Ashley Maddox

If inspiring women and inspiring interiors are the stuff that Nettement Chic is made of, who better to work with on a series of new interviews than Westwing, the online interiors site founded by Delia Fischer, ex-Elle Decoration journalist turned tech entrepreneur. 

For this second ‘Home Story’ produced together, we paid a visit to Ashley Maddox, the founder of Where I’d Stay, an agency specialising in renting high-end holiday homes and apartments. An American living in Paris for seven years, she has a passion for interior design and is inspired by the African continent. The result? A brightly coloured and sunny Parisian apartment with the warmest of welcomes.

 

  • Hi Ashley! Tell us about yourself and Where I’d Stay.

    I come from the West Coast of the United States but I have always lived abroad: in England, in South Africa, in France… When I arrived in Paris with my husband and the first two of my children in 2009, we had to immediately rethink the apartment that we had just bought. This experience, alongside the architecture agency double g, was in some ways the birth of a new passion: interior design. Today, we have renovated two Parisian apartments and a house on the seafront in Bakhoven in Cape Town, South Africa. Where I’d Stay has become the window to our world and our rental agency!

     

    How would you define your style?

    Warm and colourful. In an urban environment, colour is essential. The sky is already grey – why add more! 

  • I would also say that I have a style of life that is above all sociable and my apartment reflects this. I chose to place the kitchen at the centre of the house: we spend most of our time there, eating, talking… At my house, everything happens in the kitchen! It’s for this reason that we had to treat it as a living space, an extension of the sitting room that is a place to chill out and to relax. The household appliances must be concealed, the chairs comfortable and the lighting gentle and warm.

  • What are your design tips? 

    1/ Plants 

    Green plants make you forget the cold, lifeless objects that surround us such as screens and household appliances. They soften a modern space and make it more intimate. As my fingers aren’t particularly green, I choose plants that don’t need too much looking after!

     

    2/ Wallpaper 

    Given that wallpaper is often very expensive, I don’t use a lot. Rather, I just cover one wall or even half a wall to give depth and personality to a room. This one in the hallway is from Hermès but I only used one roll!

  • 3/ Accumulation

    I love grouping together similar objects (vases, bowls, candles…) for a graphic and contemporary effect. I don’t look for symmetry but rather a general coherence that attracts the eye. 
     

    4/ Colours 

    I love playing with colour! Rooms feel more defined and imbued with distinct personality. Taken together, the cumulative impact of these different spaces makes the overall apartment feel bigger. Of course, the colours have to be in harmony and to give a sense of visual coherence. Once you have established your overall palette, you can start to think about giving each room its own shade, like our pink salon, our dark green bedroom, or our turquoise bathroom!

    Here, I have chosen a colour palette that is applied right down to the smallest details – for example, the inside of draws and cupboards are always painted in the same colour as the predominating shade of the room. Also, you mustn’t be afraid of dark colours. The floor in the hallway was very unattractive and didn’t fit with the rest of the apartment. We painted it navy blue, just like the window frames, for a chic and warm effect.

     

     

     

  • 5/ Linen bed clothing

    I have a particular love of linen, especially for bed clothes. White cotton is a perennial favourite in the States, but I prefer the softness of linen, especially where you want to add a touch of colour to a bedroom.

  • 6/ Lighting

    Don’t ever cut corners when it comes to the lighting in an apartment or house. Lighting is the ambiance, the warmth and the friendliness of a space! If you are hesitating about splurging a little, tell yourself that lighting is an investment. Stunning vintage pieces, for example, will always keep their value.

  • When you visit your apartment, the wonderful tiles in the kitchen and bathroom are particularly striking. Where did you find them?

    I get all our tiles from Popham Design, an artisanal cement tile producer in Morocco founded by my friends Caitlin and Samuel Dowe-Sandes. Covering an entire wall in tiles with graphic, highly coloured patterns is a very strong decorative commitment. But contrary to what one might think, tiles can actually be very soft and warm.

  • Does your sense of colour and pattern come from your time spent in South Africa?

    Through contact with designers there, I was inspired to be more bold with colours and prints. Everything in South Africa seems brighter, more colourful, more human and I really wanted to inject a bit of that spirit into this apartment with its elegant, somewhat reserved style. I have become a fan of African design, whether in fashion, accessories or interiors. I try to wear something that comes from Africa every day. For example, the skirt that I am wearing today from the Italian brand Stella Jean is made from an African material. 

  • What are the next steps for Where I’d Stay?

    To find a new apartment to decorate! And to discover new African designers for my brand new project, Hello Sunshine. It is an ephemeral boutique that will open to coincide with the PAD fair in Paris next year. Contemporary African design will have pride of place in an exceptional apartment on the rue de Rivoli where everything will be for sale. You can follow us and discover more on my Instagram @hellosunshine.africa in the months to come!
     

    Ashley’s addresses

    In my neighbourhood (near to Saint Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement) I love: Cire Trudon for candles; Marie Mercié for slightly eccentric hats; Oh My Cream ! for Joëlle Ciocco beauty products; Huitrerie Regis for oysters, prawns, rye bread, tarte tatin and Sancerre; Gérard Mulot for pastries; Bacchus et Ariane for organic wines; La Fromagerie Sanders for the charming owners Twiggy and Michel, and last but not least, Bonpoint for the breath-taking displays that my children and I enjoy walking past at least 8 times a day!