5 Questions with Ashley Gilbreath

Known for her casual elegant design style, Ashley Gilbreath shares how to create functional and comfortable outdoor living spaces.  

6 Minute Read


We are based in Montgomery, Alabama, and have projects all over the Southeast. We specialize in full home renovations and ground up construction, and we like to touch every space in the house, including the outdoor living spaces, which are especially important in the South. Our first book, The Joy of Home, published this month!

What are ways you like to create or define separate spaces within an outdoor area?

There are so many ways to define different outdoor living spaces and it totally depends on the layout, but a few of my favorites are outdoor drapery as an easy room divider, planters, and a console table behind a sofa is a great way to introduce the living space behind the sofa. Architectural elements are another great way to define space. For instance, a fireplace helps create a focal point or columns are a beautiful way to transition from one space to the next.

What outdoor amenities do you like to incorporate to make outdoor living spaces functional year-round?

An outdoor heater is a must on my list! I’ve even designed a space with exterior air conditioning. A throw draped on chairs for easy access, not only adds texture, but is fun to wrap up in and get cozy in front of a firepit or outdoor fireplace in the cooler months. Countertop space or a bar cart for refreshments and an ice bucket is always nice in the summer! And a TV outside for watching football in the crisp fall air, of course.

What are your favorite ways to incorporate tile outside?

Using tile to create a unique outdoor kitchen backsplash creates a nice focal point. I also love using beautiful pool tile and waterline tile to set the tone of the outdoor living space and connect the outdoor scheme to the inside. For a fireplace surround or an outdoor pool bath, overall tile provides much more flexibility with texture, tone, and shape!

How do you make an outdoor space feel like it’s part of the rest of the home?

An easy egress between the two spaces is critical, and I draw from the same color palette and style so one space is a natural continuation of the other. Finally, it’s important to remember that comfort and functionality should not be ignored when designing outdoor spaces.

April 15, 2023

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