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I, on Design...

Laura Ashley Interiors

In the late 1980s I became an interior designer of sorts. First at prep school in the UK and then at college in Boston. When I lived at home I lived in the home that my mother owned and designed. She has a fabulous sense of style (which I would like to think I inherited!) and I had a wonderful, dreamlike childhood bedroom. On the 9th floor, my bedroom was in the back of the building (no views of Central Park pour moi!) and the sun shone in all day long. Each wall was painted a different pastel color, yellow, pink, lavender and green. The ceiling, of course was painted a pastel blue. I had two high four poster beds which were dressed in a large checked pattern that was carefully and painstakingly chosen. It pulled all the colors of my walls on to the print. I had a white bamboo-trimmed dresser and a white wicker love seat and coffee table. My childhood bedroom was a little girl's dream. Sometimes I pretended that I lived in a dollhouse and sometimes I pretended that I lived in a large multi-colored block.

As I entered my pre-teen years I told my mother that I wanted to redo my room. We were in the midst of the wild and crazy 80s. Big hair, Disco, glitter and rainbows were tres en vogue with my age group. I had envisioned a large rainbow stripe painted horizontally across all of my walls. It would be bright and bold and so not baby-ish. My mother, having spent all of adult life establishing her career and making a name for herself in public relations in the art world was pretty understandable to my needing to express my creative needs. She was totally on-board with my Rainbow Project. Until the very last minute when I decided to change my mind. Back out. Chicken out. It wasn't so much that I was afraid of change, but that I really, really did love my pretty room. I had grown sentimental over it over the weeks. In the end I had my room repainted. It was nothing big or bold or brash like the 80s. It was simple and calm... tranquil... even if not a little boring. I picked a pretty sunshine yellow. It was a very happy color. Yet as soon as the walls were all covered, I really did miss my childhood bedroom. Admittedly I was sad. I thought I had made a huge mistake. I never said anything though.

A few years later I would be in prep school and I would be able to choose my duvets and sheets and pillow cases and all the wonderful posters that I would be allowed to hang on my walls. Finally! I was not allowed to hang "junk" of any kind at home in New York!

It was during this time that I discovered and fell in love with all things Laura Ashley. Princess Diana wore the big, pouffy, flouncy and frilly dresses all the time. (This was years before she discovered haute couture!) I loved these dresses too. Large floral prints, over-sized collars, sailor tops. They weren't the most flattering dresses but we loved them nonetheless!

In college, in September of my Freshman year I would meet the tall, beautiful blond girl that would soon become one of my best friends over the next few years. We were registering for our courses. She was the preppiest thing in a sea of  very preppy girls. We talked a bit and introduced ourselves. Her name, she told me, was Laura Ashley!


I was also happy to discover the Laura Ashley store in the nearby Chestnut Hill Mall. We all went mad there. We bought what would be our bedding for the next four years. I mixed and matched mine. I remember loving the Emma pattern the best. Like her dresses, the Laura Ashley bedding was frilly, flouncy and very floral.


After I graduated my tastes changed. I was looking to furnish my apartments to reflect my more mature and sophisticated self. (Yes, all at 21!) Influenced by my mother and her mother, La Jolie Grandmere, my tastes became more simple and stream-lined. There was no more need for frou-frou in my life. My not-so-flattering Luara Ahsley dresses made way for suits and other, more appropriate, business attire. Laura Ashley passed away and I didn't much like what happened to her products or her company.

So fast forward about 20 years and I see this ad as I'm flipping through Real Simple Magazine.

Laura Ashley Ad Campaign, Real Simple Magazine


 The ad caught my eye and I had to find out more!

Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley
 How Dramatic... I love it!


Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley

Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley

Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley


Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley


Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley


Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley


Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley


Photo Courtesy Laura Ashley

 I loved what I saw! There is a hint of the old Laura Ashley and a definite familiarity. But it seems that the frill and frou-frou of years past have made way for simple, sophisticated, classic certainly, and dare I even say a little bit edgy? Laura Ashley edgy? I might say!

I love the clean and crisp lines. The classic traditional English pieces have been updated and modernized. I love the classic look against some of the more modern tones and hues of the rooms and the bright modern fabrics are fun, flirty and yet when pulled together as they have been, have an understated elegance. Laura Ashley seems as comfortable in the middle of LA as she does in the English countryside.

Do you like the new look of Laura Ashley click here to view their catalog?

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