From beginning to end, some design partnerships are just a match made in heaven–our relationship with designer Rachel Shingleton of Pencil Shavings Studio is a perfect example of this! A 2018 My Rowe Designer (get another peek at Rachel’s Spring 2018 My Rowe Design inspiration here), Rachel instinctively knows how to maximize the custom potential of the thousands of options in the Rowe Furniture line, mingling them effortlessly with her signature bold & bright style. “Colorful and happy are probably the first two words that come to mind,” Rachel says describing her aesthetic, “but I’m definitely also all about mixing up casual, approachable style with a dash of glam.” We’re excited to share two recent project reveals by Pencil Shavings Studio, each utilizing Rowe selections as the centerpiece of the space. Read on for more on Rachel’s inspiration, and all the design details from these two projects!

Endless Inspiration

Rachel’s inspiration often stems from her background in graphic design, a skillset which can often be seen in her bold color choices and strong room composition. But inspiration for this designer is also found in the everyday scenes and objects all around her. “I’ve always been the kind of person who pulls inspiration from all different sources to create something new,” says Rachel. “Fashion, typography, paper goods, photography, business cards from cute little cafes, and peeks into local shops — it all converges for me.”

On her design style: “I need it to be functional and beautiful.  But no matter what, it’s got to be colorful!”

Traveling is often where that inspiration strikes for the designer, who describes feeling endlessly inspired by seeing the ways different people live, with an insatiable curiosity to see more. “Travel inspires how I want to live,” says Rachel. A certain feeling invoked by a happy experience can lead to figuring out a way to make that feeling a permanent part of your life. “Maybe you had the best coffee ever in the most beautiful cafe,” she says, “how do you recreate that experience in your everyday life to continue to bring you joy?”

The Designer’s Process

Any Pencil Shavings project, large or small begins with three key goals:

  • Who
  • How
  • Make it fun!

Identity of the client, whether real or imagined, is a major element in Rachel’s design process. Asking herself basic questions like, “who is this space for” and “how do they want to live,” the designer then uses the replies as a jumping-off point. She is always curious to find concrete answers to these questions and more, such as how to best merge form and function to create something that’s not only beautiful but truly useful? Is the style in alignment with how the client feels most themselves? Finally, says Rachel, “then it’s about the fun stuff — maybe a great rug or an amazing fabric that inspires the color scheme.”

Project Spotlight

Sooner Farmhouse Living Room

In this large living room, the client wanted to create a flexible space for her family and friends to hang out together. The airy, open floor plan opens directly onto a bold red kitchen, something the designer had to keep in mind when selecting pieces. “I wanted to include pops of color that referenced that crimson red kitchen,” says Rachel, “but I also wanted it to have a lot of layered textures. The client also wanted something mid-century inspired without going too thematic.” The farmhouse living room is a generously proportioned space, but an open floor plan is not without its challenges–the boundaries of each area had to be clearly defined. Eventually, Rachel found her perfect pieces from among our the thousands of possible Rowe selections that would make this vibrant mid-century/contemporary space pop!

“The Sooner Farmhouse project was all about layering patterns and textures, and about going bold,” says Rachel. Ultimately, she found the perfect fit in a pair of Rowe pieces. “The Thatcher Chair frame is so fun and gorgeous from all angles, and it has a mid-century vibe which the client was after,” says the designer. “The Townsend Sectional Sofa had plenty to offer in the way of customization and it’s so comfortable to lounge around on.”

Thatcher Chair

Thatcher Chair
Vintage meets modern, in a classic windowpane

Townsend Sofa

Townsend Sectional
Custom comfort, with crisp piping that keeps it fresh

Project Spotlight

Boardwalk Bungalow Bedroom

This master bedroom was an add-on to an existing cottage that had previously been a two bedroom home with no defined adult space. It needed to feel like a natural extension of the existing decor, which was colorful with a base palette of blues and whites, but the designer felt there was definitely room for the space to make a bold statement on its own.

Irving Park Headboard

Irving Park Headboard 
Massive impact in a small footprint

In contrast to the Sooner Farmhouse, the Boardwalk Bungalow space is tiny, which means that every last inch needed to be put to good use. Initially Rachel had thought of using an entire upholstered bed instead of a headboard, but the amount of space available eliminated the possibility of a footboard. “In some cases,” says Rachel, “small spaces can take even longer to design than a larger room because you have to be extra certain that each item will pull its weight and be worthwhile.” Turning a design challenge into a triumph, Rachel settled on our Irving Park Headboard in an eye-catching red hue, turning into the centerpiece of the whole room without sacrificing an inch of precious extra space. “In this room, the headboard is the star of the show,” says the designer. “Rowe has the most beautiful tomato red linen fabric that I’d seen at market, and I knew immediately that it’d be perfect on that frame.”


Durable Style: “Kid-Proof options are always an enormous factor for me and my clients. I love showing them that they can have beautiful, custom pieces loaded with style and personality — and that they can also survive whatever life throws at them. I live with Rowe Kid-Proof items in my own home and it’s an easy sell because these items really do what they promise.”

Service with a Smile: “Communication and quick turnaround are also enormous elements of why I love working with Rowe. Simply put, they have some of the best people in the industry. They make the process easy and fun from beginning to end.”