Mad About . . .

Abigail Ahern Collaborates With Hillarys Blinds

2nd October 2018

Abigail Ahern, famous for her dark, moody interiors and masculine maximalism, has collaborated with Hillarys blinds to create a collection of 19 curtain and blind fabrics in a partnership that is, on the surface, surprising to both of them. But it really works and I congratulate both of them on a project which has taken two years to put together and which launches today.

AbigailAhernxHillarys cley donkey roman blind with colette vixen fringe

AbigailAhernxHillarys cley donkey roman blind with colette vixen fringe

Now I’ll be honest. When I was invited to Abigail’s house to see the collection I wasn’t sure. I’m a fan of her style but it’s a million miles away from Hillarys, although I have worked with them and always recommend their plain linens and cottons to my clients. But how were the two going to mix together?

“It’s quite a step out of their comfort zone,” said my Hillarys insider. “They don’t want to alienate their core customer but they were happy to be pushed a little to reach new people.”

AbigailAhernxHillarys lucien dust curtains and blind with collette amour fringe

AbigailAhernxHillarys lucien dust curtains and blind with collette amour fringe

And I’m pretty sure they will. Abigail’s collection is made of faux-velvet (tougher than cotton velvet), faux leather, lots tribal prints, tweeds and linens.

And then there’s the fringing. There are six coloured fringes, which you can see in the images, which just give a little flourish to the masculinity of a roman blind. And that’s the key to her style.

AbigailAhernxHillarys wolfe smoulder roman blinds with vixen fringing

AbigailAhernxHillarys wolfe smoulder roman blinds with vixen fringing

“My style has always been quite masculine,” said Abigail at the launch. “But it’s also incredibly tactile. People don’t understand the importance of how things feel and that was absolutely key for me.”

So she “went to town” on the fabrics and the embellishment. The tones may be muted – dark greens, navy blues and warm golds but the fringes come in coral, black and red and gold and can be toned or contrasted with the relevant fabric.

AbigailAhernxHillarys coloured curtain lining in dockyard, chimney, tanner and tobacco

AbigailAhernxHillarys coloured curtain lining in dockyard, chimney, tanner and tobacco

The other key, and clever, touch is in the picture above. Coloured linings. It’s a small thing but not one that you see very often. Remember as a child drawing houses and the curtains always faced outwards so you could draw patterns? The reality is that the pattern is always on the inside and it’s the plain beige lining that faces the street. I have a Swedish friend whose curtains are two sided with lining in the middle, but Abigail has added a range of coloured linings to her curtains which is a detail I love.

“It’s a real game-changer. Why shouldn’t your home look as amazing from the outside as it does inside?” she said.

AbigailAhernxHillarys cley mole curtains and cley buffalo bline with celeste fringe and matching cushion with amour fringe

AbigailAhernxHillarys cley mole curtains and cley buffalo bline with celeste fringe and matching cushion with amour fringe

The range also includes cushions, which Hillarys did already offer but these are Abigail cushions. They come in different sizes and you can choose different fabric front and back as well as were to place the fringe – round the edge, across the middle, just on the ends. It’s up to you. That’s where the faux leather comes into its own. Think velvet on one side, leather on the other and a fringe round the edge.

AbigailAhernxHillarys mortan tar roman blind with harkness gasoline cushion both with kohl fringe and cadillac noir cushion with soleil fringe

AbigailAhernxHillarys mortan tar roman blind with harkness gasoline cushion both with kohl fringe and cadillac noir cushion with soleil fringe

“You need to layer up the cushions,” says Abigail. “That takes it to another level. Cushions are the five minute face-lift of the decorating world.”

Abigail was also keen to avoid being on trend. These colours may be popular at the moment and at this time of year but they are true to her style.

AbigailAhernxHillarys wolfe smoulder, harkness gasoline, cley mole, jago tabac, cadillac noir, nichol lunar and beats haze cushions

AbigailAhernxHillarys wolfe smoulder, harkness gasoline, cley mole, jago tabac, cadillac noir, nichol lunar and beats haze cushions

“I hate trends. Everything in this house has been here for years and I moved in 16 years ago,” she said. “It’s quite heritage./ I don’t want to have things that you want to change after a season.”

AbigailAhernxHillarys harkness gasoline blinds with celeste fringe

AbigailAhernxHillarys harkness gasoline blinds with celeste fringe

And she returned to her theme of texture. “It’s the most under-considered component I find. People never think about how things feel just how they look. I like to layer fabrics because texture will transform a space.”

AbigailAhernxHillarys lucien dust curtains and blind with amour frige and wolfe smoulder cushion

AbigailAhernxHillarys lucien dust curtains and blind with amour frige and wolfe smoulder cushion

Walking round her house you can see what she means – layers of velvet, linen, cotton, leather and sheepskin vie for space on every chair. There are rugs in contrasting fabrics and lots of wood and metal surfaces. Lamps and chandeliers are in every room  creating, not just layers of texture but layers of light as well.

AbigailAhernxHillarys beats haze curtains

AbigailAhernxHillarys beats haze curtains

So it comes as no surprise that she’s also a fan of layering window dressings as you can see from many of the images here. “You can take rooms to whole other levels when you add multiple layers with curtains and romans, especially if they’re in a different fabric or texture,” she said.

Take this picture above, the colours are very un-Abigail but the pale fabric – which has a slight, and slightly unexpected, silvery sheen to it – with the coral fringing which just adds a bit of oomph and stops it being restrained good taste – which is lovely but can be a bit dull. The effect is subtle and doesn’t shout but it’s there in the silver and the fringing.

AbigailAhernxHillarys garratt bullrush curtains and cadillac noir blinds and cushion with vixen fringing

AbigailAhernxHillarys garratt bullrush curtains and cadillac noir blinds and cushion with vixen fringing

In fact, I would really like a pair of trousers made in that fabric- which is Lucien Dust by the way. Abigail and I also had a conversation about a coat made from the green Harkness gasoline as well.

The collection launches today so have a look at all of them in more detail on the Hillarys site and see if any of these take your fancy. My favourites are the two mentioned above but there are eight other plains in colours such as peat, buffalo, mole and donkey – to give you an idea of colours. The colours are all fairly restrained true to Abigail’s palette but the patterns and texture more than make up for that.

AbigailAhernxHillarys jago tabac blind and cushion both with minx fringe and cadillac noir cushion with vixen fringe

AbigailAhernxHillarys jago tabac blind and cushion both with minx fringe and cadillac noir cushion with vixen fringe

What do you think? It’s a shame this isn’t touchovision because you will just have to take my word for it that they are all incredibly soft and strokeable.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Ursula in Cádiz 4th October 2018 at 9:46 pm

    The collection oozes with richness: a very luxe look. Me likey!

  • Reply Laura 3rd October 2018 at 10:40 am

    Ah, what an interesting and unexpected collaboration! I have been in the market for new window dressings recently, and it was really hard to find inspiration online. So often, interiors shots seem to be taken facing away from the window, so you don’t see how they have been styled. If there are windows in the picture, they are quite often bare with no window dressings at all. I particularly found this in photographs of beautiful children’s rooms and nurseries – they either had completely bare windows, or had billowing, sheer voiles – not very practical for daytime napping! So these beautiful photographs where the window dressings are the actually focus is much appreciated inspiration!

  • Reply Nicki 2nd October 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Amazing – some of them are beautiful. Well – if Hillarys are trying to attract new customers – this collaboration has certainly worked for me! I wouldn’t even have thought of looking at their site before xx

  • Reply JC 2nd October 2018 at 8:46 am

    Bravo Abigail! I think that collaboration is a success. It’s really made me think about layering and textures in my home especially for the bedroom. I don’t have high ceilings but a roman blind combined with full length curtains could still work and add interest to a room. Going to take a closer look at those cushions at the store!

  • Reply Hilary 2nd October 2018 at 8:22 am

    I’ve been to Abigail Ahern’s house and it’s fabulous – very inspiring, even if you don’t want to go ‘over to the dark side!’
    Her ideas of light/shade, texture, contemporary/vintage and playing
    with scale are relevant with any interior and exterior colour scheme.
    Thank you for this article Kate, I’ll go and look at
    Hillary’s!

  • Reply Karen 2nd October 2018 at 8:10 am

    I totally disagree with the first reply to this post. These images of fabric blinds done in a unique way with colours and texture have made me re-think window dressings. Too many people just sway towards blinds and shutters these day or no window dressing at all and I think this makes a room look rather cold and unfinished. I particularly like window dressing and have velvet curtains in most rooms, but I may be tempted back to the use of roman blinds and will most definately check out the range. Love the cushions too!

  • Reply Julia Inman 2nd October 2018 at 8:10 am

    At first I thought layers & trimmings….I am not going back! However, the blinds with a splash of vibrant trim look amazing. Also, I really love the idea of coloured linings but then realised not practical where windows face full sun – the colour would fade so quickly 😟 PS looking forward to your podcasts!

  • Reply sue luckin 2nd October 2018 at 7:36 am

    Sorry but I find these pics very gloomy, dare I say depressing. At night, given the added texture , that moody look could be stunning, but for day….?

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