Simple, warm spaces are here to stay

Soothing hues, organic shapes and tons of texture characterize Ashley Haley’s design firm and her newly renovated Fitchburg home.

It’s hard to believe that Ashley Haley’s home has ever been anything but an oasis of natural shapes, textures and materials.

Yet when she and her husband, Justin, bought it in spring 2021, the house had a very different aesthetic: ornate wallpaper, dark wood trim, ceramic tile, interesting angles and wall-to-wall burgundy floral carpeting. The house was a showstopper when it was built in 1991 — it was featured in the Parade of Homes that year — but Haley had a fresh vision for it as a place to live with kids Reese and Reid, dog Rigby and cat Benny.

In her mind, she saw graceful arches; light-hued flooring creating flow from room to room; soothing creams and tans accented with pops of black and moody greens; and textures, layers and plants bringing a sense of the outdoors in.

“I love simple, warm spaces,” she explains. “My style very much leans Scandinavian. When a space is done well, with textures and layers, it’s really inviting and comforting.”

The couple got to work right away, and the extensive renovation wrapped when their final kitchen appliances arrived just in time for hosting Thanksgiving last fall.

This is the second home that Haley, who has a degree in interior design from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and worked in new construction for 10 years, and her husband, a mortgage lender, have renovated together. They finished the latest renovation in November 2021 and a month later launched their business, Oslo Design Co., an interior design firm she says helps clients create healthy, balanced and beautiful spaces.

“Design has always been what fills me up,” she says. “I really love the space planning side of things. So many people can’t do that visualization on their own.”

In addition to growing Oslo, Haley is hard at work on a new project: remodeling an A-frame on Lake Sherwood in the town of Rome, with plans to open it as an Airbnb.

And back at home, an even more exciting transformation awaits. Haley is designing a bedroom for her baby, who is due in December.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to do a nursery,” she says.

Katie Vaughn is a Madison-based arts, family, home and travel writer.

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