FARMER'S DOZEN: Ashley Gilbreath

Akin to a baker's dozen, my Farmer's Dozen is a quantity of a dozen or so questions - a series of questions with fellow designers, authors, tastemakers, friends and Southerners alike. 

Farmer’s Dozen: Ashley Gilbreath

1. What influences from Louisiana have you brought to Alabama? 
Louisiana is chock full of details, color, and character! Once you get a taste of it, you can’t forget it! I will never get tired of the feeling that “home” gives me- I love the energy and character and I love to think that I can channel that feeling into interiors!   Louisiana is full of old plantations, massive shady oak trees, brick courtyards…history, antiques, culture.  Preserving that feeling, that since of history, gives a humbling feeling.  

2. Who inspires you? 
There is no person on earth more fabulous than Bunny Williams! She has such a knack for updated traditional design. Her use of intentional color and texture forces people to pay attention to details- love it! She has killer taste! 

3. Your babies are you and B made over… they’re precious!!! What would be a dream room to design for Cates and Rett? 
My favorite spaces in a home are those where I know a family will be spending time and making memories. For my sweet kiddos, that space is a playroom! I love to see sophisticated and practical play spaces that feel young and fun! I have an addiction to coral right now, so that would be involved for sure! Who says a boy can’t play around pink?! Pink is good for the soul. 

4. What did you call your grandmothers, and do you have any treasured heirlooms from them? 
I called them Grandma and Grandmommy, and yes! I have an antique brass bed in our guest room that belonged to my great grandparents and I can’t imagine ever parting with it!  My Grandfather and my Dad grew up sleeping in that bed, and so did I.  

5. I think a coffee table says a lot about your life and style. What’s on your coffee table right now, and what is your coffee table? 
Currently, my coffee table is an antique Spanish wood table that I picked up in Belgium. I say “currently” because I’m infamous for changing out tables at my house! At the moment, mine has a few cocktail table books, a concrete bowl for the remote control, and a vase filled with blush colored roses! One should always have fresh flowers in their home! 

6. I had a great aunt that said you could tell a lot about a lady by her silver pattern. What’s your pattern? Does it say anything about you? 
Life is funny! When I chose my silver pattern, Joan of Arc, I knew I wanted something timeless and traditional. It’s beautiful… however… over the past couple of years, I have grown fond of mismatched silver! It sounds crazy, but I love the idea that something feels “collected” rather than purchased. This applies not only to silver, but to furniture and artwork as well! 

7. Do you collect anything in particular? If so, how did you start? 
Oh dear, what do I NOT collect?! I have a little love affair with small vases and bottles! They are so charming! I also love to collect artwork. I truly believe that the best way to purchase art is to buy what you like. Some can get so hung up on color and size and exactly where it will go, but my rule is that if I love it, it’s mine! We can find a home for him later! I also have an addiction to buying antique cane chairs… I just can’t say no to them!

8. Favorite thing you ate in Europe on your buying trip? 
The very first day we arrived, Jessica and I walked the streets of Brussels, Belgium and essentially just soaked up the culture. Completely amazing people and a totally different way of life. We found a street-side café and were served the most amazing salad with baked mozzarella along with really good wine. Jessica and I sat at the table for probably three and a half hours! We quickly realized that while the food was amazing, the slow pace and relaxing atmosphere was the best thing we had that night! 

9. What are your favorite scents from the home and garden? 
My husband, Barrett, is an amazing cook and a total foodie, so I love to smell something tasty in the kitchen! When it comes to the garden, I love to smell gardenias and rosemary… plus they look pretty in the house!  I grew up with gardenias outside our back door…they remind me of home.  

10. You’re having a dinner party could invite anyone… Including any character from history, who would be at your dinner party? (Pssst, I am included on the guest list)
Of course you’re included on the guest list! My dad’s mom lived to see Cates born and we had a great relationship- absolutely my angel on earth that I knew prayed for me constantly. My other grandparents lived until I was a very young child, but I never had the opportunity to actually have a relationship with them. My maternal grandmother loved to entertain and both of my grandfathers were farmers, so I have no doubt that they would have some amazing stories to tell! They would absolutely be on my dinner party guest list! 

11. I loved “our house” aka your old house on Felder… you took that house and turned it into something great. What was it that you saw that no one else did and thus made it your own? 
Ah! This house still makes my heart skip a beat! My initial reaction was “this house needs lots of love and a family.” It had so much potential and so much character, but was lacking a family! We lived in this house when Barrett and I lost our infant twins and it was also the house we brought home our precious daughter, Cates. The house has seen heartbreak, overflowing love, and lots of memories and I will forever be grateful! 

12. The smell of lady peas simmering on the stove makes me weak in the knees. Describe your perfect Southern meal… and if you’re frying pully bone, you must invite me over. 
I am a dessert lover to the core! Nothing makes me happier than a really good cheesecake… it just doesn’t get better than that!  And, if I can be picky, it would be my Mom’s cheese cake.  

Follow Ashley on Instagram @parishshoppe and @ashleyfgilbreath