Abigail Ahern design school – part 3

Abigail’s insider knowledge on flowers, art, wallpaper, paint, furniture….. was invaluable and she kindly shared a huge number of her key sources for us to explore for our next projects.

A refereshing part for me about Abigail’s design ethos is not about ‘let’s see how much money we can throw at this project’. Her design style has completely evolved and it takes time and effort to create a home as beautiful as hers. Her mix of design items with one off items creates a personal and unique eclectic look, which by her own admission can sometimes be hard to pull off. However, she has mastered this style and her ability to arrange and design a room is evident as her showcase home reveals but she is more than happy to share her journey on how we can get there too.

As the afternoon session drew to an end we were invited to share a cool glass of prosecco and we all got to share our thoughts on the day.

Abigail Ahern living room

Abigail Ahern living room

 

After thanking Abigail and Graham for their hospitality we all headed off to her Atelier store for more inspiration. Abigail choses her interior items very personally and never sells anything she wouldn’t have in her own home so there were many items in the store that we had seen ‘in situ’ which totally brought them alive and made them even more appealing! It was brilliant that we had seen so many of her new paints used on her walls at home and how they could look totally different on various walls.

 

 

If you are ever near Upper Street in Islington then head into her store as its a cave of deliciousness with cool products in every direction. She showcases her interior product selection and paints beautifully. I was also amazed by how effective all the faux flowers and plants were and will definitely be introducing these….

As I journeyed home on the train I started to think of plans for my own home and how I could introduce a bit of this style.

Abigail said that one of the biggest game changers in interiors is colour so I’m going to start here and having seen all the paints in full effect I have chosen Madison Grey. I will let you know how I get on!

 

 

Hope you all have a great weekend and see you Monday :)

Abigail Ahern Design School Day – part 2

Lunch was just as stylishly served as the rest of the house and we all took a welcomed break to have a natter.

lunchtime!

lunchtime!

 

Taking some time out also allowed us to venture into one of the most gorgeous gardens you can imagine. This house is in the middle of London with houses all around but the design of the garden has allowed for complete tranquility. The height of the plants creates an almost cocoon like feel and you are totally un-overlooked.

Abigail Ahern's garden

Abigail Ahern’s garden

 

Accessed via huge glazed doors you feel it is an extension of the living room as you meander outside. A hanging light pendant is so effective over one of many garden tables and creates a working light for when cooking on the outdoor stove. That all important fire is also an amazing feature for those chilly nights.

Abigail Ahern garden

Abigail Ahern garden

 

I think I could get quite used to cooking out here. ……

Abigail Ahern outdoor fireplace

Abigail Ahern outdoor fireplace

 

Back in the classroom we continued our feast but this time on how to break all the rules when it comes to interiors!

………….

- if mismatching then do it in 2′s

- never allow a room to have straight path lines from one corner to the next. create constant interruptions for interest

- create friction (modern designer piece next to ‘scruffy’ flea market treasure

- push/pull dynamic within every room

- how you can never have too much texture………..something which this home has in abundance.

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home

 

We were all scribbling away, noting Abigail’s insider tips on how to create you dream home.

 

……. part 3 tomorrow……

 

 

 

Abigail Ahern Design School Day – part 1

Happy Monday everyone. I hope you had a great weekend.

Personally I am still super buzzing from my day at Abigail Ahern’s design school which is run at her home in Hackney. It wasn’t difficult to spot which house was hers as I walked down the road.

Abigail Ahern's house

Abigail Ahern’s house

Abigail’s husband Graham calmly welcomed people in whilst she got to work on making the coffees as the rest of the group arrived. We were 11 in total, traveling in from South London, Essex, Yorkshire, Norfolk, Italy and even Australia!

Abigail Ahern - Design School

Abigail Ahern – Design School

 

Despite being regularly described as one of Britain’s most influential female designers, Abigail and her husband were extremely welcoming and very ‘normal’ despite their growing success. The design day takes place in their home and they make you feel at home instantly. The whole atmosphere is super relaxed with her 2 dogs Maude (a Welsh Terrier) and Mungo (a miniature schauzer) lounging around. Her home is jaw droppingly stylish in every corner you look and she happy to allow people to take photos of her work.

The morning session was an insight into kitchens, living rooms and bathroom with endless images of different styles and how they work/don’t work and how you can recreate a certain look/feel to a room.

Her mantra of ‘layering’ when decorating is in abundance throughout the home and is amazingly effective whether that be in the kitchen, living room or WC! She is constantly saying that when you enter a room there should be more than one focal point to look at and your eye should dart around, not knowing where to look next to add intrigue and interest and this is 100% the case when you walk around her home.

Abigail Ahern's kitchen

Abigail Ahern’s kitchen

 

Abigail Ahern's living room

Abigail Ahern’s living room

 

Throughout the day I was scribbling down notes to myself of what I was planning to do to my house when I got home as the environment was unbelievably inspiring.

Abigail kindly allowed us to ‘take a tour’ of her home as the morning session came to an end. Every room or ‘nook’ was packed with beautiful items, flea market finds, one off pieces, stunning artwork and it was only when walking around that you realise how cleverly she plays on ‘scale’ with all her interiors.

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home

 

Abigail Ahern's home

Abigail Ahern’s home

 

At one point just before lunch, Marissa and I got a bit ‘giggly’ about the whole ‘being in such an amazingly place’ and we couldn’t resist trying to take a few selfies and pretend for a split second that we were quite ‘at home’ in this environment!

feeling at home at Abigail Ahern's

feeling at home at Abigail Ahern’s

 

more to come on Wednesday :)

 

Mum’s post of the week

My lovely Mum is still posting me her weekly ‘interior info find’ and this week it was about Jamie and Louise Graham, owners of the beautiful furniture store Graham and Green. The store is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year and has opened its first showroom at The Perfume Factory in West London along with designing a limited-edition collection of furniture to mark the occasion.

 

 

Since moving into their Victorian home in Northwest London, Jamie and Louise Graham have modernised the entire space but have managed to keep the Victorian charm. I loved the fact that although they obviously have beautiful home interiors, they still have managed to create a laid-back family home. Often people think that they can’t have much ‘stuff’ around and make a home ‘homely’ if they have kids or dogs etc but this just isn’t true as these images of their home just go to prove.

 

 

ww.dailymail.co.uk

ww.dailymail.co.uk

 

 

 

P.s. I’m off to ‘Design School’ tomorrow at Abigail Ahern’s house! Can’t tell you how excited I am…….can’t wait.

 

I’m hoping to get a bit of insider knowledge from one of Britain’s most influential designers with a few decorating secrets, ideas for finishing touches and decoding colour info.

 

Will tell you all about it on Monday!

 

Have a great weekend :)

 

Debenhams surprise finds

Not sure if you do the same but I go through phases with high street stores. For whatever reason I find myself visiting one or two more frequently than others and then I will switch to another and so and so on.

If you’d asked me a year ago whether I ever went into our local Debenhams the answer would probably have been ‘no’ but more recently I have noticed that I am visiting it much more often.

Debenhams is a leading international brand with a proud British heritage and with 240 stores in 28 countries it is a familiar high street brand.

Whereas in the past I may popped in to buy a gift for someone and then rushed out, I now tend to have a quick peek in the homeware section and only the other day I noticed a new furniture range that caught my eye.

The ‘Estelle’ furniture range is beautifully made from acacia wood and has a real mid-century design feel. It’s not cheap but one thing with Debenhams is that they do have good sales so I am going to keep an eye out !

 

The coffee table is my particular favourite!

 

If you have a good look around you can find some really unique reasonably priced smaller household items at such as this bronze rabbit hook.

 

Over the last 20 years Debenhams has invested in British Design through it’s exclusive Designers at Debenhams portfolio of brands with names such as Jasper Conran, Ben de Lisi and Matthew Williamson. They also have the EDITION range which is a concept that brings contemporary designers to the high street, showcasing 2 to 4 designers at any one time. The idea of Edition is to establish a constantly evolving mix of creative talent and in July 2013 Abigail Ahern was asked to design for the Edition range. I am a fan of her work so it’s great to be able see her work in your local high street store.

My favourites from her range are the bison head and the hare lamp.

 

 

Are there any high street stores that you particularly favour at the moment?

Paint your ceilings same colour as your walls?

Hope everyone has had a great weekend. Weather has been a bit odd….one minute blazing sunshine, thunderstorm the next.

Not been feeling that well over the last few days which has been a pain as not felt up to much but thankfully finally feel like I’m on the mend.

Have you noticed how many designers strongly advocate that if you paint your ceilings the same colour as your walls will completely change the mood of the room? I read Abigail Ahern’s blog daily and she is forever saying how painting the ceiling (dark hue naturally) will add immediate mystery and style to a room.

Apartment therapy recently showcased a few examples of how people have tied in their ceilings with their chosen wall paint colour and I have to say the results are pretty impressive. (Credits for images were originally from Elle Decor Espana, Dimore Studio via Trendland, Milk Magazine and Desire to Inspire.)

 

 

 

 

 

I needed to see what all the hype was about and try it out for myself, so given that I was feeling slightly better yesterday afternoon I decided to paint the bathroom ceiling the same colour as the walls (which is a darkish grey). …

 

painting bathroom ceiling

painting bathroom ceiling

bathroom ceiling

bathroom ceiling

bathroom ceiling

bathroom ceiling

 

It’s really tricky to show exactly how it looks in the photo but I am SO pleased with it and the designers are right ! I had never been happy with how the white ceiling had cut in with the grey walls and now they all look seamless and I’m not joking but the ceiling feels taller ! The space feels more stylish and the colour block totally works.

I had already decided that the downstairs loo was going ‘dark’ now that I’ve tried my sample pots out from Abigail Ahern and just waiting to get the large tins so I can start….the ceiling is definitely going dark too.

I think I’m hooked.

 

Poor Paul. I think he prefered it when I was feeling ill. Didn’t change anything in the house last week !

 

Happy Monday :)

Happy Birthday Tom !

Tom is 9 today !

Tom is 9 today !

Today my son Tom is 9 – Happy Birthday Tom xxxx

So many birthdays at the beginning of July. We had our friends 40th and 50th celebrations last weekend, little Liv’s on Tuesday, my brothers was yesterday, one of my best friends tomorrow and then another 40th this weekend!

Habitat celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in May this year with the first store being opened on Fulham Road in London in May 1964, launched by the iconic Terence Conran.

The brand revolutionised British interiors and home furnishings in the 60′s and was one of the first retailers to have a magazine style catalogue launched in 1969.

 

Habitat also led the way in flat-packed furniture in 1971 long before Ikea was a high street name.

 

Habitat went international in 1973 when it opened its first store in Paris and by 1980 it had 47 stores around the world.

By 1990 however, Conran had left the company and Ikea was now in the UK and was selling very similar products but at a much lower price. There was a brief partnership between the two companies but it didn’t last very long and although there was a slight resurgence for Habitat in the noughties when Tom Dixon was head of design, sadly it fell into administration in 2011.

Homebase then bought the Habitat brand and saved 3 flagship stores in the UK.

Although Habitat is no longer as powerful as it once was, it still must be credited for the way in which is has introduced simple design into many of our homes.

I still love many of my purchases such as the radius table and bench and pleased that Homebase kept the brand alive :)

robin day dining chair for habitat

robin day dining chair for habitat