Why I love Antiques: Patina is Permission

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Rachel Stone

We’ve all heard the word “patina” and if you love old things (and you’re reading this blog so you do) then you’ve seen things that have patina, or maybe even own them. Patina is simply wear over time. It is the way something ages. Copper and silver tarnish, fabric fades and becomes threadbare, cushions become more and more squishy… you get the idea.

For the charming patina (and some is not!) there is a host of followers that get nostalgic, and protect or even defend it ardently. Charming patina is imperfect. There are flaws, things can be uneven, too small, too big… But the imperfections in a way are comforting. They communicate that perfection isn’t required. The imperfections of patina give us permission to be. To put our feet on the upholstered ottoman, to hang a gallery wall that may not have just the right pieces, to try our hand at making a pleated lampshade. We know from the start it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Patina give us permission to try new things.

While we were remodeling our English country kitchen I gathered samples of blue and off-white Zellige tiles. One of the biggest reasons I chose these tiles is because of their imperfections. They are handmade in Morocco and each tile is unique. They are uneven, of different thicknesses, some are chipped, and most have pits. I love this! They seem so much more “real” to me. Not only do these tiles help to give the kitchen a relaxed, country feeling, but I’m sure they were more forgiving for Matt to install!

Because the tiles were uneven and some were thicker than others it didn’t matter if they were perfectly lined up, or laid at exactly the same depth. This imperfection is freeing ~ especially for the novice trying something new. Now, Matt has laid quite a bit of tile, but he did mention that it was nice to have an “easy” tile to lay especially since it was in a prominent area.

This handmade imperfect tile adds just the right amount of relaxed pattern to the kitchen.

Now there is a point when the wear over time isn’t a charming patina. You’ve all seen the big brown couch we recently replaced. I’m not really sure how it could’ve been attractive even when it was new, but it did not wear well. There is a lesson here… Furniture, decor, and even clothing that have a classic, timeless design, and are well-made will wear well over time.

Our new sofa is made in the English rolled-arm sofa style which has been popular for decades. The fabric will wear out before the “bones” of the sofa do. Even when the armrests become threadbare and the fabric fades the sofa will still look wonderfully inviting!

Patina gives permission to try new things. Patina gives permission to use your things

Patina also comes in different levels. There is chippy paint, and there is furniture with paint flecks on it. This is what I call the difference between “distressed” furniture and “distraught” furniture. Be sure to give your worn items a once over on occasion to be sure they are still in the charming patina category!

What items in your home do you love because of their perfectly charming patina? How do you use the “lived-in” look to make your home more inviting? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and have fresh ideas to ponder in cultivating the art of your home!

Warmly,

Rachel

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Author: Rachel Stone
Rachel is passionate about creating a comfortable and beautiful home for her family. She also loves to share the lessons she is learning with her wonderful audience both on this blog and her YouTube channel.

16 thoughts on “Why I love Antiques: Patina is Permission”

  1. Good morning, miss Rachel. About 12 years ago, we put in an IKEA kitchen with the beadboard fronts and an oak butcher block countertop. The countertop needs to be oiled occasionally. I’d pick it all over again lol. It has patina. There are some marks on it. A candle exploded once and made a big mark. I was able to sand that out. It shows that the kitchen is a beloved place. Thank you for sharing your beautiful home 🏡
    Sincerely, Janina from Ontario, Canada 🇨🇦

    Reply
    • This is charming, Miss Janina!
      Those “marks” are a sweet record of your lives and the memories you’ve made together. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  2. Wow…that first picture of your living room with the brown couch in it certainly brings back memories and HOW MUCH you have changed and improved it now!!! And I’m so glad that you found a couch that looks perfect in there and is long enough for Matt to still be able to take a nap on it. BTW your kitchen looks awesome too!

    Reply
  3. I’m 71 with a bit of wear and tear myself. After reading your lovely post I see that my aging body has”patina”. I fit right in with my antiques. Thanks for the lovely post. I always enjoy reading them and watching your videos.

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    • Haha, I love this!
      Yes, I too, love the lines that time draws on our faces.
      And what good company to fit in with ~ well made, well loved pieces with fabulous stories!

      Reply
  4. Rachel, you have just lifted an enormous burden from my shoulders by your post this morning!
    My husband and I are moving to his childhood home next month and I was considering removing all of the old cabinetry…then I saw your kitchen! You’ve given me exactly what I needed…a picture of a kitchen that is just like hers to give me the confidence to keep the old and give it a little love instead of discarding it all for ‘new and improved’, much to my Contractor’s dismay.
    Thank you for graciously welcoming us into your home and being such an inspiration.
    Warmly,
    Mrs. A

    Reply
    • Oh, this is absolutely delightful! I have a soft spot for kitchens now & I SO wish I could follow along to see what you do in your kitchen! Thank you so much for sharing and happy “new” house homemaking.
      Warmly,
      Rachel

      Reply
  5. I love old things and have a china cupboard which is very old. The drawers don’t line up like they should and sometimes I have trouble shuting the doors, but I love the rounded bottoms of the top drawers and the tin bottoms of the bottom drawers.

    Reply
  6. Rachel, I’ve used an old carpenter’s tool chest as a coffee table for 30 years. It has many, many worn places which give it character. It truly is a rustic piece which I dearly love because you can put your feet on it as much as you like (guess who wasn’t allowed to do that as a child!). My mother even offered to buy us a new coffee table because she was horrified that her daughter would use such a thing in her nice living room!

    Reply
  7. I’m a history girl and patina is evidence of history. When I was picking out my sofa fabric, I told the sales lady that I wanted my couch to look as though time had passed it by, but that it was content with that. 25 years on and we still have that sofa.

    Reply
    • Great description, Miss Linda!
      Yes, patina gives a wonderful sense of history that one cannot get any other way. Enjoy your sofa for many more years to come!

      Reply
    • Great to see you here as well, Miss Janet!
      It’s been fun to have a post to share on the weeks between videos. Are there any interior design, DIY, or homemaking topics you’ve been pondering on? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

      Reply
  8. Good morning Rachel! I’m sitting in the Dublin airport waiting to board a flight home to Minnesota. My husband & I just spent 10 days celebrating our 40th anniversary here in Ireland. Seeing the homes here brought to mind your home and gave me a renewed sense of appreciation and love for our cottage styled home.
    Thank you for sharing your home.

    Reply
    • Congrats on 40 years of marriage, Miss Robin!
      What a lovely way to celebrate! Thank you for sharing how the cottages reminded you of our home (what a lovely comment!), and the interior design style we both enjoy. Have a beautiful evening.

      Reply

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