Do you all remember Rachel Ashwell and her Shabby Chic movement that took America by storm in the late 1990s? I know it is a time that we would all like to forget and certainly most of us won't admit that we too jumped on the bandwagon and found ourselves with a butter yellow bedroom, with (faux) distressed furniture as far as the eye could see, and weird vintage paintings of ladies in waiting that we picked up from a thrift store for the bargain price of $50 because we were sure they were"vintage" and probably "incredibly valuable." Obviously I'm talking about myself here and I wouldn't even dare tell you that my twin bed was swathed in cream mosquito netting and tied back with pink pastel bows to crate a DIY canopy bed. No, some things absolutely need to be left where they belong. Way back in the past. ;)
Okay, clearly I was a fan and it wasn't really until law school that I was able to pull myself out of my floral fog and discovered that I may just be a minimalist at heart, and holy crap I actually hated florals and really only liked bright colors (navy) or no color at all. Really, anything thing other than English Roses! AKA the I just discovered Ikea phase of my life. It's funny because here I am, pushing 40 and I've found that I'm actually a prefer a mix between the two and I'm pretty sure I have Ashewell to thank for that.
While most of us have moved on from Shabby Chic (no judgement if you haven't, you do you :)) I can't help but appreciate the era that was. I feel like Ashwell really changed how we all think about design and without her would vintage pieces mixed with modern one really be such a common thing? Would the bohemian style of there is no such thing as too much in a room, really exist if it weren't for her pushing crowded spaces? So many of us are drawn to whitewashed everything (myself included) and I can't remember that really happening before Ashwell. Oh, and pattern mixing? Really this was one of THE BEST thing to come out of the movement.
I was reminded about Shabby Chic when I saw Lily Ashwell's bohemian (dream) cottage that was recently featured in the most recent issue of Domino magazine (which by the way is really good!) Lily is Rachel's daughter and it's clear that the apple didn't fall that far from the branch. Lily has a lot of Shabby Chic inspired elements in her home, but they are done in such an understated way that the whole space feels new and fresh. It really shows that the jump from Shabby Chic to modern bohemian may just be one fiddle leaf fig tree away. Take a look and see what I mean.
Now, clearly the daughter of the creator is going to be able to perfectly capture the best parts of the Shabby Chic design (or in this case omit the worst) but through a quick Google search I found that many others have also been able to pull off the look as well. I've put together a few Old vs New images below which show that Shabby Chic may certainly be down... but there is still a lot of inspiration to be had so it's definitely not out! Just remember what's old is often new again, and someday soon you may find me praising the English Rose. Let's just hope that this time it's not swathed in floor to ceiling mosquito netting! Xx
OLD // NEW
P.S. I'm considering a slipcovered sofa for the Costa house for the convenience of washing... does this mean I'm already getting sucked back in???? Eek!
(Photo's of Lily's home via Domino)