26 November 2007

Names Can Be Deceiving: Shabby Slips

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Veranda's September 2007 cover story features Houston designer Renea Abbott and her work - a large, Provencal-inspired home built in California. The finished product is the culmination of years of toil: construction alone lasted over three years. This project catapults Abbott into the upper echelons of the design business, something she truly deserves. The "farmhouse," as it is referred to, is a study in timeless design - aged materials were used throughout and careful attention was given to the most minute details in order to ensure authenticity. The result of all this labor is a home truly deserving of recognition for its designer. Rather than doing interiors that are faithful to its farmhouse style, Abbott's choices are instead sometimes surprising and yet, always fresh. The front cover with the Cy Twombly over an 18th century mantel epitomizes Abbott's eclectic "look" - the modern mixed with the antique. Both ends of that spectrum are represented by sophisticated pieces. This type of design mix is familiar to Houstonians long aware of Renea Abbott.

Best known as the proprietress of the store Shabby Slips, Abbott has garnered much local press, mostly showcasing her own frequently changed dwellings. The store started out with a simple premise - slipcovers handmade to cover the plush, down-filled sofas and chairs that filled her shop. Everything was white back then, but things at Shabby Slips are different now. The walls are a deep, dark shade. Wonderful, period antiques have taken over floor space formerly reserved for the masses of cushy upholstery. In fact, slipcovers are no longer even offered to the public. The direction of the store, but not it's name, has changed completely and this is probably somewhat confusing to the uninitiated. Regardless of the misleading name, the changes at Shabby Slips could not be more gorgeous. Large, gilt chandeliers glitter over the gilded finishes of the antiques. Mid century lacquered pieces vie for attention with rustic oddities. Exotic lamps are fashioned from rock and crystal. The atmosphere in the store has taken on the air of an exquisite jeweled box. Elegance, certainly not shabby, is the key word here. Always in motion, Abbott has branched out with additional Shabby Slips in Austin and New Orleans. And in Santa Fe, her mother Barbara Carlton runs a store there with a decidedly different, more western feel. If visiting Houston, Shabby Slips should be a must stop on the antique shopper's agenda.


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Sparse, yet elegant hallway in the Californian farmhouse.



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The dining room.


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The master bathroom with the double shower placed behind the tub.


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Beautiful Californian garden with limestone table and Rose Tarlow chairs.


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Shabby Slips: gilt antique furniture, contemporary fabrics.



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More antiques with a surprising Global Views table.


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Crystal obelisks on lacquered trays.



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More gilt, more modern.



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A lamp with a modern rock crystal base.



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Another interesting lamp base.



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Finally, a sofa meant for slip covers!



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An unusual zebra upholstered chair.



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A typically untypical Abbott tablescape.


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The mix that Abbott is known for: slipcovered furniture, antique crystal chandeliers, rustic coffeetable.



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The old mixed with the new.



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Out back, behind a gate, through a back yard - Shabby Slips recently expanded into a neighborhood house.




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In the house annex, things are definitely more casual.



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Someone could move right into the shop's annex.



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Notice the rug from Creative Flooring. This is my favorite 'skin' pattern.



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Wonderful card table with a mix of chairs.


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I love how the curtains are tied back in this room.


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And lastly, Abbott's attempt at being hip: two pink, Palm Beach inspired chairs.



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Shabby Slips in Santa Fe - more rustic than the Houston locale. Religious santos and crosses are popular here.



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Antlers and horns are sold in Santa Fe with it's more western ambience.



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Slipcovers are still emphasized in Santa Fe, unlike in Houston. Two Shappy Slips staples: club chairs with linen slips and down cushions -the best combination ever!!!