Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Totally Tortoise

Meet Me in Philadelphia
(Mark Sikes's tortoise shell coffee table via Habitually Chic)

There are always a few design elements or finishes that, despite a resurgence every few years, never actually go out of style. They remain chic regardless of the way they are used and defy the word "trend". Today's post is dedicated to one such design element: tortoise shell. Are you a fan?

While connoting luxury, tortoise shell finishes can be found in high and low price ranges. Natural accents like this add a worldly touch to any room without stealing all of the attention; in fact, the subtle print of tortoise shell is understated enough to blend into almost any setting. 

Here are just a few of my favorite tortoise shell decor pieces. And don't worry animal-lovers, these are faux!

Meet Me in Philadelphia
(one / two / three / four / five / six)
Meet Me in Philadelphia

Talented interior designers have been incorporating tortoise shell elements for a long time with rousing success. As the images below demonstrate, items in this finish don't shout, they whisper.
(Grant K. Gibson's pair of tortoise shell Parson's tables from Architectural Digest)
(Molding painted in a tortoise shell finish by Jeffrey Bilhuber via Sara Gilbane)
(Tortoise shell bedside boxes and frames via Pinterest)
(Bamboo molding painted to mimic tortoiseshell via My Notting Hill)

If you're feeling ambitious and want to try to DIY your own tortoise shell piece, I recommend checking out the phenomenal tutorials Jenny of Little Green Notebook and Danika of Gorgeous Shiny Things have offered their readers projects utilizing resin and paint, respectively. Why not give one of these projects a go?

I found my own tortoise shell-inspired side tables from Overstock and I think they add a unique touch to our guest bedroom without the hassle of having to DIY it myself.
Meet Me in Philadelphia
(via Meet Me in Philadelphia)

Are you totally into tortoise? Do you own any pieces in your home?


  1. Oh yes I LOVE tortoise! It has such a classy and timeless look. Well, that is the fake stuff of course. The real stuff is only ok if its super, super antique. Then again if its super antique, it also comes with a super price tag to match :)

  2. Love, love, LOVE tortoise shell. Seriously, I can't get enough of it. Or malachite. Oh, or shagreen. Ok, now I sound like a design crazy person. If the shoe fits, right?

  3. Hey Ashley, love the table from overstock! On the website they appear more golden-yellow than the richer brown shown in your images. Which do you think is more accurate in person? (I prefer the way they look on your website more.


  4. Yummy! I love it. And other than my aviators, I always choose the tortoise shell finish when I buy new sunglasses.

    That mirror still gets me. I love the imperfect sides.

  5. A huge fan! Wish I had more pieces around the house, but it's a fun thing to keep an eye out for and slowly collect...

  6. @Sara-Jane--Hi, thanks for your question. I'd definitely say the tables are much closer to my pictures (really, a dark brown and not orange or yellow in the least). Hope that helps! Thanks for reading!

  7. I absolutely LOOOVE it! Such a great, mottled texture. Always on the lookout for some great tortoise pieces, but they're hard to find around here!

  8. Cute side tables. Love the Parsons tables, too


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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