Be SURE to read Part One of this story FIRST!!!!

So what has Rachel Ashwell been up to lately???

Remember the Osbourne house I blogged about a few weeks ago that was for sale.........

The Osbourne house was decorated by Martyn Lawrence Bullard – and was recently sold to Jessica Simpson, another early MTV reality TV star.  Simpson’s own house was put on the market – and guess who decorated it?   Rachel Ashwell herself!   This is a rare treat – to see a large house decorated for a client, not for Rachel herself.
I had totally forgotten that in Rachel’s latest book – she showcased the Osbourne’s house – especially their dining room that she styled for her book.
I’m wondering now if when Rachel was photographing the Osbourne’s house – did she go back to her client Jessica Simpson and tell her how beautiful their house was and how she should tour it to buy?   Because, that’s exactly what happened a year later.
Jessica Simpson’s House
Apparently, Rachel Ashwell was asked to decorate the nursery for Jessica Simpson’s baby girl, Maxwell Drew. She loved what Rachel did so much, that she asked her to decorate the rest of the house – rather quickly.  On the real estate brochure it states that Ashwell did the interior design and the staging – so maybe the redecorating was done with selling the house in mind?  Besides the house, Rachel also decorated a birthday party Jessica had in her back yard:
The trees on the left, along the pool, look so cute in their burlap bags!   Love the linen table cloth – so Rachel Ashwell.
Did you notice the blueberry crate at the end of the table?  Rachel sells those on her web site – HERE.
The house with the garage gate open.
Walking through the front gate of Jessica’s house.   Soooo…..guess who used to own this house?  Can you guess?  Take a guess.
Ellen Degeneres!!!  Yes!!!   She owned it for two years and supposedly completely renovated it, though that is in dispute.   Jessica bought this house right after her divorce from her first husband and reality TV show partner, country singer Nick Lachey.  Interestingly, the house they used to live in was in Calabasas – the trendy suburb where her new house she bought from the Osbournes is located.    That Calabasas house, where Jessica’s MTV reality show was filmed,  was ultra contemporary – so this very traditional house is a surprise.  It was built in 1991 and is just over 5,000 sq. ft.  It has five bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths.  The lot is very strange – it’s skinny and quite abnormally long.  The house is in a gated community in Beverly Hills and is located behind a stone wall.    
The house also has an incredible history – it was designed and built by the ultra talented Kerry Joyce back in 1991 – it was Joyce’s first project.  The house was commissioned by actress Jamie Gertz who hired Joyce to be the architect and the designer.  The house was published in Metropolitan Home magazine and won their top Design 100 Award.  The next owners also hired him – Crocodile Dundee and his wife Linda – to decorate it.   Next, owner Tom Freston also hired Joyce to decorate it.  And finally – came Ellen DeGeneres – whom Joyce says he only designed a new gate for her.    I found pictures of the house designed by Joyce – but someone along the way changed the hardwoods from brown to black.    I’m not sure where the reports of renovations done are coming from, but Joyce doesn’t really admit to doing that.   All in all, Jessica picked right for her first  house  as a single person – she picked a house with pedigree and good bones.  
The same view of the front courtyard at night.  Love the flagstone terrace.   Also, the entire yard is lit up with fairy lights that I love!!  The room – shown at the front right – is the breakfast room and kitchen.  It’s a bit of a strange layout – I’m guessing it was done this way because the lot is so long and narrow.
In the front courtyard is a Koi pond.  The bay window is the library.  
And looking back towards the front gate.   The patio off the breakfast room can be barely seen by the front fence on the left.
The front door.   Rachel’s touch can be seen here – with the potted plants.  So, let’s discuss the décor.   It was widely reported in the press that Rachel was hired to decorate Jessica’s baby nursery for her daughter Maxwell Drew.  Jessica was so pleased with the results that she asked Rachel to decorate her entire house – as soon as possible.  Some reports say the house was renovated by Rachel and indeed the Real Estate brochure says the house was decorated and renovated by Rachel Ashwell,  and that the house was also staged for the photographs by Rachel.   I’m not sure what exactly was renovated though because real estate photographs of the house before Jessica owned it show basically the same fixtures and features.   
There is no doubt of Rachel’s involvement.  Almost all the furniture and lighting fixtures, etc. are available for sale on her web site.  Now, I don’t know if the house was decorated with the sale in mind – or if Jessica hired Rachel and then decided to sell her house later.    After writing this story – I did wonder if this is how the house really looks or if Jessica’s furniture was heavily edited out and removed for the real estate brochure.   
Once in the house, it’s obvious Rachel’s touch is here.   Crystal chandelier,  painted table and roses- all Ashwell trademarks.  
The shade is from Shabby Chic and I’m guessing the lamp and table were too.  
The prettiest thing about the house are the black wood floors – they are gorgeous!!!!    The moldings are also so pretty.   I think I would have done  this arrangement  differently – put the sofa on the wall, with the mirror above it – and floated Jessica’s antique sofa.  It might be too  long for that, but I would have tried that – or at least put the mirror above it.    And not sure why there are two chandeliers?  One is enough.  
The antique sofa is covered in Bennison fabric.   That extra chandelier is really bugging me!!!
The room looks so pretty from this view.  
Both chandeliers in the living room are found on the Shabby Chic web site.   This is a really pretty one – in front of the fireplace.
  They are both so lovely – I especially like the Macaroni beading on them both.
The coffee table is this one from Shabby Chic.
The dining room has beautiful Farrow and Ball Wallpaper – and love the curtains in linens, draping over the black floors.  Slipcovered chairs.    All  Shabby Chic.   The stores carry Farrow and Ball and Bennison both.
The dining table is shown here,  from Shabby Chic.  
Fabric, Shabby Chic ticking
And the chandelier, Shabby Chic – it looks like the one that’s in Rachel’s dining room too!
Farrow and Ball – Silvergate wallpaper in gray – my favorite pattern!
Love the kitchen.  It’s got huge stainless appliances and love the checkerboard pattern on the stone floor.  The walls are totally subway tile – up to the ceiling.  Notice the back wall.  The tile goes all the way up.  Love that.  And the ceiling – beadboard.  
And looking the other direction.  The kitchen is in the front part of the house – it overlooks the front courtyard.   Great island.   And notice the glass in the doors!  It’s wavy to look old.
This is Jessica’s own furniture, I’m guessing.  Can’t find it on the Shabby Chic web site.
Off the breakfast room is this outside dining area – it is right behind the front stone wall.  Since the wall was so short – they put planters on top to make it taller.
And, the same view at night.  I leave myown fairy lights in the trees on all day and night.  We never turn them off.  I think they look pretty on, even during the day.  
The family room is pure Shabby Chic with the sectional slipcovered sofa.   Love the ottoman and cowhide rug.  This overlooks the long, skinny backyard that leads to the swimming pool.  And on the left is another secret garden area.
Another view of the family room – with a wet bar.  Pretty beadboard paneling and ceiling.  The white looks especially pretty against the black floors.
Rachel sells the ottoman on her web site.  I really love this.   You can custom order it in your choice of fabric.
By this way – she sells pure white cowhides which are very hard to find!!   Mine is white, but whenever I’ve tried to buy another one for a client – even though they say it’s pure white, it never is.  So, this is a great resource!!
Outside the family room is this secret garden which leads to the backyard.  
These lights which are very similar to the ones in the garden and are available on the web site too.
The powder room.   The lacquered beadboard on the ceiling looks like a mirror of the floor. 
Upstairs, the walls are wallpapered in this textured design.  I’m sure Rachel installed this paper – she loves to use it.
The master bedroom is teal blue and white.  Lots of Shabby Chic bedding.  
The Shabby Chic tufted headboard is made with your choice of fabric.  
And so is the bench at the end of the bed.
I love the way this room looks – but I would have put the Farrow and Ball striped wallpaper throughout the room.  And this rug is to die for.  It’s gorgeous.  This room is over the family room and the balcony looks out to the back yard.
The night stand is on the Shabby Chic web site  - great looking.
And so is this desk used in the sitting area.
And this beautiful settee – Rachel used two in Jessica’s sitting room.  Love this piece.
The bathrooms are all so pretty.  Love the sconces Rachel added.    Love the white marble and the beadboard on the walls mixed with the crystal sconces.   The marble, beadboard and floors – are all original to the house – as you will see.
Rachel’s French slipped chair is a pretty one – it comes with arms or not.  $398.
The textile in the window is so Rachel.
The Shabby Chic sconce found throughout the bathroom is called the Jessica Sconce.  Hmm….wonder why?
The nursery – which started the collaboration on the house – Maxwell Drew’s room.  Really cute.   Again, I wish the paper was hung throughout the room.  Love the window treatments.  Missing is a green painted rustic cabinet that Rachel made into a changing table.  Many of the fabrics used are from Rachel’s quilting fabric line.
The Capri Chandelier is sold on the Shabby Chic web site, of course.  It is darling.
Pink antique day bed.  
Jessica and her boyfriend pose on a bed with the baby.  Now – this bed is not the antique pink bed – this one is slipcovered, which tells me – some of their furniture was removed for the real estate pictures.  Or maybe they just hadn’t found the antique bed yet?   Wish I knew!!
Maxwell’s bathroom.  So cute.  Love the wallpaper and the sink.
Rachel’s new Monogramed line for the bathroom and bed.    
This bathroom – beautiful Rachel curtains.  Love how all the baths have subway tiles, sink stands, white marble, beadboard and tiled floors.
The guest room – with the Shabby Chic tufted bed and slipped chair.  That’s their bench too.  I bought that one for a client.   The pink silk curtain also come from the web site.   Another gorgeous rug.  These aren’t on the web site, but she should sell these.    Farrow and Ball’s Brockhampton Star wallpaper.   Love!  This bedroom is over the garage at the front of the house.
Farrow and Ball’s Brockhampton Star.
Pink silk curtains – Shabby Chic web site.
And the bench is available at the stores/web site.
And one more bathroom.
Off the family room is the backyard.   Above is the master bedroom.  And to the right is the secret garden off the family room.
Night view.
Here you can see how the back yard is laid out – so long and narrow.  But, the landscaping is gorgeous.   This landscaping is new – there was no stone path when Jessica bought the house.  
Same view at night.
At the end of the stone walk is the long and narrow pool.
Night view – so pretty.
And looking back at the house.
And past the pool –  looking back to the house at night.
So, that was interesting!  I’m not sure what to think.  It’s obvious that the house was actually styled by Rachel – as opposed to decorated.  Or was it decorated like this then edited for the photoshoot?  Will they be taking all this furniture to their new house or does it go back to the Shabby Chic warehouse from where it all came?  Who paid whom here?  This real estate brochure is hot, hot, hot – and Rachel is credited as both the decorator and the stylist – so it’s great PR for her and her stores.  What I am surprised about is it hasn’t been shown in a magazine yet.  Is that coming soon? Or did I miss it?   The house will probably be shown in Rachel’s newest book.  
And – I read that Rachel is decorating the newest yet to be born baby’s nursery – does that mean she’ll be decorating the Osbourne house?  I hope so!    I would love to see what she will do with that beautiful dining room and bedroom – and what about the family room with that fabulous blue barn door?   Hope we get to see the pictures! 
The pictures below is how the house looked when Jessica bought it.   Ellen DeGeneres sold the house to super agent Rick Yorn who then sold it to Jessica – so this is his furniture.  Very traditional.   Here you can see the library that is where the bay window out front is located.  I can’t see any differences in the house from here to now.
But, guess what I found – pictures of the house- as decorated by the great architect/designer Kerry Joyce.  Not sure whose décor this is – but it’s probably the first owner – Jamie Gertz.
The living room – no curtains and a rather dull rug, but very elegant with slipcovered! sofas trimmed in khaki.    Looks so different from now – and smaller!!  Are those columns leading into the room – are they still there?
Notice that the floors are brown here, not the striking black.  Slipcovered chairs and wallpaper and curtains.  Very elegant. Love the mirror.  
The bedroom – pretty in white with slipped settees.  Today the rugs look dated and so out of style – but these faux needlepoint Aubussons were hot back in the 90s.  But the room is still beautiful, no doubt.  
And the bathroom – which shows how nothing was changed here except for mirrors and sconces.    Which shows you – build a classic home with classic detailing and it will stay fresh – as opposed to looking dated.  
And one last Rachel Ashwell Project:
And finally, one thing that I have always loved and admired about Rachel is how family minded she is.   Always close to her parents and sister, she is extremely proud of her two children.  Lily, her daughter, is all grown up and is now a clothing designer.  Her clothes have a vintage 40s vibe – the kind of clothing she grew up watching her mom show in her books.   She recently moved into a darling little cottage (of course!) in Venice, California that she uses as a backdrop for her catalogues.
Lily’s aesthetic is similar to her moms, but her palette includes yellow – a color that is absent from Rachel’s.  
The charming cottage that Lily now calls home.
Sofas and fabrics from Shabby Chic, including that luscious Bennison print pillow.  Love the stripe mixed with the pink.
Model from a photoshoot in the living room.
Yellow vintage wallpaper was installed in the kitchen.  Elle magazine showcased Lily and her house.  Love the light fixture.
And early shot – love the tiled floor which Lily installed along with the wallpaper. 
From the catalogue.  Cute skirt instead of cabinet doors.
Another photoshoot – showing the corner cabinet.  That’s a darling dress from the collection.
Lily’s bedroom with more vintage wallpaper that she added.  Love the fabric at the window.  And that dress!!!
Shabby Chic bedding, of course.  
Out back is an artist studio which is perfect for the designing Lily.
From the real estate brochure picture – inside the studio.
The artist studio looks out on a flower bed, just like mom.
And the beautiful Lily, in one of her creations.  I love this dress too.  
Lily’s web site & store – is HERE.
Want to wear Shabby Chic?  Toms shoes are selling her fabric designs – HERE.
Rachel’s web site is HERE.
To order the books discussed here, click on the picture below:

So what has Rachel been up to lately besides opening new stores in London, NYC, San Francisco – and running a B&B ranch – in Round Top, Texas?  Well, she’s been busy decorating.  Remember I showed you Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s house that was recently sold HERE?


  1. Lovely post and research (as usual). My guess is that all of Jessica's furniture is already out of the house. Rachel's stores also sell "originals" (real antiques), so items not on her website may still have come from her shop.

    I preferred Jami Gertz's decoration in the formal rooms. It was not until the beadboard rooms were previewed did I find the "shabby chic" befitting the setting. Rachel's style seems too casual (to me) for the architecture of the entry/living/dining areas. Next to the elegant staircase, deep crown moldings, and glossy black floors -- the shabby looks cheap.

    Love, love, love the landscaping/outdoor areas (except the flagstone path to the pool -- why chop up the lawn when you already have a gravel walkway to the right?). Also agree with Joni's remarks about the extra chandelier (did it replace a potlight?) and single-wall wallpaper.

    1. Love slipcovers, loved this post, but Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic is just over. The downfall began when she cheapened and over-saturated the brand in 2004 by licensing out Simply Shabby Chic to Target for the masses. She has a One Kings Lane Tag Sale on today and it's misleading because she's not selling pieces from the Shabby Chic Couture line sold in her stores made with Down & Feather seat and back cushions; handmade by quality craftsman using kiln dried hardwoods and eight-way hand tied construction. Instead, she's selling poorer quality pieces. I hope people who purchased them on the tag sale understood what they were buying. I loved her at one time, but she got greedy and ruined her brand.

  2. I have Rachel's French-slipped chairs in my breakfast room and love them (i.e. the chair in Jessica's bathroom). My only gripe: the large brass plates tacked onto the backs of the chairs bearing the company's name. Rachel - if you're reading this - why go through the trouble of making your chairs look "old", then adding a very conspicuous label to them? I pried all of mine off with a screwdriver. Please consider more subtle labeling ... like under the seat, for example.

  3. Really enjoyed the second part of this story....although that first part nearly killed me.

  4. I almost missed the first part, which is one story back ... click on "older post".

  5. Jessica's house had me floored. As corny as it sounds I almost wept when I saw that bedroom. Joni, these two posts have been such a wonderful read. Thank you so much for all the hard work you do for us :) xox

  6. joni,
    i must say i too love the black floors.

    the gardens and the rear of the house
    are surely my favorite part of the home.


  7. I must say that there are elements to Rachel Ashwell's look that are nice but I think that much of it looks tired and dated. She does the same thing over and over again, although I suppose every designer has their look. I find it too feminine for my taste. I thought Jessica Simpson's boyfriend looked so silly in that photo. If I were a man, I would feel uncomfortable in all that feminine splendor.

  8. I agree. I'm a bit tired of this frou frou style. I would like to see something different.

  9. How fun was all of that to look at! The birthday party was one of my favorite pictures.

  10. Yeah, the frilly slip covers do not work anymore. No man would like that home. I did like the den with the cowhide on the floor.
    Also, why can't designers be truthful about lighting? No one could survive with no lighting in rooms like that. Please folks, get with reality and show the real deal.

  11. Hi Joni-

    Great photos as always. Can you recommend any good fanfic? I am in a slump with everything going on!

  12. Perhaps I'm the only ready who prefers the brown wood floors to the black? And, I also prefer the house with the more traditional decorating--needlepoint rugs and all. I just don't see how something so classic can really be considered dated.

    Great research Joni! I also agree with the read who says that Rachel's decor doesn't quite fit this lovely home. I think she is talented enough to tweak her signature style enough to fit a house she is decorating. That tells me that this house was really just styled, not really decorated for the long term. There was no art on the walls.

    1. I also prefer the brown wood floors -- more natural looking. I don't understand high gloss black unless one is doing a very modern or very glam look.

  13. I too agree with those who express a preference to Jamie Gertz's decorating for the home over Rachel's Shabby Chic decor. IMHO, the latter I feel is more suited for Lily's cottage. Super post Joni! -Brenda-

  14. Great research! Liked the kitchen and gardens the most. Great idea putting up planters on a low wall. While I did like the home, I agree that there is a little too much shabby chic all over. I found that style lends itself to smaller areas like the nursery or Lily's cottage.

  15. I'm not a fan of shabby chic. Most of it is too cutesy for me, and I can't imagine a man feeling at home in it. Bits and pieces are ok, I do like some of her furniture, but in moderation. One thing that bugs is the foyer vignette where there is a lamp and no sign of a cord, or an outlet. I realize it was either placed there for show, or the cord was photoshopped out. This always bothers me in photos because it doesn't show in reality what the end result would look like if we do this in real life. If we try this at home, we end up with the unsightly cords. It's even worse on open desks showing computers and lamps, and no cords! It wouldn't really be pretty with all the wires, so why try to inspire us with something that in reality would not look pretty? It would be more helpful to show something that would work for the space in real life. Forgive my rant! As always, your research is incredible and so educational. Best, Beth C.

  16. What probably amazes me most is that Jessica Simpson's talent warrants this lifestyle. Ha! While Rachel's design isn't for everyone, or every room in a home, you do have to give her a round of applause for her enduring spirit! I still can't believe that the shabby chic look is still in vogue, after nearly 25 or 30 years? Pretty phenomenal!

  17. Both homes are beautiful and I love the dinning room to the new home in Hidden Hills....both styles look gorgeous! This area is very close to where I live...Hidden Hills average family income is the highest in the US....its a beautiful area.

  18. Definitely "shabby", but not "chic".
    Rachel's designs look like a college girl's first apt. Blame it on latent development or defend it by saying "it's her look", but a house full of it is silly. Perhaps if you have a real cottage, the look would be fine in a room or two, but
    for an entire home it is very boring. Few men would want to come home to all this femininity. One could achieve this look at Ikea. The ceilings in the Simpson house looked low. Perhaps it was the angle of the photos.

    I loved the house designed for Jamie Gertz - timeless.

    About the best thing I find about Rachel's wares are her bath accessories.

  19. Joni another excellent post. For me, the Shabby Chic look is passe. Perhaps in a nursery; otherwise it is just too frilly and feminine. Even in painted furniture which I adore; I don't want it all chippy.Rachel certainly must have enough clients and buyers of her products to keep her going strong. Another example is that her chandeliers and sconces are gorgeous.
    The design by Jamie Gertz was more to my taste with a bit of updating.

    The grounds are wonderful with the stone path back to the pool. I would have left those planter boxes off the stone wall, and added more stone, I'm sure more expensive to do.

    Joni your research astound me; you must have a Hollywood Insider these days or you are now officially on the A List!

    2013 Designers Series featuring our friend Scot Meacham Wood!
    Art by Karena

  20. I was surprised to read all the feelings that Shabby Chic is over and passe.. these past two posts of yours made me remember why I love RA's style so much.. Jessica's house felt fresh to me... I love the feminine flirt of it all. I love RA's blue ticking and off to check it out for some pillows :)

  21. What a lot of great research again, Joni. Thanks for always having the most extensive interesting posts. I would suggest a hyperlink to part one at the intro, as I had to go to the archives list to find it. I thought I had missed a post as it didn't come separately in my email. The last of part one made me want to cry. I have always admired Rachel Ashwell and in general like her design aesthetic, though I find it too feminine and frilly for a whole house and think it more suitable to a cottage with lots of vintage interior architecture. As the only female in my household, it would have just been too sweet to decorate that way. But I have to admit I love the look of her vintage florals. Jessica Simpson's house is pretty but missing something - too many blank walls. The brown stair runner looks out of place with the rest of the decorating as if it's left over. The thing I like best about the house is the landscaping, especially that pergola 'secret garden' off the family room and all the flowers. Gorgeous yard. Lily's cottage is perfect for her style and I love the retro vibe, but it takes the right kind of house/apartment to handle it. Wonder if we have to wait until Jessica sells the Osbourne house to see how it will turn out?

  22. Hi, the research you did for this piece was astounding! + Well done. The good thing is we get to pick the designer we want. Kudos to Rachel + you.

  23. I am so tired of this look. It is endless and has nothing of excitement. When will it ever end. Every ones house looks like a vacation or summer house. I would think there would be more people in the world that are over this than still into it. These style takes no skill. Colorless, no scale, no form and just a bunch of slip covers and chandeliers. I would like to see some real talent and real decorating displayed. What ever happened to that world. I am over seeing white, white,white. Of course it is easy, it is white,white. Oh sorry, there was misplaced pink day bed. Richard from Missouri

    1. Richard, you said it best. I totally agree. I know Joni loves RA, but to spend this much time researching all of this fluffy grandma's attic stuff is hard to explain. Simpson's house was basically rooms full of white club chairs with an occasional sofa thrown in for good measure. Sadly, the design and scale of the chairs and sofas were clunky and square. Reference to the bathrooms being "simple and honest" - Seriously??? If a typical reader had sent in pictures of some of these bathrooms Joni would be telling them how to change it.

  24. I have to agree, I loved Jamie Gertz's decorating style better. Just so pretty and I think it would still be a classic look today, not dated at all. I've never liked the shabby chic look at all, never will either. I'm from Missouri too Richard and I have to agree with you!

  25. I am so glad that you featured Jessica's home today! I saw it on tv about it being for sale and fell in love with it. I then found photos online. However, the photos didn't include all of the wonderful sources and up close details that you did! I really enjoyed this post. I am a huge fan of Rachel Ashwell and am glad to hear that she her business is once again doing well. I can't wait to see her newest book due out next month! Maybe there will be more pics to see of her wonderful work.

  26. What are fairy lights and where do you get them?

  27. I had a hard time paying attention to the decor because the gardens are so amazing. We're completely making over our backyard and the lights are going to be a must. I do like the light and casual feel of the house, but the feminine fabrics aren't my style. To each his own! I prefer the look over the previous owners tradional style though. I just wish the shabby chic look was updated a bit and it would be perfect.

  28. The decor is not for me but the gardens are absolutely stunning.

  29. No question that Jamie Gertz's style was so much better. In every room of the Simpson redo I kept thinking that it needed tables, art, lamps, something...The nursery was awful(that tiny french provincial table was not the right size for that wall) and I agree with you that the wallpaper should have been applied throughout the room. Some of Rachel's sofas and chairs are so oversized that they take over the room. I know you are a fan of slipcovers, but I think they make a room look messy and I only liked Gertz's because they had piping that made them look more fitted. As others have said, the gardens are beautiful.

  30. I am always amazed with the detail you provide in your posts. Thanks so much for an interesting read!

  31. It's not so much a style as a lifestyle. Totally comfortable, easy going and down to earth. Also easy to reproduce on any budget. I think Rachel's style has evolved to suit what house she lives in, her cottage was more cottage'y than her current home which is more sophisticated. I think it is a less is more appeal that doesn't shriek "don't sit here" or "look how much i spent". I love Rachel and think her style will always appeal. Just like Art Deco isn't for everyone, Shabby Chic isn't. I think there's more to it than meets the eye. It takes skill to make it look effortless.

    I loved these 2 posts. Thank you Joni for all your hard work.

  32. Spectacular article..thank you! Loved the Shabby Chic store in Austin and was so sad when it closed. Have followed Rachel for years and commend her for starting over again.

    Jean Paul and Eloise DeJoria (Paul Mitchell creator) had Rachel decorate their Lake Austin house here...I was trying to hunt down some photos but haven't so far. If I find them I will forward them to you.

    Thank you for your research, enthusiasm, and lovely blog.

  33. Okay, this style is not for me either. I am, however, taking away an important lesson from this post. Comparing photos of the ceiling in the kitchen to the ceiling in the family room with the sectional, it becomes glaringly obvious how important it is to 1.) Break up the expanse of boarded ceiling with beams, and/or 2.) Put substantial, properly scaled molding around the ceiling. That kitchen ceiling bugs me. A lot. The powder room ceiling (the dark one) also has great molding. Thanks, Joni.

  34. "Be SURE to read Part One of this story FIRST!!!!"

    Where? Where's the link? I'm a casual visitor and don't know what Part One was?


  35. Just click on "Older Post" at the bottom right side of this page. Part 1 is one story back of this one.

  36. I thought we hadn't seen anything of Rachel for a while and now I know why- she has been busy, as usual- I imagine she never is idle for long! I love her daughter's cottage- so sweet and the fabrics are just charming!

  37. Shabby Chic seems to be a take-no-prisoners style: you either love it or hate it. Or, like me, you like it but only within a certain context (cottage or beach house). In this particular house, I prefer Jamie Gertz's style -- which I think would be perfectly classic/current with just one small change -- removal of the needlepoint Aubussons -- as Joni pointed out. Other than these carpets, everything else would still work today, which is a tribute to her designer, Kerry Joyce. He didn't waste her money on crap or fads.

    There are lots of things to love about the house and gardens, which other readers have pointed out. So I'm going to limit my comments to three things that really bug me: 1) the old-lady lace curtains in the nursery and bathroom, 2) the dated textured wallpaper in the hallway (so popular in 1980s UK design books), and 3) the dirty-looking hexagonal tile bathroom floors. I know these tiles are classic, but after comparing them to the large marble tiles in the other bathroom, I will never install them in any house I may own. Too much grout to try to keep clean with dubious results (you can see some areas look patchier/dirtier than others). Note: I'm not faulting the homeowner's cleaning, I think it's the tiles/grout that are impossible to maintain.

  38. As referred to in the story the faux neddlepoint Aubussons are so out of style. In the photograph of Jamie Gertz's decor, they look wonderful. What would you have put there, Joni- more seagrass I presume.

    1. I'm not Joni, but I'd suggest a rug like the beige/blue ones in Jessica's master and guest bedrooms. They're classic with subtle colors and never go out of style (Oushak-like). What's the difference between these rugs and the faux needlepoint Aubussons? After all, a real Aubusson is classic. I think the difference is that a real Aubusson has the faded colors, patina, look of a special antique piece ... something that is still coveted. The faux needlepoints (and I had one) were always a poorer imitation of the real, with discrete (i.e. non-faded) patterns, very flowery, muddy colors that were used in interiors that were somewhat darker/fussier/often more cluttered than interiors today. They were very popular during a certain time period, just as zebra and cowhide rugs are now. In a few years, people are going to have enough of seeing zebra/cowhide and these rugs will be "dated" (even though lots of people will still like them and feel they are classic). It's a trend thing ... something becomes popular, the market is saturated, and then people move on. I'd therefore replace the muddy/fussy/overly romantic faux Aubusson (to my eye) with something clearer/lighter/fresher looking.

  39. The show we were at last weekend was full of similar shabby chic style. I thought back to RA's store in NYC and how long ago that was; but it's still selling and evidently very, very popular. Personally, I like the look in smaller homes than this, and I prefer the previous decor. Love the gardens and the lights. Thanks for a great post.

  40. Rachel's "look" seems fresh and livable, in particular her daughters home and the homes showcased in her books. Jessica's personal style is probably just more "frilly". Last Saturday I attended a Flea Market on the Center Coast of CA. I saw Rachel there. She seemed sincere, very nice and dare I say humble. And someone you could be long time friends with. I don't see her look everywhere, that is why I was glad Joni showcased it. And although my house is not "shabby chic", I do own her blueberry crate which holds towels for my guest room and looks it wonderful. And one of her pillows on my Noir sette. That's the beauty of her true "look", it mixes well and inspires you to live and live with things you love. For me its French Brocante, a little shabby thrown in, and classical lines. BRAVO Rachel for being true to you and succeeding! Next time I see you I will be brave and say hello! T

  41. Rachel Ashwell is so tired to me. Her original look and aesthetic seem to have screeched to a halt. I see this so glaringly in her line for Target. Shabby chic is a great style for smaller budgets, or first time home buyers, and yet she sells the same three patterns today as she did five years ago. I think that loving shabby should not being married for all eternity to three cabbage rose prints, and some batten burg lace. Grow your brand, you do not have to reinvent your vision to move forward. It just doesn't seem all that complicated. People love it, and would like to experience new and different. Her daughters use of yellow is perhaps a jumping off point.Something, anything. Throw the retail world a bone. I beg you.

    Jessica's house seemed contrived and off. The Gertz version while somewhat dated was full and unique. Classic and with a few tweaks, stunning.

    1. How can you compare Target's Simply Shabby Chic line to Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Couture? The colors may be both soft, but the quality and and actual items are no way the same! The Target line was made for people who can't afford the real thing, but wanted some part of the look.

    2. There was a saying once about blue jeans - never have people paid so much to look so poor.

      If you have no experience with Target Simply Shabby Chic how can you evaluate it? Just because something is expensive doesn't necessarily mean that it is of higher quality. Perhaps the Target line was created for people who can afford the real thing, but find it over priced for its intrinsic value. For some people, this look is short lived and they don't want to make an investment in this particular look at a higher price point.

    3. One is couture and one is massed produced. Of course there is not an apples to apples comparison. They both feel stuck in a time warp. "Made for people who can't afford the real thing". Why does that sound so condescending to my ears? If you cannot afford the original line, does that mean that you couldn't possibly have the tools to evaluate quality, or aesthetic? Ouch.

  42. I love Jessica's garden and pool! Not so crazy about all the white. She obviously loved it so I'm sure she was thrilled! I saw Jessica's home featured on Hooked on Houses today too! Fun post Joni, thanks for sharing!


  43. I love your comparisons, befores and afters, it keeps one hanging on to each scroll of the button, scrolling back up then back down. So interesting, much more than pretty pictures.

  44. I thought these rooms were dreadful. There are several Houston decorators who could have done a MUCH better job. If you want to go traditional but with punch, hire Kathryn Ireland! The kitchen also bugged me. Upper cabinets are OUT. Most of us can't afford to take them down but Jessica Simpson surely could. How much warmer the kitchen would look without the cabinets and with a kitchen table and chairs instead of an island--also something that is slowly going out of style.

  45. Sally, "out of style" as you contend upper cabinets and island. May I ask how your dishes are stored as well as cookware. Do you have a sufficient amount of feet dedicated to work space. If you look at some of the most luxurious kitchens on the internet you will see clearly that many designers and manufacturers are not following your dictum.

  46. Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic style isn't for everyone, but the woman is the queen of slipcovered furniture and turning old flea market found items into recycled objects of beauty! Even major furniture makers are trying hard to make new items look old and recycled. Her point is that a home can be cozy and charming with feminine touches that are USER friendly when you have a house full of kids. And there is beauty to be found in simple things. The complaints about a man not be willing or living in a feminine house are silly. Most women decorate the way they want, because in the end the man usually looses the decor battle. And if he doesn't want to give up the fight...that is where a "man cave" becomes a blessing. Rachel's look will never grow old, despite all of the pastels and flowers. There are women who love this look, just as there are women who love their homes looking like they stepped into a Calico Corners flyer (dated, cookie cutter decor, and too matchy) or women who love the industrial copy cat look of Restoration Hardware. What about women who decorate their homes to look like a Ballard Design catalog? That is really corny and the internet has thousands of pictures to show the evidence. Don't forget about the all of the other famous designers who's style that women try to incorporate into their homes. Rachel's empire and success proves the old saying..."You can't keep a good woman down" for sure.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. Great post loved all your comments too

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  50. My, I really enjoyed all the photos posted in your blog and the valuable information and history attached to it, too. The house is really elegant that made my jaw drop, leaving me totally speechless and craving for more. Thanks a million for sharing it. You’re such an amazing blogger coz’ you love what delights your followers.

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  51. This is my very definition of a wonderful house. I just love everything about it even the abnormally long and narrow lot. Everything is just perfect – the overall architectural structure, the exterior and interior designs, the gardens, the pool; every element is really working harmoniously with each other. This is really very inspiring. Thank you for sharing this post. I wish I could have a house like this someday.

  52. 100% prefer the "before" design. Head to toe shabby chic is a bit much, but to each his own. The original design had a sophistication I prefer.

  53. Seems to good. Your Collection is preferably for everyone.

  54. What a beautiful blog. Thanks a lot . In your blog really there is a very nice collections of lamp. Here i can see a huge variety of lamps also. The lamp parts which are used in the lamps are very beautiful.

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