One To Watch: Ashley Goforth Designs



A few weeks ago, I wrote a story called Three Beauties in West University:  Large, Medium, Small HERE – about three houses with very different price points and sizes.  The smallest was an original bungalow and according to the comments, a lot of you really loved its interiors.   At the time I imagined the homeowner was an interior decorator, but actually Ashley Goforth was the one who designed its fresh interiors.    Ashley is from Houston and after graduating from the University of Texas, she started working for Renea Abbott who owns Shabby Slips HERE.   Renea is one of the better designers in Houston and I would imagine working for her is worth 100 times more than a college degree in design.  It was at Shabby Slips where I first met Ashley – going in and out the store.   She stayed there for six years and in 2005 branched out on her own with Ashley Goforth Design.     Sine then she has really been busy designing houses in and out of Houston.   Looking over her portfolio, I was amazed at how much work she has done – and all of it is so great looking!     She has a very distinct and elegant look, working mostly in soothing colors without much pattern except in curtains or pillows.    It’s a streamlined, eclectic and timeless look with contemporary pieces mixed in with antiques.   Ashley was kind enough to share some beautiful photographs of her latest work.   So, enjoy – I know I did!!!



 image The original bungalow shown a few weeks ago, designed by Ashley Goforth.  The owner emailed me to say that Ashley is working with her on her new house in West U.  Hopefully, we’ll get to see the finished project!


RICE BOULEVARD:image These high res professional pictures look so much better than the small pictures on the real estate site.  Stephen Gutierrez took these photographs and can be contacted at:   Ashley’s work is often very symmetrical.  Often there is a linear component:   Here, notice how the coffee table’s cross bar is repeated in the end tables.   As usual, the only pattern comes from the pillows, which are always perfectly plump and properly sized.  




image Ashley likes to mix the contemporary with the old:  new end and coffee table sit next to antique chairs and chest. 



image I love the surprise of the contemporary stainless lamp mixed with the antique gilt mirror.   


image She uses a lot of textured blinds and rugs, along with very tailored slipcovers. 




image All of Ashley’s bedrooms are beautiful.  Here, I love the dark walls mixed with the white bedding and white lamps.  The dark velvet pillows are perfect against all the white. 





 SOUTH BOULEVARD:image This next project is located on South Blvd. in a much larger house.   Here, Ashley uses mostly antiques for an entry way vignette.



image All white upholstery is used in the living room, along with a classic coffee table.   When not using seagrass,  Ashley uses muted area rugs instead.   Usually she mixes curtains with textured shades as seen here. 



image Another view of the living room on South Blvd. 



image I absolutely LOVE this dining room!  The chairs are so  beautiful and I really like the art work, the chandelier and the curtains with their subtle damask pattern.   So pretty!!!




The study is wonderful with a Belgian styled table, cow skin rug, and trendy patterned curtains.    The choice of colors is wonderful – the dark black/brown on the walls with the touch of blue against the black and white.  





image  More up to date choices:  again, the table has the light washed look, the antique buffet is painted a color that picks up the floor tiles, but the curtain fabric makes the room.   The dark linen is so unexpected but that is exactly why it works.    Love how it all ties together with the dark chandelier and chairs.  




The kitchen is black granite and white subway tiles, while the pendant lights and stove hood set it apart. 




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          qwimage The sitting room is all taupes and aquas.   Again, the upholstery is solid, with pattern found just on the pillows and ottoman – allowing for easy design changes years down the road.    Ashley choices of graphic pattern fabrics add youthfulness and freshness.  



image The master bedroom:  Ashley’s bedrooms are always just the prettiest.  She typically employs the unmade duvet look with no patterned fabrics except for a few pillows.  Here, the lamps and nightstands are contemporary.  The chandelier is gorgeous.   So beautiful. 





This house in New Braunfels, Texas is on the river and the interiors are more casual.   There are slipcovers in linen, pine furniture, and warmer colors, along with a subtle area rug.     Rose Tarlow prints on the sofa pillows.  



image Close up of the fireplace and shelves.   Ashley’s pillows are always so perfect, the size and the down stuffing.  I assume she learned that at Shabby Slips.   Their pillows are also exquisite! 





It’s hard to see in the pictures, but the curtain headers and trim are darker which gives it just a hint of definition.  I like how she mixed two fabrics on the chair slips here.   Notice the blue pillows in the host chairs.   The light fixture is fabulous.  I really love this room too!



image The book filled library.  Love the pillows.   Again, Ashley usually layers two patterned with two velvet pillows. 




Master bedroom:   love the patterned rug, the curtains, and the bedding.   Does she ever make a mistake????  I haven’t found one yet!  Seriously, she really is a great interior decorator. 



Guest room balances masculine and feminine sides.   The zebra adds the perfect touch. 





At this house on Reba St. in River Oaks, the family room was designed by Ashley.   Details  are:  tailored slipcover, graphic patterned pillows, zebra, and the one lone horn on the mantel that becomes sculpture. 



image Vignette from the living room on Reba.  




Perfection:   breakfast room with built in booth.  The graphic gray and white fabric picks up the color in the slate floor.   The wood table adds another color matched by the shades.   The framed art work is by the owner’s children.    The round pendant is the perfect shape to counteract all the squares.     




Another beautiful master bedroom.  Here she added an oriental bench to the end of the bed.  Luscious curtains, as always.   Two patterned pillows.  




This sitting area is right across from the master bed.   The slipcovers are always tailored to perfection, something she probably learned from Renea Abbott.   Notice her pillows – how plump they are!  How great their size is!!  Just wonderful.   



image  A vignette from the master bedroom.   Mixing the classic with the contemporary. 




image The master bathroom has white marble and wonderful sconces inset into the mirror.     





These interiors are located in a high rise in San Antonia, Texas.   The large living room is divided into two seating arrangements.   Here, dressy gilt antique chairs are juxtaposed next to a contemporary sofa.   The pillows, damask and velvet, bring the color gray into the room.   According to Ashley, the client asked for a gray and white palette and didn’t want anything brown, including wood furniture.  She also didn’t want anything to wrinkle, so there were no slipcovers (though Ashley’s slips really are not the wrinkled type!)  



image The other side of the living room – Ashley’s interiors are often very symmetrical and balanced.   Here, the TV is balanced by large gilt framed prints and a mirror console.   The gray is continued in the sofa’s fabric.   The contemporary coffee table is balanced by the antique chairs.




image Close up showing the wonderful downed filled cushion on the chair.  I love how the graphic patterned pillow plays off the shutters.  




image The dining room is an elegant space, with French chairs and silk skirted table.   The gold chandelier picks up the gilt in the chairs and art work in the adjacent living room.    I still love a skirted table, especially in a dining room.  It softens a room where there are so many hard edged chairs around. 



image The breakfast room.   Grays in the KWID pillows and paint play off all the whites.    Wonderful chairs.  



image The guest room.  LOVE the touch of Yves Klein blue here!!!!  Perfect against the dark brown walls.    And I love the touches of leopard.   Notice how she brings in the classic, soft lined, French chair mixed with all the contemporary furniture with hard edges.  The deer head add just the right touch.  Beautifully executed room, IMHO.    





image The family room is dominated by the armoire balanced by a large contemporary coffee table.     Large antique chairs are covered in a muted Rose Tarlow fabric.   The cinnamon colored pillows pick up the colors of the rug.   As usual, wonderful curtains.    Beautiful room. 




Large contemporary art work dominates the room.   The glass chandelier is just perfect against the dark wood table.  



image A vignette, balancing the antique with the contemporary.  Ashley’s lamps are always either simple glass cylinders or colorful ceramic vases.   This chest is gorgeous. 

image A pair of gilded antique chairs play against the contemporary sofa and coffee table.  Subtle patterned area rug.  Again, pillows bring in the pattern.  




Closeup of Ashley’s accessorizing – always elegant and sparse, never cluttered. 



image In the adjacent closed in porch area, a large oriental screen covers the back walls.  Beautifully styled desk. 




 image OK.   Absolutely gorgeous powder room.  White marble against black damask wallpaper.  Stunning.   Just stunning. 


image Beautifully designed kitchen with large island, black and white countertops, and wonderful wall of windows.   The textured shades warm up the decor as do the counter stools.  Love the symmetrically placed topiaries. 



I LOVE the headboard – it’s so thin, not tufted, no nailheads, just elegant.  Notice the feet on the bed, so gracefully carved.   Beautiful.   Love the blue blush color.   The rug is so gorgeous too.   Love the pillows, the lamps, everything!


 image Close up of the beautiful table and headboard.




Master bathroom is to die for:  the shower!!!!!!!   Whoa.  That tub.   Love the dark cabinets with white marble countertops.   Love the French doors opening to the bathroom.  I would want to look into the bathroom from the bedroom too!!  And notice the Fortuny light fixture.   Renea Abbott’s husband sells those fixtures at his store Creative Flooring. 




And finally, the guest room.  Grays and whites with hints of browns.   Again, so pretty.   I have yet to find anything that Ashley designed that wasn’t pretty!!!    She is truly talented, she is young and has a long and successful future ahead of her.   



Mrs. Goforth, hard at work!


I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at these elegant designs by Ashley Goforth.  There are a lot more pictures on her web site, so be sure to visit it HERE.    The pictures were taken by Stephen Gutierrez – email him here:

A huge, special thank you to Ashley for sharing all these photographs.  Thank you a million times!!!!





image Bobby McAlpine’s house, design inspired by Edwin Lutyens.  1


AND  just a reminder,   Bobby McAlpine is on this week’s Skirted Roundtable, HERE.   Listen.      He’s fabulous.                                                               

The Gray Door Expands






When Donna Temple Brown first opened The Gray Door – the name was particularly fitting.  Chosen as a play on words, the name both alerted clients of Donna’s love of painted antiques and helped clients remember its location on West Gray Boulevard.   After more than  a decade on West Gray, Donna recently moved to West Alabama, an exciting and busy shopping destination.    They say that competition brings in customers and West Alabama is teeming with both decor and antique shops, perfect for attracting more shoppers.     Now on West Alabama, the name The Gray Door connotes a shop full of mystery and riches that lay beyond the front gate.    How true it is.  

The new shop, located inside a mid century designed building, is large and filled to capacity with French, English, Swedish, Belgian and Italian antiques hand picked by Donna on trips to  Europe.   There is a large amount of the gray painted pieces, along with the beautiful fruitwood finishes associated with French antiques.   All the furniture is freshly recovered in a creamy muslin or linen – creating a sea of bright and light in the showroom.   Donna runs a welcoming business.   She is friendly and warm, and most important in this business, honest.    She and her long time business partner, Linda Gale White, have a wonderful eye for finding exactly the antique that is desired for this moment.   Now settled into West Alabama, Donna deliberated on how to make it better, if at all possible.  Fate stepped in and recently she invited two new dealers to share the space.   As usual her choices couldn’t be more right.




Houstonians who visit the Round Top Antique Fair will be very familiar with the two who now share space at The Gray Door:   A. Tyner Antiques from Atlanta and Roussett Antiques and Textiles from Austin via New Orleans.   Both are antiquarians of note.   Alice Tyner who owns A. Tyner specializes in Swedish antiques and her merchandise fits in perfectly with The Gray Door.   All the painted gray and white finishes, the sexy and curvy lines of the Mora clocks, the chests, the desks, the settees of Swedish antiques visually blends with The Gray Door’s Louis XV and XVI furniture. 

Kathy Alexander who owns Roussett Antiques and Textiles closed her popular New Orleans shop after Hurricane Katrina and settled in Austin, opening up a store there on Burnet at The Courtyard Shops.    An expert on antique textiles, her antiques are mostly fine French and Italian.  Scattered throughout The Gray Door, her regal merchandise add a certain class. 




With both Roussett and A.Tyner now in Houston, a trip to Round Top may no longer be needed.  I know I used to go to see the Swedish antiques that A. Tyner brought because we don’t have a dealer in Houston with such extensive Swedish inventory – until now, that is.   Donna couldn’t have made two better choices to join her on West Alabama than Roussett and A. Tyner.    If you haven’t visited  The Gray Door lately – be sure to stop by.     All three, The Gray Door, A. Tyner and Roussett are also on 1st Dibs


The Gray Door:    3465a W Alabama @ Marquart.  Contact @ 713-521-9085



The main showroom at The Gray Door.   All the furniture is newly recovered in creamy linens and muslin – creating a soothing and cohesive atmosphere.




The Swedish corner cabinet is one of two.   The Swedish settee is period Rococo – one of the finer pieces from A. Tyner.




Swedish cabinet and day bed – to die for!





 image Painted Swedish chairs mix well with French antiques.   I fell in love with this vignette.  The table has a beautiful patina.



image Roussett Antiques and Textiles specializes in 16th and 17th century tapestries.   Roussett also has a fine collection of vintage Fortuny fabrics.





The Italian chandelier over this pair of demi lunes is huge and gorgeous!  Perfect for a two story entry hall or large dining room.





Donna says she would put this console in a kitchen.     Pictures of Donna’s own beautiful townhouse follow.



image This pair of lanterns caught my eye, as did the chairs and ottoman. 




I love the santos mixed with the rustic garden table and dressy Swedish chairs.





There are beautiful pillows made of antique fabrics from Roussett scattered about.  As always, I love using a high end table as a tea table since there are no true antique coffee tables.  




image Great mirror and beautiful chairs left uncovered – their insides somehow are prettier without new upholstery. 



 image A. Tyner has a huge selection Mora clocks.  If you don’t see what you want, just ask, there’s more.



 image Centuries old set of vellum books.   Whoa. 




Old doors with beautiful hardware were made into two matching cabinets. 




The curves of this sofa are so appealing.  If I could take just one piece home…….



image More great cabinets – these are filled with a line of new basket accessories that The Gray Door carries. 



This cabinet is painted gray and is shallow – good for tight spots.   The French chairs are upholstered in old tapestry.




Roussett has a great selection of Fortuny covered shades.    The table is one of a pair.




image Beautiful hardware makes this piece exquisite. 




image               Great breakfast table or coffee table.  The settee has wonderful lines. 



One of three showrooms that make up The Gray Door. 




 image Another beautiful Italian chandelier.  



image This Spanish styled table is covered in fabric with large nail heads!!!   What a wonderful game table. 




These chairs are stunning.   So is the table. 





And lastly, there is a good selection of painted headboards. 






It’s obvious from The Gray Door, that Donna Brown has impeccable taste and it is no surprise that her townhouse has been featured in several magazines and books.  Donna has filled her house with antiques from the store – I’m not sure there is even one new piece of furniture anywhere!   The house is bright and airy and although very sophisticated, it is warm and inviting.  It’s one of those houses that when you leave you wish you could bomb your own house and start over.   Trust me on that, I’ve been there.     Here, from Veranda is her front courtyard that you walk through to get to the front door.  I love how she used antique and vintage furniture outside – so much more interesting than store bought sets.  



image Walking into the front door is a staircase on the left and the living room/dining room on the right.  A large collection of Chinese export plates are displayed on the wall.  



image To screen off her staircase, Donna hung a piece a fabric that is semi transparent.  Such a great idea to copy!!!



image Her living room and dining room have traded spaces (although Donna told me she recently changed it back again!)    I love the old, rustic shutters instead of the regular built in shelves found in townhouses.    Gorgeous dining room chairs surround a skirted table.  And her chandeliers here and in the living area are drop dead gorgeous.



image Another view of the dining room – with sconces added in this picture. 



 image The dining room looking out towards the front courtyard.  She slipcovered the wood bench.   Every piece of furniture, table, lamp – is so wonderful! 


 imageThe living room – love, love, love!!!  I love the French tea table, the iron side table, the gorgeous tapestry, the lamps, the chandelier – I love Donna’s taste.  Period.




Her famous kitchen.   She completely torn out the brand new kitchen that came with the townhouse.  The cabinets are stored in her garage, ready to be replaced when she sells.   This is an earlier picture – she now has a skirt attached to the console next to the stove.



donnabrownA view of the sitting room off the kitchen.   Beautiful!!!  I love the wine tasting table, the stool, the painting above the chest – everything! 




Another updated view of her kitchen and sitting room.



 imageBeautiful sitting area in the guest room.  I love all her little iron tables throughout.  




imageThe master bedroom – that giant hydrangea is gorgeous.



image Swedish bookcase and French chaise and chair.




image The charming guest room with French headboards. 



To visit The Gray Door – 3465a W Alabama St. @ Marquart.  To call:  713-521-9085

Web sites: 

The Gray Door HERE.

Roussett Antiques and Textiles HERE.

A. Tyner Antiques HERE.



AND:  in other news:

My daughter’s recently remodeled bedroom – featured on the blog Color Outside The Lines.


Artie, who writes the blog Color Outside The Lines about his house and life near Niagara Falls, NY,  has written a long blog story about ME!   Artie is so sweet and talented.    Sometimes I just click onto his blog to listen to his music playing.   Please click over HERE to read the story and see pictures from my portfolio.  Thanks for everything Artie – you’re the BEST EVER!!!!!!


AND the new Skirted Roundtable featuring architect Bobby McAlpine is now up.  Go listen, bring your brain along with you.  You’ll need it.   HERE.