Abigail Ahern's Dark and Dramatic East London Home

House Tour

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Name: Abigail Ahern, her husband Graham Scott, Mungo the miniature schnauzer, and Maude the Welsh terrier
Location: Dalston; London, UK
Size: 2,200 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years

Imagine if Vermeer and Rousseau got to share a canvas, the Dutchman filling it with his trademark dark interiors, soft light filtering in through a window, and the Frenchman adding lush ferns, copious flowers, birds and animals peeking through the foliage. Now add layer upon layer of texture —wood, velvet, pottery, wool, metallics — and you are getting close to envisaging designer Abigail Ahern’s fabulous East London home.

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Abigail, her husband Graham, and their two adorable dogs, Mungo and Maude, live in a four story Victorian townhouse in Dalston. Round the corner is London at its most chaotic, vibrant and noisy, but inside Abi has created a cozy and welcoming haven that mixes glamour and grandeur with fun and quirky details that make you smile. Welcome!

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, boho, glam. I am obsessed with dark interiors. They cocoon you and make you feel snug and comforted, particularly in London where the light is very soft. When you put an object up against a dark wall, it has the effect of making it pop and gives it grandeur.

Inspiration: It is a huge mix drawing on many influences — Hollywood glam, old glam drinking dens, traditional interiors. I travel a lot and see lots of trade shows, lots of flea markets, meet lots of artists. I see a lot of stuff! I ignore trends and I buy something because I love it. A lot of what ends up in my shop ends up here too. Interiors can be a snooty business. I want my home to be glamorous, but not uptight. The penguins and poodles and other animals immediately lighten the mood.

Favorite Element: I love the double height glass wall, which extends the space inside and out. I wanted the garden to be overgrown and forest-like and create our own little private enclosed space. We built an outdoor kitchen last year and we use it all the time. We cook sea bass, prawns, pizza, steak, chicken, everything out there.

Biggest Challenge: Making each and every room a cozy space. I wanted them to almost wrap me in the squishiest of blankets, so I've recreated that feeling through an abundance of texture.

What Friends Say: "Wowzers!"

Biggest Embarrassment: Years ago I painted my whole studio in a color I hadn't tested first. I started on the cornice and just kept going. Then right at the end, I figured out I hated it!

Proudest DIY: My wardrobe in the bedroom made from MDF.

Biggest Indulgence: Lighting. Some of my pieces are handmade and took the artists 6 months to create.

Best Advice: Buy only what you love!

Dream Sources: 1st Dibs, Ochre, Kelly Wearstler, ABC Carpet and Home, Liberty, Petersham Nurseries, Merci

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • All from Abigail Ahern's new paint range
  • Kitchen: Crosby
  • Dining room: Madison Grey
  • Living room: Madison Grey
  • Studio: Hudson Black and Bedford Brown
  • Bathroom: Wooster
  • Bedroom: Crosby
  • Hallway: Mulberry Red

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofa and red armchair: George Smith
  • Teal chairs: flea market finds which I covered in a fabric called Bute by Tom Dixon
  • Zebra rug: Jonathan Alder
  • Wallpaper: Deborah Bowness

DINING ROOM

KITCHEN

BEDROOM

  • Bed linen: Merci in Paris
  • Chair: vintage
  • Chandelier and other lighting: Abigail Ahern
  • Flowers: Abigail Ahern
  • Rugs: Maroc Tribal

BATHROOM

  • Wire chandelier: Abigail Ahern
  • Accessories: Abigail Ahern
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Thanks, Abi!

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(Image credits: Rebecca Bond)