Monday, July 19, 2010

The Original Vintage Girl

The second in the series of women who have influenced my views on interior design is Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic.
In 1989, when most of us were thinking modern, she was recycling and upcycling old and discarded decorative items, showing us that there was a certain laid back glamour we could all attain, with a bit of elbow grease. This English woman, transplanted in California, took up where Laura Ashley had left off, mixing that shabby, very british aesthetic with a touch of faded French je ne sais quoi.
Ever since then, I have been painting furniture white, moving on more recently to bolder colours. I have mixed unmatched chairs, planted old fashioned roses and re-invented old chandeliers. Well worn Louis chairs in faded colours are still in the top ten and vintage linen is still doing the rounds.... I think even Martha Stewart owes a lot to this stylish girl.
I had wondered what had become of her until recently when I saw her (now not so) new book at the gift fair. All I can say is the last copy I had left in the shop - that I had hoped to take home - was stolen. By a very style-conscious thief!


  1. Oh that second kitchen is so gorgeous. I had kind of forgotten about her. She did influence us all in some way.

  2. A bit shabby that someone stole your book, but such a chic post. Love it. But it would never work in the Fibro - too white and girly for all the boys.

  3. awww, that's a shame! That book is great, I picked it up myself when it just came out.
    Funny thing happened when I started looking at this post, I stopped at the first kitchen image, thing to my self; That looks great, very Shabby Chic.... Ha, ha, too funny that it actually is, I need to really READ my RA book, don't you think ;)

    Have a great week,
    Northern Light

  4. I agree! She has had an enormous impact on interior design and it is still very much evident everywhere.

  5. I love the colour of that outdoor setting. Very chic.

  6. Thank you a MILLION for this post, because I saw her fabulous space at the High Point Furniture Market this past spring, and then, for some reason, forgot all about it. What I love about her style is that it is easy to live in, and with. Nothing stiff, nothing too fancy to sit on or use. She really is a star!

  7. Beautiful post... I discovered Rachel Ashwell when I was 21 and extremely impressionable! My love of Shabby Chic has been melded with a love of more rustic Vintage over recent years, but I'm a still a disciple!


    PS - I love your blog so much I'm going to add you to my blogroll so I can share you with all my lovely readers x