the strategist

The Shabby Chic Founder’s Favorite Non-Shabby-Chic Home Goods

Not too shabby-chic.
Not too shabby-chic.

About 25 years ago, the very British designer Rachel Ashwell started a brand that quickly became synonymous with mushy slipcover couches, fluffy duvet covers, and lots and lots of knockoffs. Now she’s rebranding, with a name change from Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic to simply Rachel Ashwell, and a look that’s a bit more modern. It’s a reflection of how her own home has evolved, she says (“This is just how I personally live”). And how she personally lives, of course, involves some designs that aren’t her own, which we asked her to reveal here.

10 Strawberry Street Royal Charger Plate Set
“I have a lot of vintage plates, but I like to layer them with white. Target has really good staples of just plain, white china, and it’s always very affordable. It’s as good as any top-end line that you might find in a more expensive store.”
$97 for six at Target 

Tibetan Goat Rug
“I love this creamy goat-hair rug. I like the island-y feel of things from Calypso.”
$950 at Calypso St. Barth 

Votive Candles
“As far as candles go, I tend to like very simple white votives because I like to weave in and out of mixing high-end things with basic staples. But because they’re so basic, I’ll put little flower petals on the table around them.”
$8 for 12 at Amazon

Photo: Sean Dagen

Capiz Scalloped Chandelier
“I bought this for my daughter’s room. I’m known for chandeliers, so I typically like a fixture that makes a statement, but I like this one because it has a subtle hue and a little bit of that boho feeling.”
$295 at Serena and Lily

Hammered Brass Tray Set
“For side tables, or even coffee tables, I like to use a soft fabric ottoman and then put a tray on top. There’s a bit of versatility to that and I find that quite useful.”
$525 at Calypso St. Barth 

Outdoor Tassel Umbrella
“I just ordered these tasseled patio umbrellas. For the outside I lean toward a bohemian Ibiza feeling as opposed to anything too traditional. The little tassels add the flair.”
$299 at Pottery Barn 

Wool Shag Rug
“Obviously when you’re putting something on the floor that has a white or cream background there’s a danger that it’s going to look grubby very quickly, but there’s just something forgiving about this brown diamond pattern. It still feels fresh and nice even when it starts getting a little bit worn.”
From $188 at West Elm

Glass Bud Vase
“Flowers are really important accents to any room and Target is my go-to for little bud vases. I tend to pick a theme and either do everything in white or clear or a palette of blue, just to keep the vision quite simple. What’s nice about Target is that what you find there today might be completely different tomorrow.”
$17 at Target

The Shabby Chic Founder’s Favorite Home Goods