Sunday, 27 January 2013

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell

This week I'm reviewing Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell, from illustrated lifestyle publishers Ryland Peters & Small and CICO Books. Rachel Ashwell is a self-made business woman who founded the iconic brand known as Shabby Chic in 1989. Rachel's love of vintage and flea-market finds is comfortable, relaxed and reassuringly achievable. I chose to review this book as I love Rachel's style "the beauty of imperfection".

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces is a lovely insight into Rachel Ashwell's world that is beautiful as it is comfortable, as inspring and spontaneous as it is practical and personal.

The book is split into fourteen sections, starting with an "Introduction" into Rachel's world. In this chapter Rachel talks eloquently and fondly about her inspirations from Beatrix Potter's Hill Top house to movies like Wuthering Heights. How she is open to exploring new ways to express her stories with darker palettes that our richer in depth and with a beauty she would not have been open to in the past.

From there Rachel's interior story begins with "Texas Belle" in which Rachel tells how she transformed The Outpost into The Prairie. Here Cowboy country frills sit perfectly side by side with Marie Antoinette inspired delicate French gilded wood. All of course which is accompanied by pages and pages of beautiful images showcasing the beautiful "Prairie".

Next up is "Timeworn Elegance" which shows the stylish London home of her friend, interior designer and stylist Sera Hersham Loftus. It's Where rock 'n' roll meets comfortable family home with shimmery floorboards, shabby frills and tarnished bits of bling.
"My Year in Notting Hill" covers Rachel's time in London when she opened her store and made a temporary home in the same neighbourhood. "The Brighter Shades of Pale" is a glimpse into her top director of music videos and childhood friend Sophie Muller's house that has pops of faded raspberry tones and turquoise walls.
"Glamour and Bling" is a sneak peak into Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne's Californian home that is a blend of rock 'n'roll and Hollywood glamour that shimmers with diffused light.
In "Bliss on the Beach" we go back to a Rachel Aswell property, this time it's a quirky beach shack in Malibu that is furnished in a washed out colour palette with unexpected hearts, pearls and beads. In "A Life that Designed a House" Rachel visits the home of Brendan McBreen who designed and built a minimal meets country barn in Malibu. Brendan and his wife Jeanne have worked with Rachel at Shabby Chic for over 20 years so inevitably there house is full of a lifetime of Shabby Chic fabrics and bed linens. In "Handmade with Love" Rachel returns to London to share the unique houseboat home of crafty designer, photographer and stylist Emma Freemantle who makes customised bicycles wrapped in scraps of fabric, feathered headdresses, banners and corsages. Remaining in London Rachel then shares the authentically vintage home of artists James Russel and Hannah Plumb who live in a delightful "Petit Palace". From there Rachel heads out into the countryside to visit "Pearl's Place" which is owned by fashion designer Pearl Lowe and her Supergrass drummer husband Danny Goffrey. Then Rachel returns to London in "Shabby Man" to visit designer and stylist Huw Griffiths artful London townhouse. Rachel then heads back over the pond to share the tiny romantic gingerbread cottage on the edge of a wood in the New York Catskill Mountains in the "The Shabby Shack".
In the last section "Living Art" Rachel shares her inspiring moodboards.

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell is an awe inspiring hardback book full of beautiful photographs of some of the loveliest unique Shabby Chic homes. At a recommended price of £25.00, I think this hardback book is a must have for all of us that love the iconic Shabby Chic style!

Some of my favourite shots:

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell

Shabby Chic Inspirations & Beautiful Spaces by Rachel Ashwell

Please note that my opinions are my own and I am not paid for these reviews (apart from receiving a free book, of course!).

Have a sweet day!


  1. Invitation - inglês
    I'm Brazilian.
    Spent reading here, and visit his blog.
    I also have one, only much simpler.
    I'm inviting you to visit me, and if possible follow together for them and with them. I always liked to write, expose and share my ideas with people, regardless of class Social, Religious Creed, the Sexual Orientation, or, of Ethnicity.
    To me, what will interest is our exchange of ideas, and, thoughts.
    I'm there in my space Simpleton, waiting for you.
    And I'm already following your blog.
    Strength, Peace, Friendship and Happiness
    For you, a hug from Brazil.

  2. Hi Tori,
    What a lovely book to review and how well written your piece is...such a wonderful way to live, to enjoy imperfection❤

    1. Thank you, i need a little more shabby chic in my life!

  3. I do hope that you don't mind but I have made a covered tin using yours as inspiration and I have linked back to your post on my blog. If you are unhappy I will remove the link. Thank you. Jille xx

    1. I am delighted you have used my inspiration, I love it when my sweet readers make crafts inspired by mine, and really appreciate the link. Yours look so pretty!


Thank you for your sweet comments. I love reading them all.