Values + Home Design Series | Home Tour & Chat with Ashley Whiteside

photos by: Michelle Leach

Tell us a little about you and your family.

We are an eclectic little crew residing in Oklahoma City, OK. Brandon and I met while studying in Nashville, TN, and moved here for his Worship Pastor position after our 2009 wedding. Our daughter, Nora, showed up in 2012 to delightfully surprise us and challenge everything we knew about life. As a family, we love spontaneous dance parties at home, looking at pictures of Nora when she’s gone to sleep, dreaming, and having people over for YouTube video sharing. Brandon is a cyclist and Apple aficionado that convinced me to cilantro was worthwhile.

Nora has begun Pre-K in our neighborhood public school this year, is actively trying to marry our neighbor, and tells a lot of potty jokes. For two years now, we have been an abstract painting mother-daughter duo. Last month, we moved into a new old house that we’ll be remodeling, but if that wasn’t enough, I stay busy pretending I’ll give up coffee and running my interior styling business + blog.

What's your design philosophy and how has that inspired you as you've created your home?

Defining my design philosophy would actually be easier to hone in on by describing what it is not: I have no time for cold, sterile environments, brown and beige, overplayed trends, heirlooms that don’t feel sentimental, the phrase “pop of color”, formal for the sake of acting formal OR expensive for the sake of looking expensive, excessively large spaces or builder basic finishes. I beg for my spaces to ooze charm, invitation, interest, and enough order to dismiss life’s chaos.

When we bought our last home (seen in these photos), my husband was a college pastor, and we hosted a large group of students regularly. Our values when looking for a home were to allow space for all to feel included, cozy, like they could put their feet up and for there to be a few conversation pieces upon an inevitable lull. When a kid entered the picture, I didn’t change these expectations for our home, as I find that no one enjoys stepping into clutter and plastic crazy town.

Her toys were concealed in baskets, and her room provided a restful sense though certainly injected with whimsy. Furniture selections were made according to our modest budget, as well as the regular abuse to which they’d be subjected, leaving us to frequent Craigslist. This developed and cemented my love for vintage, storied anything.

How would you describe your family's values (or family culture) in a sentence or two? 

I can’t pretend we run around chanting a motto every day, but my biggest hope for our trio is that we embody LOVE. We are a family of faith, practicing open minds and hearts. Be this is displayed as hospitality, a listening ear, a late night glass of wine shared, or experiencing life’s simple pleasures with great gratitude, I do hope we give more than we receive. 

What does the word "home" mean to you? 

Physical and mental comfort so obvious that no one need announce it. One of my favorite things in the world is to see a pile of shoes by our front door — we don’t ask people to do this, but if they have sensed a level of belonging that made that feel appropriate, then we are succeeding on the most minute (but hugely important) level. 

What do you love best about your home and why?

Each and every piece has a story — about a trip, or a nod to the strategy in design, or a silly disclaimer — and these backgrounds have set the backdrop for so many memories. Also, I will never discount my love for beauty. For years, that felt like a petty thing to say, but the reality is that I’m wired to be invigorated by it. Very little excites me like it, and I’m okay with that. There are so many things in my home that took my breath away! Secondly, I need it to fulfill a lot of functions, such as having our bedrooms but also my studio and office, plus adequate entertaining space. (Don’t come at me with the House Hunters jokes! I swear, we really do entertain, hahaha.)

Also, it ties in with nothing that’s been placed in the rooms, but I’ll forever cherish the memory of Nora’s birth at our home. Serving as evidence for the benefit of our home’s calm environment, we had the most wonderful experience delivering her there. Life feels nothing short of magical when I consider the moments this house has seen!

Ashley is an interior stylist and half of a mother-daughter abstract painting duo. She thoroughly enjoys vintage decor shopping, making to-do lists that are unrealistic, planing elaborate details, getting excited with you, her big family that talks over each other, herbal tea, and pretending that she will start a garden this year! You can find more of her and her mother/daughter art on:

Instagram: @ashleyswhiteside

Facebook: Whiteside Art & Interiors

You can find the photographer Michelle Leach on Instagram @magnoliaadams