Handmade, Objects, Rooms

Laura Ashley UK Beauties

May 31, 2006

I spent a summer, when I was 18, as an au-pair for a family on Marlborough Street in Boston. This was no ordinary family. Their brownstone, a million dollar townhouse with a view of the John Hancock tower, was absolutely splendid. They had a home on the coast of Maine with another in London. The wife, the Charles Edward Wilson Professor at the Harvard Business School and book author and the husband, the then CEO of Laura Ashley.
Laura Ashley UK BeautiesTheir little girl had an amazing bedroom, decked out in more Laura Ashley than one could ever imagine. Her closet, filled with tag-on clothes, most of which were Laura Ashley. Everyday was a treat, I was handed cash to take their daughter “lunching” on Newbury Street. She was only 3 years old, but she had her favorite stops – like Rebecca’s cafe for chicken salad sandwiches with plump grapes and almonds. We’d play in the park all afternoon with the other children who had no clue what being born into a life of such status would someday mean for them. It was a life that I’d never live, but for that summer, I had a chance to experience it and, quite frankly, I loved my very special summer with Jim (Dr. James Maxmim – whom I’d only met once, he was in London almost the entire summer), Shoshana Zuboff and their daughter, Chloe. By now, Chloe must be well into her teens… I often think about them and wonder what became of the little girl with everything, which brought me to the Laura Ashley website today.

Lace-like patterns are a real trend lately, and this delicious two-tier Mallow Lace Pendant with fluttering butterflies looks so delicate and feminine. I love this commanding Sabrina Ceiling Shade, too. Perhaps it clips onto a lightbulb, or? So elegant! I find the Renfrew Striped Shade quite pretty as well. You could purchase a plain drum shade from Target and, using muted pastel fabric paints, create your own (the Pavilion is pretty, too.) I’m really big on floral prints, but they need to be simple and bold, and this Erin Tapered Drum Shade in duck egg is just perfect. If you love this print, but aren’t looking for shades, try a few Erin Eau De Nil pillows. (They have coordinating Erin wallpaper to match.)

Laura Ashley UK Beauties
Speaking of wallpaper, Laura Ashley is known for their fabulous selection of that, too. The Fenton pattern in blue, the duck egg Kimono (with coordinating pleated panels – drool!) and Oriental Garden in charcoal are three of my favorites.

Laura Ashley UK Beauties
Looking for romantic accessories? This Etched Mirror Jewelry Box is as enchanting as it is stunning. Looking for something less glam, but big on country charm? You may like the sweet Rosie Dot 1/2 Liter Jug for milk or fresh flowers. Other pretty vessels include the Mallow ceramic or glass vase with butterflies in pink, blue and green.

Laura Ashley UK Beauties

Of course, don’t forget what Laura Ashley does best: Fabric!

Link here for Laura Ashley in the USA, Japan, Middle East, and Spain. It’s so interesting to see how they present themselves in different parts of the globe. I love thier clothing on the Japan site, I’m sure you’ll agree…

(images from laura ashley)

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10 Comments

  • Reply atelier455 May 31, 2006 at 7:02 pm

    When I was growing up (in the UK) Laura Ashley was pretty much the epitome of uncool, but they’ve really turned themselves around. I love their stuff now – I spent yesterday making up a pair of curtains in their toile print.

  • Reply Anonymous May 31, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    i find it all so, yesterday.

  • Reply decor8 May 31, 2006 at 11:20 pm

    Hi anonymous – Um… That is the point. It’s “vintage” inspired… A lot like Anthropologie and the other vintage inspired stores that have a certain appeal to them.

    :)

    Holly

  • Reply heidi June 1, 2006 at 8:12 am

    wow, thanks for sharing. i remember when their business was struggling – guess they turned it around. the original influences are still there, but with a fresh updated style.

  • Reply bowie style June 1, 2006 at 11:13 am

    hi holly,
    i too have a little connection with laura ashley through my ex boyfriend. his parents were friends with the ashley’s, and when he was a little boy he flew to paris with laura in her private jet. of course eveything changed after she tragically died in an accident. they were unfashionable in the eighties but in the nineties ( your maxim era holly ) they came good again.

  • Reply The Good Doctor June 1, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    The American site is downright depressing. It’s not as if they *don’t* make cute stuff because we see that they do on the other sites, it’s just that they think Americans like ugly stuff. Or something.

    Whatever it is; depressing.

  • Reply decor8 June 1, 2006 at 2:54 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I thought the same thing when I checked it out, that’s why I listed all of the Laura Ashley sites – I wondered if anyone would catch on and see that. I guess I didn’t want to come right out and say it…. But you said what I felt. What’s up with that emerald green?

    REVAMP please!

    Holly

  • Reply Nictalopen June 11, 2006 at 3:14 am

    Lovely textures for bathroom. I’d like one with the bird in mine. Also the flowers in the upper right corner are wonderful.

  • Reply Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    thought you may be interested to know that my good friend designed Erin (along with many of the more contemporary prints in the LA catalogue to date) and it is the most copied design currently circulating around the UK decorating market …. just a little bit of trivia

  • Reply jenny keane February 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Laura Ashley is so cool. My house is full of their stuff. If it isn’t LA then it is a similar product. I don’t know how anyone can think this look is ‘yesterday’ it is soft on the eye and just wonderful. I love it.

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