Designer Spotlight: The Coastal and Timeless Vibes of Ashbourne DesignsFebruary 18, 2021
This month, we are featuring the fabulous interior design talents of Ashbourne Designs. We sat down with designer Christine Gentile to hear her expert advice on achieving a luxurious and timeless look in your home. Get ready to be inspired.
One-on-One with Ashbourne Designs
Q: Your design work has such a luxurious, timeless element to it. How do you achieve that for your clients?
A: I wish I had a magic formula. It just comes naturally to me. I have always been drawn to beautiful and luxurious items. As a young child, my wonderful grandmother and I would window shop at the finest stores in New York City. She would buy me small trinkets along the way—always having them beautifully wrapped. My favorite memory is from Bonwit Teller, and the beautiful purple floral shopping bags. It is part of my genetic makeup. I am secretly always designing and critiquing my surroundings.
Q: What is your favorite interior design style?
A: I love so many design styles! Coastal—is clearly my number one. I love using pale soft colors, layering with textures, and incorporating natural elements. You will never see a sign that says “beach house” in any of my designs!
Q: When beginning a new project, what part of the room do you start with?
A: It depends on the type of room and project. I often start with an inspirational piece. For example: Fabric with a beautiful pattern or embroidery, gorgeous wallpaper, a hand-knotted carpet, or even a mosaic tile. When I find that piece, everything falls into place.
Q: When designing a room, what is the most important factor?
A: I would say the feeling you get when you walk into a well-designed room or home. The design sets the mood for the entire home and those who use it. Most important is the flow and the cohesiveness throughout the home. When the rooms don’t flow well, it creates a sense of unrest, and it generally feels uncomfortable.
Q: How do you choose the color palette for your clients?
A: I start out asking what their preferences are regarding color. I prepare a presentation with fabrics that have different patterns and colors, and see what the clients are attracted to. I like to listen carefully to my clients and pick up on their clothing and style. This helps when they really don’t have a color palette in mind or are unsure.
Q: What are your interior design must-haves?
A: Great lighting. It makes a statement about a home and showcases the personality of the homeowners. It is so important to have proper lighting throughout the home—not just pretty fixtures! A well-thought-out design includes a combination of architectural and beautiful fixtures that flow from one room to another. It also relates to the feeling you have when you walk into a home. I have been in so many homes where inexpensive LED recessed lighting was installed, and it feels like a hospital or operating room.
Q: You used to import European Antiques, which must have been so rewarding. Do you incorporate antiques into your design work?
A: Yes, I love antiques mixed with contemporary furnishings. Depending on the client’s preference, I like adding antique lighting, art, mirrors, and accessories. I will use furniture if it’s functional and comfortable. I love taking dark wood pieces that have beautiful lines and are of quality. I will have them lacquered or painted by a talented faux finisher, who will transform these pieces with beautiful finishes. It gives new life to family heirlooms and sentimental pieces and works well with traditional or contemporary design.
Q: What are some key décor elements that will elevate any room?
A:It is the arrangement of accessories and window treatments! Until that final layer is added, the room just doesn’t come alive. It is most time-consuming, yet most rewarding when completed. It’s all about the details, big and small.
Q: We are seeing wallpaper making a big comeback, but some people are afraid they’ll get tired of it. Do you use wallpaper in your designs?
A: I never tire of wallpaper. I incorporate wallpaper in all my projects when applicable. It adds depth, texture, and color. I especially love patterned papers. A little tip: When you use beautifully patterned wallpaper, you don’t have to use as much art. I will use wallpaper on ceilings and the backs of cabinets as well. It takes ordinary built-ins and small ceilings to a new level. With more options (and price points) than ever before, wallpaper—used correctly—is a must-have. (Insider info: Did you know Country Carpet has a beautiful selection of wallpaper options? Our design experts would love to show them off to you!)
It is important to make sure the appropriate type of paper is selected. For example, don’t use real grass cloth in a kitchen or bathroom. I find it also holds up better than paint in high traffic areas.
Q: What people may not know about Ashbourne Designs is that you offer construction and renovation services as well—which are led by your husband! What benefits have you seen come out of clients who use you for both construction and design?
A: Our design/build clients receive so many benefits. Everyone on our team is working together for the best possible result. It—honestly—is much less stressful for our clients. There is constant communication between us, so when an issue presents itself, we are able to be proactive in resolving it. We aim to make it seamless, from design and planning through execution. It is so rewarding to see a project through completion.
We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Ashbourne Designs! Whether it sparked your inspiration to add a coastal look to your home or gave you some great design ideas to add to your décor, we at Country Carpet are here to meet your flooring and décor needs.
We invite you to visit us—either virtually or in-person—at our showroom to explore the many design options that are available. You can schedule an appointment at a time that works best for you. And, walk-ins are always welcome. We look forward to hearing from you.
Check out more of Ashbourne Designs’ amazing work and give them a follow—you’ll be happy you did!