Abigail Ahern redesigns her sister's apartment

By Jimmy Loughran in Real Homes on Friday, July 16, 2010 - 18:09

When Gemma Ahern asked her sister Abigail to help re-design her and her graphic designer boyfriends’ apartment on a budget of €7,500, you might be forgiven for assuming this was an impossible task.

That being said, Abigail Ahern has a knack for making spaces look more luxurious on a tight budget. Smokey coloured floors and luxurious dark walls, neon accessories nestling in corners and oversized objects that add humour, are trademarks of the London based interior designer and boutique owner. Uncannily coinciding with the release of her book earlier, this year ‘A Girl’s Guide to Decorating’ which teaches you how to create Abigail’s looks in your own home - this apartment makeover is an A-Z of her book, personified.

(Photographs: Gap Interiors/Mel Yates/Rohni Wahi)

Living room:

We love the smokey coloured Farrow and Ball Downpipe is used on the walls, floors and skirting boards, which create an instant sense of originality for the room.

The dark walls also act as the perfect backdrop for an eclectic collection of junk shop finds.

The window seat is the epitome of stylish comfort, and was specially made and covered with slouchy cushions.

The sofa from Muji once belonged to Abigail while the coffee table was given a new lease of life by re-spraying in a shiny Barbie pink.

The wall is covered in Deborah Bowness ‘bookcase’ wallpaper to add impact without the cost of actual bookcases.


The hand-blown lamp from Italian lighting company Prandina cost €600, half of the entire budget for the kitchen. The cabinet fronts were replaced with MDF doors which were spray-painted an inky blue. The dining table, another flea market find, was painted black.


The smokey grey colour continues into the landing and the banisters have been painted a darker hue to match.

The landing has been cleverly transformed into a mini-gallery with a variety of prints and the old printer’s letters picked up at a flea market.


In the bedroom old MDF wardrobes were repainted and long strips of wood added as handles. The bus roll signage was found on eBay.

The bedroom mantle is lovingly adorned with flea market finds, which contrast nicely with the dark and grungy paints.


The clever ostrich table in the bathroom comes from Abigail’s shop. Tiling is kept dark to match the walls while red accessories and quirky wall art finish the look. The bathroom console came from Made in Design.

Our verdict:

Abigail has done an amazing job with her sister Gemma's apartment, injecting it with a bold and dark style.

Would you be this brave with your colours? Are have you got a fear of the dark (paints)? Tell us in the comments!