northern Austria was erected in 1850 for the processing of flax (which is used to make linen). The museum, still located in the original structure today, displays ancient farming machinery and tools that were used in the local cultivation of flax through the 1920’s.
Linen Museum (Cremona, Italy)
The “Museo del Lino” in Italy was founded in the 1960s, and moved to its current headquarters in April of 2004. The Museum is an ethno-anthropological walk through the history of linen production and jobs, as well as exploring the struggle of linen workers in everyday life. The museum holds regular events and rotating exhibitions, and is run by artist Fabrizio Merisi (director of the museum). Rather than a pure historian, the director’s artist touch can be felt throughout the museum and makes for a unique stop in Cremona.
National Flax Museum - Texture (Courtrai, Belgium)
The Texture museum sits next to the river Lys and is within walking distance of the historic center of Kortrijk. The building was used from 1912 by the Linen Thread Company and today remains one of the most important remnants of the flax industry. The company worked with Irish & Scottish spinners and started some of the first wholesale purchases. The recently renovated building now includes a bistro, multipurpose room and offices, as well as rotating exhibits and events for kids.
There was a reason we wanted a business that specialised in Linen. Linen is amazing!
It’s literally the oldest manmade textile on record to date. At an upper-Palaeolithic excavation site in the eastern-European country of Georgia, archaeologists discovered flax fibres that were preserved inside pollen chambers for 34,000 years. To date, they are the oldest evidence of manmade textiles ever discovered. The fibres showed evidence of having been knotted and dyed bright colours like turquoise and pink, consistent with the style of other artefacts left behind by our ancestors. (decktowel)
The fact that linen is still around, and so widely used today, is a testament to the strength of nature, as well as to the innovation of prehistoric humans. If you think about linen and its history on such a large scale, it becomes clear that the fabric changed the world. And the use of the flax plant to make linen has stood the test of time. But durability is only one reason we love it so much. There are plenty more positive characteristics of linen, and reasons to buy and use the textile – here is our top 5:
- Its Strong – Linen is much stronger than cotton. It’s the world’s strongest natural fibre, which means it’s even used in items like paper money to increase durability. It also means that it’s thicker than cotton. However, with stonewashed linen (like we use for our linen chair covers, linen curtains, linen tablecloths, linen cushion covers and our linen throw pillows), creates a worn and softer feel of the fabric. And the linen will continue to get even softer with age, so don’t fear washing it lots!
- Its Natural – Linen is made from the flax seed plant, which grows naturally and easily without much irrigation required. This means that farmers of flax do not need to use extra fertilizers or pesticides; making the linen textiles you buy today 100% natural. This means you are not only contributing to the world’s sustainability when you buy and use linen, but also cultivating a more natural (healthier) life.
- Its Healthy – It is extremely healthy as a textile as well. Linen, like we said, is all natural, which means that the fabric is also naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial. It’s even known to help lower stress levels and increase better sleeping patterns when sleeping with linen throw blankets and pillows. And ancient Egyptians used it for its ability to naturally repel microorganisms. It’s almost more than just a healthy choice, but rather a medicinal one.
- Its Absorbent – Linen fibres are hollow. This means air and moisture move more naturally through them. This makes the fabric good for both cold and warm months. In the summer, choosing a linen shirt wasn’t just for style – but also functionality. Nobody likes having big sweat marks, and bodies literally stay cooler in the fabric. And when it’s cold, you can use linen throws to help maintain the warmth from your own body. It’s a natural insulator, as well as a natural cooler.
- Its Perfect for todays interiors – Linen has come a long way. Stonewashing has given Linen a new lease of life as a great fabric to use in both contemporary and modern interiors, and really lends itself to bedding, curtains and throw pillows