I was beyond thrilled to learn that Rachel Ashwell, who pioneered the whole casual bohemian look (at least here in the states) 18 years ago under the brand Shabby Chic, just launched a new collection of furniture and bedding collections. I want this entire room shown below, right down to the dreamy patchwork pillows. And have you noticed that patchwork is popping up everywhere? Oh yeah! And we love that…
Seems Rachel has been busy traveling the world to gather rugs, accessories and designs for furniture, ranging from classic to casual with a whimsical twist. There’s a little bit of an ethnic vibe going on in this collection, coupled with the California bohemian slash English traditional style she is known for. There are dining tables, coffee tables, dressers, nesting tables, etc. in different painted woods and finishes from washes to primitive stains. In addition, there’s a few new bedding patterns, a leather collection, new pillows, lighting, and vintage Turkish rugs.
I was beginning to think that Shabby Chic was losing it’s appeal (I was wrong) because I haven’t heard much from her since she launched an affordable version of Shabby Chic under the name Simply Shabby Chic at Target. Rachel isn’t about to let down her fans. Remember when she had her own show, I think it was on the Style network? I taped every episode and watched them with my girlfriends religiously every Thursday night with a bottle of wine. And though some may point to other designers as their inspiration because it sounds cooler, I openly confess that the Shabby Chic queen, Rachel Ashwell, is one of the designers that got me started down the road of mixing vintage with modern many years ago, the whole reason behind my obsession for vintage flea market finds, laid back style, and the goal of someday completing my collection of bone china. My goal is to have no plate nor cup the same. Ah, someday…
This is a duvet I had for a few years, so it’s not a new pattern by any means, it’s called wildflower (below). I picture it in a guest bedroom since I’m married now and don’t want to overwhelm my husband with girly patterns in the master bedroom. But it’s still a favorite pattern of mine because it’s so feminine and crisp, so I wanted to show it to you. I love the way it looks in this room with the tiny painting displayed over the lovely blue side table. I’d replace the lamp though with a this one from Re:found Objects hanging from the ceiling over the table. You have to mix things up!
Another staple in her collection that I’ve loved for ages is the beecroft sofa. I met Rachel in L.A. back in 2005 when I attended a tent sale she was having, she signed my book and had her photo taken with me. I was gushing like a little girl. I can’t wait to see more of her new collection, I hope she turns heads with it and that it brings the line back into the spotlight where it should be, as I’ve certainly missed seeing it in some of my favorite magazines.
Go Rachel, Go!
(images from shabby chic)
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on Stockholm lately and today I found out about Ceannis. They opened a store in Stockholm last year, located in Sturegallerian in the central part of the city, and they also offer their home accessories and bags throughout Scandinavia.
I really like these perky patterns on silk, aren’t they gorgeous? Someone needs to consider carrying these in a web store (that ships to America!) because I think they’d be a huge hit over here. A few are helping me make friends with purple, because I’m ready to toss the pillow shown top left on a white fluffy sofa immediately and sink in with magazines and tea.
(images from ceannis)
I’m adoring the things at Track and Field Designs right now. A laptop bag with a vintage typewriter on it, a felted owl pin (perfect for a denim jacket this Fall), pretty bird magnets to add some cuteness to the fridge, and pillows… We love pillows! This stuff is just too cute.
(images from track and field designs)
Speaking of Klippan in my earlier post showing pillows from Frances Rose, their table linens are also worth a mention because they’re perfectly Scandinavian in all the ways we love. Simple yet elegant with bold colors and adorable patterns against white or linen.
I figured out why Scandinavian designs appeal to me just recently when I thought about why I liked them so much. And I think it’s just part of my nature to always ask why, as I’m constantly looking to know more about the world around me and I’m not scared to admit it when I don’t know. I believe that asking questions is the only way to understand the world around us, and that sounds like the most reasonable thing in the world, but oddly most don’t ask. They assume. Or they just don’t go there.
It’s almost like we come into this world asking our parents, “Why is the sky blue?” and “How are babies made?” and then we reach this point somewhere around 11 or 12 years old where we start to become independent and asking just isn’t cool. We take this into our adult life because we’re told that asking shows that we don’t know the answer and we never should admit something so tragic as not holding ultimate knowledge! It’s this thing we have about asking for help that I think is rooted more in our fear of losing independence somehow. Like asking means needing help and needing help shows weakness. Not true! When it comes to design, I’m asking myself more and more the question, why? Understanding if I genuinely like something by asking why helps me to explore that. Is this making sense? Am I taking things too seriously?
Whether I am or not, I still asked myself why I liked Scandinavian patterns. Is it because every other blogger does? Or because we’re seeing them everywhere? There’s no doubt that peer opinions are strong influences because it’s part of our nature to want to be a part of the crowd. (Have you heard of influencer marketing?) But I discovered that I really do like Scandinavian patterns and traced this back to my childhood because my grandmother had them everywhere in her home.
I like patterns that are geometric, orderly, like apples in a row or beads or lines. (Also explains my interest in Japanese fabrics and the latest collage art techniques out there.) And I like the images to be somewhat cute or strong and bold (think of Sanna Annukka) or a bit more free form and organic (Lotta Jansdotter), but still have some order to the overall design because things that are busy make me feel very distracted and stressed. Scandinavian design uses a lot of natural materials and neutral backgrounds, which I think is nice because it’s simple and earthy and I love things when they are laid back and close to nature.
If you’re looking for Scandinavian textiles online, visit Fjorn. Something about their site felt familiar to me, so I think I’ve written about them before. But I don’t remember so maybe you don’t either, which is why they deserve a mention. They carry Klippan and also a more tradition design house called Ekelund, as well as a few others but those didn’t strike me the same as the Klippan stuff and the Ekelund table runners.
(images from fjorn)