As part of our Spotlight series, this month we profile stylist Ashley Pratt; the super talented interior stylist previously with House & Garden and now taking the leap into the world of freelancing with The Living Details. We had a chat to Ashley about creating spaces with perfectly put together pieces, her personal and professional influences and design philosophy…
HMCo: Tell us about your career & how you became a stylist.
A: I always find this to be a funny question because I didn’t really know interior styling existed as a career until I found myself interning at Australian House & Garden. I had always loved interiors and as a child was always rearranging elements of my room, however when I finished school I studied Law and Communications with the plan to become a lawyer. Towards the end of my degree I started working part time for an Interior Design firm and loved it so much I decided to pursue this career. I was in the right place at the right time and got myself the internship. I worked hard and for free for a year and once I started full time gave it my all and worked my way up to Senior Stylist. I’ve never studied Interior Design but I believe you either have a knack for it or you don’t. After 5 years at AH&G I have just made the leap into the world of freelance styling. It’s scary and exciting…there’s no looking back now!
HMCo: What is the essential element of any room?
A: For me the essential element for any room is texture. I’m more of a neutral palette girl with hints of subtle colour but I find a neutral room will always feel layered and complete if there are elements of natural texture to it. Think timber grain, knitted wool, crushed linen or woven jute, they will make it feel cosy and lived in.
HMCo: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: Inspiration for me can come out of nowhere. I find a lot of inspiration from fashion shoots, particularly for colour palettes. In that way fashion is often ahead of interiors. Also, international publications, books, social media and blogs. It sounds a little corny but a big inspiration for me is good old mother nature. You’ll very rarely see me style a room without foliage. The bigger the branch the better. I recently discovered a plant called Smokebush which has leaves of dirty green on one side and a rich, dark purple on the other. It was so beautiful and would form such a lovely colour palette for winter.
HMCo: Favourite colour palette for the coming season?
A: I’m loving a combination of warm earthy tones and blues this Autumn. Mustard, Marigold and Bordeaux are really rich in pigment and look amazing in luxe fabrics like linen and velvet. A splash of Dusty Blue cuts through this warmth and freshens the palette. As I mentioned earlier I tend to gravitate towards a fairly neutral palette so you’ll normally find me adding colours like these in homewares – cushions, throws, ceramics and bedding. These items can easily be updated season to season when your tastes change.
HMCo: What are your 5 must-haves?
1. Foliage and or flowers are for me one of the most important elements of my home. Whether its big branches en masse in my entry or a small posy of pretty blooms beside my bed they bring an instant smile to my face and add that final touch to a room. I get quite thrifty with this and actually keep secateurs in my car. If I see a fallen branch on the street I’m sure to pick it up.
2. Between long shoots where I’m on my feet all day and being a non-coffee drinker a good night’s sleep and thus having really good quality bedding is very important to me. About 5 years ago, I converted to sleeping in 100% linen and haven’t looked back. It’s cool in the summer, warm in the winter and doesn’t need to be ironed! I find it also gets softer and better with age the more you wash it.
3. A room to me is not complete without art on the walls. My new year’s resolution three years ago, was to buy one important piece of art every year. Of course, along the way, particularly when travelling, I find little works that I pick up and display in unsuspecting corners but starting to collect artworks that I’ll have for the rest of my life has been hugely fulfilling.
4. I’m a little bit of a neat freak and seem to have a lot of ‘stuff’ so having suitable storage and a designated place to keep everything is a must. I live in a terrace which are notorious for having poor built in storage so I’ve had to get inventive. Trolleys, freestanding drawers, baskets and boxes have become my best friends.
5. I stack books everywhere…and I mean everywhere! Over the years, I’ve collected coffee table books on all subjects. Interiors (obviously) but also photography, people, animals and travel. I have stacks on the floor in front of my fireplaces, on every side, coffee and bedside table as well as on my kitchen bench. These books bring me so much inspiration and joy. I’ll have a quick flick at any point of the day or night.
HMCo: What do you love most about linen?
A: Hale Mercantile Co linen has been a favourite of mine for many years now. It’s so beautiful to shoot with, the way it layers, falls and the unsuspecting colour combinations you can create are all reasons to love this product. The linen bedding to sleep in is heavenly. It has that extra little crush to it which I love and the frayed edges which look so delicate on a beautifully made bed.