Abigail Ahern is renowned for her unique design and taste which are synonymous with glamour, eclecticism and wit. Her latest collection to launch in Debenhams, Abigail Ahern/EDITION, features this in abundance, from animal lamps and cushions, to rhino money boxes and polar bear book ends. The new collection brings Abigail’s designer experitise to a new audience. We caught up with the lady her self to get her top design tips, her inspiration and what she has planned for the future. We also have a peak inside her house, so stay tuned to go through the keyhole!
How did you get into interior design?
I was into décor and design from a really early age, before I even had my own home to decorate! When I left college I started working on the picture desk of Terence Conran’s publishing house. My job was to find images for all of his interior design books, and I just fell headfirst in love with them. I wanted to create amazing rooms too. When I moved to America with my husband, I took the jump and retrained as an interior designer.
What is your favourite piece from the new collection? We love all the black flocked pieces and the hare lamp!
Thank you! My fave piece is the black flocked mastiff lamp. I’ve just bought one for my coffee table. His nickname is Maurice.
Abigail Ahern/EDITION, £85, Debenhams
What are you top 3 tips for creating the perfect home?
1. Go dark! No one ever believes me, but painting walls out in dark inky hues is just the most incredible, instant game changer. It adds oodles of interest, everything looks cooler with a dark background, and colours and metallics really pop.
2. Don’t scrimp on lighting. After colour, adding more light sources it’s the second most transformative thing you can do.
3. Be brave. A safe space will never take your breath away, so take some risks and let your home reflect your personality. I don’t think there is much fun to be had in having a home that looks like everyone else’s. It’s a bit like decorating by numbers. Push a few boundaries and take a few risks. There’s no going back to safe-ville once you’ve converted!
How did your partnership with Debenhams come along?
Debenhams approached me. I was extremely flattered, and delighted at the opportunity to create an accessible collaboration collection. They have 148 stores across the country, so it was obviously a great opportunity for us to branch out and reach a wider audience.
Abigail Ahern/EDITION, £75, Debenhams
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get inspiration from all over the place, but particularly travelling. I lived and worked in the States for four years, and the US has inspired my approach to design and interiors more than anything else. As an interior designer, I got to work on some fantastic homes, from modernist houses in LA to cabins in Vermont. My favourite has to be the cool vibe of Downtown Manhattan.
Now I’m working on my latest book, and the photoshoots have been in beautiful homes from California to Paris. I’m constantly inspired by travel, and incredible houses around the world
Abigial Ahern/EDITION, £20, Debenhams
You’ve worked with some great celebrities, who has been your favourite client?
Every client brings a different perspective to a job, so they’re actually all really interesting opportunities. I would that say designing the set for Heston Blumenthal’s TV show was one of the more unusual and fun.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Gosh, there have been so many pinch-me moments, from writing books to teaching the international design school. Right now, I’m most excited about our own label of products, which we are launching in early next year. It’s bigger than anything we’ve ever done before, with a comprehensive collection of furniture, vases, plants and way more.
You’ve travelled all over the world, what is your favourite city?
It has to be NYC, without a doubt. I just love the whole vibe and atmosphere.
If you weren’t in the design industry, what would you be doing?
I’d be a cowgirl, or a Swedish crime detective. Can’t quite decide which – depends on my mood!
What tips would you give to any aspiring designers?
Don’t feel constrained by the so-called decorating “rules”. Interiors can be a snooty old business, but go with your gut and only ever design things you love without worrying about what other people will think. There have been times when I’ve really stood alone on design, like going dark when the Scandinavian bleached look was the biggest trend, but it’s stood us in good stead in the end. The other advice would be don’t give up! It’s always going to be tougher than you think it will, but stick at it.
What are your plans for the future?
There’s so much going on, as always, but my single biggest plan is the launch of my own label collection. This is an opportunity to expand beyond our own store, as products will be going out to other luxury brands around the globe. Seriously exciting stuff! We’ve already got a waiting list racked up, just from a few sneak peaks I’ve posted on Instagram, so potentially our brand could suddenly be catapulted to all sorts of places.
Rose Champagne Faux Flowers, from £9.50, abigailahern.com
Quick Fire Questions!
Anything cooked on the slow cooker. Right now, I’m loving butternut squash curry, slow cooked with coconut and red lentils.
The 39 Steps – the black and white Hitchcock version. It’s my father’s favourite, and whenever it was on, we used to sit up late after everyone else had gone to bed to watch it.
A Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami
Favourite beauty product?
Yves Saint Laurent All in One Skintone Perfector
Favourite fashion designer?
Keep your eyes pealed for part two of our interview with Abigail where we take a look inside her amazing home!
By Emily Parker
To see more of Abigail’s work or shop the collection, visit abigailahern.com