Since childhood, Ashley Meier has found herself inexplicably drawn to design. Eventually, it was the inspiration of the city that surrounded her that finally gave her the push to dive in. New Orleans served as the backdrop of her early design days and also the most challenging (yet rewarding) project she’s ever done. Today, she lives in Nashville and brings her eye for fresh, clean design with her. She’s designed textiles and opened stores, and at the heart of it is her keen eye for design and appreciation for a space that is both beautiful and livable. We’re excited to introduce you to our latest interior designer crush, Ashley Meier!
Have you always had a penchant for design?
Yes — as long as I can remember, even as a very young child.
Was there a moment when you realized that interior design was for you?
Yes. I had never considered doing interior design for a career until my late twenties while I was living in New Orleans. It wasn’t what I studied in school, so I kept resisting pursuing it seriously. There is so much inspiration in that city that I think living there gave me the final push I needed.
What is your background in design?
I’m completely self-taught. In college, I studied Political Philosophy and French; I went to a large school but interior design wasn’t offered. At the time, I never even thought of it as a future profession. Looking back, it makes me laugh a little bit at how obvious it was that I would be doing this now. As a rising sophomore in college, I sketched out a furniture plan for my first apartment and even spent the summer having my dad build custom shelving for it. In my mid-twenties, my husband and I started flipping houses, and I just kept diving in deeper from there.
Describe your interior design aesthetic.
My aesthetic has always favored clean lines, a clear focal point and I tend to lean a bit modern. I love a good mix of vintage and new, original art and an organic element, and enough white space in the room for the eye to rest. More than anything, I want all the rooms I design to create a mood that supports the people living in the space.
Do you have a project you’re most proud of?
Yes, and it was actually also the most challenging. We bought a house in 2005 in New Orleans, about four months before Hurricane Katrina hit. The house was five feet above sea level and over 100 years old. We were so lucky that the hurricane damage in our neighborhood was limited, because 80 percent of the city looked like a war zone. It was a very uncertain time, and not being native to the area, my husband and I wanted to move back to Nashville. I was also pregnant with my first child. The house was in pretty good shape when we bought it, but we found ourselves in a very difficult market. We ended up replacing all the old wiring to meet the new insurance requirements and it was hard to find contractors. But even in that environment, I enjoyed the rehabbing and loved obsessing over the details. We ended up with multiple offers on the house and I knew I had found what I wanted to do.
Do you have a specific room or space you especially love to design?
Right now, I’m loving kitchens because kitchen design has evolved so much in the last 10 years — from pretty generic layouts to such beautiful rooms that are the center of a home. They are the ultimate challenge as far as marrying function and aesthetics.
You also have an online store! Tell us a little bit about that space and what that venture has been like.
The online store is a work in progress. I have been involved with retail on and off for more than a decade. Most of that time I have had a brick and mortar store, but I found that I was overextended trying to run a physical store and design business. I kept my online store going because it is so easy to manage. Most of my sales come from out of state, but I’ve even shipped goods internationally.
Are there any interior design trends you are particularly fond of right now?
I’m especially loving lucite fixtures — for drapery rods, handrails, shelving and hardware.
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Where do you turn for inspiration?
For me, inspiration comes when I step away from everything and find a quiet moment to clear my head. And for me, my favorite place to do that is on a hike or walking the gardens at Cheekwood. An annual trip to High Point Market is also a must for me, and I’m excited to be going in a few weeks.
What is your best interior design tip that we non-designers could implement into our homes?
For rooms to have more impact, “less is more.” Practice the art of restraint and pick one element in your room that you want to be the star. Then, make sure everything else complements that piece. It’s better to have one great piece that is supported by everything else than to have too many strong elements competing against each other. This doesn’t mean your room needs to end up stark — you can add layers of visual interest once you have a focal point.
In your wildest dreams, who designs your personal home?
Kelly Wearstler. I have seen rooms she has designed that make my jaw drop. She is a true artist, and I’m sure she would do something unexpected.
Rapid-fire … what is your go-to paint color? Coffee table book? Candle?
- Paint: “Off-Black” by Farrow and Ball.
- Book: Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives
- Candle: Rose Basil and Jasmine by Ella B.
In five words, how would you describe your interior design style?
Fresh, modern, organic, contrasted, layered
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