Born in Los Angeles and raised in Baton Rouge (“the other L.A.,” the designer says cheekily), Ashley Gilbreath studied architecture and interior design at Auburn University and, after stints in New York and Atlanta, set down roots in Alabama in 2005, launching her firm two years later.
“I want to instill in my children the things I remember from being a little girl, like growing up in my grandmother’s house around her beautiful things. Similarly, as a designer, I get to be a part of how people remember life,” expresses Gilbreath, whose eclectic and tailored approach tends to forge friendships with her clients.
Gilbreath is momentarily most excited about resurrecting her Parish Shoppe, its very name a tribute to her Louisiana roots. Opened in 2010, the boutique reboots this fall. Expect curated, one-of-a-kind objets d’art, vintage textiles and lighting, antique mirrors and textures that range from “high-gloss lacquered to acid-washed to over-the-top old-school gilt,” says Gilbreath. Here, she shares three of her top spots to score amazing finds.
Neighborhood: Birmingham, Alabama
Why she loves it: “It’s ever-evolving. The owners really know their stuff, and they’re big supporters of the trade, which makes it fun to shop with them.” Favorite finds: Simple Swedish chests with clean lines and bleached or painted finishes; antique ironstone dishware she displays in groups or deploys as vessels for big bouquets of hydrangea; and “blue and white everything.”
Why she loves it: “The customer service is amazing. In a beautiful space in Buckhead, it’s my favorite place to find those one-of-a-kind statement pieces for a room–an antique that tells a story.” Favorite finds: A 19th-century blanket rack Gilbreath used to hang quilts in a Lake Martin, Alabama vacation house; a high-back armchair in ochre leather she selected for an 18th-century Nashville farmhouse; and a pair of twin cottage beds by Atlanta designer Barbara Westbrook that she installed in a charming two-story guest cottage.
Neighborhood: Mountain Brook, Alabama
Why she loves it: “This is Pam Evans’ place; she’s a designer with fabulous taste. It’s not a very large shop, but very well tailored. Good artwork, good vision and fabulous objects.” Favorite finds: Sunburst mirrors, painted terra-cotta jugs, sculptural plaster pieces employed as wall art, architectural prints and works by local Birmingham artists such as William McLure, McKenzie Dove and Jane Timberlake Cooper.