My middle son is my biggest connector in our neighborhood in Dripping Springs.
It’s not uncommon for him to bring new kids over weekly and introduce them as his new friends. I don’t know how he keeps finding more kids in our tiny neighborhood to play with after living here for 6 months, but he does! They just appear inside our home after school, he offers them all of our snacks and then off they go to ride dirt bikes around the neighborhood.
Silas introduced us to Leah after meeting her son outside one day.
“MOM, can you PLEASE get his mom’s number so we can play together?”
They became fast friends and I started getting to know Leah bit by bit as our kids roamed the streets and played together almost daily. I knew she was going to be an interesting person to get to know and I was right!
When I learned about her extensive knowledge in interior design with vintage finds I knew that I had to do a blog feature on her for you all!
She is not only an amazing designer here in Dripping Springs, but has a big social media following where she shares her tips and fun lifestyle with the world.
Here is the interview with my new friend, Leah…
Hey Leah! Tell us more about yourself!
My name is Leah Ashley and first and foremost, I am a boy mom with a serious taco addiction.
But for my day job, I’m an interior stylist with an emphasis in vintage decor. I create interior design content for a streaming service as well as run an online vintage shop, Finn Trading Co.
We are currently building our dream home in the Texas Hill Country and you can follow along with all the shenanigans over on Instagram at @FinnFamilyFarm.
What drew you to Dripping Springs and wanting to sink roots into this area?
We moved back to Texas almost four years ago after living in Los Angeles for 15 years & working in the entertainment industry.
My husband and I are both from Texas originally, but we never imagined we would end up living in a small town like Dripping Springs. We looked at so many homes in the Austin area and had pretty much given up on our search because of sticker shock. We decided to rent until we could figure out where we wanted to be. We were on our way to sign a lease on a little cottage in south Austin when our realtor sent us this listing in Dripping Springs.
Instead of going to sign the lease, we went to see this house and made an offer later that day! We knew nothing about the town of Dripping Springs, but we loved the house, so we took a leap of faith and moved in!
It turns out small town living is the life for us!
What are your dreams for the lifestyle that you most want for your young family?
I want to give my kids room to roam. We purchased 7 acres a few years ago purely as an investment. But once Covid hit we started spending more and more time having picnics and taking nature walks out at the property. It became pretty clear that we needed to make this property our new home.
I also want to learn to garden and to raise chickens as a family.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a black thumb. But I’m determined to learn to live off of the land more than we currently do. I think the sustainability of it all is an important lesson these days.
How did you get into interior decorating?
I studied fashion design in college but hated to sew so I started working for one of the country’s biggest interior designers once I graduated. It was a miserable job but I learned a ton.
At the same time, I started a YouTube channel with one of my best friends. Our channel was all about easy DIY home decor hacks. I was basically taking the knowledge that I was learning from the high end designer and translating it into something that everyone could afford.
My partner and I started making over other Youtuber’s homes and featuring them on our channel. It was a great way to build a following quickly. By the time I left the channel we had grown it to over 250,000 subscribers.
What drew you to vintage finds as a niche?
It all started out of necessity. I was a broke college student and couldn’t even really afford to shop at Ikea. So, I got creative and ended up shopping at thrift stores instead. It was during that time that my love for a good treasure hunt was born.
Each time I would go thrifting, I never knew what I would come home with! Plus, bringing vintage in your home is a great way to give your space some character and unique-ness. Not to mention, it’s a great way to shop sustainably!
What is your favorite vintage piece and where did you find it?
I have too many to count. I really do. One of my favorite things about shopping for vintage is that each piece comes with a story of who I bought it from, where I found it, how much I paid (which is usually very little). Not to mention, the piece has it’s own story.
How old is it?
What lives did it live before me?
Who made it?
Where is it from?
But one of my all time favorite pieces is a small, chartreuse green, mid century modern foot stool that I found on the side of the road in Venice Beach about 10 years ago. I paid $5.00 for it. I just love it. And the funny thing is that I don’t have a mid century aesthetic. But it seems to work in every house we’ve had so far.
Where can we rummage through antiques for amazing finds in Dripp?
I also LOVE Antiques & Things which is on 290 as you head into Austin.
Where do you recommend we find more inspiration for curating a beautiful home that reflects our personal history and beauty with antiques?
Pinterest in your best friend. So is instagram. There are some incredible accounts to follow for great inspiration on how to shop and style your pieces. Some of my favorites are @TheMakerista, @FleaMarketFab, @Rosie.Case, @KatieSaro, @Domecile37
Tell us about your incredible home that you are building with your dad in Dripp…
The home is really a throw back to older farmhouses.
It is the opposite of an open concept which means that there are designated rooms for each space. I think with covid, and everyone working and schooling from home you will start to see a shift in home layouts. Each person in the family needs their own space now. So, I have planned for that in this house. I also don’t want anyone to be able to tell when the home was built when they drive by. We are really trying to stay away from trends like black windows, modern farmhouse touches, etc.
Yes, my DAD is building this home for us!
My dad has been in the home building business for over 45 years. and he now works for a wonderful home builder here in Central Texas named, River Hills Homes.
There is no one more knowledgeable about building a home than @BuilderGary! I couldn’t do this without him.
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to someone wanting to custom build in this area?
Do your research and pick the right builder. You are going to get REALLY close to your builder for better or worse! There is just so much that goes into a custom home. My head is constantly spinning. But, I’m so lucky to have my dad to hold my hand through the process. I don’t think I could have done this without him.
Tell us about your new obsession with worm composting….
My family thinks I’m crazy.
But did you know that food waste is one of the biggest producers of methane gasses in our atmosphere?
Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is my attempt at keeping as much of our kitchen scrapes out of the waste stream as possible. It’s for sure been a learning process.
Remember, I have a terrible black thumb… I kill everything. But the worms have become like pets to me! I have about 500 or more of them now and I’m determined to keep them healthy and happy! It’s basically a biological garbage disposal in my garage. I put the kitchen scrapes in, and the worms consume them, turning them into fertilizer for my garden! It is definitely a labor of love!
Where can we find you on social media?
If you know of a local Dripping Springs resident who would be an awesome feature on my blog please let me know! I love showing off the lifestyle, people and real estate opportunities in this unique area!