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Abigail Ahern competition

We chat to our winner

avatar of Samantha Gibson

by Samantha Gibson

Trend and Styling Expert

Published: 10/02/2015

As part of our Life Styles series, top interior designer Abigail Ahern offered one lucky winner the opportunity to attend a one day interior design masterclass in her fabulous London home.

Our competition winner, Paget Scott McCarthy recently took up her coveted prize and we caught up with her to find out more about her experience. 

Paget, tell us about your own home and interior style
I want my London flat to be really welcoming and cosy but also visually engaging – somewhere you want to spend time in, but that doesn’t feel too sleepy!

I think I would describe my interior style as an eclectic mix of rustic and boho. Textiles, plants and art are key elements, and my favourite room is my kitchen which is a lovely mix of dark grey and green. It’s a real haven.

Where did you find out about our competition?
Pinterest and Instagram are my go-to places for all things interior and that’s where I first discovered Abigail’s design styles. I really love the way she makes her designs so accessible, and so I subscribed to her blog to find out more. It was here that she mentioned this fabulous opportunity and I was keen to enter.

How did you feel when you discovered you’d won?
Really delighted! It was such a wonderful gift. I was so busy with work in the run up to Christmas and to have this to look forward to felt really uplifting.

What were your first impressions of Abigail’s home?
Abigail’s home is a feast for the eyes. There’s just so much to discover. Her colour palette is at the same time soothing, welcoming and engaging. I loved how each room had its own dark hue and design personality but the house hangs together as a whole. It’s clearly taken a huge amount of work but Abigail makes it all looks completely effortless.

What did you enjoy the most about the day?
Abigail walked us through each room and gave us lots of inspirational tips as well as really practical advice on design processes, from lighting and wallpaper to sourcing materials and accessories. The buffet lunch was delicious too.

What was the most valuable piece of advice you took from the day?
That’s tricky because there were so many fantastic tips. Textiles are my passion and so I think one of my favourite pieces of advice would have to be “layers equal cool – the more layers you add, the better your design is going to look”.

How has the masterclass influenced your own design ideas?
Abigail’s style is in no way elitist and she has given me the confidence to “follow my gut” and to discover my own interior design personality through trial and error. Abigail has also made me re-evaluate some of the spaces within my home, encouraging us to treat all rooms equally. I have some lovely sculptures that I was going to put in the living room, but now I think I’ll put them in the hall instead.

What changes, if any, will you be implementing in your own home as a result of attending the masterclass? 
I’m going to add more circles! When I got home I realised just how many rectangles I have so I want to change that. I’m definitely going to paint out a dark room and I’m particularly looking forward to layering up lots of lovely textiles.

Has this experience influenced your view of Hillarys in any way?
I had read the Abigail Ahern blog post mentioning that you were working together creating her curtains, and that she was pleased with the result. Seeing the Hillarys curtains in reality made a huge difference. Not only the colour and the material, which was beautiful, but how well they were finished. There was real skill involved on the part of Hillarys.