How To Make Your Home Fantastical, Featuring Medieval Ashley
Ashley, otherwise known as Medieval Ashley, is an actor, LARPer, and Cosplayer who loves making aesthetic videos for her followers and lovers of fantasy and history. She provides tutorials, behind the scenes videos, and more.
We recently got a chance to ask her about her love of fantasy, how she incorporates it into her life, and her best tips for making your life even more magical. Let's find out what she had to say!
What ignited your passion for fantasy?
I would say the movie Sleeping Beauty was the first mild obsession moment from as young as 2 or 3- the art, character fashion, music, everything about it had me under its own spell. Haha.
Fantasy genres in all media have always been my preference, and even my type of playtime growing up was heavily centered around imagination, "playing pretend," playing dress up, and having my dolls act out movies I loved.
We didn't have cable TV until I was a preteen, and game systems too. This meant my brother and I spent most of our time outside or coming up with our own games and pastimes, and fantasy gave us permission to bend the rules of reality.
I will say as I got older, and as the oldest child, I had a pressure to conform to a plan for education, career paths, etc., and that left little room for hobbies or interests.
While I don't necessarily regret the pressure, and I've worn many hats and fulfilled goals that brought me security, I'm SO thankful that I found that love and "permission" to indulge in fantasy again which has only brought more opportunities that somehow overlapped the things I once took way too seriously, and allows me to show others that fantasy has real-life worth.
When did you start creating cosplays?
Halloween was my excuse to dress up as an adult, and I think that was actually "closet cosplay" through what we will call the "serious years." I made a dress (a really crappy one, but I was proud of it) to look like Princess Aurora for Halloween at my clinic I worked at.
I later put together a Wonder Woman costume for Halloween, but rewore it over and over for different volunteer events that wanted characters.
Those really started it off full-force for me.
What is your favorite cosplay that you’ve created?
My original character (OC), Estrid, honestly. There are other OC's I've come up with, but she's special.
I've cosplayed DC and Game of Thrones characters, fantasy book characters and folk fantasy characters, like Maid Marian, but there's a satisfaction in coming up with a wardrobe from scratch, and still getting recognized, or at least bringing organic joy, regardless of recognition of the character.
It also has helped me bring more story components to her, being able to have a tangible wardrobe to think about.
What was your inspiration to begin making your home look and feel fantastical?
Just like my career and life pathways, my home had reflected pretty conforming choices.
Until it didn't.
I went from a beautiful, kind of Grecian-looking condo, to a log cabin on a small farm which was a change, certainly.
A year later I hosted a watch party for the premiere episode of the final season of Game of Thrones, and decorated it with novelty GOT banners, maps, a shield my brother got me for my preliminary medieval cosplay days, a few weapons, candles... and then decided to leave it all up!
It has evolved and grown ever since then.
Which room or space in your home did you transform first?
Because of that watch party, my living room that shares space with the dining area were the first areas to start to take on this "medieval fantasy," hunting lodge feel. The following year I held a big 30th birthday bash, Ren Faire-themed, naturally, and built myself a medieval-inspired wooden throne, which now sits in the living room.
What are your best tips to creating a fantastical space? Do you have any favorite statement pieces?
While I have novelty items here and there, things from a particular fandom, the things that I notice more that give me a sense of atmosphere or fantastical feel, I also love subtle swaps over time from the modern fixtures or using decor that feels like they belong in the world I'm inspired by.
Like changing my modern chandelier to one that looks like its made of candles
with melting wax.
Opt for a good investment piece over a bunch of cheaply made accessories and specific novelty where you can, and it will feel more like home and less like a kid's birthday party.
DIY skills will be priceless, like my basic woodworking skills with the throne or knowing how to sew your own curtains from thrifted fabric.
Think about what materials exist in your fantastical world, and ways you can work them in or simulate them seamlessly with your home.
Like, is that a wooden crate full of treasure or is it a furniture piece disguising the cat's litter box, complete with clean litter and scooper storage? (Yes, I've made one of those, too.)
Do you try to make the fantastical parts of your home immersive spaces? If yes, what do you include to make them immersive?
YES. I want as little modern pieces in the main living areas as possible, and it's still a work in progress.
There's another tip: if you don't have a money tree or an abundance of time, give yourself grace to pace yourself.
Anyway, I installed rustic, wooden, open shelving in my kitchen, for instance, that, while all items on the shelf are usable, it could easily be a set for any of our favorite tavern npc creators.
Cooking is a lot more fun if you feel like you've snuck in the back of the Prancing Pony.
The living room, same thing—it's filled with candles
, axe throwing (that's actually velcro), maps, functional fireplace, Estrid's armoury film set, the throne, even the picture frames have a feeling of "this isn't cookie-cutter." It's inclined to make you feel transported.
Find out more about Medieval Ashley and follow her on social media here