My values of Beauty, Comfort and Function hold true with garden living as well as inside the home.
I am drawn to a little bit of an island aesthetic mixed with a quirky English garden.No one does English quirky better than Odd Limited ( a wonderful English company specializing in garden furniture).Helen Bonham Carter said so eloquently about a rocker she purchased from them,"I sat in bliss on My Old Rocker and my bottom went to Heaven".My fav summer purchase so far this year is what i am calling my creamy boho brolly. The fringe gives it a little bit of whimsy I think.The movement of rocking and swinging is heaven to me. I have a bed size swing on my balcony outside my bedroom, lined with mushy decorative pillows. If I could remember being in a cradle it might have felt something like this.A hammock is always a must, and typically quite affordable. Such a simple concept. If trees accommodate the support, great. If not, I bought this teak stand when I worked on Pamela Anderson's house, which is a great solution if needed.Fabrics designed for outdoor use, are the most practical way to go (sunbrella), I often cheat and use fabric that i love even though they may need replacing more frequently. I made some red and white chaise covers, which over time faded to pink, and made oversized shame covers from pale blue powder terry cloth.In the end, at least for the summer months, all these bits and bobs come together for a yummy outdoor experience.
My love of lace goes way back. Partly from those early days when I would quietly rummage thru my Mama's drawers, baskets and boxes studying scraps of old lace, embroidery and ribbons, asking her "why, why this piece?" While they were jumbled, there was order to her chaos and she had a great appreciation of the smallest leftovers, which I inherited into my world.I would spend hours and hours studying the handwork of the labor of love from days gone by. I would imagine the conversations that may have transpired in lace making gatherings in the victorian days, or maybe the meditative silence that would come along with the need to concentrate.From then on, lace would catch my eye in all sorts of ways , but more in un-precious ways.For my wedding day, I used a scrap of lace as a scruffy bow in my hair, my version of a Vale perhaps.During my set styling days, I became quite known for creating room sets with a feminine touch, while avoiding becoming overly fru-fru. Tattered elegance.Over the years I have combined my mamas tat that she left to me along with my own found treasures and they have become core inspiration in my design work, either in a small discrete way, or sometimes as the star of the show.A "work in progress" of something special coming soon...My "less is more" philosophy runs true when layering lace into a home. It's typically so beautiful, not much is needed and it can sit in a modern setting as comfortably as in traditional.
While the lace I use for my design work is no longer made by hand, my process of designing lace is based on scraps of days gone by. My hope is that the beauty and soul are captured creating future heirlooms from the world of shabby chic.
Paint to me is part of story telling, whether brush strokes on canvas, transforming walls or giving a new lease on life to a vintage beauty. My mum was an artist, as well as our “in house” home painter, for both walls and hodge podge found furniture. Brushes soaking in the sink were a common sight.
I have always loved an artist’s studio. The visual process of storytelling creates a comfort for me. The paints, brushes, vessels of water, all with remnants of past projects by way of drips and drops.
Shabby Chic & I are of course known for a hundred shades of white, & to this day a large mass of white is my biggest AHHHH moment. Always angelic and heavenly, never seemingly cold.
But where my full palette sits best is nestled within the world of vintage furniture.
Texas flea markets has for years now been where I am most successful at finding my beloved palette, shades of white, blue, pink, greys and taupes.
I love the history that layers of paint portrays, especially within molding and cracks of vintage furniture, & and how overtime even though the most recently applied layer of paint has the intention of erasing a past life, eventually the past will find its way of revealing itself. And that is often when the real magic unfolds. I love nothing more than finding a piece of vintage furniture with layers of my shabby palette peaking its way in.
As I journey through life, I appreciate coming across inspiration for painting ideas.
For many years I have been pretty stubborn about only selling authentic painted pieces in my world. However with the scarcity of my palette out in the flea market world I am thrilled to have developed a curated line of paints that can support my aesthetic with the process of painting wood furniture.
The Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell Chalk & Clay paint has a dry hand due to the clay and chalk ingredients. I chose the palette based on my dream vintage finds over the years of all of the colours I wish I could find a never ending supply of. The paints can be used on their own or they are also designed to layer so the magic of mulit colours can be created through the process of painting furniture. There is of course an art to the process, which may take a little time and practice but is totally achievable.
Newly painted pieces can never replace the soul of authentic vintage history, for with that comes love and life. But never the less this special little paint collection is the start to a new history, in a Shabby Chic way.
The Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell Chalk & Clay paint can be purchased on our website or if you are a retailer and would like to carry the collection please visit: