Well-worn comfort and objects, the beauty of imperfections, and simple practical living–these are the cornerstones of what has come to be known as the Shabby Chic style. Shabby Chic by Rachel Ashwell describes a revived appreciation for what is used, well-loved, and worn. It is a respect for natural evolution and a regard for what is easy and sensible.
Browse this book and Ashwell’s others as I have to gain a better understanding of her style and ways you can use it in your own decorating and entertaining. The color photographs are full of visual details that you might be able to use.
Ashwell began the Shabby Chic line in Santa Monica, California, in 1989, when, as the mother of two young children, she needed a practical and versatile, yet charming, way to decorate her home; since then, she has developed her brand through home furnishing stores, and slipcovered furniture, bedding, and fabrics sold worldwide. She is also the author of four Shabby Chic books.
Ashwell’s design style features a lovely palette of soft, feminine colors, fresh white paint and a love for the finishing touch that may be slightly imperfect, yet is filled with meaning. Vintage items, flowers, feathers, tulle, jewels, crystals, ribbon, and lace are featured in her decorating. But her style is about much more than simply decorating an attractive home—it’s an intimate warm approach to creating thoughtful occasions and comfortable environments.
Shabby Chic: Sumptuous Settings and Other Lovely Things features a baby shower, a birthday party, bat mitzvah, turquoise party with Pamela Anderson, restaurant opening for Jennifer Lopez, ballerina party, and tea party with vintage teacups. Ashwell also shows how to make a maypole, how to decorate hats for tea party, how to make an arty centerpiece and a ballerina centerpiece.
An entertaining tip of Ashwell’s that I found extremely helpful to remember is that, instead of seeing a budget as a limitation, use your budget as a way to concentrate your efforts. Don’t waste time worrying about extravagances you can’t afford– enjoy experimenting with all the possibilities that are available at any level with imagination.
Ashwell said on page 2, “A sumptuous setting is a place of abundance and generosity, the necessary backdrop for any party….Surrounding yourself with things you care about and find appealing means that you will be able to spontaneously pull together a celebration at any time from the stuff of your day-to-day existence. A festive occasion in a sumptuous setting is a celebration of the spirit and the heart—a chance to show how much we care for the special people in our lives by pampering them a little, inspiring them a little, and allowing them to feel cherished—as they realize that every detail has been carefully thought through and arranged for their enjoyment.”
Check out these volumes and learn more about a gracious approach to decorating and entertaining!