It’s refreshing and unusual to meet an international interior designer who believes decor rules were made to be broken.
But Abigail Ahern has never been one to mince her words or conform to a stereotype, and she ably proves her point by creating adventurous decor that dazzles and rooms that rock.
Her shop is a well-established destination for style connoisseurs and her new home accessories Edition collection, full of quirky character with animal lamps and vibrant colour, launches at Debenhams in September.
“Style has absolutely nothing to do with money. I’ve seen hundreds - no, thousands - of tasteful, colour co-ordinated spaces that are expensively decorated and yet flat, dull, uptight and bland,” she says firmly.
“They don’t seduce, tantalise or increase the pulse rate because they’ve been decorated to within an inch of their lives. What a yawn!”
Her own style is “indefinable”, she says, as it evolves constantly and “flirts with going over the top, but I always stand a little bit back from the edge as I want it to feel beautiful not crazy”.
Her own rooms burst with colour and artfully-arranged possessions sourced from auctions and flea markets, a heady mixture of vintage and modern. “Interiors that ooze style are not perfectly co-ordinated, nor can they be bought out of a catalogue,” declares the designer, who reveals how she creates inspiring spaces in her new book, Decorating With Style.
“But, and this is a big but, if you want life-changing interiors - the ones that make your heart beat just a little bit faster - you need an open mind and a big dose of self-belief.
“The trick is to experiment and have fun along the way.”
Follow Ahern’s guide to three of her favourite looks.
Who does it suit? Those who are bored of passing fads and predictable trends and want a look that stands the test of time, while reflecting the beauty of the past. Calm and order, not be confused with dull, appeal but they’re brave enough to give a home their own cheeky decor stamp.
Who does it suit? Decoristas with a rebellious, hippy streak who like to do their own thing, have a quirky, eclectic mix of possessions and always have an eye for a bargain because their budget is tight!
Rock ‘n’ roll
Who does it suit? It’s all about bad-boy bling, drama and indulging your wild side. Your decor taste runs to the lean and mean - with sleek, shiny surfaces, animal print and in-your-face glittery accessories.