For as long as she can remember Ashley Pratt has had an interest in interiors. “The creative flare was there but I wasn’t quite sure how I could make a career out of it,” she says. She started out working part time for the interior design practice Poco Designs while completing a law and media and communications degree at university. When she landed an internship at House & Garden magazine, Ashley knew that she’d found her way. “I owe my career start to editor-in-chief Lisa Green who saw something in me and nurtured me up the ranks,” she says. “I still have moments when I have to pinch myself and think how lucky I am to have this job.”
Which five words best describe you? Creative, perfectionist, homebody, organised and collector.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I actually studied law and media and communications at uni but always had a feeling it wasn't for me. In my last two years I started working part time for Poco Designs, a boutique interior design firm started by a friend and her mother. It was there that I realised I wanted to work in the interiors industry and when an internship at House & Garden popped up I jumped at the opportunity. After a year of assisting on shoots and in the office I took over as editorial coordinator before working my way up to market editor and then stylist.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? To always have a back-up plan, a second idea or a spare product. Things don't always go to plan, especially on location shoots. You have to roll with the punches and trust in your natural instinct. You'll always get there in the end. And also a good assistant is invaluable. When you find one don't let them go.
What's your proudest career achievement? To date my proudest moments would have to be getting my first cover of House & Garden and completing my "Into the Woods" story. This decorating idea was a labour of love and something I had been dreaming up for six months. I have to thank photographer Maree Homer for helping to pull off my vision. I hope there are many more proud moments to come.
What's been your best decision? To have an open mind, have the confidence to change my ideas as I go and to say yes to any opportunities that have come my way at House & Garden. As well as styling I look after the Insider news pages and that bit of writing each month keeps me challenged and on top of the design industry.
Who inspires you? Mother Nature.
What are you passionate about? Interiors, ceramics, wrapping presents, New York, good food, fresh flowers and cleanliness.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Nancy Meyers. The interiors in her films are always impeccable and right up my alley: Something's Gotta Give, The Holiday, It's Complicated.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many... go to Italy - happening in August! - renovate a country house, become a better cook, open an interiors store, style all the ideas that are floating around in my head.
What are you reading? The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and countless interiors mags.
images courtesy of ashley pratt and house & garden; photography maree homer for house & garden; portrait and white chairs (house & garden) will horner