Sophie featured ‘at home’ for The Resident Magazine
Words by Jacky Parker:
STATE OF THE ART
In just two short years interior designer, Sophie Ashby of Studio Ashby has surpassed even her own expectations. With a design studio on Kensal Road, a team of five and prestigious projects, which have included a rambling country house in Somerset for actress, Gabriella Wilde, a show home in Southbank Tower (formerly IPC Media HQ) and super-cool diner and takeaway, Patty & Bun, already notched up this young designer is off to a winning start. ‘Our projects have all been word of mouth and so the company has grown organically,’ says Sophie. ‘It’s been so exciting to work on projects where I’m able to do what I want to do design-wise.‘
A lover of art from an early age with a nomadic family, Sophie has soaked up a huge amount of influences, which she has distilled into her own sophisticated and eclectic look. As a child growing up in South Africa, Sophie moved with her family from the vibrant city of Cape Town to the scenic valleys of Stellenbosch, where her mother was tasked with turning around a failing winery. ‘My mum is a doer,’ explains Sophie. ‘She’s had about ten careers, including fashion- buying and selling jewellery. She has always had a studio where she’s made art and at 50 she went back to university to study sculpture.’
A move to London ensued, as Sophie’s parents thought it would offer the family a better life, but her mother found it hard to settle in the capital and so they upped sticks to Totnes in Devon, a town known for its alternative culture. ‘We’d lived on the side of a mountain and we all found it hard to adjust to city life, says Sophie. ‘Totnes is a bohemian, hippy town with so many interesting characters, I really enjoyed living there.‘ Sophie’s interest in art continued to grow and having won an art scholarship to the sixth form of Millfield, the independent school she had been attending, she went on to gain a BA in History of Art (Hons) at Leeds University. ‘I practically lived in the art department at school,’ she says. ‘My other subjects probably suffered because of it, but I was obsessed with art.’ Now also a Young Patron of the Royal Academy of Arts, it was an obsession that has served her well.
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