Recently, all of the Annie Sloan Paint Retailers were sent an e-mail from Annie requesting information about our stores for her website. One of the things she was asking was a description of the store in seven words or less. For example, are we sophisticated, romantic, vintage, nostalgic, country, rustic, etc.?

That was an easy question. We’re vintage! Right!? But, she e-mailed me back and said there are all types of vintage. Are we shabby floral, shabby country, modern country, French country, French chateau, retro vintage or urban vintage?

Hmmm? Tricky. 

Reality strikes! What are we? I don’t think I could even succinctly describe in a sentence what differentiates any of those vintage styles. So, I did some research.

I started with French country, because I’ve always felt drawn to that style…at least, what I perceived French country to be.


French country is charming an elegant. In a French country home, you will see splashes of nature with country elements mixed in. For example, this highly elegant kitchen with ornate cabinets, delicately detailed hardware, but a simple yet natural butcher block counter top. Then throw in some vintage splashes, like the copper tea kettle and wooden bowls. And, probably one of the most characteristic details of a French country home are the gold gilded frames and blue floral patterns on linens or glassware.

 So, what’s the difference between French country and French chateau? 

French chateau is reminiscent of 15th-17th century French aristocracy. One of the main characteristics of a French chateau estate is the natural stonework throughout and the peaked roofs on the exterior.

For interior design, French chateau style is very rich. Dark wood, like mahogany and elaborate stonework. Arched doorways and high ceilings are seen throughout French chateau decorating.

Modern country combines a very traditional country look, like plaids, gingham’s and farm animals while adding a modern twist. 

Such as the contemporary chairs placed around a traditional country table setting. In a modern country setting, you can easily mix and match styles and colors to add individuality and personalized character.


This living room is shown with modern architectural elements (like the slanted stone fireplace and straight lines on the built-in bookcases) and contemporary furniture pieces with a subtle mix of country; the rustic and distressed store sign, tin letters and re purposed cylinder coffee table.

Shabby Floral and Shabby Cottage are very similar.

Shabby floral is the reminiscent of the “shabby chic” style that Rachel Ashwell made so popular. Shabby floral (as seen above) consists of a soft color palette…pinks, sage greens and whites. The furniture is lightly distressed and painted in the soft color hues and the decorating has lots of splashes of pink florals. Shabby cottage takes those same shabby floral components but adds more natural wood elements to it. 

Retro vintage home decor is very popular! Think 1950’s and 60’s…starburst patterns, bright and bold colors and tapered legs with brass caps. I love retro vintage home decor and will pick it up whenever I can find it for a good price to resell.

Once in a blue moon, I will even nab a retro vintage piece of furniture, like the starburst table below!

Finally, urban vintage is among my favorite styles! Think, restoration hardware! Urban vintage enthusiasts have a passion for old world things, but re purpose it to serve a more modern and contemporary style.

A traditional wing back will be reupholstered in a mix of worn leather and canvas. Or, old windows will be turned into a chic greenhouse with metal wheels. Urban vintage in the housing market is all the rage, too. What was an industrial warehouse on the water font with traditional brick facings and exposed pipes is turned into trendy restaurants or loft apartments complete with original concrete flooring.
This begs the question, where does knot too shabby “vintage” fit in the array of vintage home decor?

And, what is your favorite style?