Dedicated to simple decor ideas - especially in white! - inspiration for living simply,
reusing what you have, and scouring for vintage or thrifted finds. Some of my own DIY projects described here too.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shabby Chic Home - book review

I have to attribute much of my style inspiration from Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Home. What started out as home renovations for Ashwell turned to a chronicle of the transformation of her beach home. The before and after pictures are truly inspiring. An experienced treasure hunter, Ashwell breathes new life into home accents, such as chandeliers and furniture with 'good bones' (structure), demonstrating just what a coat of white paint can accomplish. Ultimately, Ashwell's shabby chic style embodies simplicity and embraces the 'less is more' philosophy.

European from the start, Ashwell's style is of a French villa or English countryside. In describing her style, she writes "My philosophy of decor is that nothing should be too precious. A child should feel free to put her feet on the sofa, a guest, his cup on the coffee table. I believe in cozy, not fussy; relaxed, not stiff. I believe in living in, on, and around one's things, not merely with them.
A roomy, slipcovered chair big enough for a child and a dog or two, with slightly wrinkled, worn fabric and ample arms perfect for plopping your legs over; an old trunk, its paint peeling around the edges, given new life as a coffee table; a vase of roses from the garden, a bit wilted, a few petals missing; a vintage mirror, framed with a white floral iron piece salvaged from an old gate and chipped in places, but still charming; a slightly rusted flea market chandelier; a scratched-up coal scuttle used as a bread box; an array of vanilla-scented candles adding a warm glow to a cozy room--these are some of the elements of the effortless, inviting look I prefer. Colors in keeping with this way of living tend to be soft, palatable tones such as seafoam, mint, and celadon greens; dusty roses; pale sky blues; and ivories, creams, and grays that appear to be muted by age, or crisp, clean whites that blend with everything. Brighter or darker colors can occasionally be a part of the look if they are treated with subtlety, combined with white or light colors, or if they appear to be faded by time."

And so, an effortless description of how to capture such a style - or add a dash of shabbiness to our homes - making repurposing furniture even more inviting than ever before.

If you're looking for some easily found shabby chic treasures, be sure to visit Elizabeth's Centre Stage shop - address and photos to the right.

Images courtesy of the Shabby Chic Official site.

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