Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture

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Rachel's Blog

Monthly Archives: September 2009

  • Bright Lights, Big City

    RA  Couture Art New

    On Saturday the 20th our new home for Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture
    opened at 117 Mercer Street New York.

    It was virtually 20 years to the day that I was unpacking boxes in the
    original Soho location, just a couple blocks away on Green Street.

    This new location is smaller and parred down from our previous location
    but actually quite similar to the original.

    I am proud to say all of our slipcovered furniture, tables and bedding
    are made in the USA. All of our vintage pieces are recycled from another
    era, and none of our bedding is packaged in plastic.

    oak table couture final final

    Having to pare down our selection forces me to edit and edit.

    While I have always had an appreciation for all products sold in
    Shabby Chic stores, editing in this way has caused me to just be
    left with a few chosen items that are completely my world.

    The combination of this edgy fresh extension table along with the relaxed
    slips of the dining chairs is everything that makes for magic, to me.

    dining chairs copy 2

    Liliput table 11

    Working with local artists allows me to create product without any
    compromise of design.

    Product development is easy when its a car drive away.

    In the case of this table I wanted the base to really take on
    an authentic old paint . Not as easy as it sounds, but achieved.

    And we can make it in any size, that's a treat.

    savoir ext table final 5

    Another local artisan, who is also able to produce any size.

    I always like the flexibility of an extension table, but some
    people prefer a fixed version.

    fluer de lis napkins final final

    Slipcovered sofas and chairs have always been the core of my business,
    and always will be. Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture is able to do
    anything when it comes to slipcovers, cushions and custom sizes.

    However I have spent hours and hours and hours, coming up with what I
    think is the perfect of the perfect, in relation to comfort,
    beauty and function.

    Every slipcover is under the scrutiny of Denise, our production manager.

    The subtle details of welts and the draping of fabric have all been
    carefully decided upon, and so too has the mush of the cushions.
    That's not to say we can't tighten the slipcovers, firm up the cushions
    and change the details to specifications.

    But, the results of the furniture on our show room floor is based on my
    idea of perfection.

    ladbrook sofa 2 copy

    When I first started my company 20 years ago, white denim slip covers were the uniform in my house, as with sticky toddlers fingers, white denim is the most easily bleached fabric.

    Now that my children have grown I now enjoy our grain linen slipcovers.

    Still totally inviting and the more crumpled the better, like an old favorite suit.

    squishy chair 2

    Even though solid neutrals are the basis for most of our slipcovers,
    sometimes we step outside, a stripe is often a friendly substitute.

    simple sofa 2 copy

    Knowing that some surroundings need slightly more formal furniture,
    the Portobello collection sits well here.

    portabello chair 2

    Portobello sofa 2

    willow rocker 4

    Even thought classic and traditional often evokes old fashioned, modern fits
    into our array too, so long as it's classic, modern and comfy.

    soho sectional 4

    My original concept of design was always children friendly.

    Oversized furniture always inviting for snuggle time for my children and I.

    Many memories have been collected snuggled into cushions or feet dangling, ever concerned with upholstery getting grubby.

    squishy chaise 2 copy

    Talking of sleep....

    our bedding wall copy

    For many years my stores have had a vast array of bedding contained in what we all called our "bedding wall"'

    In my redesigning and editing of our collections I believe we still have all that is needed to create the perfectly imperfect Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture bed.

    wooden canopy bed

    tufted headboard 2

    There could never be Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture without white and ruffles.

    bedding 23

    And not forgetting my roots, our union jack pillow is back,
    with a new mix of fabrics.

    pastel union jack 2

    I know you all miss viewing our products on our website.

    I thought this would be some way to show you some of the loveliness
    that are in the Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic stores.

    Of course there are many more designs of our machine washable slipcovered
    furniture, lovely, lovely twinkly lighting, candles and accessories.
    And then there are our one of a kind vintage treasures of tables, cabinets,
    mirrors and art. Handpicked by me through the flea markets. If you can't make
    it into our stores the lovely girls would be happy to take photos for you if
    you call and and tell them what you would like to see.

    P.S. Darcy and August chairs will be back next week.

    I have started my book signings now and will be at my Santa Monica,
    California store October 8th. look forward to meeting you there.

    Thank you for all your lovely comments about my book. I am glad you are capturing the essence of my words.

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  • Turning On The Lights


    On Saturday September 12th the lights went on and the doors reopened on my Shabby Chic store in Santa Monica, California. Making this happen was a team effort of a few people who believed Shabby Chic had to return.

    The handpainted sign of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture was completed on Sunday.


    I am focusing on authentic workmanship of days gone by. Hard to come by in today's world of automated machine made products.

    Not one ruffle, not one crystal drop or turned wood leg goes by my eyes without scrutiny.



    Most of the products in the store are manufactured by local craftsmen enabling us to offer custom options and paying close attention to every quality and detail.

    Over the past few months when I had no idea of the future, myself and my teeny team continued the make magic with my finds. Even undeveloped I would walk into my studio and just love the colors and textures and I knew one day they would find their home.


    Honoring my original concept, of creating heirlooms, every piece of fabric, cushion or slipcover is touched by human hand and perfected.


    Our new catalogue is illustrated by an artist and feels humble and soulful. Initially a temporary solution until we have photographed our collection. But I love the authentic handmanship.


    There is so much to share with you on the journey to now. I hope to meet with you if you pop by my Santa Monica or New York store.
    Or perhaps at one of my book signings.
    The first of which is October 1st in london. My dad is excited to attend. (They are all listed under book signings on my website).


    I am hearing my book is selling fast. If you want a signed copy my stores are well stocked.

    I so look forward to meeting every one of you.

    Truly with the greatest appreciation to you all for standing by me.

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