Kim Galindo was shabby chic when shabby chic wasn’t cool. Or rather, she was shabby chic when the whole world wasn’t pulling old tables out of curbside trash heaps and arming themselves with tools designed to wear away at perfect paint jobs.

Galindo is a longtime follower of Rachel Ashwell, a California woman generally credited with coining the term shabby chic in the 1980s and furthering it as an interior design philosophy. And the style isn’t all about chipped paint surfaces, old doors and rusted-out metal pieces, though that’s what some of the current fascination would have you believe.

“It’s using flea market finds, mixed with antiques and comfy, lived-in furniture,” Galindo says. “Mine is a lot of pastels – robin’s egg blue, rose reds, celery greens – summer colors. And taupes and whites. I also use a lot of animal print accents.”

Done right, says Galindo, an interior designer herself for 14 years, it can have that “designer feel and expensive look.”

In the Galindo home, which Kim shares with her husband Joe, son Bart, a Lake Highlands High School senior, and sometimes with son Zach, a LHHS graduate who now attends college in Denton, it has certainly been done right.

The Galindos moved from University Park into their 3,700-square-foot home 10 years ago.

“People don’t do that. All our friends were like: You’re moving? Why are you doing that? To them, we were going the wrong way. But it’s been just perfect for us,” Galindo says. “We really wanted our kids to grow up in a more diverse atmosphere, both culturally and economically. And we always wanted to build a house.”

So when they saw tractors on the hill near Audelia and Kingsley, they were, Galindo says, “so excited.” After consulting with the builder to see what kind of community was being planned, the couple pulled a number five in a lottery, giving them the opportunity to choose a prime lot on which to build their family’s new home.

“We built this house. Designed it and built it,” Galindo says proudly. “We worked with an architect, and it was great, something I’ve always wanted to do.”

She hasn’t done all the work herself (she uses neighborhood artists and craftspeople for some of the projects), but she has had a hand in every room, every detail in the house, from the eight-foot tall front door with shabby chic faux finish, to the needlepoint rugs and pillows that adorn nearly every room, to the vintage Sports Illustrated pages torn from old magazines and incorporated into a border in the game room.

“For me,” Galindo says, “it was the ultimate art project.”

A visitor to the Galindo home can hardly turn her head without catching another shabby chic detail. An old corbel here, a wire birdcage there. Here sits an old garden trellis on a ledge overlooking the staircase. Beneath the stairs, a quaint twig bench. Antiquated window shutters are incorporated into almost every room.

Her two-favorite rooms are the family room and her bedroom.

Of the family room, she says: “It has a whole lot of light. There are 24-foot ceilings with a wall of windows, and the sunshine just comes through. I love all the colors. We live in here.”

Of the bedroom: “It’s very soft and serene and exactly what I’ve always wanted to do. I used a lot of taupes, whites with deep rose accents and bronze and gold. It’s really big and very beautiful. It’s been a blessing to me.

“I have my Bible study there every morning,” says Galindo, pointing to a cushy chaise lounge with a little table beside it.

Galindo also uses sentimental items such as old family photos and sketches her father made of her childhood home in her design plan. In her powder room, which was inspired by the “quaint, narrow cobblestone streets” of the French Riviera, a collection of crosses received from children in the family church’s Youth Prayer and Worship Night adorn the wall.

The whole “art project” has taken Galindo nearly the whole 10 years of living in the house to complete. It wasn’t until the residence was on the Holiday in the Highlands home tour last year that she kicked herself into high gear.

“Before that, it was truly the shoemaker whose kids didn’t have the shoes. I was always doing my own ideas in other people’s houses. When it came time to do mine, it was easy.”

And was it worth the wait?

“It has been awesome. We love our neighbors and enjoy each other so much. We love the school,” she says. “We are just so thankful we moved here.”