Shabby Chic is the well-known brand of Rachel Ashwell who opened her first shop in Santa Monica in 1989. Now, two decades on, there are stores in Los Angeles, New York, Texas, and London.
This well-known label describes a “look” that incorporates vintage and battered furnishings with lots of white paint and pastel colours. There are floral fabrics, frills and a touch of glitz in crystal and silver. Romantic rooms are styled like stage sets where it looks like the wistfully lovely heroine has left a trail of petals or a book of poetry.
Ashwell’s latest book in the franchise, called Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces, shows her homes in Texas, Malibu and Knotting Hill, as well as the homes of friends and business associates.
The most bizarre (but fascinating) arrangement is the “shabby shack” created from a hunter’s cabin in the Catskill Mountains. Entirely white, it is draped with volumes of lace and accessorized with white china, books and elaborate chandeliers.
This girlish confection is the retreat of a young woman who lives with a burly husband in a trailer on the other side of the stream. The trailer is not bohemian edgy. We’re talking 70’s-style avocado and gold, plaid sofa, dark wood paneling with an American flag draped between the propane tanks.
Don’t believe me? Check it out.
Romantic cottage style is a perennial favourite that is most often featured in the shelter magazines in the spring and summer. If you like it, have a look at several other new titles in the collection.
Romantic prairie style: homes inspired by traditional Country Life by Fifi O’Neill prospects the same vein. No sod huts on this prairie; but it’s all quite charming.
New Cottage Style: a Sunset design guide is another one that features rehabbed vintage furnishings set in pale and pretty rooms.