She's kind, giving, intelligent, an entrepreneur, and a girl boss. Ashley is a home stager and designer in Danville, CA. Ashley Provost Design helps their customers create stunning living spaces as well as staging homes to maximize its sale and helping it sell faster for a higher price.  I believe her interiors are a true reflection of her. Cool, calm, and collected. I asked Ashley what inspires her, how she got started, and a few other interesting tidbits. I hope this will inspire you to take a few risks.1432878997725

Name: Ashley Provost Location: Danville, CA Current Title/Company: Owner/Ashley Provost Design Q: Tell me about what you do, how long you've been in business, employees, etc. A: I own a home staging business. We set up homes for sale to maximize the home's sale, helping it sell faster for a higher price. This often involves rearranging current items, bringing in furniture and accessories. It also sometimes involves recommending paint color, fixture and surface changes to appeal to higher end buyers. I have been in the industry for 10 years and opened my own business 5 years ago. I currently have 8 team members on staff. Q: How did you get in to design & staging? A: I was always interested in the intersection between commerce and design. I thought I might want to be a buyer for a retail store. But I had a family friend who was a stager and she became my mentor. I strongly advocate for mentorships in this industry. Any craft is best learned from a mentor. Q: What/Who inspires you? A: My honest answer is that almost everything inspires me. That's what I think the gift of design is--being able to see the amazing qualities in all things and then apply that to a project you are working on. The best inspiration comes from travelling--I will notice how spaces are designed differently, using local objects, from hotels to restaurants to houses, and that fresh perspective will change how I approach my work. Lately I've been really inspired by elements of Baja California--Mexican blankets, rustic pottery, succulents against clean lined, straight furniture in substantial materials like wood and concrete. I love blending completely different styles together--it creates a more satisfying experience for someone entering a room. In terms of personal inspiration, it's the people closest to me--my family, my boyfriend, my best friends and my team at work. When you build a small business from a shed at your house to warehouses and trucks--that kind of thing only happens when you surround yourself with a group of people who inspire and advise you every step of the way. Q: When do you find your the most creative? Is there a particular activity you do to channel creativity? A: Again I would say travel is huge. And it's not always far away. Sometimes it's as simple as visiting a neighboring town to experience something different. I read a ton of magazines to relax. Window shopping. Driving through neighborhoods to explore. My creativity comes from seeing what others are doing and channeling it into my current projects. Q: Biggest design mistake people make? A: I can think of a few biggies! Trying too hard to match everything. It's easy to overthink this--a lot of clients get nervous that all wood tones in a room have to match, from chair legs to coffee tables to wood floors to cabinets. Or the styles all have to match. If they are all exactly the same, there is no depth or dimension. You need slight variations. Also painting dark, small rooms white. That won't make it look bigger or brighter. You need a warm, full-spectrum color with saturation in a dark room. Without natural light and updated surfaces, white walls look drab and dated. Q: Best design tip? A: Don't forget to plan for contrast! Using high contrast is the best, easiest way to pack a punch and give your room polish. It can also work wonders to update older surfaces. This can mean contrasting colors, shapes, styles, etc. my favorite trick is to use a dark furniture piece with a striking shape against a light wall. In staging we often using contrasting paint colors on cabinets and walls to inexpensively trick the eye into thinking dated surfaces are new. Another tip that is often forgotten: don't forget to decorate your walls. So many people never get around to buying artwork. I think because it's hard to find something that speaks to you. But having everything on the floor in the room makes it feel heavy and disproportionate. Adding art on the walls really makes a room feel bigger, giving depth to the walls. In staging we try to hang art on the outer walls of the home to draw the eye to the furthest points, leaving the interior walls empty so they are not focal points. This helps a home feel larger and Q: Why is it important to incorporate a few pieces of antiques/vintage into decor? A: You know that amazing crust on a creme brûlée? That is what antiques do for a home. It's that texture, patina, that extra layer that grounds everything. Also, in a big-box retail world, it sets your home apart, which is more high end. 30

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