(I am obsessed with this entry)
If I had to pick another designer to do my house for me, it would probably be New York’s Ashley Whittaker. I have long been a HUGE fan of her work, and having gotten to know her a bit via Instagram DM’s (the magic of the interwebs), she is also a VERY funny, very kind person which makes me like her all the more. I’m sure you’ve seen her work as she’s always being published in one glossy or another, a true design world darling- and for good reason. Her modern take on traditional decor is nothing short of genius. If you don’t follow her on Instagram, you should! I asked her a few questions about her career and selected some favorite images of her work to share with you here today!
(Another amazing entry, from the floors to the wallpaper)
For seven years, I worked for Ralph Lauren in the PR department producing and managing events, fashion shows, product launches and special projects. I knew I wanted to be in the interior design business, so I left Ralph and went to work for Markham Roberts for several years. I didn’t go to design school but one thing that I think is important to put out there is, you either get it, or you don’t. What I do is not taught in design school, I promise. I am passionate about antiques and architecture, understanding the history of great furniture, great houses and great bones is imperative. I spend a lot of my free time reading and studying those subjects. Albert Hadley once said, “If you don’t understand 18th-century furniture, you can’t decorate a room for today.”
(Everything about this space is stunning- the details on the chairs are especially wonderful)
It’s important to interview your clients as much as they interview you. Choose your clients wisely. It’s helpful to work with those who know what they want and speak directly. I appreciate when my clients know when to say no and when to say yes.
(Such an unexpected pairing of fabrics and art in this space)
I am from Florida, so I’m naturally attracted to Mediterranean and Bermuda-style architecture. I think decorating an amazing John Volk house in Palm Beach County would be spectacular. His use of indoor-outdoor spaces and signature quirky-traditional architecture would be a lot of fun—especially considering I am from Florida and I love traveling down there.
We completed a brownstone project on the Upper East Side two years ago. It was a complete gut renovation by architect Jim Joseph. Since it was a landmarked building, we had to be true to the original facade. But in the rear of the residence, we were able to install incredible floor-to-ceiling windows that took over the entire back of the house. It was the most amazing transformation of a space that I’ve worked on to date. Originally the brownstone was three separate, dark apartments with almost no windows in the back. To see the new space flooded with natural light really was astounding! Then to be able to create very livable interiors for a flexible and easy client was so much fun. What came to fruition was pure beauty!
Our client was super fashionable. Although interior design wasn’t exactly in her wheelhouse, she was so collaborative and she trusted us to run with it and take risks. I think because she had an eye for putting together outfits, she was more open-minded to decorating than your typical client.
(This is one of my favorite rooms Ashley has done- that Jasper Michael Smith floral fabric is one of my all time faves)
(How gorgeous are the bold red accents with all this cool blue?)
(This entire entry is amazing- especially the wallcovering and mirror!)
(Classic, timeless design)
(This den is amazing and cozy but features some cool, modern touches)
(This bright, acidic green really makes this antique sideboard pop)
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Waking up to this today made me happy! She has the most beautiful rooms!
I really enjoyed this post! Thank you, Erin.
These stunning rooms are just the tonic for a dreary mid January slump! The juxtaposition of classic furniture elements against a modern palette for walls and art elevates what could feel stuffy to a level of brightness and comfort that is spot on. The designs manage to feel clean AND cozy. Thank you for introducing us to such a talent.
Such gorgeous and interesting rooms! Thanks for sharing so much beauty and talent.
I love Ashley’s work so much! That living room with the fireplace is pretty much my dream : )
I find it disrespectful when decorators bash design school. It shows a real insecurity and pretentiousness that is bad for the industry as a whole. I will never under value someone’s working experience or talent, but as a designer who has invested in a degree, I don’t appreciate it being devalued by people in the business and I can also tell you that art & architectural history is design school 101. “Passion” does not replace technical expertise. I’m hopeful that one day we can make this kind of undercutting and tension in the industry go away.
I don’t think Ashley meant any disrespect, and I’m sure she employs people who went to design school just as I do. I think her point was to give encouragement to those who have not or can not go to design school– that they too can have a BIG career, even without having completed that. In no way is that a slight on those who do– after all, all these homes cannot get built without people who hold degrees and licenses in the field. I think she means to say, you either have a naturally good eye for combining styles, patterns and color, or you don’t. that kind of skill isn’t one you are taught, you just naturally have that. I’ve said the same thing. I think that this business is made up of such a variety of people with many skill sets- we need all of them to make the best work possible!
HI Erin, Would you know what the fabric is on the chairs in the Den. The blue and white floors me and I would love to have it in my home.
Beautiful! I especially love the fabric on that gorgeous sectional in the third photo-could you please post the source for both sofa and fabric?