Shabby Chic

( 11 )

Overview

Comfort, the beauty of imperfections, the allure of time-worn objects, and the appeal of simple practical living: these are the cornerstones of what has come to be known as the Shabby Chic style. Like the cozy familiarity of a well-worn pair of faded jeans, the dilapidated elegance of an Italian villa, or the worn grandeur of faded velvets and mismatched floral china handed down from your grandmother's attic, the Shabby Chic style is a revived appreciation for what is used, well-loved, and worn. The hundreds of ...
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Shabby Chic

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Overview

Comfort, the beauty of imperfections, the allure of time-worn objects, and the appeal of simple practical living: these are the cornerstones of what has come to be known as the Shabby Chic style. Like the cozy familiarity of a well-worn pair of faded jeans, the dilapidated elegance of an Italian villa, or the worn grandeur of faded velvets and mismatched floral china handed down from your grandmother's attic, the Shabby Chic style is a revived appreciation for what is used, well-loved, and worn. The hundreds of photographs in this book invite you inside the unique world of Shabby Chic. Rachel Ashwell, founder of the Shabby Chic home decor stores, for the first time provides her invaluable advice on how to re-create Shabby Chic style in your own home.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ashwell, founder and owner of Shabby Chic, a home furnishings chain, shares her secrets on how to obtain the decorating look that suggests "the aura of old money, cushy comfort, and crafted indifference." She covers such topics as how to negotiate a flea market and incorporate the purchases for the home, the types of fabric best suited for this look, and how to use flowers to accessorize a room. Lots of color photographs depict the "shabby chic" look in casual, formal, and contemporary settings. This type of eclectic decorating continues to be popular, making this a wise purchase for most libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060982041
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 197
  • Sales rank: 802,832
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.22 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Ashwell is the creator of the world-famous Shabby Chic style. In 1989, she founded the Shabby Chic home furnishing stores, and later, the Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture stores. In addition to being a business owner and designer, Rachel is also the author of the bestselling Shabby Chic; Shabby Chic Home, Shabby Chic: The Gift of Giving, and Shabby Chic: Sumptuous Settings and Other Lovely Things.

Wynn Miller is a Los Angeles-based photographer. His portfolio includes work for Apple, Yamaha, Max Factor, Avia, Avery, GTE, and Shimano.

Cathy Mogull lives in Summerland, California where she is the proprietor of Summerland Mercantile, an emporium featuring vintage finds, handmade treasures, and creative workshops.

Deborah Greenfield, Rachel Ashwell's sister, studied art at the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design. She is also a choreographer and an award-winning flamenco dancer.

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Read an Excerpt

Intorduction

Comfort, the beauty of imperfection, the allure of time-worn objects, and the appeal of simple, practical living: These are the cornerstones of what has come to be known as the Shabby Chic style. Shabby Chic, the home furnishings label and retail chain I founded in 1989, is now recognized not only as a brand name, but as a decorating style. Though some may find the phrase "shabby chic"--the idea that something "shabby" (faded and dilapidated) can be considered "chic" (elegant and stylish)--paradoxical, the two elements go hand in hand. Shabbiness, in its shunning of what is too new, modern, or ostentatious, as well as in its rebellion against perfection, is precisely what makes this comfortable look so alluring. The cozy familiarity of a well-worn, beloved pair of faded blue jeans--versus the starched stiffness of a new pair--is the appeal of Shabby Chic.

I didn't invent this relaxed style. Europeans have long appreciated this approach to living: Witness the dilapidated elegance of an Italian villa, French castle, or English country estate whose owners can easily afford new furnishings, but prefer the worn grandeur of faded velvets and peeling vanities handed down from their ancestors. Shabby Chic represents a revived appreciation for what is useful, well loved, and comfortable, for those things that some might perceive as being too tattered and worn to be of use or value.

Collecting important, rare, or costly objects meant to be seen and not touched is not part of the Shabby Chic philosophy. My philosophy of decor is that nothing should be too precious. A child should feel free to put her feet on the sofa, a guest, his cup on the coffeetable. I believe in cozy, not fussy; relaxed, not stiff. I believe in living in, on, and around one's things, not merely with them.

A roomy, slipcovered chair big enough for a child and a dog or two, with slightly wrinkled, worn fabric and ample arms perfect for plopping your legs over; an old trunk, its paint peeling around the edges, given new life as a coffee table; a vase of roses from the garden, a bit wilted, a few petals missing; a vintage mirror, framed with a white floral iron piece salvaged from an old gate and chipped in places, but still charming; a slightly rusted flea market chandelier; a scratched-up coal scuttle used as a bread box; an array of vanilla-scented candles adding a warm glow to a cozy room--these are some of the elements of the effortless, inviting look I prefer. Colors in keeping with this way of living tend to be soft, palatable tones such as seafoam, mint, and celadon greens; dusty roses; pale sky blues; and ivories, creams, and grays that appear to be muted by age, or crisp, clean whites that blend with everything. Brighter or darker colors can occasionally be a part of the look if they are treated with subtlety, combined with white or light colors, or if they appear to be faded by time.

But Shabby Chic goes far beyond the stereotype of a few tea-stained florals and some cushy chairs. Some have called this shabby yet elegant look "a marriage between the laid-back, breezy ease of Los Angeles beach life and the romantic prettiness of English country life at its most casual." Others have described it as having "the aura of old money, cushy comfort, and crafted indifference" or as "the merging of a romantic, old-fashioned, aesthetic appeal with modern functions." To these qualities, I would add that the style suggests things that are inherited rather than store-bought and handcrafted rather than mass-produced. It is also a style that is appreciative of the beauty of process and evolution.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2002

    Rachel makes shabby finds, very chic!

    A few years back I bought this book with the idea that I needed to learn more about 'Shabby Chic', to fulfill the needs of my clients. I quickly fell in love with the her unique style. In this book one will find every basic element of Shabby Chic interior decorating. This book is a must for anyone who wants a cuddlely cosy, read a book on a rainy day, comfort in there home. She shows one how to turn the shabby finds of flea markets, estate sales and yard sales into amazingly chic home decor. If you can only buy one Rachel Ashwell book, this is the one to buy.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2008

    Good, but needs more photos

    I love the design of Shabby Chic, but I hate all the writing. I feel there is more writing then there are beautiful photos. For me, design is all about seeing it, not reading it. This one is actually my least favorite out of all of Rachel's books. Nonetheless, the photos that are in there are gorgeous.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2002

    Why are all the decorators headed to the flea market?

    Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic style: faded floral chintz, crystal chandeliers, garden furniture indoors, chippy frames and statuary, candles, mirrors, pastel and sea glass palettes. If that's your cup of tea, start pouring!

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