Making A House A Home

October 25, 2011 | by —joshua estrin | Pursuits


Rachel Ashwell

Dionne Warwick crooned to the top of the Billboard charts in 1964 with a song called “A House Is Not a Home”—and no one knows the difference between a house and a well-appointed home better than Rachel Ashwell, founder of Shabby Chic. From her latest book, Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Inspirations and Beautiful Spaces, to her work with QVC, Ashwell is a pro. I chatted with her about the keys to her success, her new ventures and how all pinks are not created equal.

How important is a person’s home environment?
RACHEL ASHWELL: I feel a home grounds us both literally and figuratively. The world is growing and moving at such a fast and furious pace that we need our homes to help us to reconnect. It’s about balance, it’s about luxury, it’s about color and comfort and how all those pieces and parts help us to feel human and alive.

What is it about revitalizing beauty that attracts you?
RA: My dear mother passed away three years ago, and I think that the time I spent with her going to the flea markets had a huge impact on me. Watching her go through the tattered ribbons and lace and being privy to how much she loved the restoration process instilled a sense of awe [in me], a respect for the beauty of imperfection and a desire to find my own way along a similar path.

You were once quoted as having an “affinity for ruffles and pleats…” Is this true?
RA: That’s interesting because I believe strongly in a less is more approach. I do have a weakness for pink, but not all pinks are created equal.

What new projects are you focusing on now?
RA: My line with QVC has allowed me to find my way back to television and I love it! My hope is that the product line, Treasures by Shabby Chic, will connect viewers with my passion for flea marketing while keeping it affordable and accessible. The pieces I have chosen are some of my very favorite and they act as the core aesthetic to ground a design. You can expect things like side tables, occasional tables and the kind of things you will simply fall in love with and come to treasure as I do.

I am known for this next question so please indulge me. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about you?
RA: For some reason I think people are under the impression I have “it” all worked out. I am not exactly sure what “it” is, but I assure you my life is a journey and I too have bumps in the road.

Read more from Joshua Estrin at popmuncher.com.

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