We do home styling for people. We come into spaces that aren't quite done and leave them beautifully finished. We move, we shift, we work with your style, we shop your home and give you resources. That's what we do. What we don't do, however, is completely reconfigure kitchens.
Ashley Palmer and I both have kitchens needing help, but we were struggling with the logistical side of the redesign–what materials would work best in this situation? Who do I hire to make cabinets? Can I knock that wall out? Palmer checked out various contractors who couldn't relate to her design sense, and I have had a year of troubling, sticky small home renovations with craftsmen who didn't quite work out. It wasn't fun.
Enter a third Ashley to the rescue. Ashley Whiteside is an interior design and renovation boss. Ashley offers styling like us, but also has the street cred for hard core renovation and the trusted construction connections a person would want when letting someone into their home to tear things down and build them back up.
Working with Ashley Whiteside has proved to be a good match, allowing us to collaborate with someone who shares our design style and quality expectations. Want to see what happens when three stylish Ashleys collaborate to update two very different kitchens? Follow along! We'll be blogging all the details.
Meanwhile, meet Ashley Whiteside, the answer to our kitchen rehab issues:
Where are you from? A child of dairy farming and extreme religious homeschooling, I was born and raised in Texas (College Station > Sulphur Springs > Longview), and went to college in Nashville, TN. I met a fella there, and we moved to Oklahoma City after marrying in 2009.
How long have you been doing interior design? How did you get into it? Ten years ago, I had a roommate who took an interest in our space, and it hadn’t occurred to me. I’d grown up in a home with strong design, and my aunt was an interior designer, but I somehow hadn’t noticed until that apartment. We hit the ground running and once that space was ready, I couldn’t flip the switch back the other way. Soon, it became more and more obvious to me that what you live in strongly affects how you live. That motivated me greatly, and I haven’t looked back. Though it’s been on the side for the majority of that time, I went hard in the paint recently. In 2014, I became the Lead Home Stylist for our local West Elm, and loved that role but outgrew it. All of 2016 has been spent on my own as Whiteside Art & Interiors! I am an Interior Stylist, Remodeler, Artist and now Blogger! Woot. We’ve just purchased a unique home that we’re renovating, so I keep all burners on at all times.
What inspires you? Oddly, I often feel not inspired but rather Motivated-By-Ugly. My job is often a game of solving problems and fixing the eye sores, so I can’t walk into a room without immediately imagining what could be done to correct it. Seldom do I enter a space and think about how inspiring it is or that those concepts could translate into my home. Rather, I walk into a doctor’s office and think about what a better experience the employees and patients would have there if the lighting weren’t so harsh and the surfaces so sterile. This begins an unfolding of concepts and visions that lead to an exciting plan for righting the world’s wrongs — and maybe that hasn’t been asked for yet. Oops. // If you want to truly talk about inspiration for artists, I think it’s seldom Pinterest or Instagram, though I love to use these tools when honing a design plan or when looking for examples of ideas I’m explaining. I feel most truly inspired when I’ve rested and walked away from my work for a bit. A relaxed mind is a creative mind, or at least my hippie bag of tea says so.
How would you describe your design style? My personal design style is "Whatever The Heck I Love That Isn’t A Terrible Long-Term Idea And Makes Me Feel Happy And Doesn’t Make My Husband Shudder” and admittedly is concerned about that last part the least. More specifically, I’d label it as Refined Whimsical Retro Boho. Midcentury, Modern, Vintage, Antiques, Floral Patterns, Abstract Art, Muted Tones, Mixed Textures, Wood, Metals, Pattern Mixing, and always have something weird in a room. I believe in spaces that are orderly yet perfectly reflect the true personalities of the people that inhabit them, and let’s be honest — people are weird. Maybe it’s easier to define my style as what it is not: Old World, looking like a catalog, basic, themed, or cold.
Tell us about your mother/daughter painting duo! Ah! This is so fun, and I can’t believe we get to do this sometimes. The easiest way to explain it would be to see the article (with great pics!) on Cottage Hill Mag’s blog.
Why is art important in a home/life? Try living without it and then you tell me! My favorite spaces to visit are those that tell me a story, or give a glimpse into personalities. Art does that for a home, as well, and unlike any other detail could. I see the art you choose for your space, and it’s always very personal. That tells me what you want to feel like, and what you want your style to be, I think. Do you want to feel more serious, or more playful? Are you looking for fun and celebration, or do you need a spot for your mind to rest? Is your home a place to impress people or to satisfy your curiosities? Do you make life decisions based on what you want or what you think you are supposed to be doing?! — I’ll know all of those answers by looking at your art collection. Oh, what’s that you say? You don’t have any art? What are you afraid of, people?!! LIVE!
What is your favorite decorative item in your home right now? Ha. Asking me which child I prefer is easiest since I just have the one. Shall I choose a collection, or a room, or perhaps the whole house?! I love nuances, and curious things, and colors that surprise me, so my home is a celebration of my interests. Choosing one is quite difficult, so I’ll pick a few.
What do you enjoy about collaborating with our shop? I was already a fan of Retro Den for myself and my clients, and now I have an excuse to hang out there and chat with the Ashleys. Their aesthetic + clientele aligns with mine so well that it’s uncanny. I’d call it a pretty perfect match.
Do you have a favorite Retro Den piece? THE RUGS. And the Asian pieces. And the plants? And the Percival Lafer set. Oh crap, don’t make me choose. I’d happily take half the store home with me.