Since discovering a combined interest in art history, drawing and painting, Ashley Rohe has been devoted to design. After studying architecture, interior design and product design, and gaining real world experience, Ashley took the leap to launch her own design firm, Ashley Rohe Design. Ashley Rohe Home, a home décor boutique in Belle Meade, opened four years later. Her diversified set of interests and skills is what we find the most attractive. Her ability to combine these interest and skills to create a career makes her crush-worthy. Allow us to welcome Ashley Rohe as today’s interior designer crush!
Tell us about your experience and background in design.
My path to design became clear in high school when I realized my curiosity with art history paired well with my love of drawing and painting. I was fortunate to have graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City, where I studied Architecture with minors in Interior and Product Design. While in college, I worked for very talented interior design firms and the experience really helped me see what a career in interior design could look like for me.
I have worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts for Marcus Gleysteen Architects, where I began to hone my interior detail and interior architectural knowledge. Then, upon returning home to Nashville, I worked for Landy Gardner Interiors where I really began to learn the business of interior design — the nuts and bolts of making everything I design come to life.
In 2010, I opened Ashley Rohe Design and have worked with clients throughout Nashville on homes from the ground up, renovations and whole home to single room designs. Last year, I partnered with my mom, Donna Schwaber, and opened Ashley Rohe Home, a stylish shop offering designer services, unique finds, furniture, lighting and made-to-order draperies.
What is your design aesthetic, and how does it set you apart?
My design aesthetic is relaxed yet sophisticated. I would say what sets us apart is our ability to make interior design an approachable and easy process.
At Ashley Rohe Home, what design services do you offer?
We offer in-house interior design services on projects of all scales. From one room to a whole home, we create a fresh look for your home based on your personality and lifestyle.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why?
I believe my most challenging project was the weekend retreat for a Nashville client. The work was enjoyable as it allowed me to provide a very different environment from the home I had previously designed for this family. At the same time, we were completing the total renovation of our retail space. Oh and did I mention that I completed both projects just days before giving birth to my son?
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? What is your favorite part of the process? Do you have a least favorite?
Once I have the first meeting with my clients and have gathered information about their needs and goals, I’ll go back to my shop and begin collecting ideas, furniture tear sheets, fabrics and wallpaper samples to help clients visualize the spaces texturally. I’ll also do furniture layouts and sometimes interior elevations if needed to help them understand the design.
My favorite part of the process is definitely the process. The gathering of information and visualization of a project, but I really enjoy the journey as the space starts to come to life. I love to see my client’s excitement in the process; it always makes it even more of an enjoyable team effort.
My least favorite part of the design process is often after the project is completed, clients are happy and living in their newly finished spaces and I always feel a little sad that the client/designer relationship has met a stopping point … of course until they get the itch to do something else.
What is the first question you ask a client?
The biggest job of an interior designer is to understand the needs of the client. So in our first conversations, I ask lots of questions about the space and the people who use it. It can vary but typically I want to know what is working in the space and not working in the space, who uses it, when and how does it function while being used.
I try to gather as much information as I can about the space and the people who use it. With this information, I can start to work on new design ideas that will fulfill the family’s needs while giving the client a new and better way to use the space.
What are your best tips for picking art?
Buy pieces that you love; art should move you in some way — inspire you, relax you, energize you …
When selecting fabrics, do you lean towards prints or solids?
I like to incorporate both prints and solids into each space I work on. I lean toward solids on larger pieces of furniture, like sofas and sectionals, and prints on chairs and pillows. Prints, stripes and solids are pretty evenly selected for wallpaper and draperies, depending on the client’s willingness and what the space will allow.
What are a few of your favorite pieces currently in stock at your home décor boutique in Belle Meade?
I am in love with our fabric collection for draperies and custom pillows. We have designer fabrics that are high in quality but at a very reasonable price. We have an excellent drapery maker in Nashville so it is very easy to get a high-end product at a very reasonable price point. We also have selected furniture brands that reflect the transitional style that reflect many of our client’s design tastes and enable us to give a custom product that is desired by many.
Will you share one designer secret with SB readers?
Draperies are the jewelry of a space. Adding them instantly elevates the eye and adds texture and interest to the view.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
The night before Thanksgiving, when our family gathers at our home, we drink champagne, exchange ornaments and decorate our Christmas tree together. It’s become a fun tradition we look forward to each year and it really starts the holiday season for our family.
Do you use white lights or colored lights on your tree?
I love white lights — mostly because they’re so versatile. Since having our two young children, we have enjoyed decorating with colorful shatter proof ornaments and whimsical ones from my childhood.
What is on your holiday wish list?
What is your favorite room in your home, and why?
That’s a hard one. I love many rooms in my home for different reasons, but I will say that the one prevailing theme from room to room is our painted white floors. People thought I was crazy but the white wash has a profound effect on the mood of each space. It adds so much lightness and brightness. Can I say that? My floors?
What makes a house a home?
At the center of every home is the heart which is formed by the love and special memories that you share along the way. It’s this that makes a house a home.
What is your best advice for new designers?
Listen to your clients.
What are three household items you couldn’t live without?
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words (or less), what would they be?
Living in relaxed style.
Today’s stunning photography is the work of Lynsey Culwell with Square Foot Photography (unless otherwise credited).
For more home décor trends, inspiring interiors and local designers, click here.