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An Eclectic Retreat in Arizona Designed on a Dime

by Garrett Fleming

When she and her daughter first moved into this two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in Mesa, AZ, actress and stylist  was pinching pennies. She would collect change here and stuff loose dollars into piggy banks there, all in hopes of decorating her new home to her heart’s content. Most days she would pin pictures to her inspiration board hoping one day she’d be able to bring her dream home to life. Thanks to some serious patience and determination, all of her saving slowly began to pay off. Though it took time, she was finally able to start crafting the retreat of her dreams.

Just because she had the funds didn’t mean she was going to blow it all on one piece, though. Ashley knew she would have to stretch every dollar if she was going to afford herself the eclectic, streamlined look she loved. And it all started with some baby aloe vera plants she came across online. “Those free plants truly lifted our morale and aesthetic,” Ashley explains. They added to the calming vibe she hoped her home would embody, plus the plants kept her and her daughter company until Ashley came across the pieces she wanted at the right price. A thrifted Eames chair, secondhand leather sofa and a discount side table are just some of the pieces she’s tracked down to fill the space. Paint has also proven itself to be another cost-effective tool in adding visual interest to the space. A rich, black hue skims the kitchen, and the bedroom’s accent wall doesn’t disappoint.

Nowadays, the soothing apartment has welcomed Ashley’s husband and his son Hudson into its warm embrace. It’s not uncommon to find the foursome cooking together in their bright kitchen or cozied up together on the couch. Whatever they are up to, one thing’s for sure: it’s all thanks to the cleverness of one smart saver. Click through to take a look at the entire home. Enjoy! —

Photography by 

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Ashley designed her and Nathan's bedroom to resemble a "swanky hotel" so when they step inside it's as if they're escaping on a vacation. The walls are painted in Behr "Onyx," and the fur pillows are Kenneth Cole Reaction.
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It wasn't that long ago that Nathan and Ashley were pinching pennies. By saving coins in jars, shopping discount stores and browsing Craigslist, however, the pair have been able to craft a sweet, eclectic retreat from Arizona's most blazing days.
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When Ashley came across this side table at Tuesday Morning, she couldn't afford to take it home. Convinced it had to be in the family, she talked her sister into buying it. After some time, a tiny flaw in the top began to bug her sister, and *poof* it was Ashley's. The piece hanging above it was painted by actress Francis Farmer in 1964, and Ashley picked it up at Silverlake Antiques.
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"We love food. The more avant-garde and obscure, the better. I'm a decent baker, and he can grill, bake, or boil anything with scales or claws. We make a good team in the kitchen. Hudson and Ambra love helping us prepare food as well. Even though they slow down the process, we think cooking and cleaning are important life skills to teach them at a young age," Ashley tells us.
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The family enjoys most of their meals here around this vintage dining table. Ashley tracked it down online while living in New York City.
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A thrifted vase, IKEA placemats and vintage candlestick holders in the dining room.
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The natural light streaming in from the sliding glass doors makes everything in the room seem "crisper and lovelier," Ashley tells us. It's not uncommon to find the family lounging here on their sofa -- a Craigslist find -- watching movies or snuggling into its West Elm pillows for a good read. The painting that overlooks this living room was a DIY project Ashley tackled. First, she had a larger-than life canvas constructed at The Home Depot. She then channeled her inner Franz Kline and let loose on the blank surface.
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The CB2 coffee table doubles as a "cabinet of curiosities" featuring a candelabra from Crate & Barrel, antlers and other finds.
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Arizona and citrus season go hand in hand. These beauties Ashley picked on her property enliven the living room with their sweet fragrance.
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"What I love most about our home: is that we fell in love within these walls... all four of us." -- Ashley Yazzie-Ward
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Ashley believes it's of the utmost importance that her daughter Ambra's room embodies the magic of childhood. Playtime can get a bit out of hand sometimes though. That being said, storage solutions like these metal lockers from Craigslist offer "... the perfect ratio of fun and orderliness."
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An Urban Outfitters lamp sits next to a burgeoning plant Ambra diligently keeps watered. The metal bed frame is a Craigslist find.
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Step to the left and Ambra can paint and draw to her artistic heart's content thanks to an easel from Dad. Step to the right, and it's time for a make-believe cook-off! Paper decorations by IKEA.
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Ashley and her husband Nathan's rental in Mesa, AZ is 800 square feet.

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Comments

  • !!! Love spotlighting spaces designed on a budget — with minimal ikea influence. My place is still in progress because of budget contraints — one new project a month. Would love to know where the bedroom rug is from. I’m on the hunt for a good rug that won’t break the bank or shed all over the place (ahem, west elm).

  • It’s incredible what someone with fabulous taste can do to a basic apartment rental. No excuse for me! And thanks for the inspiration Ashley!

  • Great job! That dining setting looks very unique and special. I also like the Frances Farmer piece in the bedroom.

  • Well done you! I too love that floor plan. Only, I can’t seem to find space for the two children; are you having Hudson sleeping in the living room? It’s quite a small flat. The place has a wonderful vive and oozes the love and care that went into it’s furnishing.

  • Thank you for sharing this!!! I absolutely love seeing young families with stellar design sense making it work on a budget. More like this, please.

  • It is so inspiring to know that someone puts in so much character in a rental place. It gives me hope. It easy to feel disconnected to a rental space, not want to spend money on a property that’s not yours. Thanks for this.

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