Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: CICO Books (September 30, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 9.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #268,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #23 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Home Improvement & Design > Decorating & Design > Floors #368 in Books > Arts & Photography > Architecture > Interior Design #508 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Home Improvement & Design > Decorating & Design > Decorating
Yes, it's still Rachel Ashwell and it's still Shabby Chic. I actually read most of the reviews here before going to preview the book. I've delayed my purchase but I will purchase the book eventually. Here is what I think has most hard-core Shabby Chic fans up in arms:1. Amy Neunsinger, the photographer that illustrated all of Rachel's previous books, has only a small entry in this book and it's of Rachel's London Shabby Chic Couture store. Do not underestimate the power of her touch because it's her interpretation of those beautiful linen white walls and slipcovered furniture that made Rachel's books so delicious. Actually there were a number of photographers who contributed to each chapter of the book and the result is a curious sense of disconnect not only from previous books but also within this book itself. I also noted a new publisher as well.2. The chapters are really short which gave me the impression this book was culled together a little too quickly. It's not the unfolding of a single vision as with Shabby Chic Home but jets from here to there, place to place. Rachel mentions her 'discombobulated life' which is is mirrored in this book and I wonder if it was intentional. Even if it was it makes for a read that isn't quite as luscious as previous works.3. The first chapter of the book introduces The Prairie, her B&B in Texas, and this is probably what got those hard-core Shabby Chic folks upset. Some of the photos reminded me of the Texas Tumbleweed houses, a little too gritty Victorian for my taste. Walls here are not linen white or pale pastel but scrubbed and faded colors like turquoise, tan and gray. There is also a lot of stained wood instead of painted white. It's still Shabby Chic but it's definitely more shabby than chic.
I've always LOVED Rachel Ashwell, her show when it was on the Style network, and the Shabby Chic book series. But unfortunately, her style has been moving away from the original aesthetic of pretty painted vintage furniture, white and pale colors, flowery and gently shabby decorating. Rachel seems to feel obligated to embrace something strangely different to keep growing as a designer. Rather than build on her signature look with fresh ideas that are appealing, she's slowly abandoning it and digressing into a rather dismal and dated vision. Lovely patina has been replaced with dirty and trashy. Pale and pretty is now dark and dreary: black walls and stairway, torn and ripped furniture more suited for the dump, ugly mismatched furnishings, deteriorating and messy rooms is hardly stepping "outside the box". It's neither artistic nor an expression of someone with a sharp eye, as one reviewer stated. Rather, much of it is overly pretentious: buckets of flowers with petals strewn about the floor, badly-staged rooms of hodgepodge junk trying to pass as pretty and tasteful. An example is the Prairie House, a small B&B she purchased in Texas. With the exception of one bedroom which embraces her original aesthetic, it was more rundown rustic than shabby chic inspiring. A fabulous chandelier, cushy white sofas, floral bedding, posies and some vintage furniture doesn't transform a dumpy farmhouse into charmingly sweet lodgings for guests. The depressing walls of old dark teal wallpaper, mounted deer head, mattress laying on a cement floor, and rusty cheap tin lathe ceilings isn't very romantic, cheery or hospitable either. Even less is the horrid adjoining bathroom and mismatched paint-scarred plank walls throughout. This is taking the shabby aesthetic too far.
Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Inspirations Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie: and flea market treasures Honeymoon Chic (Chic Collection) Chic & Slim Toujours: Aging Beautifully Like Those Chic French Women From Main Chic To Side Chic: The La'Quela Chambers Story Rachel's Irish Family Food: 120 classic recipes from my home to yours Somebody Else's Husband, Again: Rachel's Story Rachel's Song Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year (Excelsior Editions) Jo Sonja's Guide to Decorative Painting: Traditional Inspirations/Contemporary Expressions Flowers for the Home: Inspirations from the World Over by Prudence Designs Garlands, Wreaths & Flower Circles (Natural Inspirations) Jewel Loom Inspirations: Quick and Fun Beading and Jewelry Projects 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations (1000 Series) Carving Found Wood: Tips, Techniques & Inspirations from the Artists Charlotte Moss: Garden Inspirations Wedding Dresses - A Picture Guide Book For Wedding Dress and Gown Inspirations: A Picture-Perfect Guide To Selecting The Perfect Wedding Gown Is The Perfect ... For Brides-To-Be (Weddings by Sam Siv 7) Weddings: Wedding Dresses: An Illustrated Picture Guide Book For Wedding Dress and Gown Inspirations: A Picture-Perfect Guide To Selecting The Perfect ... Brides-To-Be (Weddings by Sam Siv) (Volume 7) Wedding Centerpieces - An Illustrated Guide Book For Centerpiece Inspirations: Ideas for Brides and Wedding Planners (wedding flowers, flower arranging, flower arrangements) (Weddings by Sam Siv 4) Bachelorette Party - Hen Party Planning Ideas, Themes, and Games: A Guide Book For Bachelorette Party Inspirations (Weddings by Sam Siv 13)