The late designer Laura Ashley found much of her inspiration in her Victorian manor in Wales. These days Ashley's children are finding the upkeep of the historic home is too expensive and they are turning to England's National Trust to save the home. The Ashleys are hoping they can sell the 700-acre estate to the trust and have it restored and opened to visitors. Jane Ashley describes Rhydoldog House in the Welsh county of Powys to the Sunday Times as "a bit shabby but that's part of its charm." Reportedly many of the rooms haven't been changed since Laura Ashley's death in 1985 (Ashley's husband, Sir Bernard Ashley died earlier this year).
A restoration would offer tourists a look at original Ashley designs in the setting that begat them and the home would also celebrate crafts like quilting and screenprinting. The family home had also served as a studio and office for Ashley. The Laura Ashley brand reached its peak in the mid-1980s but has fallen out of favor in recent years and is mainly represented in the U.S. through licensing agreements selling bedding, women's clothing and housewares. Still the nostalgic factor is high as many people who grew up with Laura Ashley designs remember the brand, and the woman who created it, fondly. The Sunday Times reports that the National Trust and the National Museum of Wales would likely find a private investor to buy the property for an estimated £1 million -£3 million with another several million pounds earmarked for restoration. The museum could open in several years.