Last week I had the great pleasure of interviewing British interior designer Abigail Ahern while she was in Sydney for Decoration + Design. Despite travelling across the globe to be in Australia for a mere three days and having flu, she delighted audiences with her passionate, quirky and rule-breaking approach to interiors. She also revealed to me, to my great excitement, that opening a shop in Sydney in on her to-do list. I know! How exciting is that?
Australians have really embraced Abigail and she is as surprised as the next person. She gets more overseas sales from her London shop (Atelier Abigail Ahern), hits on her blog and Facebook fans from Australia than anywhere else. “I don’t understand it and I’m blown away by it,” says Abigail, who has never had PR representation here or deliberately gone after an Australian audience. “My popularity here knocks my socks off! It’s overwhelming.” As she told me in a previous interview, Abigail believes Australians are more into interiors than any other country, even America. “I would love to open a shop here. I love Sydney so I think it would have to be here. It’s definitely on my to-do list.”
Abigail’s new book, Decorating with Style, was released here last week, eight weeks ahead of its release anywhere else in the world (the benefits of being her biggest fans!) and she is really excited about it. While her first book, A Girl’s Guide to Decorating, was a bestseller, it wasn’t her concept, and she feels she has grown with experience. “The first book was more practical. This one’s more about breaking down barriers and showing that anyone can do it, that you don’t need to be an A list interior designer or have loads of money to have a great interior. I was lucky that I was given the freedom to really write this book in my own voice.”
Having confidence in your own style is something she really encourages, while acknowledging a lack of it is what holds many people back from experimenting. “People always ask themselves ‘what if it doesn’t work?’ or ‘what if I don’t like it?’ but I don’t approach decorating that way. It doesn’t actually hold me back. People are too scared of making mistakes. When people let go and don’t have rules, that’s when they create the most tantalising interiors. I’d like to inspire people to be more confident.” [Read more...]