A few days ago Molly my dog (aged just 41/2 died of a sudden heart attack). Needless to say my world has been turned totally upside down. So today and for the next few days I am taking a bit of time out from posting.
I am asked a zillion times how to hang pictures to create an impromtu gallery esq wall. The key is to consider the artwork you are hanging as some pieces deserve to be hung alone, others such as drawings, photos and small scale prints work best in groups, clustered by a staircase, above a sofa or simply strung along a wall. Professional looking hanging relies on a few simple principles. The important thing to remember is that the images together should create a visual rhythm that is greater than if each one were hung separately. When placing art around furniture go with your intuition: lowering an image to waist height relates it to say the sofa. If you want to draw the eye upwards say to highlight an architectural detail – hang your picture high to help accent it.
An organic cluster of images animates this bedroom wall. Some pictures lean against the wall for a relaxed feel, and the uneven spacing between them is also part of the composition, which has the impact of a large single work without the formality.
Kitchens should be glamorous I say! You can do this by adding surprise elements for example in my own pad I have opted for suede 30s bar stools flanking a central island with an oversized table light – to me this feels very boutique hotelish at the same time harmonizing the kitchen with the rest of the room.
Open shelves are also wonderful for adding tons more storage and at the same time showing your taste to the rest of the world. Plus you don’t have to have a big kitchen to add glamour in fact one of the smallest kitchens I have ever seen was in NY and it was beyond fabulous (see below). Wallpaper flanks the painted black cabinets so that everything merges seamlessly. Every inch of storage space has been used even above the cupboards and the effect was dazzling.
Sexy, sublime and incredibly glamorous this minuscule kitchen packs a big visual punch.
Kelly Wearstler’s kitchen is the kitchen of my dreams. A strict colour palette and clean, graphic lines are glamorous, swanky and just shout old Hollywood. Its traditional but its paired with a modern vibe, its theatrical but not kitsch. I love it! And I so so so want to look like Kelly!
Thank you to the Independent magazine on Saturday for their very lovely feature on my house - for the full article just click on the link.
Below is Bert my elf light who has a full page feature in the article. I found him at an antiques fair a few years ago and here he sits proudly on my balcony. Having said that he has quite bewilderingly flung him self off twice whilst I have been out of the house – crashing to the floor and breaking an incredibly expensive light (TWICE) – which we have had to get mouth blown from Venice to huge expensive!! So he is a little bit in the dog house to say the least -although seeing how very cute he looks here I have forgiven him.
Ah long and narrow rooms – most of us have them and most of us (except moi)!! don’t know what on earth to do with them. Fear not because although they do present challenges (as the space can look easily unbalanced) they don’t have to look like a corridor. There are a number of tricks of the trade – they key is to visually break up the longness (is that a word)?. So place furniture diagonally rather than slap bang against the wall. Trick the brain by painting the longest wall in a light colour to recede. An arrangement of shelves or quirky display of art makes the shorter walls in the room appear wider, as does using wallpaper with a bold pattern or scale. Another trick is to avoid casting to much light on the ceiling as this will emphasize its shape instead pump up the ambient and mood lighting. Armed with these techniques you can easily create different perspectives to disguise the nature of the room. Hurrah!
Yes its narrow but its also fabulous and it doesn’t feel like a corridor. Furniture in this home office is on a small scale but has been moved away from the walls to improve the visual flow, while the bold rug also attracts the eye. The window has been simply adorned with a lace curtain that draws little attention to the end of the room.
Photos (love taking them and hate beyond hate being in them) provide no better story of you. Friends, family, funny events or even an image of your childhood add intigue to walls, shelves and mantles. I came across a fabulous idea when shooting my book in NY of a selection of polaroids simply stuck to the wall in a grid formation – see below. Its personal, its interesting (I wanted to examine each and every image) and it also has the feel of a gallery wall. I loved it!
I am often asked as a designer how to create interesting displays, infact so many stores in my mind do this badly plonking items all over the shop without any kind of rhythm that I find myself restyling their spaces much to the annoyance of whoever I am with!
Its not about being cowed by a rigid scheme but unless the juxaposition of each object is right your design will feel disjointed and out of kilter. How the eye flows from one object to the next will be determined by the shape and size of each item. In addition every area has to have ‘negative’ space which allows groupings or stand alone pieces to breathe. I say mix it all up a bit – so say the odd stone pelican cast from concrete (sorry am obsessed with these guys of late) next to smaller bits and bots. Just remember to balance the assortment with oodles of space and the occasional bit of symmetry.
An arty selection of objects broken up with bursts of negative space which helps to emphasize each group is to my mind perfection!
Pelicans (love love love them) add a dash of panache to this mantle piece. Now here there is only a smidge of space between the objects and yet the display looks vibrant and balanced and thats because the grouping is united by a very simple colour palette. See – easy peasy!
Thank you Vogue for writing such a delightful review of my store – please see below. It makes all the hard work so worthwhile and I was beyond flattered to see the post. As Vogue mentions we are soon to be opening an Atelier Abigail Ahern at Bluebird in the Kings Road mid September. I am incredibly excited about this partnership and as we speak ordering and working on an amazing collection of finds for this uber cool store!
As any girl (or boy) knows style has absolutely nothing to do with money, so limited funds needn’t mean limited ideas. To me its all about reinventing your space and giving it a jolt of personality that turns it from faded to fabulous and all without breaking the bank.
Something that adds instant personality is filling your pad with books and magazines, they provide no better story of you. They bring walls, floors and shelves alive creating an totally informal makeshift library.
Piles of books and magazines stashed in alcove shelves add a colourful layer of interest.
Books and magazines arranged beautifully in orderly stacks according to size and colour also provide great plinths for displaying treasured keepsakes.
Records add an eclectic touch and enliven this nook – its all about visual juxtaposition. Its personal, artistic and anything but static.
Well I want to move right into Martin Thomson’s pad in NY (not only is he one of my favourite photogs) I just love how his apartment oozes style without being at all contrived. Easy elegance is what I call it and it’s quite a hard look to achieve. It’s all in the combination as they say – mixing vintage and modern finds to create a home that’s chic and cosy. I’m a huge fan of signs particularly bus roll signs – in the store we stock chairs upholstered in them by the uber hip Australian label DavidmetNicole. I’m desperate to order one of these wingbacks for myself so much do I love it. Martin has causally hung such a sign which adds an intriguing element to his space. Also love the interesting play on texture s combining the roughness of the brick contrasting with the smoothness of the floors – its all about creating contrasts that add allure.I completely changed my living space a year or so ago by ordering some old brick and installing over my plaster walls – yes it was a bit of an epic job (brick dust everywhere) but it completely changed the space and makes me feel every time I return home as if I living in downtown NY instead of downtown Dalston!
My pad with its roughly hewn brick walls.
Our wingback chair – upholstered in the finest of leathers with vintage bus scroll signage on the back – love it!