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One On One with Designer Abigail Ahern | Chedva | June 13, 2013

  • Designer Abigail Ahern | Photo: Todd Selby Designer Abigail Ahern | Photo: Todd Selby
  • Dark and glam living area | Photo: Graham Atkin Hughes Dark and glam living area | Photo: Graham Atkin Hughes
  • Quirky chandelier sets off a cozy bedroom | Photo: Graham Atkin Hughes Quirky chandelier sets off a cozy bedroom | Photo: Graham Atkin Hughes
  • The designer's favorite Convex mirror | Photo: Graham Atkin Hughes The designer's favorite Convex mirror | Photo: Graham Atkin Hughes
  • No need for a bathroom to be beige and boring | Photo: Todd Selby No need for a bathroom to be beige and boring | Photo: Todd Selby
  • Colors and lights shine in a downpipe-painted room | Photo: Todd Selby Colors and lights shine in a downpipe-painted room | Photo: Todd Selby
  • The Deborah Bowness wallpaper made famous by Ahern | Photo: Todd Selby The Deborah Bowness wallpaper made famous by Ahern | Photo: Todd Selby
  • Abigail Ahern | Photo: Todd Selby Abigail Ahern | Photo: Todd Selby
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I recently had the pleasure of emailing with one of my favorite designers, Abigail Ahern. Speaking to someone whose work I so admire and finding her not only as talented and gutsy as I’d guessed from following her work and her blog, but also wonderfully funny and down to earth, was an amazing experience. Here is what she had to say on Rooms and Words’ most urgent design questions, including her favorite shade of grey. (If you’re reading this through an RSS reader or email, click through to see the slideshow.)

On Copycats and Setting Trends

“The popularity of dark walls and this eclectic style of decorating is a good thing. The more people I can convert across to the dark side the happier I am and in all seriousness its life changing stuff. Once you’ve painted a wall or a nook or alcove anything dark there is no going back. Having said that its still a niche way of decorating, I see so many boring beige haze, bland as anything interiors out there I have a long way to go to get the masses on board!”

 

My style is pretty kaleidoscopic referencing many different eras and styles. However I would say its innately glamorous and rocking a bit of tongue in cheek wit!

 

On Mixing High and Low

“I am obsessed with mixing high and low. If a room is all high it’s a big yawn, it feels formal, stuffy and not the kind of space where you would want to kick your shoes off and squish down on a sofa. Adding some cheaper elements immediately changes the dialogue and up’s the intrigue in a room. Conversely, if a room was filled with all cheap stuff it would feel tacky so the trick is to mix.”

On What’s New in Her New Book

Decorating with Style is a lot different from my first book A Girl’s Guide to Decorating. This book concentrates far more on finishing touches and accessories, the stuff that transforms any room from drab to fab instantly. Along with some super speedy projects like wallpapering stair treads in amazing paper, creating a panelling effect on walls through paint that kind of stuff its all about how to discover your style.  The art of layering, savvy style on a budget, designing with attitude maximising the stuff you have to the full along with my little black book of cool addresses.”

Decorating with Style - UK Cover

 

 

[I] Always wanted to be a designer from about age 6 when I made my sister save up her pocket money to rip up the carpet (we were sharing a bedroom) so we could have floorboards. She was 4, crazy no?

 

On Studying Design vs. Winging It

“I think studies and degrees are pretty fundamental if you want to go into interior design. I got into design through the back door and as fab as that sounds it was terrifying landing a job that I just had no knowledge about so studies and design school give you confidence to find your voice and your style. My most important tips for design lovers is to have confidence, confidence is the number one thing that holds us back. You will make mistakes just don’t let them put you off. Push boundaries think outside of the box and you will get to create truly magical rooms.”

 

On What’s Next

“Many exciting things happening in 2013. I am in the process of designing a new product range to include wallpaper, flooring more lighting and accessories. We are expanding the design school and holding more classes in NYC and Australia and we’re right in the process of looking at other countries to take it too. We’re launching a bijou online magazine demystifying decorating and I’m working with a high street retailer on a new exciting project – but that’s under wraps under summer I’m afraid to say.”

If you are a Ahern fan like myself, don’t miss her new book, Decorating With Style. Also, check out Abigail’s newly re-designed (beautiful and helpful) blog and forum.

 

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