In this episode, Cara sits down with interior designer and blogger, Ashley Wilson to talk all about using fun colors confidently in your home and picking colors for your space.
She also dishes on some interior design rules that can help you style your space — plus some thrifting tips for finding amazing pieces and transforming them into something unique for your space. Ashley also shares tips for sustainable living and some small changes and products to make it easy.
what i'm loving this week
New favorite place to buy unique hardware: HobbY Lobby
I'm really loving Hobby Lobby for unique hardware — they have all sorts of styles from antique to modern to eclectic. Fun + unique hardware is a perfect way to update your kitchen without having to use power tools or drag out the paint.
Hop over to my instagram to see a closer look at drawer pulls I picked and the before and after of them installed on my kitchen drawers:
Instagram highlights: Hardware try on sesh
stuff we just need to talk about
you should listen to other people's opinions about your home
You're probably thinking, but Cara, you always say just do what you love and don't care what other people think. And to that, I say both.
Listening to other people's opinions is something that's going to help you make your home better. Like having someone else have a perspective and an opinion on your home doesn't mean they're telling you something's wrong. And it also doesn't mean you should change anything about your home.
If you're happy with it, let it be obviously — But listening to that feedback and not just shutting it down completely is really important because it helps make you better in terms of the spaces you're creating and it helps you consider like perspectives and ideas that you probably wouldn't have come up with by yourself. So this piece of advice is kind of coming from two places.
let's talk about it!
What do you think!?
At Home with Ashley is a blog all about creating a dream house, no matter the budget. Ashley Wilson, the creator empowers women to love where they live and decorate with colors that make them smile. Ashley has been featured places like HGTV, Apartment Therapy, Lonny, Brit + Co, and more.
get in touch
things to check out:
some amazing resources: Ashley's formula for styling bookcase // Her "design formula" for styling things in groups of 3
Ashley's Rainbow stairs + shelves:
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EP 24 TRANSCRIPT
...just in case you wanna read
Cara Newhart: 00:00 You are listening to the MakeSpace podcast. Episode number 24
INTRO: 00:22 Hey, welcome to make space a home design show made to inspire you to create spaces who truly feel at home. In Cara Newhart sits down with amazingly brilliant guests for conversations that dive deeper than pin worthy rooms. To tease out the essentials of creating spaces that feed your soul and inspire your creativity from home design strategies to decor, advice to interior design tips and tricks. These conversations help you dream up a beautifully lived in home. Cara is the designer and chief creative enthusiasts behind Never Skip Brunch. Her work has been featured in print publications like people style watch and Denver style magazine as an influencer. Cara has collaborated with brands like Amazon,H and M, Twitter and Thrillist. Here's your host, Cara Newhart.
Cara Newhart: 01:21 Only six days til Christmas! Do you guys remember that part? In the Grinch where he's like four hours, still Christmas and they like panic and start shopping more. I am going to do the opposite of that. I'm actually done with buying gifts, which is super weird because normally I'm scrambling at the last minute, but I really credit Amazon for being able to just order everything in a timely manner. Anyway, I'm excited to sit down with you guys today because I know we're kind of in the middle of the holiday bustle so maybe you're running around getting all your errands done or you're sitting at work trying to make it through this week, which is like the hardest week cause it lasts forever cause it's almost Christmas, almost time to have time off. Um, but I have a really fun conversation to bring you today. I'm sitting down with Ashley of @athomewithashley. She's an amazing interior designer and we are talking all about using color bravely in your home, including how to use pink because she uses a lot of pink and a lot of pastels.
Cara Newhart: 02:28 And then we're actually going to talk about some design rules and kind of what she recommends in terms of how design rules can help you create a space you love, which is refreshing because I feel like a lot of times on the podcast we're just saying like break the rules, don't follow the rules, but like the rules are there to like help you and give you structure, especially as a DIY designer. If you don't know, um, kind of what looks good or how to do things, the rules can really inform your choices. It doesn't mean you like stick to them, you know, on dot. But it's a good like structure, um, to help you. So before we get into that conversation, I'm going to tell you what I am obsessed with this week and then do the wait what segment? And then we'll dive into this conversation with Ashley.
#OBSESSED: 03:20 Hashtag obsessed.
Cara Newhart: 03:26 So this week I'm obsessed with hobby lobby for unique hardware, which sounds really random. If you haven't really been to hobby lobby very much or you just didn't really like you went there for craft supplies and you didn't really shop there, home decor. Um, but they have a whole aisle of like knobs and drawer poles and they're very unique. Some of them are vintage-y. There's one that has like a map in it. Like they're all over the place in terms of like chic to like antique vibes to all kinds of things. And this week they were 50% off, which is awesome. But that's not really why I'm telling you about this. It's why I bought them because I was like wait, what half off. But it's really interesting because they're not the normal sleek metal looking hardware that you get from like a hardware store. Which of you like that look, that's fantastic.
Cara Newhart: 04:17 But I actually snagged some of these for my kitchen. They are a black bar with kind of like a gold center wrap in there. Super unique, super unique. They look really, really great and they were very inexpensive. So it's something that you can swap out to make your kitchen look awesome without spending a ton of money. Um, the prices totally vary based on like which kind you're P you're picking whether it's like a wood or a metal or um, all the different ones. So I just wanted to share this with you all because it's a really great way to spruce up your kitchen without having to like remodel or paint your cabinets or do anything major. It's a really easy, just like change the hardware out. You just need a screwdriver and it's fairly inexpensive depending on which pulls you pick and how many cabinets you have.
Cara Newhart: 05:07 But they are on sale this week. So if you're looking to do any last minute home projects and sprucing up your kitchen is on your list, this is a good way to not be dragging out paint the week before guests arrive. And I feel like these handles are maybe more intended for furniture, like changing them out on furniture pieces. That's what I've normally bought them for. I had a dresser in my daughter's room and then a dresser in our room that I bought all these knobs and changed it out and had them all mismatched and it was like an eclectic vibe, but I've never considered using them for the kitchen, which is what I did this week and I'm really, really loving them so far. You can check out my stories if you want to see the specific knobs that I bought and um, see my like hardware try-on sesh a link, the specific highlight in the show notes, but you can just hop over to never skip brunch on Instagram. And it's the DIY kitchen up date. Like there's literally an up button and a date, like a calendar date, cause it won't fit. But that's the one that has the hardware try on sash. And you can also see which knobs I picked.
WAIT, WHAT?!: 06:22 wait, what
Cara Newhart: 06:26 my, wait, what for this week is that you should listen to other people's opinions about your home and you're probably thinking, but Cara, you always say just do what you love and don't care what other people think. And to that, I say both, listening to other people's opinions is something that's going to help you make your home better. Like having someone else have a perspective and an opinion on your home doesn't mean they're telling you something's wrong. And it also doesn't mean you should change anything about your home. If you're happy with it, let it be obviously. But listening to that feedback and not just shutting it down completely is really important because it helps make you better in terms of the spaces you're creating and it helps you consider like perspectives and ideas that you probably wouldn't have come up with by yourself. So this piece of advice is kind of coming from two places.
Cara Newhart: 07:25 First of all, as you possibly invite guests into your house, whether that's friends or family, they might have opinions on your home and you might be talking about that a little bit this holiday. So I just wanted to put you in a frame of mind to kind of consider that. Um, for example, if you have a mother-in-law that has a lot of ideas about what you should be doing in your home and she likes to make those heard. I thankfully do not. My mother-in-law is amazing and kind of just supports everything I do, but I know that that's not always the case. Um, but there's a way to field those opinions with grace and be able to not be frustrated about it or like, you know, upset with her for having a very strong or specific opinion. Instead just like take what people are saying and use it to inform your decision process when it comes to making your home better.
Cara Newhart: 08:17 Like how can you take these opinions and how is that constructive criticism for what you're doing and how can you either implement it or be like more resolute in your choices and be like, no, I love this and it makes me happy and I'm going to stick with it. So that's the first place. This piece of advice is coming from just the fact that like people coming to your house, um, if you're hosting the holidays means people commenting on your house to some extent. Maybe it's all good things or maybe there's a little bit of opinions but um, either way my advice is to listen to those and take those in and use them productively instead of getting angry. And then the other place this is coming from is, it's just kind of been a theme with me this week I feel on Instagram. Um, you guys gave me all kinds of amazing feedback but this week is the first time that like it wasn't mostly positive.
Cara Newhart: 09:12 And what I mean by that is normally people are deeming me like, Oh my gosh, I love this, I love this, I love this. But this week between the project where I was swapping out the hardware, I had like this tall bar hardware and everyone was like messaging me like that looks too big. I don't like it. Then I had this like bathroom sign odor over my powder bathroom and there was a couple people that are like, that is gross. Why are you putting that in your house? I don't like it. And at first I was like, Oh like why does everyone not like what I'm doing? Like I was a little disappointed but then it clicked for me. Like first of all I'm excited because that means you guys are getting progressively more invested in my projects and what I'm doing. And secondly, I'm excited because as a community like I don't want you guys to love everything I do.
Cara Newhart: 10:01 I want what I'm doing to inspire you to find your own style. And I think watching me, DIY isn't just an inspiration in terms of like, wow, look what Kara can do. I could do it too. What it is is like watching me develop my style, watching my house change and watching me grow as a designer is a great, great like exercise for you in terms of being able to look at something and critique it and figure out why do I like what she's doing, why do I not like what she's doing? And then that information is going to help you define your style and learn how to DIY but like more deeply learn how to find your own style and implement that into your house. So while people like disagreeing with you is never really easy to swallow, you're never just like, great, I'm glad you hate it.
Cara Newhart: 10:55 Like that was very exciting for me this week because I feel like we are growing as a community. Like you guys are, are getting invested in what I'm doing and you're also thinking more critically about what you really want in your house and why you really like things to be the way they are. But the other thing that struck me that I just want to talk about for a second is the way we critique each other as women. I feel like it's challenging for us to be able to disagree with each other because I got basically comments on two ends of the spectrum and one was very blunt and very like, I'll say rude, almost rude, just like, Hey, I hate what you're doing. And then the other end of the spectrum was like way too sugarcoated was like, I don't really like it, but it's like cute, but I like don't like it from my house, but it's like so cute for you.
Cara Newhart: 11:49 And I'm like so happy for you. Like, like so proud that you like made and accomplish that. But, which struck me as weird is like, this is something I feel like society has taught us. It's either in a magazine where judging people's imperfections and we're have these like unrealistic beauty standards and um, kind of these unrealistic lifestyle standards that we're like constantly judging people on. And then on the other side of the spectrum, we kind of like dumbed down or like stuffed down our opinions to seem more like friendly or kind or, um, amicable towards each other. We like, don't really say what we mean and we kind of like sugarcoat it. So, and I'm not trying to critique you guys on like the feedback you've given me. It's just interesting like getting so many messages and seeing themes in them. And that's something that's really interesting because first of all it can help me like know what you guys need from me and how I can really serve you and help you with my content, which is amazing.
Cara Newhart: 12:52 But secondly, it's just interesting to see like different themes emerge. And this was just something I noticed this week. And so I also want to say to you on the flip side, like if you're going to someone's home for the holidays or really at any time, but be mindful of the ways in which you give them feedback about their home. So that means you know, not stuffing down your opinions but delivering them in a way that's clear and also kind, not rude and not like sugar-coated. You can tell them how it is, but honesty with no like kindness or consideration is just rude. Like when people are like just being honest. And then they say something like super mean, like honesty is not an excuse for being a jerk. So, and not that you guys are, but I just want to like get this out there cause I feel like it's something we don't talk about, especially when it comes to our homes and how we like go into someone's space that they've created and that they live in.
Cara Newhart: 13:51 And then we like offer critiques about it. So it's just interesting and I feel like challenging for us as women to do in a way that is kind and helpful versus too meek or too blunt. So just challenging you to find a balance as people come into your homes to take what they say with a grain of salt and use it to like make you better and make your spaces better. And then as you go into other people's homes, just make sure you're being mindful of the critiques you give and make sure you're delivering them in a way that's productive for them. So, yeah, let's dive into this conversation. Which many of you are probably here for not to listen to me. Have opinions about opinions. Um, but today I'm sitting down with Ashley Wilson. She's an interior designer and blogger over at, at home with Ashley. Ashley has an amazingly colorful style and she's absolutely mastered
Cara Newhart: 14:52 the art of decorating with color in a way that's sophisticated. What I love about her content and her design style is she's super focused on how good design intersects with a happy life at home and how design can really make your life better and happier. Her work has been featured in amazing places like HGTV, apartment therapy, Buzzfeed, Lonnie, and Britton co. So let's dive into this chat with Ashley.
Ashley Wilson: 15:28 Hello. Hello. How are you? I'm good, Cara, how are you?
Cara Newhart: 15:33 Oh my gosh. So good. Welcome to the Make Space podcast. I'm so excited to have you on. Oh my gosh. I'm so excited to thank you for having me. Oh my goodness. Of course. So let's just dive right in. Um, for listeners that maybe don't know you or don't yet follow you, can you talk a little bit about like your story, um, like how you got into like the content creation side, but also like how you became a designer?
Ashley Wilson: 15:59 Yeah. Um, so, um, I feel like this is the longest story ever, but I'll make it really short.
Cara Newhart: 16:06 No, you can make it long.
New Speaker: 16:08 When I was in the third grade, I read this book called Mandy and um, I could just like, she goes to a cottage and I could just envision it so well I had to make it and I use like an old, like Fox and I just like poured my heart into it and my mom would show people when she came over, cause she, when people would come over and my cousins hot and she was like, Oh, Ashley should be an interior designer. So since the time I was in the same grade, I knew what I wanted to do. I love and like I'm lucky that that actually works out for me. Um, so I did go to school for interior design and then I've, I, I've always worked in furniture showrooms doing merchandising because I don't love selling to people.
Ashley Wilson: 16:49 So I would like arrange furniture in a way that told a story so that people could walk by and buy stuff without having a salesperson. And it was really fun for me. I did photo shoots, styling and then, um, my son was born and I was like, I fell in love and I know like all, like any mom out there totally knows the filling and I was just like, I don't want to go back to work, but I had to, like, we had, we needed the money. And so I was like, do you know what? I'm going to start a bog and do this on the side and we'll see what happens in when my son was two years old, um, my blog was big enough that I could quit my job and now I like stay at home with him and do my blog stuff. So
Cara Newhart: 17:33 yeah. That's so, so cool. That's really similar to my story except that I was in oil and gas finance. So leaving was like, yep, I'm going to go. It's just not, no, it would fit me at all. But yeah, that doesn't sound super fun now. Not at all. Um, I really love hearing how everyone got started cause for some people it's like, well I just started posting photos and people like him and for other people it's like a very strict, not as strategic but a more defined path of like, you know, being officially trained in design and all of that good stuff. I'm sure a lot of listeners already follow you on Instagram, but if they don't they are going to and going to absolutely love your account. You just know it but your style is not just colorful. You literally use like rainbows in your decor and they're absolutely amazing. Um, probably the most iconic is your rainbow staircase, which I'm going to link in the show notes for sure. Um, can you share a little bit about why you love using color in your home?
Ashley Wilson: 18:31 Um, so I just think sometimes people are too serious about their house. Like, like what do you do when you're so serious? Like I like to have fun and like I like my, my house to reflect who I am and I'm just like a happy go lucky person. I'm someone where I used to work, used to always call me rainbows and sunshine and I like took that literally I guess. And I've just like, I've really experimented with color and the more I added the more I love it. So I, I like to make my house happy. Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 19:03 I really liked that. I feel on the same page cause I feel like as adults, like our home is kind of one of the last places we have to like play an experiment. Um, I mean you can with your style too and your like what you wear, but your house is like totally yours. So if you are worried about, you know, what people think, at least do what you love in your own house and color is like the best way to do that to just go all out and yeah. Experiment and all of that. So, um, another thing I love about your style is that while it's like super colorful, it's not overwhelming, which I think is really important. Like if you look at your feed, you'll notice that like a lot of the colors are using are actually pastel shades. So can you talk a little bit about this, like why you're drawn to pastels and maybe some of the strategy behind why you use those?
Ashley Wilson: 19:50 Yeah. So yeah, I use a lot of pestles Pink's my favorite color and you'll see that a lot. But what I'd like to do is I really do a neutral base. So most of the walls in my house are white. And then just plain wood floors. And I like to choose one real statement piece. So like if that's wallpaper or you know, the rainbow on, there's rainbow on the stair, um, risers, but then the walls are white and it kind of just balances it so it's not too crazy. Yeah, it's still, it's very livable. Yeah, it's really actually soothing. I, I love the colors because they're not as vibrant. The pastels, the white neutralizes it a little bit and it makes it more calming, at least to me.
Cara Newhart: 20:35 Yeah, no, I totally feel that. And that's what's funny about color is like, I think a lot of people, especially me when we first started using color, you kind of just go for like the bright hue and you don't really realize it in the space. Like that is a lot. But if you do a more muted, whether it's like a pastel, um, like toning it down with white or like kind of a more muted tone where there's like some black in it to kind of, you know, make it not as vibrant, like that's such a good way. And then you still get color and it still looks really colorful but it's not like too much. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I love that. So yeah, let's dive into the pink because I am also a fan of pink and I got this question all the time when I painted my mud room door pink and it always makes me laugh and you might get it too, but um, how do you incorporate pink into your home when you're married slash share a space with a boy. Are there any tips for getting him on board?
Ashley Wilson: 21:30 Totally. Okay. I get this question asked all the time, we just painted the outside of my house and it's white with pink shedders and a pink front door. And everyone's like, what does your husband think? What is your husband? And I just like, he's just glad I didn't do the whole thing pink honestly. But here's how I started. So, um, probably five years ago, my house was mostly gray, um, a little bit of red and it was so dreary and I was like ready to switch things up. And I knew I wanted to add pink. So I started very small like with a throw pillow and a piece of art. You just like, things you could really change out affordably, you know, like printable art, that's like $5 on Etsy. Right? And then another tip is you can like add pink to your own space.
Ashley Wilson: 22:16 So if you have a vanity at some pink flowers on your nightstand, like that's fair game. Yeah. But you know, pink art there or whatever, you know, and then just kind of start small and see how it goes. And also just like have an honest conversation with your significant other and just say like, this is a color that makes me really happy and like how comfortable are you? And again, the shade will make a difference. Like hot pink is probably going to be less comfortable to guys when like a pastel pink or like a muddy pink could Redis more of a neutral. So
Cara Newhart: 22:50 Ooh, that's so true. Yeah. And that was like a trend color that was really trendy, like a light Coralie pink. I saw getting paired with like those, gosh, what are they? It's like some kind of tropical leaf, but that was having like a total moment and I saw like a bunch of pink and like living rooms and all over the place really. But yeah, for me personally, it's funny because my husband's colorblind so, and I think he's like red, whatever, red shade, red color blind. I don't know really the technicality, but I can paint something crazy colors and he's like, Oh well it looks darker and you're like, perfect. This is perfect. Cheverly lucked out. I did, yes. Cause I'm a little less considerate, which I really liked the tip about sitting down and just like telling him where I'm the type where I'm just gonna like slowly add it and like get you so used to it that all of a sudden one day you look around, you're like, Whoa, actually my whole house is pink. How did this happen? I love,
Ashley Wilson: 23:45 but yeah, totally
Cara Newhart: 23:46 funny. So another thing that I love about some of the stuff you share is that you're kind of like a thrift queen. I don't know if you'd call yourself that, but you are constantly posting all these amazing pieces that you found like at the thrift store. Um, like you had a super amazing birdcage that you were painting. And then recently you had like a vintage brass horn. That was adorable. Um, and then you make them over to be like a hundred times better. So do you first of all, have any tips for like snagging, um, all these amazing things?
Ashley Wilson: 24:17 Sure. Okay. So you have to go in kind of often, which is fun for me. I go in once a week. Um, because on Thursdays on my Instagram I do, I'm called three-star Thursdays. So I like if my tips every week then um, but I, but going in once a week you can like see what's new and like things are changing everyday so you have to like pop in and just be like, what, what's here? And I actually love to bring my son, he's four. And um, I get him a book while we're there and he'll choose a toy and that's like $2. That's so true. It's kind of fun because it's like an activity we do together, but it's not expensive, you know, it's not like going to a normal story. A toy toys, $20, so that's such a good 10. He actually picks stuff out too and he's, he's a good and it's hilarious. He'll be like, I have, I have a cat and he picked that one on. It's a, it's adorable.
Cara Newhart: 25:12 Uh huh. That's so funny. Yeah. Um, my daughter's like the same way as far as like coming to the store with me and loving to shop. And it's so funny cause she walks around and she's like, Oh maybe this would be good. And just just like some random item. But my very favorite is the times when she finds the stuff that we donated and we'll like, cause our, our like Goodwill like turns around really fast. So she goes like I have this at home. Like Oh you don't anymore.
Ashley Wilson: 25:39 That's hilarious. You're like, Oh yeah, I'm sure. Yeah cause I donate. My son will not get rid of stuff and I'm just like,
Cara Newhart: 25:46 Oh yeah. Yeah. Unfortunately I think she has some AMI in her where she's just like, I'm going to keep it cause I might need it sometime if I have an idea. Yeah. That's great.
Ashley Wilson: 25:56 So besides going free and to bringing a child, um, also look at other inspiration images, like look at a book of home decor you love and notice what you love about it and then look for similar items. People always tell me, Oh like your thrift store is the best. It's not the best. It's just that I know how to, like I looked so much at it. I know how to find the items, if that makes sense. Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 26:21 Um, and then I feel like part of the, like the other half is like finding a great thing but also like fixing it up slash re-purposing it because that can really transform a piece. Like it could be total crap. Um, so do you have any tips about like seeing the potential in something? Like when you buy it, do you have a plan or do you like me sometimes buy things like I, it could be great, but I'm just going to figure out later.
Ashley Wilson: 26:46 Yeah, both. Totally. And you brought up the birdcage and I had seen those in like home decor magazines and it's like a Victorian shape, but it was orange and like a muddy green and like not my colors at all. And I painted it and it's my favorite thing.
Cara Newhart: 27:01 [inaudible] it's amazing. It turned out so good.
Ashley Wilson: 27:03 So yeah, like don't be afraid to paint stuff just, yeah. You know, like it's, it's just paint. You can always strip it off if you don't love it. Like paint can transform anything.
Cara Newhart: 27:15 [inaudible]. What kind of paint do you like to use? Obviously it kind of depends on the item, but what's your go to like spray paint or
Ashley Wilson: 27:23 for wood stuff? I use chalk paint. I discovered it a few years ago. And what I love about it is it doesn't chip office easily and you don't have to sand. So chalk paints kind of my go to, but I will spray paint, but right now it's too cold to spray.
Cara Newhart: 27:39 Yeah. Oh, that's really good. Oh, I forgot to ask. Like, do you have any, obviously you love the rainbow, um, but do you have any tips for like building a color palette? Do you like find an inspo piece or how do you like kind of build out a pallet?
Ashley Wilson: 27:55 Yeah, I like to find an inspo piece, um, and work from that. So like in my bedroom I started with the wallpaper and then like picks out those colors. So there's like pink and blue in it. And so the bed's blue. Um, and yeah, and sometimes I will go rainbow. So like on the stairs where each treads a different color. I did the art next to it, um, corresponding colors. So yeah, picking that one thing. So if it's the rainbow, if it's wallpaper you're really drawn to, maybe it's a rug, maybe it's a piece of art and then you pull those colors out from it and just start with one piece.
Cara Newhart: 28:29 Yeah. Do you have any tips for like how to do, like once you've found the colors, like where they should go in the room, if that makes sense?
Ashley Wilson: 28:38 Well, I think what not a lot of people do, but what you should do is make a mood board. And I know that seems like something that just like maybe interior designers do, but anybody can do it because the internet is amazing. You know what I mean? Even on your phone, there's like free apps you can use and then you can pull all the pieces together on one screen and see how they play together. And that can help you like with zero commitment so that you don't have to paint a wall and be like, Oh crap, I like really hate this. We've all done, right? Yes, absolutely. I bet. And you're like, this is wrong. You know, like trying to save yourself even if it takes a few hours cause it does, it takes few hours to pull the images and look at them together and really like get yourself to picture it. So then when you're pulling it together you can make your vision a reality.
Cara Newhart: 29:28 Yeah. What do you use for mood boards? Like is there like a software, an app that you love that you want to share?
Ashley Wilson: 29:35 Um, I personally use the website PicMonkey, pic monkey and it's, there's a fee to use it, but I don't know, I don't remember how much it is. But for me that's totally worth it. But I know there's free apps. Yeah. I'll have to send them to you later cause I can't think of it. And maybe you can add it to the show notes.
Cara Newhart: 29:52 Yeah, totally. Okay. I use canvas. So that's the one that comes to mind first, but we'll put a little list of those cause I know people are going to ask. Um, so you are a designer by training. So I wanna dive into this a little bit, but a common like word of advice from DIY bloggers and even like designers who didn't really go to design school often is like not to follow rules and just go with what you love, which like I absolutely believe that's true. Like you can have a gorgeous, um, happy home with just doing what you truly love in your space. But I feel like basic design principles in those design rules also have like a purpose in informing our decor decisions. Um, all that to say, can you talk about some design principles that you think are really important or could really help the everyday girl like create spaces that are more polished but also feel more like intentional, if that makes sense.
Ashley Wilson: 30:50 Yeah, definitely. Um, I think, I mean, one super basic rule is symmetry. So like if you're designing your bedroom, your nightstands don't have to match, but like try to have them the same height. So the, yeah, that just looks more pleasing to the eye and balance will come into play too because what you put on the nightstands will help. Like you want them to fill even so like not one thing, it's tilted like not one thing is visually heavier than the other side. Yeah. And then when I'm accessorizing something like say a mantle, I try to put the tallest item on the left hand side because how we read, um, is from left to right. And so it's most pleasing to your eye to have the most dominant item on the left. And then if you're not doing exact symmetry and then smaller items on the right hand side, that might not be quite as heavy visually, if that makes sense. Yeah. So
Cara Newhart: 31:49 if that makes sense. No, that totally makes sense. Sorry. That was just really good and I was just like, Whoa. That's, that's amazing. That's a really good tip. Um, but that's interesting to think about like how visually heavy things are because that's what you're like drawn to more. Um, I guess in the lighter stuff. And so things can really feel off balance or like not look as good, I guess is the right way to say it. Um, if it's not balanced, but I think something that a lot of people struggle with, which you do really well, you have this room upstairs that has like, um, these shelves or I don't know if it's upstairs. I've never been to your house. I just assumed you have come over one day. Yes. When, when Houston gets too hot I'll come back in and visit. Yeah. Get some snow. Um, but you have this room that has these shelves and you've decorated them with like groups of color. Um, and it's really well done. Like doesn't look cluttery at all. And that's something I know a lot of people really struggle with is like decorating shelves with knickknacks or just a core pieces in it, feeling like cluttery do you have any advice for styling? Like a book case or a group of shelves?
Ashley Wilson: 32:57 Yeah, so I used a formula when I did mine in. That was, I did a stack of books and then I used one small accessory and one small piece of art and I made sure there was a little bit of breathing group. Um, so like it wasn't 100% full of books and then something shoved in there cause I think that can get a little bit overwhelming. Um, but yeah I I did some books up and down and some books laying on their side so that I could have somewhere to stack things on top of the books laying on their side. And so then that like visually again balanced out the taller books. And then I like to group things in groups of three, you know, odd numbers. And so sometimes I try, I try to create a, a triangle. So like the tallest thing is say a piece of art and then there's like an accessory say like a bowl and then your books creates kind of a visual triangle and again that moves the eye around and is visually pleasing.
Cara Newhart: 33:59 [inaudible] that's a really good tip. I cause I knew groups of three were like a thing but I didn't really know why. And your eye moving around easy is definitely a good thing cause that's what makes it feel less cluttered. Cause you can, you kind of are guided as you look through things versus like where do I even look first kind of thing. Yeah, totally. Yeah. So would you recommend like, like okay so I feel like shelves sometimes get cluttered because there's things are all the same height or because like things are too small and there's not enough variety. Would you recommend like larger things overall or like I guess what I'm trying to get at is like how do you get things to be in proportion to the shelf? Like if you have like an 18 inch gap, how do you make sure you're like filling the space enough but not too much and like based on the size of things? Sorry, that was like totally a backwards question.
Ashley Wilson: 34:53 No, it's not a backwards question. I think it's a good question cause I think a lot of people struggle with shelves. Um, and it's going to depend on your actual shelf. But, um, if, if there feels like there's too much Heights, that's when you can stack things a little bit higher or add like are on a easel you could do or you could even like hang art on the back of your butt bookshelf like with a command hook if you want. And so that you're like taking up the visual space cause you don't want like, like you want your eye to be able to rest in places but you don't want it to be like, Oh my gosh, there's too much blank space. If that makes sense.
Cara Newhart: 35:29 Yeah, that totally makes sense. Hanging art on the back is a good idea. I feel like I've seen that, but it never occurred to me to do that in my own house. I'm going to write that down. So you
Ashley Wilson: 35:40 a brand new house. I'm so excited to see it come together.
Cara Newhart: 35:43 Gosh, there's so many projects. I'm so excited. I just, the funny thing is I'm starting on the guest room upstairs, which is great because it'll be done for the holidays, but that also means like our living room is like still has boxes everywhere. It's like kind of a mess and, but the guestrooms done. So if someone wants to come stay with me. Is that what you're doing? That headboard? Yeah, that thing was heavy. It was way bigger than I thought. Like I drew it out to scale and I was like, yeah, it's going to be perfect. The ceiling's high. And then I went to build it. Like this thing is huge. It is very, very hard to Oh yeah, I'm excited to reveal that. Um, okay, so something we've been diving a lot more into recently on the show is how like decor and home design goes, obviously weighed deeper than things just looking pretty, but like kind of talking about some ways in which that's true. And I know this is something you really like to share about. So do you have any thoughts on how like really great design kind of aligns with living a happy life at home?
Ashley Wilson: 36:49 Yeah, totally. Um, I like for me if my house is a mess, um, I feel like a mess inside of me. Yeah. So, um, there's this quote by Gretchen Rubin and its outer order inner calm. And so like, if I'm feeling frazzled, I like to, you know, clean up all the toys and like arrange things nicely. And I honestly feel better inside when my house is happier. Yeah. And like there's just something also to be said about your house reflecting your style. It is the happiest thing ever. I feel like my house looks like how the inside of me looks and it's so happy to live with like, this is who I am and it's, it's really uplifting. It's a creative environment and like that is something that everyone should strive for honestly, because it's just a happy way to live. You know?
Cara Newhart: 37:43 It totally is. And I feel like that is so cool. Thinking of your houses, like a visual representation of your personality because then, especially if you're introverted, when you have people over, it's like easier to get to know you and like you can just, yeah, totally showcase who you are. I love that. I really love that. Yeah. That's good.
Ashley Wilson: 38:02 And I am introverted. My house is like the place I feel most comfortable in the whole world. Yeah. Yeah. I love that idea. Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 38:11 Um, so I know that you've talked about sustainability a little bit and um, you just share products here and there that are like really cool. Like, um, there's like a beeswax food paper and like all these different things. And what I really liked is that I feel like you're sharing these little things, um, and how to be sustainable and do it in a way that's achievable, like doing all these things to add up to make a difference. Um, can you talk a little bit about that and like maybe some of your favorite things that you like to use, like, or any little changes you'd recommend, um, for the girl who wants to be more intentional but feels like overwhelmed or even guilty for like not going all the way in, if that makes sense.
Ashley Wilson: 38:55 So tellers, I, cause I'm, again, I'm a quotes person and my, one of my favorite quotes is little by little, a little becomes a lot. And so just like making small changes can make a difference. So like you talked about the pizza box rapping. I like, I have a smoothie every morning and instead of putting it in like a Ziploc bag, like I used to be, I switched to beeswax covering so then I can reuse them cause I was like throwing away plastic bag every day and night. I was feeling guilty about it. And another thing I like, well and I thrift. So that is so good for the environment because a new product doesn't have to be made. It's not wrapped in a lot of plastic. You're not shipping it. That's so good for the environment. Um, another product I love, let me think.
Ashley Wilson: 39:40 I also use biodegradable bags, like when I do need a Ziploc. So then when they do go to the landfill, they're not just there forever. They will break down. Yeah. Um, another small change I made this year was we started composting. So like our banana pills and our, you know, Apple cores, they all go into our garden where we compost them. Um, so it's just like, it kind of seems dumb and silly, but like, I don't know. I like, I want to make a difference. I want art to be a better place. So I like, I'm always looking at like new ways I can, you know, like reusable bags was the first thing I did because it was easy to buy those for a dollar and just not use the ones at the store. So
Cara Newhart: 40:22 no, that's what I really liked about like some of the little things you've shared is cause it doesn't feel overwhelming. And I know for me personally, like many sources that have tips on sustainable living, like leave me feeling totally guilty or like I'm not doing enough. Um, and it just seems like also hard to integrate it into your life too without making big lifestyle changes. But all those little things like definitely add up. So if you start small, even if you're not doing everything right, like at least you're doing something. Um, yeah, which is,
Ashley Wilson: 40:54 it does. And I really like about it is a lot of times these, like these save you money. Um, so like I, we were in some debt a few years ago and we like cut back on everything to pay off our debt. And one of the things was I quit buying napkins and I just bought like I bought fabric napkins. So then it saved as money and like we weren't throwing away napkins every meal. So like it's nice. It saves you money too.
Cara Newhart: 41:20 Yeah. And they're pretty, are like fabric napkins are like annoying to wash, but they're so pretty compared to paper. So do you have any like good insights for maybe that doesn't know how to define her style? Like how did you go about, cause like if you scroll through your feed, you couldn't really tell who you are and what your style is. But I know that that didn't happen overnight. While you have training as a designer, I'm sure it kind of took maybe some time to learn how to express your style. Do you have any tips for someone trying to find theirs?
Ashley Wilson: 41:54 Yeah, totally. Um, I mean I'm, I'm a huge Pinterest lover and everybody has access to Pinterest. So I think just like make a secret board, if you don't want people to see it, really love and keep looking at it and try to see patterns and see, Oh my gosh there's green and all of these and then try it out. And your girls like, like with what I did with the pink and just try it out in little doses and if you like it, keep going with it and let it be an evolution. Because like even though I feel like I know my style, I feel like it's always changing it, which is exciting, you know, so, so you don't have to have the answer right now. You can like grow into it and it can keep changing as you change as a person. And it should.
Cara Newhart: 42:38 Yes. I mean goodness I really like what you said about kind of like looking for patterns, dissecting why you love things is going to teach you what you love. Like what you love about something becomes your style. Cause it's like the common thread and, and things become clear by like, yeah, just looking for patterns. That's really, really good. [inaudible]
Ashley Wilson: 42:56 10, you'll totally see him and you'll be like, Oh wow. Yeah. Cause cause like I said, my house used to be pink and that's what I did. I, I like notice what I loved about something and then I became more intentional about it. So it just kinda morphed into something bigger. I love that.
Cara Newhart: 43:13 So is there any, I don't know, advice that you would give to like an everyday girl who is just working on creating a space she loves? Maybe she just needs, I don't know, like some, some encouragement I guess is the word I'm looking for.
Ashley Wilson: 43:30 Yeah. Um, so what I would say is go for it. It is worth your time. Having a house that is special to you is worth it. And I know that sometimes it seems like, Oh my gosh, this is expensive and it's like taking forever, keep going and you know, find a way to make it fun for you. And like maybe have people over for Christmas or a party. So then you feel like, Oh, they're like, I can show off my hard work. Yeah. And you know like take pictures of your progress to some S like sometimes I see pictures of my house and I just moved in and it was terrifying and just seeing how far I came and like being able to appreciate that. It really makes like those days of like caulking and like painting like totally worth it.
Cara Newhart: 44:19 Oh my gosh. That's so true. Yeah. When we moved
Ashley Wilson: 44:21 this is carrot boring, crappy part.
Cara Newhart: 44:25 I know. Oh my gosh. I know. And I wish I could just make someone else do them cause I love like obviously big ideas and the big reveal are like the most fun parts and that's what like motivate us to sit there for like an hour and like, you know, do all the trim trim stuff and all the like tiny little details that need done. No, when we moved out of our house we had like a thousand nail holes to fill and so it was like the day of moving and I had to literally spackle all the holes and it was like, ah, why did I decorate or hang so many fixtures? But like it was worth it cause it's, were you renting before? No, we, we owned our home. But yeah we had to like spackle for the new buyers, which in retrospect we should've just hired someone cause there was like a million more than I thought. I was like, Oh no, it'll be easy. But like, no, I had a lot of stuff up on the walls.
Ashley Wilson: 45:17 Yeah. We've, we've rented before we own this house and I put holes in the mall cause I was like, who cares? It's faculty. Actually I didn't put that many but it took like two hours and it was like, Oh this is worth it to have a house I loved for a while.
Cara Newhart: 45:31 Yeah, no, no I totally was. Um, which yeah, no it's just surprising cause you're like, Oh it's just like tiny holes and just fill them up. But like, no it does take quick. Will takes time for shape. So with the holidays coming up, do you have any like holiday home packs or like house tips or whether it's like hosting or maybe like a fun tradition that involves like home decor.
Ashley Wilson: 45:54 So like one thing I like to do is to try to like get a little creative, cause it can be tempting to just put your stuff in the same space every year. But like just try to switch up one thing and see what you can do to like do something fun and different. And I'm not saying buy all new stuff because I don't believe in that. But like last year I had, I did my ornaments in rainbow order and this year I added flowers to the tree. So it was just one addition. But it like it made everything feel fresh and new and fun. But it wasn't a huge commitment if that,
Cara Newhart: 46:25 yeah, no I really like that cause it is just, you figure out where stuff goes and then you just drag it out and put it in the same place. But no, for me I have to rearrange things like a hundred times before I decide they can live there. It's, it's a challenge. Well, especially with the new house, cause that half the stuff we have, like I bought for our other house and I had a, not a specific place, but kind of like the tree fit in a certain area and now it's like totally different. But it's, it's fun so far I think.
Ashley Wilson: 46:55 And do, you know, like everybody deck, like I redid my mantle yesterday. I didn't have like, we added a new fireplace and I didn't have it last year and it took me like 10 times before I was like, Oh, this is what's gonna work. And that's okay. Right? Yeah. To keep trying.
Cara Newhart: 47:09 Oh my gosh. So true. And it takes me like days in between. Sometimes I do it and I'm like, yep, looks good. And then later I'm like, no, this is not working. This is terrible.
Ashley Wilson: 47:19 Yeah. But sometimes you have to stare at it for a while and be like, [inaudible]
Cara Newhart: 47:24 you do. Actually, it could be better. Yeah. No, that's so true. Um, so any last things to share or last tips or words of advice or some, a fun fact about yourself? That's the question I hate, but I'm going to ask it
Ashley Wilson: 47:40 facts about myself. I don't know. I guess my tip is to don't, don't care what other people think. Yeah. Like, like just do you and like, who cares? I feel like some people like don't decorate how they want to because they're scared of like what their mother-in-law thinks or like it's okay. Like it's your house, you get to choose and I mean everybody in your house should be happy with it, but like people are over at your house that much. Yeah. Be your Haven.
Cara Newhart: 48:11 That's literally what's so funny is like when you're decorating for other people, you're decorating for like the maybe total of two weeks or whatever that they're at your house throughout the year. Like maybe less than that, maybe just on Christmas. Like why would you do that? Do it for you.
Ashley Wilson: 48:27 We'll decorate because they're scared of resell and they're like, Oh, I can't put a PA wallpaper. If I sell it then somebody's going to hate that. And it's like, it's okay. Yeah,
Cara Newhart: 48:38 no it totally is ever. The people that bought our house hated my wallpaper cause I had like big black and white stripes and like a speckled black and white wall in my office, like both together. It was very, very crazy. But it was, it looked good but she, she did not like it. And the best part is like it's your house and you can fix it now, you know, however you want it. But like I got to do me while I lived there, so it made me happy.
Ashley Wilson: 49:04 On that same note, I, we lived in a condo years and years ago and I've really decorate like the bathroom was paint like pink flower wallpaper and there's like pink doors inside and like I got like 10 offers on the house and most of them were from young girls condo and they loved it. So like you never know. Someone might hate it, but somewhat you might find your person. Yeah,
Cara Newhart: 49:29 no, that's so true. Like if you design the whole house for you, like if you find someone really similar to you, it's going to be their perfect house. And so yeah, it might be easier to sell. In that case. Appealing to the masses is just no fun. It turns out nobody wants to live in an all beige house. No, maybe some people do. But yeah, you know what I mean? But even that, it makes you happy and you should go for it. Yeah, you should go for it for sure. Um, soK wherever, where can everyone connect with you online on Instagram and your blog.
Ashley Wilson: 50:04 Um, come to Instagram first. I'm at home with Ashley on there. Um, and come thrift with me every Thursday or you can come to my blog. It's at home with ashley.com.
Cara Newhart: 50:14 Yeah. And then I, I was like creeping on your blog cause it's plenty of time. Yeah. Um, but you have like an ebook that looks super awesome. Can you like talk about that because I didn't know you had it and I, it looks amazing.
Ashley Wilson: 50:29 Awesome. Thanks. So it's, it's tips on how to decorate on a budget. Cause I, I'm, I'm all about decorating on a budget. I think you can have your dream house even if you don't have a ton of money. So I just give like tips and hacks and places you can shop and um, you know, so that you can find things that you love.
Cara Newhart: 50:47 Perfect. Well I will link that in the show notes too in case anyone wants to check it out because I know we have some people that love reading and love book recommendations so that will be perfect. So thank you so much for your time and for sitting down with me. This was super, super good. It got me all amped up to go decorate my house.
Ashley Wilson: 51:05 Oh, I've been loving following along and thank you for having me. This has been really fun.
Cara Newhart: 51:09 Oh my goodness. Of course. You've been on my list for a while for sure. And it's more fun that we like got to meet in person first at Haven cause I feel like I like knew more about your style and then just like I think creepy on your Instagram and like, which is great
Ashley Wilson: 51:27 or I've been watching you on HTTP. You have really good guests.
Cara Newhart: 51:30 Yes. It is funny. Well anyway, have a good rest of your day and thank you for sitting down with me. Thank you. Talk to later. Okay, talk to you soon. Bye
Cara Newhart: 51:39 Thank you guys so, so much for listening. I'm so blessed to have such a group of amazing listeners. If you liked this episode, I would love if you would send a screenshot to someone that you think would also enjoy it. You can also leave a review on iTunes and let me know what you're loving about the show. If you'd like to connect with me, you can shoot me an email [email protected] or come hang out on Twitter at make space pod. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Just as a reminder, we are off next week, but I'll be back on January 1st with more of the Make Space podcast. Talk to you guys soon. Oh, I'm mama. Way back
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