Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
The designer behind Emporium Home creates a dream house for her family that offers an expression of her style at every turn
Ashley Childers is not a typical first-time homebuilding client. As the creative director and former owner of Emporium Home, a fashion-forward collection of lighting, furniture, and accessories available through market, she knows the trends and she knows what she likes. “It’s information overload when you are a designer yourself. It’s an amazing thing, actually, that I have the job I have because I get to see so much,” she says. “In my travels, I get to see beautiful architecture and spaces that are dedicated to gracious living and so many different materials and applications,” she adds.
When it came to building her own house and culling down those “ten thousand Pinterest boards,” Ashley was not daunted by the task. The west Little Rock house she shares with her husband, Garrett, and their two children encapsulates her style. “I’m really all about the feeling I get in a space, so I wanted our home to be a reflection of our lives and personalities—the places we’ve been, the experiences we’ve had, and the things we love. I have a young, happy, creative family, and I want our home to nurture and celebrate that!” she says.
Today, you’ll find Ashley in her home office (which she admits is not photo-ready; “It had to be upstairs so no one could see the mess when they walked into our home,” she laughs) happily designing Emporium Home’s new collection that is set to debut in a complete re-launch of the brand later this year. “We’re going to be doing rugs, soft goods, tabletop items, and hundreds of other things,” she says of the much-anticipated reveal.
However, while the lure of newness and creative energy beckons, she confides it’s nice to design with permanency in mind. “At market, we are used to designing and setting up showrooms that feel like real interior spaces—and then, they are only there for five days. So it’s nice to do something that sticks and lasts,” she says. “A lot of people get nervous about making decisions and sometimes people try to do it without a professional designer, but for us, especially me, it’s our life.”
The front entry’s steel doors not only make a graphic statement but also allow natural light to spill into the great room. “I had a picture of this large window at the landing and the steel doors in my mind, but I had to figure out how to make it work with the staircase and the lighting and the overall entry,” Ashley says. The zebra rug was an 18th birthday gift to Ashley from her mother, an indication of her lifelong appreciation for style.
A Grand Great Room
The home’s design started with the great room. “I knew I wanted a vaulted, two-story room, and I knew that I wanted a really grand fireplace and two seating areas in this space because of the way we entertain and live; and I wanted it to be open to the kitchen,” Ashley says of her goals for the main living area.
Above: The abstract work over the fireplace is part of a set (the other of which hangs in the dining room) that Ashley painted. “I’m a real fan of original art; as with vintage finds, it just brings such a soulful feel to a house,” she says.
The Art of Dining
Ashley’s artistry doesn’t stop when she leaves her desk. She took to the dining room’s wall, sketching and painting gold leaf branches for a custom treatment. When it came to the home’s furnishings, the designer notes that not everything in the house is new; many pieces from her former house grace the rooms—often in different configurations and applications. “I also had some things in storage that I couldn’t fit into our old house but I knew I wanted to use at some point,” she says. Case in point, the dining room table, which is a piece she designed for Emporium Home. The chairs and chandelier are also from the line.
An island large enough to seat her family was a priority in the kitchen. “I also wanted it to be in the center of the space and be oriented toward the hearth room and great room, so we could all talk no matter where we were,” Ashley says. “And a lot of the time when we are with our extended family, we cook together, so it was important to me that this all flow.”
Soft brass finishes add to the trendsetting feel of the space and are also a nod to Ashley’s innate design aesthetic. “I use a ton of gold in my design work. When I launched Emporium Home, we did a lighting collection that was satin brass, and that was really right before it became popular. I’m drawn to beautiful, soft satin, feminine brass; it’s gorgeous, and when it’s paired with gray it just sings for me,” she says. To this end, the home features numerous gray hues and cooler tones paired with warm brass finishes.
Do What You Love
“All of the decisions I made in this house were based on what I really love. For instance, I wanted a banquette,” Ashley says. “Come hell or high water, I was getting a banquette,” she laughs. “There were just things in my mind that I’ve seen and that stuck with me through the years, and that was one of those.” The view from the seating area looks out onto the front lawn, while the space behind it opens to a lounge area situated just behind the kitchen island.
“I just love art glass and milk glass and little sculptures. My husband thinks I’m insane because I come home with stuff all the time. In my travels I get to pick up some really cool pieces, too,” the designer says.
Pieces from the Emporium Home line fill the master bedroom, including the Wellington mirror (seen over the bedside tables), which Ashley says has been the company’s best-selling mirror for the past five years. The sofa is known as the “Lauren,” named after Ashley’s sister. “It’s got a lovely feminine shape and tapered legs that are so sexy and chic. I also love that our entire upholstery collection is made right here in the USA,” she says. The designer chose a favorite Belgian linen by Libeco for her bedding. “If I had to, I would give up coffee to keep that bedding,” she laughs.
Clean & Serene
A clean palette of gray and white with accents of brass and gold sets the tone in what Ashley describes as the “beautiful and serene” master bath. She had two must-haves in this space: a vanity and a soaking tub positioned near a picture window. “I didn’t have a vanity in our previous house, and it’s such an everyday luxury,” she says of the perch that is outfitted with a faux-fur topped stool. The standalone tub offers a view of the property’s private wooded area. Black-and-white abstract artwork, which Ashley painted, adds to the room’s current feel.
Contractor Bosley Construction, Inc. House plan and interior design Ashley Childers Accessories, furniture, lighting, and mirrors (Emporium Home) Available for order through Phoenix Interiors Appliances Metro Appliances & More Cabinetry Moody Cabinets Carpet, countertops, fireplace, flooring, and tile Lumber One Home Center Fabrics Cynthia East Fabrics Fixtures Southern Pipe & Supply Millwork Garrison & Sons Custom Trim Paint Benjamin Moore Painting Nick’s Custom Painting Painting (decorative) Ashley Childers Windows Kaufman Lumber