The 2016 Southern Living Idea House: Meet Interior Designer, Ashley Gilbreath.

At the end of last month, we began a series of posts in which we feature interviews with each of the 5 talented interior designers who were chosen to curate the style and décor of the 2016 Southern Living Idea House in Mt Laurel. To date, we’ve introduced you to Mark Sikes and Amy Berry, leaving just 3 designers left for you to meet.

This week’s interview is with Ashley Gilbreath—a Montgomery-based designer who defines her design philosophy as “casual elegance” and has been featured in publications such as Cottages and Bungalows and Alabama Magazine. In our interview with her, Ashley tells us a little bit about her personal style and experience transforming the foyer, upstairs landing, and a bedroom in the Idea House.

ML: Tell us a little about your signature style?

AG: We try to bring a timeless approach to each project we touch—a sense of history and a touch of “now.” We take a lived-in approach, creating a feeling of home and comfort to reflect the client’s style without being stuffy or presumptuous.

ML: Where do you find inspiration for your interiors?

AG: Each space is built from an inspirational fabric, piece of furniture, piece of art, etc. Then we have fun playing with proportions and intentionally crossing the line of what is expected to create something with interest and personality.

ML: What does Southern Living mean to you?

AG: Heritage. It’s a feeling of tradition.  It covers everything I remember growing up—mixing recipes with interior and exterior spaces. It’s “home.”

ML: What has it been like to work with Southern Living on this project?

AG: Such a joy. The Southern Living team had a big job on their hands. Five designers, a builder, and a timeline are not easy to balance. That team has been amazing to work with.

ML: What era of Southern Living’s history were you given to inspire your room?*

AG: The pages I was given were from the 70’s.

ML: What else inspired you when designing your room?

AG: The “South” inspired us. Having a mix of antiques, collected pieces, casual linen upholstery, and soft tones helped give each space a comfortable and welcoming feeling.

ML: Did the Mt Laurel community influence your design?  

AG: Yes! It’s a quaint, welcoming, and friendly community. The spaces inside this home should feel the same.

ML: What should people be most excited about when they visit The House?

AG: A collection of different interior design styles, all working well together. It’s like putting a group of individuals together at a party and they become fast friends. There is a common thread running through the house and it flows with each space still standing on its own.

ML: Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about the Idea House?

AG: Go check it out!! The design team came together from all across the country and there is a lot of talent on display, all in one house. Ashley Gilbreath Interior Design is honored to be a part of such an amazing and historic project. Happy 50th, Southern Living!

If you haven’t already, start planning your trip to the 2016 Southern Living Idea House, so that you can see Ashley’s beautiful work in person. The Idea House is now open to the public, and you can find all the details—from hours of operation to ticket price—here.


*In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Magazine, each of the designers was assigned a room in the house and given pages from past issues to inspire their designs.