Inspirational Women: delis, vintage and interiors|
|Article in images|
After beginning her career working for Terence Conran’s publishing company, Abigail re-trained as an interior designer when her husband’s job required them to move stateside.
“I retrained because I’d been working on interiors picture books and really loved it. I got a job in an architectural practice in New York and it grew from there.”
After four years in New York, the couple moved back to London and Abigail opened her flagship interiors store in Islington.
“My first love is the store because interior design I can do it very easily. In this sort of market the store is more of a challenge.” She has recently enjoyed opening her first concession, too, in the famous Bluebird concept store on London’s King’s Road.
Abigail’s working life is undeniably a juggling act – with the store to run, international interior design clients (including a super spa in Miami) and her book, Decorating for Girls about to be published in three different languages! “It is quite crazy trying to juggle the design side with the store side but it’s all good fun.”
Decorating for Girls, which was published this summer, is a must-buy for any home decorating enthusiasts, explains Abigail: “It demystifies DIY - all the projects can be done in a lazy Sunday afternoon kind of way. Plus it personifies my style playing with colour, scale and making homes quirky and fun.”
Next, Abigail is turning her attentions to design. “Probably the most exciting thing in my world right now is that we’re designing our own range of lighting and we plan to branch out to furniture and textiles too”.
This builds on Abigail’s increasingly bold approach to buying for her shop. “Before I had quite a conservative range with a few of my eclectic pieces but now, having been in the store so much, I’ve realized that people really love the quirky stuff.”
So what advice could she give other budding interior designers? “You’ve got to totally follow your gut, don’t diversify into too many fields and stick to your style.”
1990 - Picture researcher at Conran Octopus
1995 - Retrained as interior designer in the US
1997-99 Interior designer at McIntosh Poris (US architectural firm)
2000 - Freelance stylist and designer in UK working for all the leading
design magazines as well as advertising and pr campaigns
2003 - Launched store Atelier Abigail Ahern
2007 - Lauched design service at Atelier Abigail Ahern
2009 - Girls Guide to Decorating published by Quadrille
2009 - working on capsule collection of lighting debuting Spring 2010
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