Q&A: Janet Coon of Shabby Fufu

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Janet: I am a nature loving girl who was born in NYC, has lived most of her life in Miami, a  lifelong artisan, an entrepreneur, a patient wife of 30 years and a mother of two amazing daughters in their twenties.

The one, the only…Shabby Fufu studio!

Q: Describe your decorating style in three words:

J: Soft romantic elegance

Don’t you LOVE this old dress form?

Q: What inspired you to start the Shabby Fufu business/store?

J: I had been creating and selling both my art pieces and antiques/vintage for decades in a variety of shows and in several past retail venues that I was involved with. Back when the internet was first grabbing a stronghold of society and with the infancy of Ebay, I decided to give on line selling a shot to expand my business out of the Florida market. At first I concentrated on offering my vintage pieces that I had collected over the years and as I gained more of a following began offering my art pieces on Ebay up for bids as well. I did very well on Ebay for a number of years and made the progression to having my own website called Shabbyfufu. The name came from a partner that I had in the antique all where I was selling at the time. Whenever I’d design a new piece and bring it in she would say….”oh, you are so shabby and so fufu!”. It just took a life of it’s own from there.

A magnificent chandelier with mason jars…one of Janet’s creations!

Q: You are a multi-talented artist and produce a lot of unique items for your clients. Do you have a favorite item or project that you have created for a client?
J: Thank you! I would have to say that my favorite pieces to work on are the romantic style dress forms and mannequins that I’ve been creating for about 15 years now. Most of these pieces I now do by special order to accommodate the buyer’s preference. Since I made my now well known blue Mason jar chandelier, these have become a mainstay product of the business and with each being a one of a kind art piece I love to work on these as well.

A lovely diptych photo collage, courtesy of Janet…

Q: Your home was recently photographed for the Fall issue of Romantic Country. What was that experience like?

J: This was the second shoot that I have done with Fifi and that gave me an advantage in that I knew what to expect and could help pre style my home to save time. She is a darling and I enjoy her company and admire her great eye for style and design.

A sampling spread from the new issue…

Q: You have worked with FifiO’Neill in the past…were you inspired by her in any way?

J: Yes, as I mentioned above I had worked with her before and I adore her aesthetic. Recently I had the experience of working with another team of photographers and a stylist and have an exciting upcoming feature in yet another publication in the Fall. I’m honored to have had my home and business chosen and always learn so much from these pros!

Fifi, working her magic on the photoshoot!

Q: You have mentioned on your blog that you travel a lot for your special treasures. Where are some of your favorite places for special finds?

J: My absolute favorite place to search is in France. This past May I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend a bit of time driving the countryside and sourcing some great pieces in out of the way brocantes.

What a great chippy, yellow bench…would look great on my front porch!

Q:What are some of your favorite antique pieces in your own collection?

J: I have an ongoing love affair with salvage, and have acquired some cast offs that I love from my husband’s construction business remodels. A wonderful pair of huge old gates, old windows and two mantels are a few of these that are now mainstay decor pieces in our home. I have a passion for chandeliers and have several favorites here as well.

Q: Any forecasts about where the shabby chic look or French home design trends will move in the future?

J: As we all know trends come and go, but I do feel that with a base of whites and creams in both wall colors and in furniture they are timeless and will fit any decor. I see the shabby chic style as moving to more of a bohemian chic trend at the moment and away from all of the pink rose overload of the past. I do love French home design…but only if it’s authentic. I feel that some of what you see mass produced as “French style” is a misnomer and a trend that is petering out.

I love a good, ol’ cabinet, filled with treasures!

Q: What are some easy ways that one could achieve a Shabby Fufu look in their home? Any decorating advice?

J: Stay authentic to what you love…buy one of a kind pieces, tattered vintage and layer it all with a white base and it’s a look that you’ll never tire of.

Cute vintage enamel ware with roses…

Special THANKS to Janet for the lovely interview and the wonderful images, that were all pulled from her blog.

Check out Janet’s blog, ShabbyFufu.blogspot.com for more and if you’d like to check out her wonderful online shop (which I recently purchased a wonderful vintage yard-long photograph from!), for some great vintage shabby goodies, go to: http://www.shabbyfufu.com/

Copyright 2012. The Savvy Seeker blog by Erin Hurley-Brown. All Rights Reserved.

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