January 14, 2019

Designer Q&A: Ashley Whittaker

(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)

How did you get started in the Interior Design business?

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)

Any advice for those who are looking to start their own Interior Design business?

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)

What would your dream project be?

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.

Tell us about your favorite project to date – this could be about a project that went wrong throughout but turned out perfect, a particularly fun/trusting client, a personal project, etc.

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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