Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

  • Palette For The Soul

    I have to be careful to keep my mind focused, as it relates to things like eating the right foods (those sugars creep in), working out (a day, or two, or three goes by), avoiding idle information for my brain (unconsciously picking up those gossip magazines at the airport) and its so easy for bad habits to take hold.  But, no matter what is going on in the world, in my sleep, in my work, in my home, my color palette finds me, focused and consistent. My palette habit, is a healthy habit.


    The aesthetic of my palette has always been soft, pinks, greens, blues and earth tones.


    Over the years, while staying true to my palette, I have evolved to being attracted to the moodier spectrum of color, along with pale green has now come teal, along with pale pink has now come raspberry, and along with ivory has now come taupe and bleached raw woods.

    9. copy

    I have captured this palette in a chalk & clay paint line, of 10 perfect paints.


    For me, these colors come to me consistently and easily without effort into my world and I never stray.  I think it’s that they are soft and soothing, and the attraction is authentic to me and what I like to surround myself with.


    When I shop the flea markets, that’s the only palette my eye edits. In my home, whether in my workout space in my barn or a walk-by nook, whether in the world of Simply Shabby Chic at Target or in my couture stores, these colors always find their place, and they just work, aesthetically and soulfully.

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  • The Different Faces Of Shabby

    Shabby Chic was first born way back in 1989 with a store in Santa Monica, CA.  I actually consider myself more of a storyteller and stylist than I do a designer of product.

    1.first store (1)

    But with two small kids and years of sticky fingers ahead of me, the story I wanted to tell was one of beauty, comfort and function. Where sticky fingers could live amongst other imperfectly beautiful things, and I needed a product to tell my story of Shabby Chic.

    As any brand who has survived 26 years, fashion changes, competition pops-up and shopping habits change. And so, as the director of the creative vision, I have worked hard to stay true to the core values of what got my brand famous, while evolving and staying current. It’s not always easy, especially when you standby quality, details and a high level of customer service. But that is so very important to me, even if it comes at a cost.


    Imperfect, comfort, quality, timelessness, authenticity, and beauty are all words of value in the Shabby Chic aesthetic. And so over the years, as my own personal needs and tastes evolve, I have flowed different versions of Shabby Chic into the original aesthetic. You may not always think of Shabby Chic as a minimal aesthetic or our petticoat bedding complimenting a modern setting, but as I design from my authentic needs and tastes, I have found there are many Shabby Chic stories to be told, from ruffles to minimal.

    My kids’ sticky fingers no longer are a daily consideration, but life with friends, dogs, art projects, gardening, the beach and just living is.  So even when working with simple clean lines in my design work and more of a modern aesthetic, mushy cushions, washable covers, and flakey furniture all still welcome true living without the intimidation of perfection.

    All those years ago when I began, my only other competition in slipcovers were the plastic ones to keep upholstery clean.  Now, there are many options with different prices and qualities.  My priority is still to produce product that inspires friends and families to snuggle, and will ultimately become future heirlooms, with soul made possible by the quality of the product. It brings me such joy to see Shabby Chic furniture in a variety of homes (especially on Instagram, I get to see them all), sometimes in a way that shabby is famous for, but also in a minimal or boho setting.  As that shows me, the true value and core of my original story, can sit comfortably any place, and in any space, no matter what is in style.


    Simple Sofa, forever ago… as good today, as it was then…

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  • Shabby Shower

    I recently hosted a bridal shower in my home for a friend of my daughter, whom I have known forever, Kendra Zamel…  She's a special girl with the most captivating smile, so I was joyous for my home to be a part of her special day.

    It was actually kind of an impromptu event, but my home and my treasures lend themselves well to spontaneous celebrations.  The event was held in my barn and garden

    I'm always happy for an excuse to get out my vintage china.


    place setting

    However, my daughter and her friends really were the "designers and organizers”, I just filled in some of the blanks.  Some party rentals were needed, including some "salmon colored glasses", which typically wouldn't have been part of my kind of pink, which gave cause for some funny banter.

    salomn glases

    Lily enjoyed focusing on signage needs on chalk boards.


    I of course, loved fiddling with flowers

    roses & flowers

    There was a station where the girls could make floral crowns.

    flowers crowns & pool

    My vintage bed served as a lounging photo opportunity

    outside bd

    Truthfully, the combination of the setting, the beautiful girls and the love of their friendships, gave the event a fairytale quality.

    I hope from the bottom of my heart that Kendra’s (soon to be Kendra Wilson), has a beautiful journey ahead of her…

    And the most beautiful wedding…

    wedding tree

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