Interior stylist Leah Ashley shares a peek inside her Dripping Springs home.
By Courtney Runn, Photos by Madeline Harper
Growing up, Leah Ashley moved from country to country. Each time her family moved, some furniture was left behind, other pieces were packed up and new treasures were acquired. Today, her Dripping Springs, Texas farmhouse is a collection of curated pieces, mostly thrifted, that not unlike her nomadic childhood, share a larger narrative.
“I love expressing myself through my vintage finds,” Ashley says. She prefers timeless over trendy and is always on the hunt for the next great bargain. The chartreuse velvet ottoman that sits in her bedroom? $5 from a side-of-the-road sale.
“The joy that I get out of design really is the thrill of the hunt,” she says. “…90 percent of the decor in my home is second hand.”
Ashley started thrifting out of necessity as a broke college student who still wanted a pretty home. Once she started DIYing and scouring shops for vintage pieces, she never looked back. Her passion became her profession after creating a popular YouTube channel dedicated to her DIY tips and in 2015, she joined the ABC show Fablife as a cohost with Tyra Banks, Chrissy Teigan, Joe Zee and Lauren Makk. She is currently the host of The Design Network’s online series Vintage Style/Modern Life and offers thrifting and decorating advice alongside snippets of her life as a mom of two boys on her Instagram account @livingwithleah.
When Ashley and her husband moved back to their hometown of Austin several years ago after a stint in Los Angeles, they were surprised by the high housing prices and expanded their search to Dripping Springs. They instantly fell in love with the “slower-paced life” and small-town feel.
The first room in her home, the living room showcases her “eclectic Americana” style—and possibly a penchant for the daring with a white sofa and two toddlers.
“[The living room] definitely sets the tone for the rest of the house,” she says. “The decor is a little funky, it’s a little traditional but it has that little bit of collected eclectic flair.”
While she’s currently focused on their farmhouse, she hopes to one day live on more land. After a life of moving, she’s found her home.
“Texas has my heart,” Ashley says. “Texas is where I was born. Texas is where I grew up. Texas is where all of my family is so Texas in a broader scale will always be my home and be in my heart…As long as we’re in Texas and we’re together, we’re home.”
LEAH ASHLEY’S FAVORITE THRIFTING SPOTS IN AUSTIN
Austin Antique Mall
Room Service Vintage
The Salvation Army off Research Boulevard Uncommon Objects
TIPS FOR THRIFTING
Go often. “New things come in every single day… If you go often, you’re bound to score.”
Bring a tape measure, hands-free bag and hand sanitizer. “Definitely have measurements of the space you need to fill and what you’re looking for.”
Do your research. “One of the ways to tell the difference between a replica and something that is actually old and antique is the signage on the bottom…It’s important to look at labeling and that really can give you an idea if something really is old or not. If it’s been made to look old, you can see brush strokes on it and that’s a good way to tell if someone brushed on old-looking paint versus actually having weather and wear and all that.”
But, at the end of the day, if you love something, she says buy it, regardless of its lack of antiquity.