Over the last decade, since opening a home furnishing store in Santa Monica, Calif., Ashwell (Shabby Chic; The Shabby Chic Home; etc.) has built an empire around a decorating style that involves equal parts flea-market salvaging, craft work and mix-and-matching from different ethnic cultures. In this uneven fourth book, she instructs readers on how to create striking settings for entertaining and special events. While there are some useful ideas here for anyone who wants to create a unique party on a budget-for example, hanging flower-adorned thrift-store hats on the backs of chairs or mixing vintage pieces of glassware with more ordinary tumblers for a funky effect-the usefulness of other do-it-yourself sections, such as a page devoted to instructions on how to make a traditional English maypole, may elude the average reader. Some might also be alienated by the celebrity sheen of other projects, which range from the makeover of a Pasadena, Calif., restaurant for Jennifer Lopez to a birthday party designed for Pamela Anderson's six-year-old son. Although this book is a bit more glitzy and produced than Ashwell's previous works, her old-fashioned yet fashionable style is appealing when she focuses on basic decorating tips. Newcomers to the shabby chic aesthetic might do better to seek out previous volumes in Ashwell's oeuvre, but confirmed fans will probably find something to enjoy in her ideas on how to transform a party space into something unusual and memorable. (Mar. 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.