Though AGID is based in Montgomery, AL, the AGID team works in an outward circle – from Rosemary Beach to Louisiana, up to Nashville and over to Atlanta. We had the chance to connect with Gilbreath while she’s putting the final touches on her space at the Southeastern Designer Showhouse in Atlanta.
Collected and Casual
Mixing old and new, matching gathered with custom – Gilbreath expertly pairs jute and rattan elements with striking antique pieces in the bed and bath she’s designing at the showhouse. “We are designing for all of life’s little moments. It’s not just about spaces that look beautiful, but to design rooms that you can actually live in. We look for elements that can survive stains,” notes Gilbreath. In this particular space, she’s incorporated a rug that does just that. “Spill your wine on it, see what happens – it will be okay!” Even in a showhouse environment, where designers can think show ultimate creativity, sans client needs, Gilbreath keeps the livability of the space in mind.
This is exactly what captured our attention in Gilbreath’s collected, casual designs. Each space feels timeless and classic, but not in a stuffy, museum house style. The rooms are warm, welcoming spaces that can be both chic and cozy, poised and practical. The key to creating spaces versatile enough for your morning coffee moment with your kids and an evening hosting a dinner party? For Gilbreath, it’s performance fabrics.
“Working with performance fabrics is key for creating spaces we can really live in. I love working with clients to find a great look – being able to use functional fabrics while still capturing the design style they want,” she says. “My goal is to always create timeless, enjoyable living spaces. That means not having a hard time writing a check for a new piece of furniture that they’ll have to replace in 3 months — just because chocolate-covered hands touched it!”
Choosing worry-free fabrics for AGID clients is always the table stake when kids are in the home, but that’s not the only reason the team chooses performance fabrics for clients. For the client with a bachelor pad made for entertaining, you can count on guys kicking up their feet with their shoes on. For this lifestyle, Gilbreath chooses to cover an ottoman with Sunbrella performance fabrics. For the home of grandparents, Gilbreath’s intent is to limit the number of times “be careful on the sofa” has to be said to grandchildren. And sometimes (admittedly, usually when kids are present), a sweet breakfast in bed turns into a sweet breakfast on the bed. Why not make these moments worry-free? From city lofts to farmhouses, you are sure to spot a performance fabric or two in AGID projects, as they so effortlessly allow a chic space to have an easy, livable vibe.
“We’re always recommending Sunbrella performance fabrics to our clients,” says Gilbreath. “The way we see it, you can either pop a slipcover on your brand-new piece of furniture, or you can start with Sunbrella and you don’t have to worry about it. Go ahead and prop your feet on that new ottoman or spill your morning coffee on your sofa. It’s Sunbrella! Wipe it down and it’s done, no need to try to get the covers off to wash it.”
One of the most common spaces in which the AGID team utilizes Sunbrella fabrics is the laid-back beach house. The firm has a number of clients along Route 30A, crossing from Alabama into Florida’s panhandle. Creating everyday ease in beach homes means that classic coastal furnishings need to withstand any number of daily fabric challenges, from sandy toes, to suntan lotion, to the sticky drippings of bright-colored summer treats (think watermelons, berries, and popsicles). “For beach houses, we’re using Sunbrella for living spaces, counter stools, dining chairs – clients want to know that they get the extra sense of ‘it’s going to be okay if’… and Sunbrella gives that ease of lifestyle.”
Form and function
The AGID team often chooses outdoor fabrics for indoor projects due to their durability. “With Sunbrella fabrics, you don’t lose the hand, the comfort, the style,” she notes. The texture of the fabrics also brings a unique depth to the casual spaces Gilbreath designs. Sunbrella textures soften the palette, which is key for the neutral palettes of AGID projects. “When you are getting dressed for a ball, you don’t go dripping in diamonds, do you? It’s not just one statement element that should steal the show, it’s about creating understated interest. We love the big patterns, but simple solids with a good texture speak just as loud, and you can add other details and patterns with it. That’s why we love the texture.”
In addition to incorporating performance fabrics in client projects, Gilbreath is keenly aware of the importance of the versatile fabrics in her own home. Having three children herself, she is intentional in choosing furnishings that can withstand whatever spills or mishaps come their way. “My mind goes to multi-level functionality – I really like red wine and coffee, but I also have three little people eating in my bed. With Sunbrella, we get to enjoy those moments, and enjoy living in our spaces,” she says.
Gilbreath’s approach to everyday ease and functionality of spaces, as well as her talent for creating approachable, casual elegance, is refreshing in an industry saturated with show spaces. “We get to live this little life one time. What we surround ourselves with are just things — we don’t get to take them with us. If we can make our lifestyle more enjoyable, why not? We’re in the south, we’re here to be hospitable, to serve our precious clients, and show them they can have it all. You can have a great look and you can live in it — and it will last.”
To learn more about Ashley Gilbreath and the AGID firm, visit https://www.ashleygilbreath.com/ and for more inspired design from Sunbrella, follow along on our social channels: