Ariel Ashe

Ariel Ashe

Design is a big part of ONDA's origin story: our co-founder Larissa used to travel to Tulum, Mexico yearly and loved the vibe there so much that she wanted to replicate it in her stores. When you take on a design project, do your clients often have a similar story? That they want to draw inspiration from a specific place/trip/memory for their project? 

I love using places and travel as a design reference. Often times people don’t have a clear idea of what they want, so I will have to come up with my own design story and direction. Obviously the architecture and location of the project are heavy influencers as well, and we try not to stray too far from there. Sometimes I’ll ask people if they have a favorite hotel—I can learn a lot about a person with that answer. 


How, other than the aforementioned inspiration, do you collaborate with a client on a project? Mood boards? Weekly meetings? Visits to places with an aesthetic that they want to emulate? 

We present clients with digital renderings and presentations that include furniture pieces and layouts. Generally it all starts with a few reference images.

An important ethos at ONDA is one of living in a holistic way. So we value things like sustainability and carbon neutrality, etc.


Is that something you think about in your work? If so, in what ways do you/can you weave that in to design?

There’s a ton of waste in my industry—the best thing to do is buy vintage/antique and local, I think. I’m definitely not an expert, but we try to look for Greenguard certified. I’m really interested in the Passive House movement. They’re working to reduce energy consumption of buildings by 85% by utilizing insulation and ventilation and doing away with major HVAC systems. It’s sooo cool.


Related to the above: do you ever purchase second hand items for your projects? I assume it's something you'd need a client's approval for, or something they'd specifically ask for?

Yes we purchase a ton of antiques and vintage items. I’ve been known to troll local thrift stores for accessories at the end of a project as well.


What do you see as the future of sustainability in your field? 

I really hope that the standard for building continues in a greener direction. It’s a terrible feeling gutting an apartment and sending kitchens and bathrooms to a landfill. We try to donate whenever we can—I love Renovation Angel.


What keeps you excited and engaged about your work? As an outsider, it sounds like the coolest job. But like any other, it must have its less-than-glamorous side...

Scheming a new project, without any restrictions from a client is the best. So I’d say the first pass at a presentation/design for a space is the most exciting. Sometimes clients add things I hadn’t thought about, and enhance a project. That’s great. I love working with my team to figure out furniture plans and the overall direction we want a project to take.


For someone who's dipping a toe in the home design waters, where would you suggest they start? It seems so overwhelming to furnish and design a home if one doesn't have a natural knack for it!

There is so much good inspiration on Instagram and Pinterest. And then of course back issues of magazines like World of Interiors or Architectural Digest.


Can you share a few of your favorite design publications/blogs/social accounts? 

@marine_edith_crosta, @m.a.r.c.c.o.s.t.a, @galerie_54, @tract_f, and last but not least @ashe_leandro.


What is your favorite project to date? Why?

I can’t answer that ;)

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