Breaking the rules with Abigail Ahern

Reading Abigail's blog is one thing, it's quite another to have Abigail right in front of you 'yabbering' about 'oddball' colours and how not to make a room look 'bonkers'. Loved it. Abigail's masterclass at Megan Morton's The School covered a range of topics based on her eclectic vibe:

  • creating your dream home
  • breaking the rules
  • finishing touches
  • decoding colour
  • designing on a shoestring.

Abigail was relaxed, informative and incredibly generous with her design philosophy and sharing it with the group. Quick quiz at the beginning said that I'm a 'classic eclectic'. Fifteen pages of notes later, you can't help but want to go to the dark side and start painting your own house in charcoal, olive and inky blue. Not just the walls - skirting, floors AND the ceilings.

Abigail talks about breaking the rules, which raised many an eyebrow of those that have studied design. Consider the aspect of the room before choosing a colour and painting it? No, doesn't matter. Leave clear walking paths through your rooms? No, better to allow people to pick their own trails as they do in nature (or Anthropologie stores). Have a single focal point in your room? No, three focal points is better.

It's not to say Abigail doesn't have rules of her own but its is more about understanding the traditional design principles and then bending these to create a look that tantalises and mesmerises the eye, tricks it, through fearless choices in colours, layers, textures and playing with scale. Daring to be different to create a space that better resonates with you and allows you to design with what you love. It's a great philosophy, the challenge is now how to incorporate those ideas into my own design style, separate to Abigail's own distinctive, signature style. Rock 'n' roll!

Abigail and Makisa