Ashley Yeates, founder and principal of AYI & Associates, is an American lawyer-turned-designer whose love for design began in her formative years growing up in Eastland, Texas. Surrounded by two generations of strong women with unique interior design aesthetics–including four eccentric grandmothers who each had beautifully styled homes, and an artistic mother who welded larger-than-life metal sculptures and had a quirky fashion sensibility–Ashley learned from an early age that diversity of style and creativity should always be celebrated and appreciated.
This deep-rooted love for interior design that was nurtured throughout childhood would blossom into a full-time career. While practicing law in Dallas, a well-known designer she hired to help with her home noticed she had a natural talent for design and pointed out that she was in the wrong profession. Those wise words prompted her to follow her instincts and switch careers in 2001, and she has never looked back. A move to Carmel and its beautifully rugged landscapes, motherhood, and her deep love for community all played a part in her growing desire to create meaningful interiors, and on a more emotional level, homes that would embrace comfort and family yet were elegant and sustainable enough to stand the test of time.
With those ideals in mind, she started the Ashley Yeates Collection in 2013, with the aspiration of creating a healthier furniture line that would be fully customizable and higher quality, using sustainable and ethically sourced materials. Seeing a market space flooded with mass-produced furniture that wears out quickly and is taken to landfills, where it negatively impacts the environment, inspired her to go the opposite direction. A focus on human connection, protecting the environment, selecting ethically harvested materials, employing American talent, and spotlighting the art of craftsmanship are just a few of the things that go into every piece of furniture she creates.
Her grandparents used to say that when you buy right, you buy once, and that has been a mantra to live by in her newest collection, Sea to Sierra, as well as in her upcoming line, The Modern Hepburn. Well-made furniture should stand the test of time and become a cherished heirloom passed down through generations of family, and that is the kind of mindful, indelible stamp Ashley wants to leave on this world.