Podcast, Ep. 307: The Joy of Home with Ashley Gilbreth

Designer Ashley Gilbreath

This week we welcome interior designer Ashley Gilbreath to talk about her latest book The Joy of Home. Ashley is known for creating casually elegant homes that are beautiful in their aesthetic, keep a Southern charm, and celebrate everyday living. We talk with Ashley about the debut of The Joy of Home and what inspired her to break into the world of home decorating authorship.

The Joy of Home by Ashley Gilbreath

The Joy of Home by Ashley Gilbreath

What You’ll Hear On This Episode: 

  • How Ashley got started in interior design and how her background in architecture informs how she thinks about space.
  • Why is the outside just as (if not even more) important as the inside of a home?
  • What does Ashley think of when she thinks about the term “forever home”?
  • How Ashley picked the homes to feature in The Joy of Home. 
  • Ashley talks about designing her own home and the intention to create a more beachy beach home.
  • The fun challenge of including the unexpected in your design, whether it’s a color, piece of art, etc.
  • How can we incorporate more Southern Style in our homes?
  • Ashley’s love of a good poster bed and bunk room.

Designer Home from "The Joy of Home"

Decorating Dilemma: 

Dear ladies and Ashley,

I love the podcast, I’ve been listening nonstop and have learned so much about interior design (like how high to hang art, the value of (dimmable) lamps, and the importance of size and proportion).

I need your help with my dated kitchen from the early 1990s. It’s definitely not in our budget to gut the kitchen, and I’m stuck on what’s worth doing financially. I do know for certain the backsplash needs to go, but we’re pretty settled on a delft-inspired tile (perhaps in green).

These are my top 5 decorating dilemmas with this re-design:

  1. What do I do about the orange wood (100% solid oak)? My husband loves the oak (but not the color) and wants to keep the wood to some degree. I’ve considered painting 100% but the problem is that the oak is everywhere, including the trim all along the hallway connecting the kitchen to the dining room. My husband doesn’t want to paint all of this. Taryn: your green kitchen is soo beautiful! If I do re-stain some cabinets, should I go darker or lighter on the stain, or can I keep it the same?
  2. What about wall paint color? The walls are FB Ball Green, and I don’t love this color in this kitchen. The paint color in the connected dining room is also Ball Green and that is staying, so whatever I choose has to work with that.
  3. What do I do about the island? Unfortunately, we would have to cut off too much to make it a rectangle and keep the walkway clear. Is there some other shape besides an oval that will work?
  4. The upper cabinets are staying, but should I extend the cabinets to the countertop? Would that work with the “L” shape counters?
  5. Final question… Do I just need to hire a designer to make this space work? My budget is tiny for how big this room is and what needs to be done, and a designer friend told me I should just wait to gut the kitchen to get it right. Should I listen to her?

Thank you for any and all insights and for taking the time to help me solve this extremely long dilemma!

All my best,



Thank you so much for writing in.

First, this space has so much potential. Between the incredible ceiling height, the daylight streaming in and the great beams, what a beautiful space. Ashley feels like with all the space, it can also be more functional than it is.

Our first choice would be following your friend’s guidance and doing it all at one time, but if you wanted to stick with your budget, we would first paint the upper cabinets, and maybe even get rid of the whole shelving unit about the kitchen sink. This would give yourself some breathing room. We are sorry to your husband but do think the wood has to go.

Or, if you could save up for a gut job, this would be a complete 180 and we think you would be pleasantly surprised!

Good luck and keep us posted.

Also Mentioned in This Episode:

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Happy Decorating!

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Kelley Bostian

Kelley enjoys a light and livable home and is always searching for that perfect "finishing touch" antique piece. Here on How to Decorate, it's his goal to help you bring your own unique design vision to life.