Text by Hannah Jones
A love for design runs deep in Ashley Luengo’s soul. Already a women’s clothing boutique owner, she started her blog, Modern Glam, almost two years ago, adding to her list of creative passions. Just like the name of her blog implies, Ashley’s home is a gorgeous blend of modern farmhouse style with a touch of glam—and a lot of pink! We chatted with her about her personal style (both clothing and home décor), her blogging experience, and home-buying in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.
The Cottage Journal: Your first business baby was a women’s clothing boutique. What drew you to create a lifestyle blog instead of a fashion blog?
Ashley Luengo: I opened my clothing boutique when I was 25. I have always been drawn to creating things, whether it be fashion-related or home-related. Creativity is something that is very important to me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve developed a better appreciation for home design. It is definitely something that I wanted to pursue more, and so, my blog has helped fulfill that passion. I am also starting to bring in home décor into my boutique, and my two passions are evolving into something really exciting!
TCJ: On the note of your boutique, do you find that your home décor style and personal fashion are similar or different? Are there any tips or tricks you took from styling your clients’ wardrobes into decorating your own home?
AL: There are definitely similarities. My personal fashion is pretty simple. I love a wardrobe of casual jeans and cute tops, and there is a plethora of black. I love to accessorize with color and usually choose handbags and shoes in fun colors, while the clothing stays somewhat neutral (hello, black!). My home mimics this in the sense that my style is casual yet pulled together. With a neutral canvas of white, I love to add in pops of color for the season with accessories and pillows.
TCJ: You live in the San Francisco area, and I’m sure anyone who’s even slightly familiar with the area knows how crazy that housing market can get! What was your experience with finding your current home?
AL: We moved inland from San Francisco about eight years ago. After having my son, we needed more space. We lived in an industrial loft. We were lucky enough to buy our current home when the market was at a low. While we lost money when we sold our loft in San Francisco, our current home has almost doubled in value. We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have bought when we did. I have dreams of selling our current home and buying a fixer upper nearby, but the market here is just too crazy to be able to afford to do that. Luckily, we still have a few more projects to tackle in our home to keep me busy!
TCJ: You have such a fun and vibrant style. Where did you draw inspiration from when designing your home?
AL: Everywhere! I am so inspired by other bloggers. There is so much talent out there. I also get a ton of inspiration from traveling. We recently got back from London, England, and I immediately started repotting the plants on my porch after seeing all the beautiful gardens and entryways over there. My spring living room refresh was also inspired by our trip to Maui in April.
TCJ: On that note, you’ve been in this home for about eight years. Has your style changed at all over the years?
AL: Yes! Not only is my current style so different than it was eight years ago but my style is constantly evolving. I am always getting inspired from people and places around me. Each time I see something I love, I take a picture, and if it works in my home, eventually it will impact the way my home looks.
TCJ: We like to think of you as an expert on glam. So, tell us, what are some easy ways to give your home that elegant and glamorous look without breaking the bank?
AL: Keep things simple. Adding some glam to your space doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you keep your décor simple and add in a few pops of gold through accessories, the whole feel will be elevated!
TCJ: We saw that your summer home style consisted of a lot of blue and pink, a trend that we’ve been loving! What do you have on your trend radar for your fall décor?
AL: I am already planning out my fall décor, and there is still a lot of blue and pink, but the hues are getting richer. Dark navy, plums, and blush pinks will definitely be happening!
TCJ: We’ve noticed that you’re a huge fan of bar carts. What are your best tips for creating the ultimate bar cart style that’s both practical and beautiful?
AL: My bar cart is one of my most favorite pieces in my home. I love to use it in so many ways. Last fall, I created a Fall Farmhouse Coffee Bar, and during Thanksgiving, I love to use it as a serving piece to hold the desserts. For the everyday, it holds all the bar essentials. I like to gather the liquor on a metallic tray, have a set of glasses for mixing drinks, and a few recipe books for cocktail inspiration! One of the best accessories, no matter the use, is a plant or fresh flowers. This brings life to the space!
TCJ: Your paint and furniture are pretty neutral, but you mix and match a lot of different textures, patterns, and colors in your accent pieces. What’s your secret to keeping a cohesive look when doing this?
AL: The key to keeping the look cohesive is to stick with three main colors. These colors should be repeated throughout the space but sparingly. Don’t go overboard. And it’s also important to add patterns and lots of texture. Patterns will break up the monotony of solid colors. I love to mix stripes with florals. Textures (whether it be through different fabrics or materials) add dimension to the space without competing with the colors. A great way to add texture is with baskets and blankets.
TCJ: Your style is pretty true to your blog name—a lot of glam with a touch of modern. How do you balance creating a fun, glam, bright space with keeping the room comfortable for your husband?
AL: Luckily, my husband doesn’t mind pink. And I think because most of the décor is pretty neutral, the few pink accessories (pillows and art) don’t bother him. After all, our bedroom is pink, too!
TCJ: Your home is very cottage style—extra cozy, as we like to say! One way that you’ve made practical use of your small space is by having your home office in your master bedroom. What are some other ways you’ve made the most of the space you have?
AL: Since we live in the Bay Area and square footage is a rarity, I love having outdoor spaces that extend our living space. We spend a ton of time in our backyard and on our front porch. We have also reutilized our side yard. What was once a sloped space that was overgrown by weeds, we transformed into a great spot for entertaining, complete with two raised bed planters that we grow vegetables in year-round.
TCJ: Your closet is truly incredible! Talk about a dream. What was your inspiration behind the design and layout?
AL: One of the things that ultimately sold me on our house when we were looking to buy was the closet. It was big! And while it was just an empty shell with two rods, I knew it could be spectacular. I have always been a huge fan of leopard, so I knew that having leopard carpet was a must. And as for the pink walls, well, that was just a given, ha! The rest kind of came together when working with the cabinet maker. I knew I wanted an entire wall dedicated to my handbags and shoes. And my favorite part is the lighting. Light fixtures are like jewelry to a home, so I knew they had to be beautiful!
TCJ: Every room of your home is truly packed with tons of fresh and inspiring style. What’s your favorite space in your home?
AL: That’s a hard one! I have to say my bathroom is probably my favorite. It is light, bright, and filled with details that make me happy. A huge soaking tub and herringbone marble tile are details that I love. My absolute favorite part is the light fixture!
TCJ: You’ve been blogging for a little over a year and half now. What are some of the most valuable things you’ve learned during that time?
AL: Kindness! This home décor blogging community is so kind and welcoming. The greatest thing is that each blogger has a different style and personality and there is room for everyone! It truly is kindness over competition!
TCJ: As a mom to two, business owner, and blogger, tell us, how do you manage to do it all?
AL: With lots of patience and humility. I don’t always get everything done on my to-do list, but I try to do what I can with my full effort! Being a mom and working is definitely a juggling act. Luckily, my husband and I work for ourselves, so we have the flexibility with our jobs so that we can be on-hand parents while still pursuing our dreams!