It seems like Ashley Binkley was destined to become an interior designer. At an early age, she discovered the wonder of color and textiles through shoes, clothing and ribbons, which set her on her future career path. “I have always loved textiles and details from an early age but little did I know that would be my career path later in life,” says Ashley, who studied interior design at Auburn University. She apprenticed at Marc-Michaels Interior Design in Winter Park, FL, and then under Richard Keith Langham in New York before moving back to Memphis and working under Rhea Crenshaw. Ashley launched York Binkley Interior Design in 2014 and occasionally works with her husband, Les Binkley, a real estate developer. Today, we’re excited to get a little one-on-one time with our newest Interior Designer Crush. Welcome, Ashley Binkley!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the hidden beauty found in everyday life and the nuances of how we strive to improve the way we live each day.
How do you determine “the soul of a home?”
I feel the soul of a home lies with its owners and think the soul of a home isn’t as much a physical place as much as it is an outward manifestation of those who dwell in it. So I, of course, draw from the house itself and its unique characteristics but I tend to focus more on the owner’s personality and the lifestyle they live or aspire to live.
What influences you and how does that get translated into your design?
I’m influenced by all my observations throughout life, whether physical or emotional … observations of true beauty ,as well as those in life that are not so beautiful — all of which shape my perspective of design. These observations hone my eye, which reinforces my ability to discern enduring beauty from fleeting fads in design.
I’m also influenced by colors in nature and the local vernacular of the agrarian South.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
Ha! That’s easy … any of my husband’s projects. He is my biggest critic but also my best encourager. His eye for design always impresses me.
What is your design aesthetic and how do you translate that to a client/homeowner?
I agree with (interior designer) Miles Redd: “Buy the best and you only cry once.”
How does Memphis’s design scene differ from that of the rest of the country?
I don’t feel it differs much. We have many talented designers in Memphis, each with our own unique approach. I always enjoy seeing work from our local design community. It’s inspiring in and of itself.
Share one design secret with us regular folk.
I’ll share two. One: Buy the best windows you can afford … never skimp on them. Second: Strive for a balanced mix of old and new … layer, layer, layer.
Who have been your industry role models/mentors and why?
Everyone I’ve studied under has influenced me in ways they will never know. I’m certainly grateful to each of them and the positive impact they have made on my career.
Do you have favorite local spots to hit as a resource?
Recently, I have had surprising success late-night rummaging through Sheffield Antiques for an eclectic find or two.
Thanks to Ashley for sharing her insight, tips and expertise with our readers. And thanks to Julie Wage Ross for her beautiful photos of Ashley’s projects.