By Hollie Deese

When Ashley Middlebrooks moved to Nashville four years ago, it was a coming home for the native who had lived in Knoxville for 16 years after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a degree in psychology before moving to High Point, North Carolina, with her husband for his job. And it was there, at the mecca of interiors and furniture, where she really began to embrace her love of design.

“I was in marketing for a very long time and I owned my own web design company, so I’ve always had an eye for color and for design and lines,” she says.

She was hired to be a designer at Furniture Land South, the world’s largest furniture store with 1.3 million square-feet of showroom and design center. Overwhelming for many, it was incredible to Middlebrooks.

“I would walk probably nine miles on a Saturday afternoon with clients all over the showroom,” she says. “I repped for over 1,300 manufacturers and got to go to market on a regular basis and just learned every single aspect of the design business I could.”

That included going to tanneries to see how they tan hides and make leather furniture or touring the Sunbrella factory.

“And every week, on a Monday, one manufacturer that we rep for would come into the showrooms and they would talk about their pieces and how they were built and the construction and color options and fabrics so I really got to learn the bones of this business there.”

At Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams for the past three years she is now able to take her knowledge of all the different aspects of design – as well as her psychology degree – she is best able to help her clients figure out the best design for their lifestyle and tastes.

Her partnership with 505 came about after working on a couple of model rental units. They loved the result so much she was brought on to do more condo units and the relationship has grown from there.

“It just fit that building, that clean, sleek transitional borderline modern look that they really wanted to show their clients,” she says. “Now they’ve become part of my family. They are just amazing people. They are hard workers and the Mitchell Gold brand is just really a great fit for that building.”

By playing off the views and glass she stuck with low-profile frames, very delicate lighting, and nothing too heavy in the units that could take away from the views. After all, that is what makes living there so different from anywhere else.

“This is what you wanted,” she says of downplaying the interiors to focus on the view of downtown. “This is why you are here. Just really make it that elevated look.”