PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston Jan:Feb 2024

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Page 39 of 83

L ast April, Renea Abbott was in a quandary. The lease for her store, Shabby Slips, was coming up for renewal. "I'd been on Bissonnet for 32 years and had to decide whether to sign another long-term lease or retire and do something different," she says. Looking around the store at all her inventory, she wondered what she would do with it all and what her employees would do if she closed shop. Then, another idea hit: Why not start fresh somewhere new and get the creativity going again. In November, Shabby Slips reopened in a mid-century building behind OKA on West Alabama, and Abbott couldn't be happier. "I love the change — it's such a boost," she says. With white walls and lots of natural light, Renea Abbott's New Shabby Slips Showroom on West Alabama. Perfection the new 5,000-square-foot showroom is an ideal backdrop for Abbott's signature high- contrast design style that focuses on a palette of black, white, and gilt. "I'm treating this shop like a gallery," she says. "It's edited with more upholstery, art, and mirrors, but I'm also starting to layer it with lots of lighting and accessories so that my customers have a full experience. I've been doing more interior design, so this store is about showing pretty vignettes and furniture shapes. It's more design oriented." Her favorite vignette features a 19th- century Scottish landscape with sheep by James Charles Morris, displayed in an antique Italian gilt frame and hung above a custom sofa in an abstract Élitis fabric. A pair of antique French chairs upholstered in blush velvet flanks a tea-height table, which she OBSESSIONS. DECORATION. SALIENT FACTS. Edited to had lacquered in black. "In this shop, I'm trying to mix more period pieces with the contemporary upholstery we carry," she says. "It's nice to get back to more traditional furnishings." Abbott still travels to France to buy for the store. She also buys from dealers who shop important estate sales, auctions, and flea markets around the globe. One of her favorite haunts is Round Top (Abbott also has a shop at Paul Michael's Market Hill 2 there). She looks for the right mix of furnishings, and it's all carefully edited to maintain the new showroom's clean and simple elegance. Abbott has brought in some new lines, such as Alfonso Marina, whose pieces "work so well with the high contrast dark and light I have in the showroom." A set of four contemporary bronze chairs with black rattan backs and white upholstery was brought from the previous store; arranged here, around an antique Italian marble top table with a carved wood base, they are a striking juxtaposition. "We're just shaking it all up and letting it fall differently," Abbott says. Shabby Slips, 3465 W. Alabama, By Rebecca Sherman. Photography Jenny Antill Clifton. Top: Shabby Slips' new showroom. Renea Abbott 38

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