An Oklahoma native, Ashford Thomson is part of the Oklahoma City design team of Thomson + Thomson Interior and Exterior Designs. With his sister Cody and father Cam, he carries on a tradition inaugurated by Cam’s father, Ron Thomson, who established his interior design firm in 1955 and helped found the Association of Interior Designers in the area.
Ashford Thomson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Savannah College of Art & Design. Upon graduating, he moved home to Oklahoma to freelance for local magazines, while also working with Joy Reed Belt at her gallery, JRB Art at the Elms. After a move to New York City, he returned to team up with Thomson + Thomson Designs.
405 Magazine asked Thomson about his design inspiration and how that inspires the design for his own home.
Q: Do you have go-to icons/designers/taste-makers that influence your work?
A: If I had to choose one icon it would have to be Noël Coward. Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer – a jack of all trades, really. He was known for his wit, flamboyance and what Time in the 1930s called “a sense of personal style, a combination of cheek and chic, pose and poise.”
Dorothy Draper is another icon/designer from whom I gain inspiration. Draper’s style was as classical as it comes. She was a maximalist in design, much like I consider myself. Think classic toile wallpapers, Brunschwig & Fils fabrics, exuberant colors, Chinoiserie, pattern-on-pattern; a very “Hollywood Regency” type of look that I can most certainly relate with.
Q. If you could choose a time period other than now to live in, in relation to design or lifestyle, what would that be and why?
Definitely the 1930s or 1940s, without question. The Big Band Era. Maybe in some arrondissement of Paris, living on the top floors of one of those iconic Haussmann buildings, those distinctive structures that just scream historic Parisian architecture. I imagine myself to be socializing in circles with iconic artists, novelists and actors of the era. There were so many inspiring social and artistic “isms” during that time period; movements that shaped how we perceive today’s art, culture and lifestyle that would have been fantastic to witness and be a part of.
Q: What do you think is the most important piece of furniture in the home?
A: My great grandmother published a book in Tulsa in 1973 called Treasures, Misses, and Finds by Eugenia Graves Gockel. It was a documentation of her entire collections over the span of her lifetime. Surprisingly, my family still has quite a few of the furnishings that are pictured in the book. With that being said, I think if I had to choose a piece, it wouldn’t just be a singular piece but a furniture set that’s featured in the book. The pieces are English, built in the late 18th century; a mahogany buffet with matching chairs in my dining room that pairs with the hutch in my living room, both rooms I find to be most important in any home. That hardback book is so very dear to me, and an incredible historical guide that not only reminds me of my family’s heritage, but also provides a helpful understanding of my personal taste for design.
I suppose the “collector apple” never falls too far from the family tree.