Holidays & Parties
Mar 24, 2014

book review: rachel ashwell couture prairie

By: Suzanne Moutis
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Holidays & Parties
Mar 24, 2014

book review: rachel ashwell couture prairie

By: Suzanne Moutis
Anyone who's ever seen decorating icon Rachel Ashwell knows that she's more at home in well-worn jeans and cowboy boots than anything else. So it really comes as no surprise to learn that her latest book, Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie ($44, Cico Books), centres around her purchase of a small hotel in Round Top, Texas, that she's transformed into a shabby-chic haven called The Prairie for like-minded people who make the trip to the Round Top antiques fairs that happen three times per year, as well as those who just want a quiet getaway at a rustic-meets-sophisticated country inn.   [caption id="attachment_26811" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="The Seabury Suite in Lilliput Lodge"] [/caption] But those who may have thought that the designer's first foray into the world of B&Bs would be a small thatched cottage in the British countryside won't be disappointed. Although at first glance it may seem as though Rachel's signature style, with its layers of lace, faded florals and pastel-painted vintage finds, is not a perfect fit in the land of dusty pick-up trucks and longhorn cattle, in fact the pairing is an inspired match made in heaven, where vintage wallpaper hangs below corrugated tin ceilings and watercolour paintings adorn weathered wooden walls. Original dark-painted bedrooms are sometimes brightened with a coat of whitewash, sometimes not, and uneven brick or terracotta floors look just right underneath slipcovered sofas and bare feet. All the rooms feature linens from Rachel Ashwell's lines, and there is even an outpost of Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture shop on the property for those who want to take home a little bit of this relaxed pretty style. [caption id="attachment_26812" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Cracked concrete floors in Faith Cottage"] [/caption]   [caption id="attachment_26813" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="The breakfast area and a stag's head inherited from the property's previous owners"] [/caption]

[caption id="attachment_26816" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="Watercolours on the wall in the Pearl Barn"] [/caption] The tired old buildings on the property have surrendered their patina to the hands of a master, and with Rachel's addition of flowers, chandeliers and whimsical touches, the half-dozen dwellings now hum with a quiet, serene energy that invites us into a setting filled with images of lemonade on the porch, lazy full-on farmstyle breakfasts and sunsets that go on forever. [caption id="attachment_26815" align="aligncenter" width="460" caption="The Spanish-tiled tub at Cornflower Cottage"] [/caption] My favourite retreat is Cornflower Cottage, which started life as a chicken coop and now revels in its transformation to a cozy bedroom suite with colourful touches of Mexico in its cement floor and this Spanish-tiled Jacuzzi tub. Swoon! Would you stay here? Comment below and let me know!
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book review: rachel ashwell couture prairie