Abigail in Wonderland- a coffee with Abigail Ahern
There are many designers who are great at what they do - but there are few that bring pure magic into world of interiors, captivating you so much that you simply want to jump into the rabbit hole into their own personal wonderland - Today’s guest needs no introduction , but unless you are not familiar meet -Abigail Ahern - also refereed to as Queen of Dark Interiors by many - an interior designer , writer ,teacher and product designer by day , and a animal lover and a home body by night .
i was First introduced to Abigail Ahern when i happened to find a hare lamp which was a part of Abigail Ahern Debenhams collection - being natualy curious (not to confuse with nosey, ok maybe a little bit) of to google i went searching who is the lady behind the lamp … the moment i saw the beautiful dark interiors - i was sold ! i don’t think i slept through the night thinking about introducing dark colour somewhere in my home .
Abigail is a veteran when it comes to living and breathing interiors , when she first left college she has worked on the picture desk of Terence Conran’s publishing house finding images for his interior books , so when she moved to US she retrained as an interior designer .
Living in the beautiful 1860s East London terrace house that she shares with her husband, Graham Abigail describes her own style as “ a mix, it rocks a bit of an eclectic vibe, marries grit with glam, high end with low end, raw with refined. I’m a bit of a mixologist everything gets mixed together”
Cleverly mixing high and low end purchases create captivating aura with very inviting feel to it . Texture and more reigned in colour palette that spreads throughout her home, combined with darker hues create coheseve calm space one would love to relax in . Abigail love 50’s Italian. I also love Kelly Weasrstler and Jonathan Adlier because they break boundaries, don’t follow rules and have carved out incredible careers.
Abigail top tip for creating the the “wow” factor comes from playing with scale from using intriguing texture and materials , in her Instagram videos which i highly recommend you to watch -she encourages her viewers to mix materials and patterns and not to be so matchy matchy . Think texture and pattern and you cant go wrong.
Abigail believes that it does not matter whenever your space is big or small you can create a beautiful interior no matter the square footage . When it comes to decorating small spaces I think the worst thing to do with a small space is to decorate it like a small space. Add big art, a pendant, mirrors and not piddly pieces that draw attention to the fact the room is small makes such a difference. Also paint it dark, corners disappear and you trick the eye making it feel its larger than it really is.
Abigail have inspired many people across the globe to drop all the rules when it comes to design and decorating our homes – when asked if Abigail is putting limitations on herself when it comes to decorating Abigail true to her world of ditching all the rules tend to follow my internal gut feelings, and its worked out pretty OK so far.
As a natural trend setter Abigail Latest obsession with rugs, since she started designing her own line for the store she have become obsessed with texture and tribal influences. - Think moody bohemians with cool edgy vibe ! ( ps does anyone still uses word edgy ?) Playing around with rugs and artwork is a great option If you are a renter and cannot paint your walls dark but want to create a cool interiors.
If you think of converting and trying to dip your hand in dark interiors , but are still unsure if you should try it then (in Abigail own words ) I would say don’t convert if you don’t love the vibe, just because its hot right now doesn’t mean it’s right for you and the worst thing is to follow a trend but not love that trend. If you love it and are scared about going whole hog, start with a small wall or alcove, once you go its very hard to go back.
Dark interiors are incredibly comforting and cocooning,. If you are serious about “joining the dark side” Abigail’s trick is to reign in the colour palette, and let the walls create all the drama. As well as having the right amount of lighting - ceiling light is always a bit too much , and will never create as much mood as side / table / floor lamps will. Abigail recommends to have at least 8 light sources in the room - at first i thought “this is crazy” , but Abigail have yet again been spot on ! having so many lamps dotted around the room - creates beautiful atmosphere when the evening comes in.
If you struggling with accessorizing and creating a space that works for you then i highly recommend Abigail design classes , and if you struggling to get to Abigail’s house to attend the classes , then Abigail got you covered ! - there is an online masterclass that you can take from the comfort of your own home.
Abigail’s home is flied with stunning one of pieces and unique objects and furniture - to re create this high end look in your home you don’t need bags of money , but you need to think smart always save monies on the boring stuff like storage and spend on things that I will have with me forever like chandeliers, art, cool chairs.
while we are on the subject of cool chairs i asked Abigail to pick one piece from your home that she could only take with her, on which she replied Pretty hard to pin point but probably the first thing I ever brought for the house a concrete rocking armchair.
Bringing the outside in -as well as blending the inside and outside for a greater sense of cohesiveness and not using so much of a typical garden furniture and accessories outside - does wonders ! if you are like me and don’t have particularly green thumbs (kind of still surprised that the bushes in my garden are alive and well , but cactus-es inside have died ) then Abigail’s signature collection of faux plants is the best thing since slices bread ! - they look so real you can even fool your neighbors who i hope don’t read my bog , and if they do then thanks for complimenting my plants ;)
Her store is a fest for the eyes as well !
Being a very busy woman juggling work , designing and supervising her own product launches she does
Not so much have a spare time, but when there is garden, cook outside, walk in the park with Monkey, read – but that is quite rare the reading part..
what’s next for”Abigail Ahern” is A new book is the pipeline which is super exciting but the majority of my energy is now spent on own label designs which of course we sell in the store but also round the world to other retailers, so lots to sign off and sort out for SS20. I’ve also got a kitchen collab coming up oh and I’m guest judge on a BBC Netflix show which is exciting.
A few out of ordinary questions you might not know about
Design or functionality : Always design
What’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever done? Turning down a major role Vice President for a huge American homeware company. I would have to have given up the biz, my dogs and flying them over was a big issue (and the main issue actually) and maybe it wasn’t stupid but it’s the grass is greener thing. I love what I do but sometimes its so stressful and the days are so long the thought of working for someone else and switching off in the evening or the weekend is incredibly tempting. Not worrying about factories, containers, deadlines spreadsheets – all of which would have been part of the VP role but in a very different way was super tempting. Plus I lived in the US for nearly 4 years so it feels almost like a second home. Anyways I didn’t go, couldn’t deal with putting the dogs on the plane! Or the fact that the company I built up would have had to have ceased – couldn’t do that.
Which bad habits of other people drive you crazy? Mess, I cannot stand mess!
What was the worst job you have ever had. Working as an editorial assistant for 6 months when I was 18 in a basement with rats and just myself down there. Bloody hated it!
coffee or tea? Coffee always
What is the one thing, you can’t live without? Phone
Big thanks to Abigail Ahern for agreeing to this interview , and for letting me use fantastic photographs .
To follow Abigail Instagram where she shares her design and decor insights please click here
To purchase faux plants and home accessories as well as booking design classes please visit https://abigailahern.com/
All photographs cutesy of Abigail Ahern