Interview with Rachel Ashwell {2013}

September 16, 2013

It was my pleasure the other day
to speak with creative genius
Rachel Ashwell
of Shabby Chic Couture®.

(image above: lobsterandswan)

Autographed copies of the new book
are now available for
Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie: And Flea Market Treasures
(Cico, 2013)!

Don't miss these either!

Tracing my fondness and deep admiration for Rachel's empire requires time travel to the early 90's
when life centered around babies, nesting, and a relentless love of vintage.

Yaaaaa, I know what you're thinking...get to it, mama!
What is she like anyway?
A wee crumb pour vous: for starters, she is
intelligent, deeply sensitive, eloquent, unhurried, and introspective.

Wanna peel back the onion a bit with
glimpses of Rachel Ashwell's
philosophies, inspirations, and humility?
Even more glimpses from a previous interview with her here.

We first discussed her endorsement of
"looking in the other direction" whether it be
shopping at the fleamarket, stretching
as an artist, or on a journey of
personal growth.

I find it fascinating Rachel is such a keen editor
of lovely yet continues to stumble upon unlikely,
 yet consistent additions by gazing in the other direction.

If you are a part of the Shabby Chic®
brethren, you know Rachel's mantra:
and function.

Other meaningful terms for her?
("Keep away from mediocrity," she reminds)

I asked about the brand's timelessness
and whether she finds relief in
not having to re-invent each season.
She reminded me that in 2014,
the brand celebrates
its 25th birthday!

Wow. How can that be?
She spoke with passion about
"continuation, rather than reinvention"
and how she joyfully anticipates a whole new generation of Shabby Chic® admirers who will embrace and interpret
for themselves the non-fussy style of Shabby Chic®

In terms of the hallmarks of the brand,
she says "25 years ago or tomorrow, they all fit my heart, I walk my talk."

Rachel's Shabby Chic Couture® stores
have the same playlist of music pumping,
and I was curious why country music appeals.

She explained she loves the poetry and storytelling
of the genre, just as she appreciates opera.

She favors nostalgic country artists such as
Johnny Cash, George Straight, and Patsy Kline,
and recently in NY was fortunate enough to
attend a private concert by Willy Nelson.

is Rachel's property book about her
small hotel in Round Top, Texas,
and TEXAS is very dear to her heart.

She is inspired by "The tapestry of Texas living."
and contrasts it with other places she calls home...
for example, the "wide open, easy living" of California
living where "the climate plays a key role" or
"the academic culture in the UK
which was a bit tragic; a bit dark."

Texas has stolen her heart with its colorful community,
spirit of gratitude, and its southern hospitality.

You can't miss the spirit of humility
in her creative endeavors and personal life,
and I wanted to know more about its roots.
As I suspected, Rachel's love of the ocean
and nature is in part linked to her faith.

She spoke about
"the methodical rhythm of the ocean"
and her belief "I am not alone."

In Cali, she can be found trekking 6 miles a day
along the beach, offering prayers of gratitude
"for music, for the land,...".

Since I love Shabby Chic Couture's line of aprons,
I asked what they mean to her.
"I have this thing about washing dishes."
Ha! Me too. Again, a humble chore.
We chatted about how aprons are a nod to
the past and speak of an unhurried life,
a love of home, and unplugging.

 my in my SCC apron and Tom's

Highlights of creating Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie: And Flea Market Treasures?
"The prairie came at a time when I lost my mother and was experiencing hard times. Where was I going to end up? I felt this need to put a stake in the ground."

In essence, it was the prairie, a series of 7 or 8 structures
at first presenting as "kind of dark" which would save her.
At her new very un-Hollywood property,

"Emotionally, physically, and philosophically, the light was on me was a soulful feeling."

 Clearly, The Prairie has nurtured Rachel well,
and the book in turn, pays it forward.


I doooooo have a deeper understanding
for endurance with the year I have experienced.


Ready to get your copy of Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie: And Flea Market Treasures?
Me too!!!
I will share more about its brilliance
when my copy arrives!

Thank you so much, Rachel, for sharing
thoughtfulness with Hello Lovely once more
(if we spoke Texan, we'd call you
a Darlin-Lovey-Lambchop, and I bet
you'd like it).
Talk to me in the comment section, peeps!

Peace to you right where you are.

*photos: Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture®

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  1. Wow how beautiful! All her spaces are so relaxing and darn pretty!!
    Great post!

  2. Michelle, Beautiful post! I love Rachel's attitude and style! Great post!

  3. Great interview, Michele!
    Love her timeless comfy style.
    A :)

  4. I am a huge fan of Shabby Chic, and she always seems to down to earth. It is refreshing.

    I love the interview.

    P.S. Waiting for the results of my test, thank you for the encouragement

  5. Oh how exciting! I adore Rachel's style, I always used her books as inspiration to daily living.

    I was hoping she would be at Brimfield in Massachusetts at the beginning of the month. Vintage and antique treasures galore!

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It's a perfect interview!

  6. What a wonderful interview, I love 'continuation not re-invention.' She's as delightful as her decorating style.

  7. Love the endurance banner.. I've followed her for years and visit her boutiques when I go to California. I think her Malibu store closed :( so I'll be going to Santa Monica. Wouldn't it be exciting to visit her place in Texas?! I can't wait to hear what you think about her newest book. I'm sure it will be gorgeous and I'll be ordering it. The rustic, less beach ~ feel is really fun and a nice change. Her mantra .. beauty, comfort, function. My preference is a home that shouts SIT on me not DON'T touch. Fun interview Michele! xxL

  8. Thanks for sharing your interview with Rachel. It was wonderful!

  9. What a wonderful interview and I love her style - chic and comfortable!

  10. Love Rachel Ashwell...been a fan and shabby chich lover since the late 90s. What an awesome opportunity you had! Thanks for sharing.

    Jennifer @ Decorated Chaos

  11. I´m sure it´s a lovely book! :-)

  12. She is unreal you know! Sometimes I feel she is simply unreal and magical and can make a crimped cloth look so ravishing. Love her and love you. To the core. :)

  13. I'm a big fan of Rachel's style and I appreciate her focus on gratitude and imperfection. Although I don't know how she manages to juggle it all and keep her 'unhurried' vibe going. I'd love to follow her around for an entire day:) Thanks for sharing your wonderful interview Michele I'll definitely be buying her book.

  14. Wow this was amazing, she leads an enviable life but more than that I am impressed by her spirituality, her authenticity and her devotion to learning and her obvious deep gratitude for what is important.

    That is what I took away from this post, suddenly feeling very inspired, the perfect read to start my day, thank you Michele and Rachel!

  15. Darlinloveylambchop, this is such an inspiring interview. The idea of "looking in the other direction" just blows my mind. I never thought of it that way. I have a whole new level of admiration for her her. Thank you, Michele! I'll be thinking about this all day today. XO

  16. I have always loved Rachel!! What unmistakable fact she has inspired many of my paintings.....can't wait to read her book!

  17. Oh how I enjoyed this post - and getting to know RA a little bit better. I can just imagine you two lovelies chatting the day away surrounded by rustic wood tables and buckets of frothy flowers. :) Thank you for sharing this!!! ♥ PS You are going to LOVE her new book. It's just fabulous!!

    xoxo laurie

  18. i can see how the darlinloveylambchop could inspire your art, holly--your pastels are dreamtastic. :)

  19. Ahhhhhh, only you can do an interview like that. Get right to the soul of it all. I enjoyed every word. I feel as if i really "get her" more now... and i really liked your descriptive words about "who is she, what's she like"... So interesting to me that she has ended up coming to ground in Texas, and listens to classic old country music. I love that...


  20. thank you, cindy. you share so many of the same sensibilities and should be making visits to the prairie to paint for Rachel!

  21. A lovely post by a lovely person about a lovely person! I'm excited to react the book soon...really want to stay at the Prairie soon too!

  22. oh, oh, this interview.... filled with SOUL and love and yes the it.....and from someone who just left the ocean yesterday...and suffering from major beach brain....this artistic water baby relates....thank you, michele.

  23. @erin
    thank you. you made me smile.



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