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London, NY, LA, & Round Top

Picture this.

I’m in Warrenton for Round Top Antiques week

merrily shopping and shooting on my happy way (more of that to come soon).

I walk into a booth and think, “this reminds me of Rachel Ashwell”.

I’m focusing on this fabulous gilded chandelier and adjusting my light

when I see a hand across from reach for a spectacular Robin’s egg blue lamp.

I paused and thought– hmm….that’s weird– she kind of looks like Rachel Ashwell.

Let me get a better look.

Low and behold

meet the lovely Rachel Ashwell.

 I waited  till she seemed to be done and then

approached her with speaking as a very un-eloquent mess.

(this is how I roll with celebrities)

I mean this is a person who Oprah has quoted,

“Rachel Ashwell single-handedly turned shabby into chic and it caught on like wildfire!”

In April 2010, Ashwell was one of 10 interior designers

showcased on Oprah.com.

The Los Angeles Times  has described

Ashwell as “the creator of the Shabby Chic brand.”

Books, TV shows, stores in New York, London, Los Angeles,

and Round Top.

Yes Round Top population 77.

Truly a rockstar in the world of Interior Design.

She was very kind and even invited me to her

B&B The Prarie, 

for cheese and wine later that afternoon and was

even so nice as to offer an interview.

What a dream…

Unfortunately,  I had to be somewhere else that afternoon

so I wasn’t going to be able to make it.

Rachel was wonderful and so lovely she allowed me to come back and photo

her amazing Bed & Breakfast.

So the following day I made the trip back to Round Top taking  the

road less traveled through roads lined with flowers the entire way.

This was the first time I’ve driven alone to Round Top.

Although I missed the laughs and gossip of good friends,

I kid you not when I say I had to pull over and take

photos of the breathtaking Texas scenery.

It really moved me.

I’m not being poetic or embellishing in the least

when I say that the entire drive there was like a wedding promenade with accents of

wildflowers perfectly arranged sporadically alongside both paved and gravel roads.

The peacefulness was striking.

One of my favorite sounds… driving on gravel.

This is the entrance and long road into the B&B and I loved the

drama of not knowing what beauty would lie ahead.

I love the story of The Prairie as given on Rachel’s site and

especially her description of what her vision of The Prairie was:

During the restoration phase I was careful to preserve the paths trodden by footsteps
and hands of those before me. My vision was to balance the sweeping rustic, primitive
soul of the architecture of the five houses and 46 acres
of beautiful open landscape of the Prairie with a certain “Marie Antoinette” touch.
Comfy Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic Couture sofas and signature crystal chandeliers
are mixed with tattered lampshades, vintage fixtures, and original floorboards.

– excerpt from The Prairie’s history

Before I even took my seatbelt off – I knew I was in for a great shoot.

Vintage rusting truck….

Another fabulous detail — rusted horseshoe gate to greet you.

Welcome to Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic Couture.

Your guide on this tour will be Big Pearl who was little sleepy

when I got there but stayed by my side the whole way.

Rachel even has the perfect country dog.

Love porch swings but a porch swing with Rachel Ashwell pillows is dreamy.

Peek-a-boo! I see you– yep that’s me!

I wore a Rachel Ashwell-esque

linen blouse and jeans just for the occasion:)

It’s hard to believe this is a store.

Just so fluffy, cozy and light. The perfect mix of shabby and chic.

Ruffles that go on for miles.

The perfect fanciful details mixed with vintage.

Adore the Prarie-branded tableware details.

What wonderful momentos of a pleasant getaway weekend or wedding china.

So many fabrics…so many choices.

Mind you– this is a typical day at the shop.

No intentional styling or fluffing up and several customers shopping.

It is as it always is. Perfection.

Imagine the amazing naps you could take in these luxury linens?

Even her Monogramed Hangers are slipcovered and beautiful!

I remember having a door like this somewhere in my childhood.

GASP

You can understand why the Prairie caters to so many weddings.

So after my visit to the shop

I headed outside to the Ranger Lounge next door.

Enveloped in just the sounds of birds singing and the sound of gravel under my shoes…

Heavenly.

Is it me or are the flowers just prettier here?

Next I spotted The Prairie’s feline mascot, Pearl.

Everyone here is so sleepy and relaxed.

Isn’t she darling?

Outside the Ranger Lounge.

I can see me & Rachel chatting away enjoying wine and cheese here

and talking about those gorgeous fluffy pillows with the 2 Pearls.

Just one of four cottages.

I wish I was bold enough to knock on the

doors and ask the guests for a second to peek inside.

Somehow I don’t think that would be proper so I resisted:)

Left to Right: Terry Ragland, Mary Louise Sinclaire, Shelly Lipscomb,
Felice Crocker, and Kathy Shuford (not pictured is Sue Porter and Ann Burke).

While on my way to the Ranger Lounge

I met the nicest group of ladies.

Felice tells me that their group has been

traveling to Round Top from Dallas for almost 20 years!

But my favorite thing about these girls is

that their husbandscall this their  “hunting trip”

 — well that and that their outfits were

unintentionally coordinated so perfectly!

As I mentioned in my last post about Round Top–

come once and you can’t resist coming again.

Into the Ranger’s Lounge.

A comfortable, ecclectic, and hodge-podge of mismatched

furnishings grouped together in perfect unison.

This is the magic of Rachel Ashwell.

She brings together eclectic elements that have almost nothing in common

and yet they fit like tailored interlocking puzzle pieces.

Meanwhile leaving you thinking, “how did she do that”?

More fluffy pillows and beautiful fabric.

whimsically fashionable.

Fell in love with this vintage carousel horse.

So I had to name her…Charlotte it is.

She just looks like a prim and proper Charlotte.

A retired pony from a long ago circus with best stories to tell.

Truth be told I’m not a “blue” kind of girl.

I think Rachel may have converted me.

The perfect splashes of blues, aquas, cerulean…

give these neutral and shabby spaces the pop.

Simple and perfect.

Part of the dining area with many tables and unmatching chairs– some

with slip covers from Rachel’s line and some naked.

Even the garbage can is amazing.

Yes people, a garbage can made me smile.

Pretty sure I would run into a house on fire for this dress.

I know a couple of little girls I’d love to shoot in this!

So that brings us to the end of our tour of Rachel Ashwell’s Prarie B&B.

I could not give a description more accurate and

do as much justice as that of Rachel’s description –

 so I’ll quote her instead:

A true home experience is made complete with
fresh flowers in signature jam jars. 
Board games and high tea makes for a quality of days gone by. 
Seasonally the sun sets over the fading wisteria tree, 
causing streaks of light to play on the Ranger’s Lounge,
 
a barn that is the communal heart of the Prairie 
for all to share laughter and music. Or just the quiet. 
The Prarie is my dream come true.
My hope is that you too can come share it with me. 

I’ll be sure to shoot a guest cottage next time I’m visiting.

Can’t wait to stay there and live the dream!

You can find more info about the

The Prairie by Rachel Ashwell by visting her site:

The Prarie

C O N T A C T