If you spend any time on Instagram, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of Ashley Brooke Designs – the company is everywhere and for good reason. The founder launched her eponymous creative studio and lifestyle brand to immediate accolades, featuring bold accessories like notebooks, mugs, and wrapping paper. Each product is equal parts motivating and fun, resulting in a brand that women everywhere can relate to. Ashley believes that “life is better when it’s fancy — or includes a bowl of popcorn,” so we knew she was our kind of girl from the get-go. Today, she’s opening the doors to her Florida home – and we’ve got major design envy. Read on to learn about the space, her career path, and what she’s up to next.
This home is beautiful, Ashley! How did you find it?
Months before finding the house, I had been obsessing over the neighborhood. It is so quaint, sweet, and family oriented, and I could not get over the front porches. Since most homes in Florida have that tropical-stucco look, this street was a downright Southern gem and I loved it!
There wasn’t much of anything in the neighborhood for sale at the time, so people were ready to buy when a home became available. The day this house went on the market 11 people, including me, put in offers. When my realtor told me about the other offers, I knew I had lost the house; there was no way I was going to outbid ten other people with much larger budgets, so I figured it was time to get creative. I stopped by with a loaf of homemade banana bread and chatted with the owner about my big dreams for the home. We had a great little afternoon swapping stores! Shortly after, I received a call from my realtor saying that I had gotten the house. Now, when all else fails…just bake some banana bread!
So smart! Kindness always wins… and banana bread, too! So when it came to decorating the place, where did you start?
Honestly, I really had to start from scratch. I didn’t have much to bring to the house and there were a ton of aesthetic issues right off the bat. Everything got a fresh coat of paint, all the carpet was ripped up and wood floors were laid down. The dated wallpaper was also replaced. As soon as that was all taken care of, I worked from the bottom up!
I knew the color palette and layout I envisioned, so I started with rugs. There was quite literally a time where I only had a rug in the living room. I slowly started building from there with the couch, chairs, tables, etc. Then when my husband moved in, he brought a lot of structure to the house, design-wise. He had boxes and boxes of Harvard classics, old furniture he had refinished and incredible maps. I love the way our two tastes have come together!
You both have really done a great job of making the space glamorous yet still gender neutral. What are your top tips for mixing his & hers style?
That is so nice of you to say! In all honesty, it was a struggle at first, but I think we have truly gotten the hang of it. We try and keep all of the anchor pieces of each room more masculine and streamlined, and then add the feminine touches through accessories and pops of character. It is a strategy that really works for us!
The entryway is fantastic. How did you select the wallpaper?
Thank you! That wallpaper is my pride and joy. I knew I wanted something fun and Floridian in the entryway, something with a touch of whimsy and character. I have been such a fan of palm leaf wallpaper, but wanted something that would be a bit more muted and might stay in style a little while longer. I found this paper on an online shop that has since been closed, but they had just the amount I needed… pretty sure this paper was meant for me!
It might be our favorite! We have to ask – what is your favorite room in the home?
Right now it is our living room/kitchen. We spend a lot of time there! I love to cook, and my husband loves to read; it’s my favorite when I’m busying myself in the kitchen and he is in our living room reading. The house just feels whole.
Describe your perfect Saturday at home?
Oh, easy. Saturday morning pajamas + big breakfast + reading; Saturday afternoon neighborhood bike ride + a swing in the hammock; Saturday evening homecooked meal with friends that ends in a bottle of wine on the back porch.
Love that! Okay, we have to leave Saturdays for a moment to talk business. What inspired you to launch Ashley Brooke Designs?
Honestly, it was an idea that was birthed out of necessity. I was laid off from my fancy interior design job when the market crashed and just decided that I need to do something and do something fast. No one was hiring for ANYTHING, so I decided to do my best to take control of the situation and start something. I put all my skills together with the resources I had and Ashley Brooke Designs was born. It’s been pretty crazy. I didn’t have a business plan or an outline, I just asked a bazillion questions to anyone who would listen to me, read every business book I could get my hands on and hustled. I worked really hard and made lots of mistakes but every once in a while I would have a success and that is what kept me going. I have a fairly persistent personality, so I focused all my energy on that.
What advice do you have for other budding entrepreneurs?
Take it one day at a time! Sometimes the big picture can be unhelpful, and when you stick to what you know you are good at and keep trying everyday to move forward in small action steps, that’s when the biggest things come together. Persistence, endurance, and faith are key.
We see a lot of ABD’s personality in the home…
We just added a little coffee cart in our living room that I just love. It displays all of our ABD mugs and it makes me so happy everytime I walk by. Plus it’s just fun to sit on the couch and be able to say “I MADE THOSE!!”
The best!! So, we’re dying to know… what’s next for Ashley Broke Designs?
Oh gosh, we have so many fun things in the works from collaborations to new products… but a lady doesn’t spill her secrets!
For a closer look at the space (and information on product sources!), start the slideshow.