Margaret Ash’s playful and spirited design approach adds unique elegance to her well-proportioned and functional designs. Her style reflects diverse influences that she carefully curates with a balanced collection of antique, vintage, and custom furnishings along with edgy and unexpected accessories and art.
What inspired this career path for you?
In college, I decided to get my degree in marriage and family therapy. Upon graduation, I wanted to make the move to New York City, so I called the architecture firm Meyer Davis Studio, where I had an internship in high school, and they offered me my first entry-level job out of college. Working for great mentors — Will Meyer and Gray Davis — made it easy to realize that interior design is my passion, so I decided to enlist in New York School of Interior Design at night to broaden my skill set and fine-tune my artistry. I find often as a designer, I am acting as a “mediator”, blending the styles of two individuals in a relationship — connecting my degrees in marriage and family therapy and interior design.
What is your go-to source for inspiration?
Nature — from the colors to the textures to the lines that occur authentically outdoors. In hindsight, my appreciation for nature inspired my move from NYC to the West Coast. Owning a bi-coastal design firm allows me to enjoy the rush of adrenaline when I am working on my NYC projects as well as take deep breaths and gain perspective on a day-to-day basis in California.
Tell us about your creative process.
In design school, you are taught to start a project with the program and space planning. I have always broken that rule, and I dive into the fabrics first. A pattern or color story has a profound effect on the room’s overall feel and shapes my vision; then I tackle the space plan. I worked on the fabric lines for Kelly Wearstler, Amanda Nisbet, and Kendall Wilkinson, and consider textiles my specialty, so I continue to use fabric as my medium of choice.
Describe your style in 6 words or less.
Approachable, bespoke, individualized
What’s a staple in your tool kit?
Blue painters tape. I always draw floor plans and elevations in AutoCAD, but before any purchases are made, I do one final walk-through with all the furniture taped out in the space. This allows me to capitalize on every inch of the room, and make sure the flow between pieces feels comfortable and natural.
Who do you look up to in the design world?
I have been fortunate to work for some of the best designers in the interior design industry, including Kelly Wearstler, Amanda Nisbet, Kendall Wilkinson, Elizabeth Bauer, and Will Meyer and Gray Davis of Meyer Davis Studio. While they each have different aesthetics, they are all incredibly hardworking, and moreover, kind. Interior designers are notorious for being divas, but I have not had that experience with my mentors in the industry.
If you could design a space for anyone, what kind of space and for whom would it be?
I have designed for some very influential people — celebrities, entrepreneurs, financiers, doctors, and lawyers — all of which have a special place in my heart. One of my most memorable projects was for Viyet CEO Elizabeth Brown. Her home was one of the first projects of my solo career, and it was my first project published in Architectural Digest. I love shaping the entire design process and contributing my expertise from beginning to end. Elizabeth gave me free rein on the design aesthetic, which allowed my creativity to flourish. It will be hard to top her project. As for my pie-in-the-sky project? Currently it would be Nottingham Cottage where Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are set to live. I mean, designing a home for American royalty of my generation, hard to fantasize anything more enchanting!
Tell us your favorite design-related word, phrase, or quote.
More is more, especially when it comes to throw pillows.
Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
I don’t have any favorites, I love them all!
What do you love about Viyet?
Viyet recognizes — and celebrates — the fact that no room will ever look complete without a standout “found” furniture or decorative piece. A beautiful antique can serve as a focal point and immediately elevate a room with its history. Viyet is a great resource for designers and the general consumer for such standout pieces, and having access to treasures at a discount is always a good feeling.