Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

October 7, 2011

When I was in LA this past July on my book tour, I had the honor of meeting Rachel Ashwell who attended my signing and mood board event at Anthropologie. It was surreal to meet her for a second time, the first was in 2005 when I went to one of her warehouse sales and shyly asked for an autographed copy of one of her books. It was amazing to have the table turned and I felt a huge shift inside when she was at my signing… so much HAS happened in my life since 2005 that even I can’t believe it sometimes.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Rachel, who most of you know as the founder of Shabby Chic and who created the Shabby Chic decorating style in the first place, has had a very full career as a designer, author, television personality and so much more. Currently, she’s celebrating the launch of her latest book, Rachel Ashwell: Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces (which is lovely) and hosting book signings in these locations. In this post, I’ve snapped photos from my visit in her home and shop, including her inspiration journal that I kept peeking at while she spoke over tea and sweets. I am forever inspired by handmade books packed with collected images and things – loosely curated but always a theme when those doing the collecting have a good sense of personal style. Below are more photos from her home in LA…. This one is from the tabletop where I sat with Rachel discussing her new book, my book, blogging, social networking, her roots, business in general… It was a very full and memorable discussion that I’ll never forget.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

In addition to products, Rachel is also enjoying these girly gorgeous retreats that she sets up for creative ladies in her ranch in Texas called The Prairie, decorated in her signature style, of course. Her successful Simply Shabby Chic line at Target is still going strong and she has an online shop and four boutiques called Shabby Chic Couture located in London, New York, Los Angeles and on her property at The Prairie B&B in Texas. Despite the peeks and lows of being such a massive brand with a huge cult following for over 20 years, Rachel has found her comfortable landing spot after lots of change in her own company and is completely at ease being smaller but better than ever. My kind of lady.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

I’m sure you are wondering how I was able to get into the private home of Rachel Ashwell. I wondered that through most of my visit, in fact! Well, it was quite easy – she openly invited me and my friend, Leslie Shewring. She’s been following my blog and knows of my book because she contributed to Decorate. We also share a connection — one of her best friends, Amy Neunsinger, is someone I know as well – we shot her home for Decorate and if you have the book, you’ll see it throughout.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

A glimpse into Rachel’s home office and mood board

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

A fireplace mantel with leaning art work and an old, battered wooden cabinet from Texas in soft blue in the living room.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Even her office was loaded with feminine details like this boho style pillow lazily lounging on her office chair and a big basket of ribbons on her file cabinet.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

I love how she displayed vintage ceramics on the ledge above her kitchen sink just at the window. It was beautiful to look at them but also to see the garden view outside. I also appreciate details like beads and ribbons adorning cabinet handles. I do this too, so there was a sense of familiarity when I came across them throughout her home.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Her kitchen is a little old and new. I personally love hardwood floors in a kitchen combined with stainless appliances so I think this looks a bit country but also smart.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

This corner in her dining area was so pretty, I loved how the light streamed in…

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

I found mirrors throughout her home, in every room it seemed… I love how they add a sense of space. In this one, you can see the reflection of her guest bathroom. Isn’t the wallpaper lovely?

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Rachel had a rack of vintage clothing randomly placed in her living room – rather unexpected, but very Rachel. I couldn’t stop looking through them, each piece was unique and had some sweet detail from smocking to decorative buttons…

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

A view of her living room… the ethnic touches on the sofa make it very global, which I like.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

More details from adorned handles to rustic finishes and embroidered vintage art work.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Rachel is a very spiritual person, evident throughout her home. All of the saints were represented and even a Buddha. Her en suite bathroom had gorgeous tile on the floor and felt very serene in gray, pale blue and white.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Her bedroom was paired down, simple, pretty…

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Another bathroom in her home had some vintage details I had to capture, though I didn’t have my DSLR on me and my amazing lens so I had to make due with my old point and shoot. After taking the photo on the left, I grabbed the flower and a necklace from an adjacent room and placed it on a table in front of a window – the lighting was so perfect, I had to capture it somehow.

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

The artwork in her dining room was particularly pretty and varied. I also liked this golden headboard in a spare room upstairs.

After visiting Rachel at home, we left feeling elated and energized. We grabbed a snack at Le Pain Quotidien and then hit Shabby Chic Couture in Santa Monica. Here are a few snaps of some things in the store that caught my eye…

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

Visiting Rachel Ashwell at Home

What a special treat to spend hours chatting with such an inspirational lady in the world of design. I mean, seriously, imagine creating a decorating style that is known around the world? That’s quite a contribution and something that will always be associated with the one and only Rachel Ashwell. Thank you Rachel for inviting me into your home.

(images: holly becker, taken with a basic point and shoot)


  • Reply allison October 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    All of the vintage details are gorgeous but I couldn’t help bit feel like the whole thing felt a little empty or unfinished. Loved the look into her home either way.

    • Reply decor8 October 7, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      @Allison – I think that is more my fault – I specifically focused on details and not the more lived-in spaces of her home, out of respect for her privacy mostly.

  • Reply Mrs. Maison October 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    How cool……what a fantastic visit that must have been. I have her books and every time I flip through one, I wonder if she is like her home….soft and gentle but full of a something so unique!

  • Reply Hvite tulipaner October 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    A beautiful and inspiring home:)

  • Reply houseofearnest October 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    That would be such a treat! I love seeing how people live in their homes – after all, the decorating isn’t for others, it is for us to live in and enjoy!

  • Reply Sapan@Eye doctor Torrance October 7, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    The Vintage stuff looks really interesting! specially liked the way such fine paintings are being used, they simple lift the overall look!

  • Reply Caroline October 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Wonderful and inspiring images. And a bit “unamerican” to me, Swedish as I am.

  • Reply rachel ashwell October 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    holly, thank you for sharing your experience of our in my home so sensitively. By focusing on the details without showing all, u still captured my world. thank you for your eye.

  • Reply Lori October 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    AHHHHH gorgeous!!! I live in Texas and want to go to
    The Prairie so bad !!

  • Reply ArticulateArt October 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I really like the bathroom table! Somehow it just matches really nicely!

  • Reply The Hidden List October 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Rachel is the real deal. So precious…inside and out. I loved visiting her home in Texas where I truly saw her relaxed and comfortable lifestyle. I’m crazy about that leather couch that she made so comfy with velvet cushions and ethnic pillows! XO!

  • Reply Karena October 7, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Holly, ooh ahh, wow, ooh, ahh. A layered well lived in space!!

    Art by Karena

  • Reply Ege Denne October 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Rachel is the queen of Shabby Chic :) I love her first books :)

  • Reply Valerie October 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    So awesome. You just lived my dream day. I’d love to know more about her retreats at The Prairie since I live just a couple of hours away…

  • Reply loverofvintage October 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    What a beautiful home! I love the vintage pieces especially the clothing, mirrors, the gorgeous bathroom, actually everything! Fantastic photo’s!

  • Reply Angelia October 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I have followed her for years, thanks for the update and beautiful images of Rachel’s home. I am looking forward to seeing all the freat information in your book. Sadly, I ordered from Amazon in the summer and they have now told me it may not ship until January.

  • Reply desiree - vosgesparis October 7, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    What a great post!!

  • Reply Cez October 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    wow..stunning place!!!! fantastic wood cabinet!!!!
    Nice weekend!!!

  • Reply maria moore October 8, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures of Rachel’s home. Very lovely! :)
    Maria Moore

  • Reply Kat October 8, 2011 at 1:28 am

    I read Leslies post on your time at Rachel’s and now it’s lovely to see yours too Holly. So interesting to see what you both captured of the details in her beautiful home and to hear your mutual respect for one another. It’s so heartening when people we are inspired by, meet and are inspired by one another.
    I imagine you like the pastel colour schemes in Rachel’s home, I’m sure you know I would!
    I’m sure you know Rachel has a line of shabby chic pieces out in House of Fraser here in the Uk. The range covers so much, crockery, bedding, furniture, lighting, Christmas decorations.., and is all beautiful. It’s all on the website
    Love kat xox

  • Reply Brett from I Dream of France October 8, 2011 at 1:47 am

    I love the mix of old and new, particularly as shown in the kitchen. The placement of weathered vintage furniture as statement pieces in otherwise sleek or spare spaces is special.

  • Reply Josephine October 8, 2011 at 3:22 am

    I love her (and this post). I love the way her style seems to have evolved so much over the years whilst still retaining all the ‘Shabby Chicness’. She thinks outside the box and seems to appreciate bohemia and beauty in everything. Love the idea of hanging vintage dresses in the lounge room and the slight Indian touches. And that wallpaper is beautiful. Just reading her blog, you get a sense she is a very spiritual person. Thanks for the loveliness on a Saturday! I can’t wait for her current book.

  • Reply Donna October 8, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Beautiful photos of beautiful things that capture the essence of gentleness and peace and softness that, for me, is Shabby Chic. Rachel has inspired me for years. Holly, thank you for all of the love that you put into this post.

  • Reply Tania - Grange de Charme October 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful moment in Rachel’s home full of lovely details ! Meeting Rachel galvanizes you and inspired you for a whole year !

  • Reply binky ragon October 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    thanks for sharing. spent time with her this month at The Prairie , in Texas. She is so gracious and gives me such inspiration. Makes me want to throw away everything in my own home and start over lol…

  • Reply Jenny Smith October 9, 2011 at 4:20 am

    Beautiful. i love that her home is inspiring and “normal” I find so many other homes are over done and not lived in.
    Thanks for sharing what a wonderful experience,you must have had.
    City Cottage shop

  • Reply Tammi October 10, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Love this post! Love Rachel Ashwell’s style xxx

  • Reply RubyJu October 10, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Love this post! Rachel Ashwell is such an inspiration! Her house is gorgeous! xxxx

  • Reply Tausha Salat October 10, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I’m such a huge fan of Rachel Ashwell’s I’m so glad you have posted these beautiful photo’s of her home. I’m so intrigued by her. Without her i’m not sure how i would have decorated my home, she gives me so much inspiration. I’m happy you had the pleasure of meeting her, and visiting her lovely home. I live in Florida and have not had the option to visit one of her stores yet, but i shop on her online store, which i love.. I love her New book, i think the best book so far!! I love them all. Take care !!

  • Reply Cindy November 12, 2012 at 1:58 am

    @allison: I think the “emptiness” of the space was part of the appeal. Peaceful, serene and uncluttered. Absolutely beautiful.

  • Reply Jamee Hunt October 12, 2013 at 6:07 am

    What white paint does rachell aswell use on her walls

  • Reply g January 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Please share the white Paint used in Rachel’s home

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