By Domino Staff

Published on March 9, 2016

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Photography by AMY NEUNSINGER

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.

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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

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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. 

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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.” 

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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

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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

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The studio, a former greenhouse, is just steps away from her cottage and acts as her painting and design space.

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Ashwell in the studio with some of her favorite things.

RUG Souk by West Elm 

Go Lightly

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.” 

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Cool inspiration

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Ceramist Helen Nishimura.

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Photography by AMY NEUNSINGER

The design process for Ashwell’s collections can start with an inspiration image or a single, moody hue.

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Photography by AMY NEUNSINGER

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