Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Rental in Malibu

OWNER: Rachel Ashwell
LOCATION: Malibu Colony Road, Malibu, CA
PRICE: $20,000 / month
SIZE: 1,783 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Beautiful "Shabby Chic" decorated Malibu Colony land side home. Updates home. Great back patio with spa and views of mountains above Serra Retreat. Close to private beach access across the street with deck. Truly, a charming home.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Love it or hate it, the "Shabby Chic" style of interior design has made it's creator and guru Rachel Ashwell rich enough to buy a beach house in the uber-exclusive Malibu Colony. Although, perhaps not so rich that she doesn't like to make some extra money renting it out to help defray the mortgage and maintenance costs.

Currently available to lease at 20,000 clams per month, the modest and even shabby looking house occupies a land side lot in the celebrity friendly and guard gated Malibu Colony, where part time residents include Hollywood luminaries such as Jim Carry, Tom Hanks, Sting and Trudie Styler, Brian Grazer (recently sold), Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen (currently on the market), and of course, let's not forget She-rah, High Priestess of the Malee-boo bikini scene Pam Anderson, who also owns a land side house that she often leases out.

Miz Ashwell's less than glamorous house, lacking an ocean view, backs up to the private golf course that billionaire Spanish language television honcho Jerrold Perenchio built for himself in 1982, and the brick patio at the back of the property looks out over the impressive mountains above The Serra Retreat, another guard gated celebrity enclave, where floundering pop tart Britney Spears recently sold her former marital house of horrors for $10,000,000.

Speaking of that poor Britney Spears...Oh lawhd children, Your Mama is worried something fierce about his gurl after her humiliating performance at the VMAs and the subsequent news that her dee-vorce attorney and her manager Jeff Kwatinetz dumped her. We just hope that Alli Sims person is watching Britney like a hawk, because we are deeply concerned there's going to be trouble when the authorities come to take her babies away. Honestly, we're not a fan of Miz Spears and her gyrating and lip synching ways, but that does not mean Your Mama wants to see the gurl go down like this.

Anywhoo, back in the fall of 2006 when Miz Spears and the FedEx wisely decided to part ways, the troubled and tacky lip synch performer packed her Mercedes convertible and headed to the Malibu Colony where she reportedly leased this house. Your Mama has heard through the Malee-boo grapevine that the other residents, certainly no strangers to the glaring and glitzy lights of celebrity, were apoplectic over the attention the tabloid queen brought to the nabe not to mention hateful as hornet by the excessive effort it took to get in and out of the gates with all the swarming paparazzi trying to snap lucrative photos of Britney's fast sinking ship.

Miz Ashwell purchased this ranch-style house in February of 2003 for just $1,950,000. Now babies, we know that sounds like a lot of money to be slammed up against your neighbors in an itty bitty house with no water view, but in the stratospheric and mind bending world of Malee-boo real estate, $1,950,000 ain't shit. Your Mama presumes that this house, ordinary and unappealing as it's exterior may be, is worth a couple million more than the $1,950,000 that was paid for the property back in 2003.

Your Mama appreciates and even prefers a beach house that is modest, not overly fussy, and does not try to prove to the neighbors that you have more money than they do. And ev-er-ee-bodee that has ever read this blog knows Your Mama likes a white damn sofa. But we are not so keen to the overall Shabby Chic scheme which tends to looks like an somewhat updated Grandma's house.

We note and applaud that Miz Ashwell has loaded the kitchen up with expensive Viking appliances, and we do dig a glammy mirrored dresser like the one in the bedroom. We are not feeling that bean bag in the family room that looks upsettingly like a de-boned sheep that's been flung on the floor, and we sincerely think the living/dining room would be better served by a long, black and waxed farmhouse table that would help the eye to relax and rest rather than be in constant motion over all that white and nearly white furniture that keeps the eye moving in dizzying circles.

Interestingly, we don't see a shimmering chandelier anywhere in these photos, which is a staple Shabby Chic item. Hmm.

For those 10 or 12 children that would like to do over their homes Rachel Ashwell style, let Your Mama give y'all a brief primer on how to do Shabby Chic. The first thing to do is go to your local flea market and buy up a truckload of cheap furniture and have loose fitting white cotton slipcovers made for all the upholstered pieces. If you can't afford the custom slip covers, you can also buy them pre-made at low end shopping emporiums like Target, although they will fit poorly and look like you've stretched white garbage bags over the furniture. Next, paint all the wood pieces with an antique white paint and then sand it down with sandpaper and beat the hell out of it with a length of chain to give it that lived in look. Mix it all up with a sparkling, and preferably expensive chandelier, shelf after shelf mismatched china, vintage linens, and floral bed clothes. Be sure to spread a lot candles around to make it all seem romantic. Voila!

There are actually some much better photographs of this house on the Oprah Winfrey website that are part of a series she does about designer's homes. Now, we don't watch Oprah, in fact Your Mama avoids her talk program at all costs, so we can't tell you anything about the series, but the photos ton the website certainly present Miz Ashwell's Malee-boo beach house in a much kinder and gentler light.

Sources: Perez Hilton, PR9, TMZ, Oprah

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