If, like us, you’re fans of eclectic designs, dark, inky palettes and quirky interiors then our latest 5 Minutes With interview is just for you.
A designer, stylist and blogger, Abigail Ahern is a forced to be reckoned with. Not only is Abigail’s online emporium full of covetable goods but her influential blog is a go-to for design advice, news and inspiration.
More recently, Abigail has joined high street giant Debenhams as its designer in residence at the luxury five-star apartment hotel, Cheval Three Quays. With a collection of curiosities to tantalise, we spoke to Abigail about her inspirations, working with Debenhams and those all important top tips for making the home look fantastic…
We love your signature style of dark interiors and eclectic homewares where do you find your inspirations and influences?
I travel a lot especially to the Far East so I’m greatly influenced by travel. I always try and spend time taking half a day routing out little stores and lanes, restaurants, cafes and bookshops to soak up the atmosphere. Subconsciously that sort of stays in my head and then comes through my head filter into my designs not always instantly sometimes a good few years later.
You started designing for Debenhams in 2013 when you joined EDITION, you’ve now embarked on your next venture with the high street giant as a designer in residence at the five-star London apartment hotel, Cheval Three Quays in London. You’re following in the footsteps of designers such as Matthew Williamson and John Rocha, who have applied their design flair to the luxury apartment – tell us how you’ve transformed the space and made your mark…
It’s lux, its tactile its cool and I love it!
I am hugely flattered to follow in such illustrious company I must firstly say that, as I love Matthew and John’s collections.
My new seasons collection for Debenhams has a tribal thread running throughout it so its super textural, layered and also glam.
So I’ve layered up sofas and chairs with heaps of pillows, perfect for lounging, accented the space with some beautiful lights – think flocked baboons and cobra lamps and then further embellished shelves with beautiful patterned vessels as well as planters and vases in gold and concrete. Animal accessory wall hooks line the wall and on tables you’ll find the sweetest octopus t-light holders. It’s lux, its tactile its cool and I love it!
As well as being able to stay in the apartment, you can also shop the look, what inspired the collection?
Travel inspired the collection and I am particularly drawn to tribal influences and patterns. My style aesthetic gravitates towards more of a masculine, glam vibe so I tend to steer away from pretty patterns and instead embrace edgy cool patterns and textures. I think this immediately ups the style ratings in a room and not only that it lightens the mood and makes you smile all at the same time. Clever right?
Very clever! We especially love the raven lamp (below) – what’s your favourite piece?
Giraffe cushion, cobra lamp, gold/concrete vases. I know that is three but I literally cannot choose!
It’s such an eclectic collection, how would you recommend people bring the pieces into the home?
I think animal inspired pieces literally take rooms to another level, adding some irreverence and wit to any scheme. I would encourage people to use them as accents, say plonking one of the flocked lamps on a side table, a cool textural cushion on a sofa or chair – you’ll find they will literally take the area from drab to fab in less than 5 seconds!
They will literally take the area from drab to fab in less than 5 seconds!
What are your top interior tips on creating a fantastic looking scheme?
I have zillions – in no particular order:
- Follow your heart and buy what you love that way you will keep stuff forever.
- Treble up your lighting – small rooms generally need 8 lamps minimum to create the coolest atmosphere. I know this sounds a lot but lighting is one of the most transformative things you can do to any space. Next time you’re in a cool hotel or restaurant count the lights – there are way more than people ever imagine!
- Add texture and pattern – think of them like a herb or a spice, they add instant pizazz!
- Play around with scale the minute you plop something big on something small magic happens. Like a fabulous supersized bunch of flowers in a vase on a little table, or a big mirror over a mantle.
- When it comes to clustering accessories (so cushions on sofas, vases and objects on tables and mantles) cluster in odd numbers its always more pleasing to the eye.
Why not CLICK HERE and check out Abigail’s 2017 design resolutions?
Are there any exciting projects, collaborations or launches in the pipeline you can let us know about?
There are lots of things in the pipeline (some I can talk about some I can’t quite just yet). We’re launching into China in August (hugely excited about that), introducing a furniture and chandelier range to our own label, expanding the faux botanicals and designing another totally cool collection for Debenhams for next season. I’m just about to sign off A/W 17 for Debenhams and start working on S/S 18 so its busy busy busy!
We can’t wait to see what’s in store for AW17! In the meantime though, why not recreate Abigail’s luxury apartment style by introducing your own eclectic accessories into the home?
David & Mark x