Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hopelessly Attracted To Benign Neglect

Benign neglect, I'm hopelessly attracted to it!
Where extreme wear... distressed and peeling paint on objects, window frames, doors and walls is an Artful layered Beauty that only Time itself could perfect the process of.  If left alone and appreciated, even celebrated, it holds a certain Charm.  That Charm would be missed if one were to be inclined to redecorate in the modern approach to stripping, refinishing and eradicating the layers of History a piece or building has accumulated over time.

I adore pieces and finishes on architecture and walls that show this benign neglect and haven't been altered and "restored".  You can't imagine how many battles I've fought while improving this old House to convince Contractors, Family and Friends from refraining to 'improve' something they thought needed attention because they didn't 'get it' that I adored it "As Is" and wanted it left that way!!! *LOL* To me the benign neglect was far more interesting and attractive than a complete restoration or refinishing.

One of my favorite Shops to discover fabulous objects with the look of benign neglect is NOT TOO SHABBY.   All of the lovely images shared above were taken in the Shop, and I always discover beautifully aged objects that I would Love to own and decorate with.  Proprietors Kim and Katie appreciate the Style those of us who adore benign neglect are attracted to, so they don't try to refinish and totally restore every piece that comes into the Shop... they leave some of the pieces with the character intact that they were discovered in.  That is why I can always find a million photo ops every time I visit NOT TOO SHABBY   and wander around for hours feasting my eyes and senses with the objects they've so skillfully acquired and offer for sale.

In many parts of the World the Beauty of Aging and Time is appreciated enough to allow it to remain in a state of benign neglect.  I find those enclaves of charming old structures preserved by NOT messing with them and leaving them alone, very appealing... and very difficult to find in my part of the World.

Source: Bing Images

Source: Bing Images


Source: Go Europe - Lauris Window - Bing Images

Source: Petra Ruins - Bing Images

Source: Around The World In 80 Clicks - Panam City, Bangladesh

Source: Debra Cronin - French Antique Home

Perhaps because what one person might consider Blight... another might consider Charming... I'm of the latter 'Camp'... *Winks*
I've always been partial to Ruins, dilapidated structures, things partially reclaimed by Nature until they are melded as One. 

Source: Bing Images

There are time when something has been neglected and abandoned to an extreme of coarse and then I pray someone will invest their time and resources to reclaim it and bring it back to Life, if possible. I can't imagine someone investing this much time, effort and resources to build something magnificent and then just walk away from it and allow it to deteriorate beyond Hope of being Salvaged. 

I remember going to an Antique Mall and discovering a perfectly tattered and chippy Victorian Ceiling Tin with a mirror in the center and the benign neglect of the piece is what attracted me to it especially... there were two but I could only afford the one and Hoped to get back another day to score it's twin. Alas, by the time I had saved up enough the Vendor had repainted the piece in a bright White, erasing all of the patina and distress that had made the piece desirable to me!!! * Gasp*  I was heartbroken, and to this day it still sits in that booth and I lament that a perfectly aged piece was ruined *in my opinion* by the attempt to make it appear 'new' again.  Now it looks like every other reproduction piece of tin out there with it's new finish and I'm just not that attracted to it anymore... the extraordinary unique Beauty having been covered up by an ordinary coat of paint. *sob*
And yes, this piece graces the G-Kids Bathroom & thus the mirror is NEVER clean for long! *Winks*

To be sure there are many who feel just the opposite to me... but to those of us who revel in the look of benign neglect, you 'get it'... and you seek out those pieces and structures that have been left alone to age and show a distinctive Beauty in the aging process that we fully appreciate and strive to acquire or attempt to replicate in a way that looks as authentic as possible if we can't have the 'real deal'... but nobody really does it like Father Time, do they?

Dawn... The Bohemian    


  1. I just want to tell you I absolutely love your blog!! You have such interesting photos!

  2. Hello Dawn.....You are so right about father time.....In people as well as "stuff" LOL....I loved all these pictures today. Perhaps sometime when I return to "the oven" we could go junking together one day.

    Stay well dear lady,


  3. Sista, We must come from the same divine mother. Everything you wrote so beautifully about, echoes my exact feelings! Most fall in love with something when it is shiny & new, but it takes an older soul to love something in all aspects of it's journey. Few can see beauty in the appearance of age into it's eventual decay. Unfortunately it's not just objects that humans reject when the smooth newness changes for a transformation reflecting time & wisdom in it's appearance.



A life touched by God always ends in touching others. - Erwin McManus

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. - Og Mandino (1923-1996)

For creativity to flourish one should try to look at everything as though it were being seen for the first or the last time. - Quote from "A Thousand Paths To Creativity" by David Baird

Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence? ~ Galen Pearl