Just launched in the past week or so is Rachel Ashwell's fabulous revamped Shabby Chic web site. If you left Shabby Chic behind years ago, you might want to take a peek at what the creator of the slipcover lifestyle has been up to lately. Fresh from her successful partnership with Target, Ashwell has been quitely opening up Shabby Chic stores nationwide. Fueled by the 20 year anniversary of her company, Rachel, the quintessential English Rose, is setting her sights on a total of 80 new stores. The main attraction, as always, is the slipcovered furniture and nobody does slipcovers better than Rachel. Her pieces are plump with down feathers, cushy, soft, and comfortable. Usually, Rachel works with a strict pink, green and blue palette but lately gray has been popping up all over: her new line of painted wood furniture is wonderful - Gustavian in coloring, French in design. The furniture prices are lower than what one is used to from her pricey slipcover line. But even with the slipcovered pieces, the prices seem lower than what they were back in the days before Target and when Malibu was their headquarters.
Another staple available on the web site is her fabrics, the poplins and linens in the luscious, soft, muted colors that make up her bedding line. The web site is a little hard to navigate and there's a lot that will be "coming soon" - but there is still some great eye candy here - lots of gorgeous Shabby Chic rooms with white linen and crystal chandeliers. Be sure to take a glance at Rachel's Favorites and Our Heritage. At the bottom of the page, the Gallery has even more pictures.
On a personal note, I have a client who recently purchasd the gray desk (which is mysteriously missing from the revamped web site) and Devon, a French styled chest of drawers, both very well made AND incredibly affordable, especially when compared with other lines of similar gray painted furniture. I'm just hoping that Rachel opens a branch here in Houston, right now Austin is the only lucky city in Texas.
Rachel's palette has moved from basic pink, green, and blue to include grays, khakis and whites. Here, the ubiquitous crystal chandelier in an all white and khaki room.
Gustavian and Shabby Chic - the new combination.
Tufting is something new for Rachel. Here she mixes an antique dresser with chairs from her furniture collection.
This charming, worn dining room table is $1250. The Darcy chair, faithfully copied from an antique Rachel salvaged is available in a cream or gray finish, with slip skirt - $399.
A first for Rachel: leather furniture!!! She also is selling vintage rugs in the stores, along with new ones. Here is Shabby Chic defined - overstuffed slipcovered sofa, touches of gold, touches of crystal and wispy, billowing curtains. Rachel brings in her favorite pinks and green through the painted antique furniture.
My favorite piece: Devon, a French styled chest in Gustavian gray. Available in two sizes: $925 or $1070. This would be great for a pair of matching bedside tables. Love, love, love this!!!!
This console is just $900. Pillows in Rachel's dreamy fabrics are sold in the stores and online too. The bottom shelf would be a perfect place to store things in baskets.
Another favorite of mine: the slipcovered chaise lounge. No one does it better than Rachel - no one!
One more favorite: Army cots for $100 make perfect extra beds for sleepovers and beach houses. Rachel has used this item for years and sells bedding made just for it.
Baby furniture and bedding is a huge seller for Rachel. The Rosalee chest to the left is a mere $850.
I adore the trendy brass crown and the crown hooks, sold under Accessories. The lighting section is "coming soon."
And finally - all of Rachel's books and CDs are available online. This one is a particular "Guilty Pleasure" for me. A fascinating tale that takes the reader through the renovation and furnishing of her Malibu home. Though she has since moved at least two more times - it is still one of my favorite houses of hers.