To make it as a fashion and beauty influencer, you obviously need to have a strong visual aesthetic – you need to know what your personal style is and what looks good together, both on camera and in real life. Cheralee Lyle, the Brooklyn-based South African blogger behind Ascot Road, clearly has the style aspect down, which you can see from a quick scroll through her Instagram filled with gorgeous travel shots and affordable fashion finds. But in terms of logistics and spacial considerations, she and her husband, Oliver, were having a hard time figuring out how to downsize from their bigger Downtown Brooklyn apartment to a smaller Williamsburg one with an exceptionally tricky layout.

“I didn’t realize it was going to be as difficult as it was until we moved everything into the space,” Cheralee says. “I’m good with visuals, but logistics can be a bit of a weakness of mine.”


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That’s why she turned to Laura Wilson of the West Elm Design Crew for free design expertise. “Whether you’re moving into a new place or you’re just trying to do a room, you can feel so overwhelmed and not even know where to start,” Cheralee says. “It’s easy to walk into a West Elm store and think, oh, that’s so pretty – but thinking about how it’s going to work in your own space can be a challenge.”

“I could see there was potential and I liked the quirkiness of the layout,” Laura says. “I asked Cheralee to pull together some inspiration so I could understand what her vision was for this space. It’s usually interesting to see what we get with that exercise, but she had a very clear, direct vision for what her personal style was. Brass was a commonality, and she really wanted a neutral, clean, bright and airy palette.” Laura got to work to create a naturalist-meets-luxe look with creative storage solutions and an enviable dressing room-slash-office.

“Having a professional who really knows the product in and out and can give her opinion on what to do to maximize the space and light is a game-changer,” Cheralee says. “I never would have been able to do it by myself.”

Tour the full space + shop the rooms below!

Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt

Living Room

Cheralee has been a fan of West Elm for many years, she even registered at West Elm when she got married. It was hard to let go of pieces when moving into the smaller space, but one thing that was definitely sticking around was the Modern Buffett, which works here as a media console. Adding round elements like the Overarching Acrylic Shade Floor Lamp and the Pedestal Coffee Table help create a nice flow and offset the linear nature of the other pieces.

The Andes Sofa is the star of the room. “The goal was to try to get a sectional, but it was a challenge in this layout, so we got a little creative and utilized sectional components of the Andes to make an extended, custom-feeling layout of the sofa,” says Laura. “We didn’t want to block egress to the patio, so we used a sofa component and a sectional corner to make a nice loungey corner in the back of the space, and then the low arm at the entry of the room so that it doesn’t seem too bulky and maintains fluidity into the space.” Cheralee is extremely happy with the sofa. “I’m so glad that I had Laura to say that this was going to work,” she says. “As a regular human, if I saw the Andes in the store, I’d be like: no way, it would never work because the room is so tiny. But it actually makes the room.” And since it’s longer than your average sofa, it’s a great place for out-of-town friends and relatives to crash.

“As much as I want to be a minimal person, that’s just not me – my husband and I have a lot of things,” she says. “Oliver collects books and stamps and things with character and history. All of his collectibles bring the space to life and make it ours. I wanted him to have a special bookshelf to display them all.” The Zane Narrow Bookshelf shows these things off right at the entrance to the living room.

Kitchen + Dining Room

The kitchen was a bit of a challenge, space-wise. “Preparing food was hard – you couldn’t even chop an onion,” Cheralee says. So Laura added a moveable kitchen cart that acts as a coffee station but can also be used for additional counter space. The dining nook is a favorite, too. “At first I was like, what are we going to put in this weird little space? It’s really dark – there’s no overhead lighting – but the Sculptural Glass Lamp that Laura chose just really warms up the space,” she says. The shimmery flecks on the White Quartz Wren Bistro Table perfectly match the countertop, tying everything together.

Dressing Room + Office

Right off the living room is Cheralee’s “closet-office, a.k.a. my ‘cloffice,’ which I found out is a word on Pinterest,” she says. “I’m a content creator with lifestyle, beauty and fashion brands, and I create a lot of content at home. I needed a room that had great light, could fit all of my things, serve as a desk to work at but also a vanity, and also be a place for recording beauty videos, holding all my clothes and possibly shooting styling videos in here as well.” A tall order, but Laura helped her pull together a dreamy space that ticked all the boxes. On top of the Gemini Desk, Cheralee adores her two LED Light Rods Table Lamps. “If people are looking to set up a vanity, these lamps are perfect,” she says. “A lot of mirrors that come with Hollywood bulbs are very chunky and the lights are very blue and unflattering, but these lights actually give such a nice gold tone. Sometimes when the sun is out I’ll have them on, but in the evening when I’m getting ready I’ll have both of these on, and it hits your face from both sides so there are no shadows. It’s just a really nice warm light.”

Bedroom

Bright and airy vibes were a must for the small bedroom to make it feel larger. The only dark-toned elements here are the metal-colored Velvet Curtains. “We get a lot of light with the sheer curtains in the living room, which is amazing for the daytime,” Cheralee says, “but having blackout curtains in the bedroom is a game-changer – how did I live without them? I feel like the darker gray velvet makes the room feel cozier, a little luxe and just brings it all together.”

Balcony

Oliver loves the Mosaic-Tiled Outdoor Bistro Table on their patio. “It’s our favorite spot in the apartment to have a coffee in the morning or a cocktail after a long day.” The mosaic pattern also makes for an interesting background for shooting content.

Laura Wilson + Cheralee Lyle

Photography by Landon Vonderschmidt

The Layout

Cheralee’s Inspiration Board

Laura’s Design Crew Proposal

Follow @westelm + @cheraleelyle for more!

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