Ashley La Barrie: Thoughts on Designing with a Sense of Wonder and Intention
06/03/2019 | Sara McLean |
Hidden among the trees in a residential enclave of Glendale, Calif., sets a blush-toned Mediterranean compound consisting of two residences and a studio above the garage. Ashley La Barrie, co-founder and director of operations for Dimepiece LA, resides in one of the buildings, which she recently renovated. Decorated with a mix of the exotic with Art Deco elements; infused with a color palette of black and white with a shot of deep green; and polished with artwork and a mural painted by her boyfriend, artist James Haunt, the home is a testament to her design aesthetic.
Living Room. DET608 Moss Cottage. Artwork by James Haunt
La Barrie is transitioning from fashion design to interior design, testing her skills on this recent renovation. Armed with years of design expertise in the fashion design field by creating a highly successful clothing company in the tough Los Angeles market, she is continuing to display her design expertise with this residential project.
dining room. DEA002 Black
Dunn-Edwards partnered with La Barrie on this project, showcasing the use of 2020 trends colors from “The Silk Road,” to see how she was able to weave the trends story into her design. We recently sat down with
her to get an in-depth look into her design background, the residential project and to find out what’s next.
Please describe your company Dimepiece LA — your start in fashion design and the company highlights over time:
Dimepiece LA is a lifestyle clothing brand that is rooted in encouragement among women, rather than competition. It's grounded in charismatic, uninhibited statement apparel that has always had the goal to reassure young women to own their power and think differently. I co-founded the brand at 21, and started with a couple of T-shirts printed at a promotional sports tee shop and uploaded them to (ready?) Myspace. The next 12 years was an exhilarating ride of tremendous growth, in business and personally. What was once an office in a spare bedroom while finishing college became a global style source for so many young women.
My top highlights over the years have been all the celebrities and influencers wearing Dimepiece without us ever using a PR or marketing firm, ever. My favorite being Rihanna wearing Dimepiece and voted Vogue's best trends. My ultimate favorite was seeing Dimepiece on Missy Elliot next to Michelle Obama at an International Women's Conference. I really felt like the message of Dimepiece and what I worked so hard for through the years was understood in that moment.
Another highlight that always brings a smile to my face is when we created a campaign called "Dimepiece State of Mind" and photographed 87-year-old Baddie Winkle (on Instagram @baddiewinkle) in our bathing suit
showing her fearless confidence. We put the images on a billboard at the entrance of the Coachella Music Festival, where half a million people were able to see mind over matter, embodied.
Please describe your transition into interior design and why you decided to make the leap:
I've had a love for interiors since I can remember, I would theme out my rooms as a kid with whatever I could find and a can of spray paint. Throughout the years of Dimepiece, I found myself taking the lead on designing the aesthetic of our pop-up shops, our Downtown L.A. retail store and our offices — and I began to really enjoy the process, which led me to meticulously designing my apartments.
It wasn't until I decided to take a 30-day health and wellness break from a 12-year-long undertaking of the brand that I realized something in great perspective. Interiors had been a love that has lasted throughout time for me, my entire life really. I was just always too “busy” with my business to cultivate and nurture it. I began on this journey of aligning my personality to serve my soul and I feel that alignment in the creativity of interiors. So, some self-reflection and a little clarity prompted me to take the leap I would say.
Please describe your design aesthetic:
I really feel like we are always evolving so I don't have an invariable aesthetic. I've went from Mid-century industrial in my last home to Cuban Colonial. Currently though, I love what I would call vacation regency — or dark exotic. I love a home that ignites wonder, delicately bold, and brings elements of nature inside, while bringing a sense of calm clarity in the space. One recurring aesthetic I do always follow however is sensory integration. These are things that stimulate the senses.
There's something called the vestibular sense, which is how your body literally feels in the physical, like its place in its environment. So I always try to stimulate that sense, intentionally altering the way the body feels in the space to create mood (e.g., lighting that dims, chairs that swing, laying on a bed (outside), the aroma of
herbs, weighted blankets, cold cement mixed with warm grass on your feet. It all takes you into the body, the environment around you and momentarily out of the mind's busy thoughts.
Please describe your design trends partnership with Dunn-Edwards and the outcome:
I really believe that the home has a heartbeat. The way it's designed affects the way it feels, which in turn influences the way we feel in it. So I was really focused on the Dunn-Edwards colors I chose with
calmness and soothing in mind. I designed my new home with the intention to use a lot of green, specifically Moss Cottage (DET608) by Dunn-Edwards. The tone of it has a calming effect. I used this specifically because, before moving in, I was highly stressed and going through lots of transitions. Green, especially darker-toned greens like Moss Cottage relieve stress and make the room feel calm, quiet and at home.
I also love the matte Black (DEA002) I used in the dining and bedroom. At first, I was hesitant to paint a stark white dining wall matte black but, when I took the plunge, it elevated the space immediately and brought a whole new vibe. I'm honestly so happy with all the colors and the outcome, just a couple coats of paint can transform a space so much.
What’s next for you in the world of design?
I plan to dive in and see where the tide takes me.
To learn more about Ashley La Barrie, visit and Dimepiece LA, visit AshleyLaBarrie.com; @AshleyLaBarrie; dimepiecela.com/ and @dimepiecela. To learn more about James Haunt and his mural and artwork, visit jameshaunt.com.
All photography by and with courtesy of Bethany Nauert Photography.