Do I have a great treat for you! Ever wonder how new decorators and stylists get their foot in the door? Where they get their inspiration? Where they find the great decor and furniture that grace the rooms and homes of their portfolios?
Well you're getting those answers straight from the source; up and coming interior decorator/stylist Ashley Krogman. I interviewed Ashley, asking some of the questions I've always wondered about, and she was gracious enough to answer them for us. She also gave me pictures and details from her latest styling assignment, which I think you'll really like. See it below the interview.
Interview with Ashley
1. How did you get started in the interior design and stylist field? Would you say you got a lucky break or “made” your luck by lots of reaching out, networking, doing some free jobs, etc?
I always knew that I was supposed to do interior design. It has been my passion basically my whole life. Growing up, I would go over to my grandmother’s house and re-arrange her whole basement, build little homes with sheets and chairs, and decorate the inside of each “area”.
I would say that I “made” my lucky break in the design field (I am still very new, but have been fortunate enough to have had little breaks along the way in a short time, I am looking forward to making more happen!). It is amazing how much you HAVE to put yourself and your work out there when you are first starting! You have to reach out almost anywhere (even if you don’t really feel like it!). You really have to push yourself! You also have to be willing to do some jobs for free, or for extremely low cost in the beginning, in order to build up your portfolio, and clientele. Another HUGE thing in getting that big break is being extremely creative and different; Offering a unique, signature style of your own.
2. What’s your favorite aspect of being an interior designer/stylist? What is your least favorite?
My favorite aspect of design is coming up with new ideas, and “looks”; creating a beautiful little world that takes your breath away, and being able to stand back and see the entire finished product.
My least favorite aspect of design are those jobs where you aren’t able to use as much creativity as you would like, for various reasons, but they pay the bills, and help develop you and your business in the design field.
3. What inspires you the most? Certain natural scenery? A certain store? A book?
A book that has been inspiring me for about a year and half now since I purchased it is, “Flea Market Style” by Emily Chalmers. There is so much beauty and creativity in those pages; I can never get enough no matter how many times I read it! I am also inspired by old movies, and old photographs.
4. When creating a set for a shoot, besides client’s products, where do you go or what resource do you use for the other props you use?
I go to a lot of thrift stores for props in a set. Thrift stores have the most unique, affordable accessories. If I cannot find what I am looking for at a thrift store, than I will go to stores like TJ Max, Marshalls, and Tuesday Morning. There are times when I need certain, very unique, items so then I will hit up Urban outfitters and Anthropologie (my two favorite stores for as long as I can remember)
5. I know I’ve often flirted with the idea of training to become an interior designer or stylist, as I’m sure a lot of my readers have. What tips and advice do you have for someone trying to break into the industry?
My tips and advice (based on what I have learned) would be to educate and inform yourself with the industry. For me, getting my A.A.S. in Interior Design was a huge thing! It gave me knowledge, credibility, confidence, and I was actually able to call myself a “designer”, rather than a “decorator”, and that felt great (especially after all that hard work!). Another big recommendation I would give to someone trying to break into the field would be to research!! One of the best ways to do that, is by following creative decorating blogs (such as decorology ;), and just filling yourself up with as much knowledge on trends, looks, what other designers are doing, etc as much as you can. My last piece of advice would be to develop your own signature style. Certain projects will be very different from each other, but there should be certain elements that stand out as your “style”, or projects that have your “touch”—the “golden” touch is how you should start thinking of it ;)
6. When getting started on a new project or assignment, what’s the first thing you do to get started? Sketch? Research for inspiration?
I research like crazy! My process is as follows: I see the client, find out what they like (style, interests, etc), then usually I will have some ideas pop into my head and a direction that I want to take the project, and then I follow up with lots of research to fully develop it!
7.What’s your favorite purchase for your home that you just couldn’t live without?
I would have to say my new sofa! It cost me $50 from a thrift store, and I totally love it. It is 7’ long, tufted, and a pale gold color with a faint damask/leafy pattern to it. It is definitely vintage, and Anthropolgie looking!
Thanks Ashley for taking the time to answer those questions - some great tips!
Now for some of her work! Here's a little background about her latest project:
Since Fall has approached, I had a lovely client ask me to come up with a set design for a shoot. I decided to do a Fall shoot, but with a twist! And that twist included touches of modern, a little bit of 'funky retro', and of course accents of feminine vintage! I enjoyed using touches of Fall jewel tones in the set, such as the deep red of the goblet and matching perfume bottle, the emerald green of the vintage glass bottle, and accents of black throughout. I usually find myself sticking to a more neutral palate of sparkly silvers, pale golds, creams and whites, but I was ready for a bit of a change, and Fall is the perfect time! It was so refreshing to add some rich colors and patterns, such as the pattern in the rug, and the rich tone of the roses, and the bright turquoise of the hand fan. It was also great to add a little funkiness to the set with items such as the white owl accessory. I was able to use elements that I love in design right now: my 1970's black leather desk chair, a fur throw for texture, lots of vintage bottles, tea cups, and a cute little tea pot I got for one dollar at a garage sale! It was great to still be able to incorporate vintage and retro elements, but it was so fun to pair those with a brick background, and feminine eyelet white lanterns, for a slightly different version. It was so fun to come up with this Fall set with a twist!
Gold and burgundy is big this fall/winter!
This one's possibly my favorite - the teacup with the pearls.
Thanks again Ashley - great work!
Follow Ashley's doings on her fab blog Ashley Krogman Designs