Shabby Chic Decor: 22 Rachel Ashwell Moments & My Conversation With Her

February 05, 2017

Pink shabby chic linens on bed Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture
Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

I'm a huge fan of shabby chic and never
tire of the timeless and tranquil designs of
Rachel Ashwell, who continues to inspire me
with the simplicity and honesty of the
furniture and textiles she dreams up and favors.

When I spoke with her a couple of years back,
I had the chance to delve deeper into
her creative process and passions.

Here are 6 nuggets of wisdom she shared:

1.
Try Looking in the Other Direction.
We discussed her endorsement of
"looking in the other direction" whether it be
shopping at the fleamarket, stretching
as an artist, or journeying for
personal growth.

It's fascinating that Rachel is such a keen editor
of lovely yet continues to stumble upon unlikely,
 yet consistent additions simply by

gazing in the other direction.

2.
Know thyself and the shabby chic trinity.
If you are a Shabby Chic®
mama, then you must know Rachel's mantra:
beauty
comfort
and function.

Other meaningful, relevant buzzwords?
heirloom
quality
faith
art
freedom
whimsy
substance
mindfulness
purpose.


3.
Have a reverence for timelessness.
I asked Rachel whether she finds solace in
not having to re-invent each season.
After 28 years of Shabby Chic goodness,

her signature style largely remains the same.

Rachel spoke with passion about
"continuation, rather than reinvention"
and how she joyfully anticipates a whole

new generation of Shabby Chic®admirers
who will embrace and interpret
for themselves the non-fussy style of Shabby Chic®

In terms of the hallmarks of the brand, she says 

"25 years ago or tomorrow, they all fit seamlessly...
in my heart, I walk my talk."

4.
Just Say No to Mediocre.
"Keep away from mediocrity," she reminds.
Nuff said.

5.
Country interiors, music, and hospitality
bring comfort and inspiration.
Rachel's Shabby Chic Couture® stores
have the same playlist of music pumping,
and I was curious as to the appeal of country music.

She explained she loves the poetry and storytelling
of the genre, just as she appreciates opera.

She favors nostalgic country artists such as
Johnny Cash, George Straight, and Patsy Kline,
and was fortunate enough to
attend a private concert by Willy Nelson.


She is inspired by "The tapestry of Texas living."
and contrasts it with other places she calls home...
for example, the "wide open, easy living" of California
living where "the climate plays a key role" or
"the academic culture in the UK

which was a bit tragic; a bit dark." 

Texas has stolen her heart with its colorful community,
spirit of gratitude, and its southern hospitality. 


6.
Spiritual maturity and sacred rhythms matter.
You can't miss the spirit of humility
in Rachel's creative endeavors and personal life,
and I wanted to know more about its roots.
As I suspected, her love of the ocean
and nature is in part linked to her faith.

She spoke about
"the methodical rhythm of the ocean"
and her belief "I am not alone." 

In Cali, she can be found trekking 6 miles a day
along the beach, offering prayers of gratitude
"for music, for the land,...".


Since I love Shabby Chic Couture's line of aprons,
I asked what they meant to her.
"I have this thing about washing dishes."
I love how Rachel elevates the sacredness

of this humble chore.
We chatted about how aprons are a nod to
the past and speak of an unhurried life,
a love of home, and unplugging.


7.
With Loss, Comes New Perspective and Priorities.
"The prairie came at a time when I lost my mother and was experiencing hard times. Where was I going to end up?
I felt this need to put a stake in the ground." 

In essence, it was the prairie, a series of 7 or 8 structures
at first presenting as "kind of dark" which would save her.
At her new very un-Hollywood property,

"Emotionally, physically, and philosophically,
the light was on me again...it was a soulful feeling."

 Clearly, The Prairie has nurtured Rachel well,
as you will see in the following moments featuring
her designs and interiors.

Rachel Ashwell holding bouquets of flowers at flower market
Rachel Ashwell in her element

A white Shabby Chic kitchen with vintage furniture, beadboard, and open shelves
Rachel Ashwell - Shabby Chic

Rachel Ashwell's own home in California is outfitted in Shabby Chic decor. The table is simple and white. She found the folding chairs at a flea market and added soft cushions. Photo: Amy Neunsinger / © 2014 Amy Neunsinger
Rachel Ashwell - Shabby Chic

White Shabby Chic Somerset Collection furniture pieces
Shabby Chic Somerset Collection

White Bella Table by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic
Shabby Chic Bella /Tabke

White slipcovered Ella chair by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic
Shabby Chic Ella Collection

Shabby Chic Carmel collection of furniture
Shabby Chic Carmel Collection

White Scout table by Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic
Shabby Chic Scout Table

Shabby chic romantic feminine bedroom with ruffles by Rachel Ashwell
Rachel Ashwell - The Prairie

Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic on steps of Pearl Barn at The Prairie
At the Pearl Barn - The Prairie

A living room designed by Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic
Rachel Ashwell - Shabby Chic

Inside a Shabby Chic store
Inside a Shabby Chic shop

Inside a Shabby Chic store
Inside a Shabby Chic store

inside a Shabby Chic store
Inside a Shabby Chic store

sofa in a Shabby Chic store window
Front and center in a Shabby Chic store window

Shabby Chic furniture inside a store


vintage prom dress hanging in a Shabby Chic store

Pearl Barn interior at The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic
The Pearl Barn

Blue Bonnet interior at The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic
Blue Bonnet

Everything little thing she does is still magic,
and you can read my interviews with Rachel
to learn more about her process.

Have a favorite Shabby Chic moment from above?

Peace to you right where you are.



images via

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4 comments

  1. Lovely post. If you have a chance to visit Rachael's Prairie B&B theprairiebyrachelashwell.com in Round Top, Texas it's a real treat. I find a connection between Shabby Chic and Swedish Hygge (which comes from a Norwegian word meaning "wellbeing") principles.

    ReplyDelete
  2. She's such an interesting woman, I remember living in Venice,, CA in the 80s and discovering her shabby chic style, she's always had such an incredible eye for beauty.

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