Freemans has been rounding up some of the best design talent there is lately, with homeware collections from Henry Holland and Siobhan Murphy both adding to the online department store’s ever-growing home offering. And now, to complete the hat trick, interior design sensation Abigail Ahern can be added to that roster, as her homeware collection at Freemans launches.
Quoted as ‘one of the world’s most exciting designers’ by W Magazine, Abigail has literally written the book (or rather several books) on maximalism design, so we already knew to expect brilliant things from a partnership between her and Freemans. But the Abigail Ahern at Freemans collection takes things even further by offering truly affordable (prices start from £8) yet luxe style that completely encapsulates her signature moody, more-is-more aesthetic. We sat down with Abigail to hear her thoughts on the collection.
Hi Abigail! Let’s get right into it, please do tell us more about this fantastic collaboration with Freemans and what we can all expect.
I would describe it as eclectic, super tactile but also quite timeless. It’s pieces that will stand the test of time, they’re not for swapping in and out with the seasons – I just wanted it to be inherently beautiful. The colour palette is so curated that there’s not one piece that won’t work with another piece and that’s taken a lot of thought and patience but I think it really comes together.
I’m inspired by travel (when I can, that is!). It’s a huge inspiration for me because I’m very drawn to relaxed, nomadic, bohemian styles; India and Morocco are always on my radar and they pretty much influence the whole colour palette [of the collection].
For me, a trend that just gets bigger and bigger is texture, it’s such a key component to how we can turn a house around. So the textures [in the collection] are really amazing, from the vases to the dried flowers, which are also having a moment that I think will continue because they elevate tablescapes so beautifully. Ultimately, the thread between everything is this really beautiful playing up of incredible textures.
Can you tell us a little more about why you decided Freemans was the best place for you to collaborate with? You are alongside some other great design talents, Henry Holland and Siobhan Murphy – what a trio!
I love that Freemans sell a curated range of super affordable pieces and since my brand is all about affordable luxury it felt like a really good collab. For me, it’s really lovely to be able to do chairs and rugs as part of a licensing range – the Nomad Rug is one of those timeless pieces that looks beautiful anywhere, while the Emsy chair is in this texture that’s just incredible.
You have a range that compromises 100 pieces, do you have favourites? What’s going to end up in your own home, for example?
Actually quite a lot of it! The Lassi Faux Fur Cube is one of those pieces that instantly cosies up a space – also it’s multi-functional so you can use it as a pouffe, you can put a tray on it and use it as a bedside table, it can go in any room and also having that texture immediately invigorates a room. The faux cushions are also so beautiful and great at this time of year to snuggle into.
What I love about the candles is that we’ve encased them in the most beautiful glass, so once you’ve burnt them you have this incredible pink sandblasted vase, which I think is just lovely. It’s so hard to say which scent is my favourite because both of them are absolutely beautiful, they’ve got these hibiscus notes and they’re super calming and grounding, without being overwhelming.
Do you agree that lockdown put more of a microscope onto interiors and people are now introducing more into their homes?
For sure, spending longer at home makes you drill into home more than ever, from quick little refreshes that you can upgrade with accessories to reconfiguring layouts and painting walls.
Your collection with Freemans will help bring more Abigail Ahern into people’s homes with your curation of strong and confident hues and textiles, how do you feel about that?
Super excited! I love that it will open AA up to another set of customers and increase our reach and I love that Freemans is offering this beautiful range of products to their customers.
Your signature style – which seamlessly carries through this collection – is quite dark, moody and maximalist, an aesthetic a lot of people are scared to introduce into their home. How do you suggest people can embrace this look?
The reason I’m so obsessed with this style is because when you dial down the lightness a bit, things literally pop and the room feels so much more cocooning and cosy. The way to do it if you’re scared of painting your walls is to experiment with accessories, such as the handblown vases in those beautiful burnt caramel and toffee colours, the faux fur pouffe or the baskets.
The thing with colour is it’s all about confidence, but once you start experimenting it gives you more confidence to add some inky-hued cushions and throws to the bed or maybe do a feature wall. Once you start adding those really beautiful tones you see it transforms spaces instantly.
You’ve spoken before about restricting how many colours you use in a room – why does that work?
In this collection there’s no more than about five colours and the reason for that is when you’re a maximalist or playing around with a ‘more is more’ vibe, the more different colours and tones you add to a room the more chaotic it reads. However, when you pull back and reduce the number of colours, it becomes more sophisticated. You can still go up and down the saturation level within those colours, eg. I consider burnt toffee and sandy caramel to be different saturation levels of brown. When we say maximalist, we think of lots of chaotic colours and it feels quite cluttered, but it really doesn’t have to be.
The Abigail Ahern at Freemans homeware collection is available to buy online at freeemans.com now.