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4.2 out of 5 stars21
4.2 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 July 2011
I'm sure a lot of people will find this a "five star" book. Certainly the pictures are very seductive, if you like this ultra-feminine, boudoir atmosphere. But, apart from the fact that, after careful consideration, I didn't warm to Ashwell's style, I found that having everything photographed in such a contrived light, through what looked like a pink filter, meant that one is hard put to see what it would look like in real life. If you buy this book hoping to imitate Ashwell's style in your own house, you'd better buy some rose-tinted spectacles . . . oh, and be ready to do a lot of dusting! Many of the rooms featured would be completely impractical for anyone who didn't have the time, and the enthusiasm, to do a lot of housework. Neglect these lacy frills and intricate knick-knacks and the place will soon begin to look like Miss Haversham's. Quentin Crisp famously said "After four years the dust doesn't get any worse", but Rachel Ashwell's house could start to more shabby than chic after just four weeks.

The concept of "shabby chic" originated with Colefax and Fowler and the country house look; the aim was to make your nouveau-riche country pile look as if it had been lived in for generations. I thought this book would be like that. This is a much more self-conscious, "girlie" style and I note the author is based in Santa Monica, a long way from the shire counties or Yorkshire moors.

The author runs a design business, and at times this all reads a bit too much like an extended advert. I did get a bit fed up with the concentration on the author, which wasn't what I initially expected the book to be about. It was a bit like a magazine article between hard covers. I suppose the cover and list of contents make it very clear that this book is, to put it nicely, "quite autobiographical", and I should have known what to expect before I even opened it.
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on 13 January 2010
I really like Rachel Ashwells style and shabby chic in general but I have found her past books to be messy, too frilly, too much going on and badly laid out. This book, however, was a joy to read.
The pictures are gorgeous and her homes are so beautiful! Rachel Ashwell always states how homes should be uncluttered and filled with things we really love, in her previous books I have doubted this as her home looked full to the brim with ruffles, and frills and to my mind quite cluttered! In this book, however this belief really shines through as her house is full of beautiful things set against a backdrop of clean lines and lots of white, my sort of shabby chic! Her design philosophy of beauty, comfort and functionality is obvious in her homes also, you can really see and understand why she has chosen the pieces she has, she must spend a long time editing! Her main home is stunning and I like her slight change in direction towards darker woods and more ethnic influences mixed with her classic colour palette and flowers. The frills and ruffles have been toned down and she has an amazing collection of vintage homewares. I found the book to be very inspiring and I have made changes to my home since reading the book. I have actually read the book twice and the only criticism I have is that there could be more text (I read the whole book in one evening)and more explanation concerning the layout of rooms. For eye candy purposes however, and for being an inspirational book that Im sure I will keep re-reading, it delivers 100%!
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on 1 October 2009
I purchased this book from Amazon last week. I am a decorative artist and I am always looking for new ideas and treatments for old and neglected items. The book is attractive to look at, but I felt that it lacked content, not enough photographs of items and some subjects were rather skimmed over and could have been developped.

If you want a real shabby chic effect, take a look at the books by Michèle Lalande, they are filled with ideas and treatments and at roughly the same price on Amazon are a better investment.
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on 12 September 2009
Fabulous book. Well worth the several year wait! All my previous shabby chic books are more shabby than chic now due my constant porings over. My home and entertaining style have been heavily
influenced by Rachels books. Rachel makes vintage style decorating and entertaining chic, and as I've discovered,everyone from tiny nieces to grandmas love tea parties. (pink&gold china a must!)
Rachels book are never more relevant as she shows us how classic timeless looks are all about reinventing what we already have. Not all of us have Rachels vision so it's great to be able to tap into her neverending reserve of elegant style.
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on 12 May 2013
I have several others of hers, but somehow this one seemed a bit boring, maybe she was desperate to get yet another printed. Put it this way, I normally have those times when it's wet and cold outside and a log fire is burning and I can sit and go gooey about the ideas I would love to have in my own home as shown in these type of books, but I am working through this one at quite a speed and not getting that feeling at all. Maybe she has gone too white this time and it is killing off that feeling for me. As it is mainly pictures of her homes it could be her own style taste is also changing bit by bit.
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on 9 March 2012
This is a beautiful book packed with stunning photographs, a must for any fan of shabby chic. My new favourite book now!
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on 19 October 2009
The book was full of clever, innovative ideas, also good on recycling tips. Liked it!
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on 9 November 2012
Although this book addressed the topics in a very clear manner i felt it tended to miss the budget aspect to the extent where the designer had not considered a tight students allowence but grand ideas . I would a like a publication entitled SHABBY CHIC ON CAREFUL BUDGET - APART. the publication ws a good read
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on 23 January 2013
Can't tell you how wonderful this book is, photographs beautiful
and the text is touching, interesting and informative.
Would totally recommend buying it. Very fast delivery in
perfect condition and good communication.
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on 15 September 2014
Lovely inspiration book with beautiful pictures of the decorated houses from the well known interior designer Rachel Ashwell.
Maybe a bit too romantic and soft for my taste of living, but never the less inspirational.
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