photographs by AMY NEUNSINGER
text by ESTHER ADAMS ACHARA
interior design by LILY ASHWELL
Designer Lily Ashwell’s first home—a studied balance of vintage and modern in Venice Beach—reflects the beauty of her effortless, pared-down style.
The reclaimed 1920s Moroccan tiles that decorate the kitchen floor add color to the room’s soothing palette.
SCREEN Moroccan, shabbychic.com TILES reclaimed vintage, lantiquario.com SIDE CHAIR Bauhaus$229 restorationhardware.com
Many pieces languish like old photographs, telling stories of family trips to flea markets, like the faded blue table in Ashwell’s painting studio (a former greenhouse), which was swiped from Round Top in Texas.
Suspended above Ashwell’s bed is a beaded antique Moroccan lantern.
BED D Stria by West Elm BLANKET Palomita hand-loomed $338 lilyashwell.com SIDE TABLE custom, shabbychic.com LAMP vintage, found on Portobello Road in London CURTAIN lace, lilyashwell.com
Home, Sweet Home
Without a laptop or smartphone in view, Lily Ashwell, daughter of painter David Ashwell and designer Rachel Ashwell, has shaped an enviable, modern bohemian oasis out of a 1920s Craftsman-style cottage, which feels worlds away from her former residences in London and New York. “These lovely cottages are what’s most charming about Venice,” says the shop owner and fashion designer, explaining the instant attraction she had to her place nearly four years ago. “I didn’t want anything overly renovated; this one still had the original moldings and charm.”
Ashwell’s enviable wardrobe is the backbone of her self-titled, vintage-inspired clothing line, which she sells at her neighborhood store.
“I ONLY BRING PIECES INTO MY HOME THAT I WANT TO HAVE FOREVER.”—Lily Ashwell
The backyard’s sectional is Ashwell’s favorite spot to catch up with friends. Here, ceramist Helen Nishimura and friend Madelyn Joyce kick back in the late afternoon.
COUCHES, COFFEE TABLE, DINING TABLE, CHAIRS custom,oasisimports.com
The studio, a former greenhouse, is just steps away from her cottage and acts as her painting and design space.
Ashwell in the studio with some of her favorite things.
RUG Souk by West Elm
While Dutch doors and kitchen cabinetry have stayed intact, Ashwell set about adding idiosyncratic accents that pay tribute to her wanderlust. Her mother’s pretty trademarks at Shabby Chic are dotted throughout (a pale-blue linen sofa, and muted garden roses contained in earthy, ceramic vases, for instance), but modern touches, from window frames painted Caribbean turquoise to architectural desert plants framing the cottage’s entrance, point to a more contemporary sensibility. The house, with its oversized sectional sofa in the backyard and sparse but well-considered interior treasures, certainly makes for an inspiring backdrop to an effortlessly cool existence. As Ashwell puts it, “I only bring beautiful pieces into my home that I want to have forever. I don’t want to contribute to the waste in the world. Emotionally and morally, it feels better to be lighter.”
Ceramist Helen Nishimura.
The design process for Ashwell’s collections can start with an inspiration image or a single, moody hue.
LILY ASHWELL’S VENICE
GJUSTA I walk from my shop for a cortado and the most perfect breakfast sandwich here. I’m proud to say that I made the Japanese workwear-inspired jackets for the servers. gjusta.com
VENICE BEACH WINES
This is my local wine bar on Rose Avenue. I usually head over after work with my boyfriend for a glass of rosé on the cozy, candlelit patio.venicebeachwines.com
MERCHANT MODERN A beautifully curated antique shop specializing in midcentury furniture, home goods, and Moroccan rugs. It’s such an inspiring space, and it’s co-owned by my lovely friend Denise Portsman. merchantmodern.comMOON JUICE I get my daily green juice from here. It’s another Rose Avenue favorite and serves juices, snacks, and potions made from the freshest local ingredients.moonjuiceshop.com
MYSTIC JOURNEY BOOKSTORE This shop feeds my ever-growing New Age interests in crystals, astrology, tarot, and healers. I sometimes spend hours alone in this shop exploring.mysticjourneybookstore.com
SCOPA ITALIAN ROOTS This is the best dinner spot for great food and pure ambience. I go with my girlfriends for oysters and champagne, and sometimes for their incredible Italian hero. scopaitalianroots.com