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Monthly Parenting Magazine
READING

Rachel Ashwell: Room for Romance

Rachel Ashwell: Room for Romance

Rachel Ashwell

Pearl Lowe’s Somerset home has an effortless feel of faded elegance, as her friend Rachel Ashwell describes it

Words Rachel Ashwell
Photography Amy Neunsinger
©CICO Books

While shooting at Babington House, I remembered my friend Pearl Lowe lived nearby so I called her up, meaning to go over for a cup of tea. Instead I learned that she had recently moved, so, with flowers in hand, we arrived for a spontaneous shoot at her new home.

Pearl retreated from the hectic London music scene about 12 years ago, to spend more time with her children and return to her first love, fashion design. She has created a full and committed life in the countryside, running her textile and children’s fashion business from the home she shares with her musician husband and three children, with welcome visits from her eldest daughter, Daisy Lowe.

Pearl and family moved into this new house – it has 11 bedrooms, just to give you some idea of the size of the project – only eight weeks before these photographs were taken. But then Pearl is a genius when it comes to interiors, and I’ve visited most of them. Just as she dresses in elegant, feminine, and totally individual floral frocks, her interiors reflect the way she is. There’s a definite Pearl palette, bolder and more subdued than mine, that veers sometimes toward dark colours and even black, which somehow in her world still feels romantic to me. Added to the effortless faded elegance she brings to every interior and her make-do, mend and recycle ethos, she creates a fairytale ambiance that is subtly theatrical and never over-dramatic.

Rachel Ashwell

Her design credentials began with sourcing and overdying lace curtain panels, which led inevitably to lace dresses and a successful high-street collaboration. Now, she’s turned her creativity toward homewares and her unique line of children’s clothing – a fantasy of Pierrots, trapeze artists, harlequins, bats, glitter, and magic wands.

In her short tenure of the house, she’s stamped her personality on it. All 11 bedrooms have some kind of furnishing and her signature touches of love. Armoires and cupboards overflow with fabrics: napkins, lace, and floral eiderdowns, she’s not a crisp white duvet sort of girl. And little moments of floral décor show up over and over, in a non frou-frou way, a perfect match for my floral affair.

Extract taken from My Floral Affair by Rachel Ashwell, published by CICO Books, £25.


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