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Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

  • Vintage Shabby Chic

    For as long as I can remember, I have appreciated heirlooms, antiques and vintage treasures.  I was introduced to unique, soulful furnishings when I was a little girl. Some were valuable beauties, some were secondhand hand-me-downs (found at English jumble sales).

    searching

    Way back when my mum would bring home tattered ribbons and my dads dog eared books, I always liked to hear the history that was passed along.  Sometimes I doubted the stories, but I liked them anyway.  Some 40+ years later, I am still drawn to the uniqueness that comes along with timeworn treasures, and the process of the search.

    story telling in store

    Vintage Decor is now a huge component in the retail industry, whether by way of reclaimed woods, distressed fabrics or pieces in their original glory.

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    For Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture stores, vintage is at the very core.  I experience as much excitement and anticipation today as ever when I begin a vintage shopping trip.

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    While I typically have a loose "shopping list" of needs, from vintage china, vintage rugs & vintage lighting, to vintage coffee tables, end tables, dressers, armors, beds, mirrors and vintage art...I am always open to being side tracked to something that is just beautiful and special.

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    When hunting for wooden pieces,  I am usually  looking for authentic paint in the Shabby palette (white, ivory, pale pink & blue, grey teal or bleached raw wood) or pieces that can create a rustic vintage decor and on a rare occasion I will repaint.  I get great joy when I see pieces come through our "restoration for reloving"  process.  Each piece is cleaned, shored up if wonky, drawers and shelves lined with vintage wallpaper, new glass, marble or hardware applied...and when ready we proudly tack on our branded brass plaque.

    magic beauty

    With the world of retail blending into fewer sources, it causes many to look similar to each other.  I am proud that in the World of Shabby Chic, each one of our stores have a selection of one-of-a-kind, hand picked and restored treasures.  Ready to become heirlooms, all over again, when they are placed in their new homes.

    Texas Store

    Vintage Shabby Chic Furniture carries history by way of energy, or evidence of wear and tear.  A ding, a scratch, distressed paint or thread bare fabric.  Each unique in their beauty of imperfection, within the World of Shabby Chic.

    Vintage selection currently available At ShabbyChic.com...

    Vintage Furniture Collection

    TEN TRIED & TRUE TIPS

    1 - Be clear about what your looking for, aesthetically, functionally and financially.

    2 - Have good measurements (especially access of doorways and hallways).

    3 - Take tape measure with you.

    4 - Cash allows for bargaining.

    5 - No what you want to pay for something before you even ask how much.

    6 - Understand the scope of renovating.  While projects are satisfying I have a few too many that I have never gotten to.

    7 - I typically scope a market first quickly and then start to buy on my second round, (unless I see a great treasure).

    8 - Leave empty handed rather than with stuff, just to buy!!

    9 - Make notes of where you buy things if you're not taking with you straight away, including the phone # of the vendor, just in case.

    10 -  Patience, it may take a few visits to get your confidence up and your editing skills, but like with anything, practice makes perfect!

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  • Shabby Workshop: Part 2

    Over the course of the next 36 hours, we talked of business, creativity and of decorating. Sometimes the dialogue was very specific, sometimes metaphoric to life.  I was always such a poor student in school, so the notion that my words were worthy of notetaking, was humbling to me.

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    While the conduit to bringing this wonderful group of women together was the world of Shabby Chic and myself, the energy took on its own life once the workshop unfolded. It was powerful and real, and I thank every person who attended.

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    Towards the end of Saturday, all had the option to hang with me and Sarah (my Shabby photographer) for more behind the scene moments or go into the local town to shop, mainly at the Junk Gypsy store and Lizzie Lou.

    Those that opted to stay for the photo shoot were put to work.  We were shooting a couple of collections from Simply Shabby Chic at Target.

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    Our day ended with amazing family style BBQ that was made with love for our Shabby group from The Back Porch BBQ Restaurant.

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    An amazing band from Australia showed up on the Prairie doorstep, The Heart Collectors, like fairies and magically entertained us……

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    This evening couldn’t have been more magical. I had such warmth for everyone around the table. The world of Shabby Chic was a special place to be...

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    After dinner there was the option to watch a movie together, specifically "Saving Mr. Banks". This is a movie about the writer of Mary Poppins.  I specifically chose this, as to me it’s a perfect vehicle to demonstrate the passion of woman, wanting to tell her story, as she needed it to be told, and not to compromise, however wonky she was……..

    Some ladies felt the need to go outside into the fields and have their own little shabby sisters party (music by way of their iphones)

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    ……only some blurry polaroids remain ……..

    The next morning, our last, we talked and talked and talked and talked and talked, and still we ran out of time.

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    I had my emotional moment. This shabby journey is one that was never planned and one that gets it's fuel from all that love it.  I have a vision and passion to continue telling my story, but it’s the world of shabby chic, and all that live the shabby life that keep it going……

    And as with everything it takes a village...

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    The workshop was magical because of the village that helped make it happen and all who attended……and all those who couldn’t make it but sent messages and connected to us all as we went along.  Lucky us that we have this community…….thank you all.

    Saying goodbye is always bittersweet...

    Unknown-1

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  • Shabby Workshop: Part 1

    This past April 10th thru April 12th I hosted a Shabby Chic Workshop.  My new book "The World of Shabby Chic" was to be the framework of discussion, as it touches on "my story, my vision & beautiful homes", therefor setting the path to discuss my childhood thru my business journey and then onto designing homes.

    photo

    My village at The Prairie and also some of our corporate village team from Los Angeles prepped the Prairie for the arrival of passionate Shabby ladies from as faraway as Australia, Hong Kong, Canada and all corners of the USA.

    1A prepping

    Ladies started arriving down our long Prairie road…… with so much anticipation of the days ahead.

    2. guests arrive

    My first priority was to make everyone feel comfortable. The Prairie all by itself has big welcoming open arms, but I wanted to make sure all felt home, into the world of Shabby Chic. My promise was to share my journey, the ups and downs, the shoulds and shouldn’ts of the 25 years of my shabby life.

    Around 4pm we all started to congregate in The Rangers Lounge……and the shabby love began. With our common love of ‘the beauty of imperfection” there were no airs or graces…just lots of shabby tales to tell.

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    We could have chatted the night away but we had quite an agenda. The first of which was the tour of The Prairie, before dinner.

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    Strolling thru the fields of the Prairie with my shabby sisters was dreamlike for me as well as my guests.  We went into each and every room and I shared my story of how The Prairie came to be.

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    And then the “behind the scenes” of where shabby treasures get restored for reloving. I had just completed a few weeks of treasure hunting right before the workshop, so our work shacks had some “works in process" to view.

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    The sun was going down as our tour was complete, and soon it was dinner time. All shabby ladies were given one of my personal cameo as a welcome token…..  I love my cameos so it felt an authentic gesture to gift them to my shabby sisters.

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    Danny's homemade friend chicken was made with heart and soul, setting the standard for meals to follow...

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    After dinner we made our way to the mushy sofa area to properly introduce each other to each other. One by one we told our story of who we were, why we were there, and what we hoped to get from the workshop……Every person had their unique reason of what brought them to the world of Shabby Chic.

    seminar 1

    From that moment on I knew we had a special group…and what a privilege for me to have such a group for the weekend.  There was laughter, there were tears and there was lots of shabby love.

    Sometime before midnite we all went for some shabby slumber.

    SHABBY WORKSHOP: PART 2 - COMING SOON

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