Thursday, July 21, 2011

Abigail Ahern

Wow, where did that week go?  As the saying goes, "Time flies when you're having fun!!"  Clearly I am having far too much fun...true!  While having your own store means working long hours, I can honestly say I love 99% of what is involved.   Today was spent working on one of my favourite tasks, sourcing gorgeous homewares for our new collection.   Today I am inspired and excited about what is on the way!!

This morning I attended a seminar by Abigail Ahern.  Abigail has a store in London, Atalier, is the author of A Girls Guide to Decorating and is a highly regarded decorator in the UK and around the world.  While her style is not for everyone and certainly not for the conservative souls amongst us, she certainly knows how to create feeling and emotion in interiors, which was the focus of her seminar today.
The two photos above are of Abigail's store in London and below is a living space in her home. 
Having followed her blog for a long time I am familiar with her style, I did however take some interesting points from her talk today.  Clearly, Abigail loves using dark sludgy, inky hues and today she talked of working the single colour look, which means painting the walls, floor and ceiling the same colour, (not for the faint hearted, especially when we are talking sludgy, inky hues!) purpose being the surfaces blend seamlessly, the spaces are then layered with contrasting textures and patterns and accented with punches of colour, very much like her living room above. 

This style is one easily created on a shoestring budget, if you can paint!  Dark walls, then search markets and garage sales for furniture which can be given new life with a coat of raspberry, hot pink, or cobalt blue!  Abigail talked of jumping on the fast train to Paris to search flea markets for the perfect piece to add to an interior....we can only dream!

As a general rule when designing a space Abigail aims for 90% chic and sophisticated and 10% fun.  Without going over the top she aims to inject playful and whimsical elements which give personality to the space.  In the photo above the 10% fun is probably the ostrich table.

I loved her analogy that pattern and texture are the herbs and spices of the interior design world.  Abigail showed successful spaces filled with up to 6 or 7 different patterns which were interspersed with plainer notes, creating visual friction and excitment.

All images via Abigail Ahern
While I can appreciate her style and love some of her interiors, I'm not sure that I could live with it in my own home, especially in rooms that are light challenged.   Also living with 3 boys has meant much excitement in our interior spaces over the last 16 years, I guess I have tended to opt for tranquil, calming, spaces to bring the friction and excitment levels down!  Wouldn't it be a great style for a hotel, cafe or restaurant though? 

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