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Abigail Ahern Workshop at the Ace Hotel

Abigail Ahern Workshop at the Ace Hotel

by Kelly Sparkes on August 21, 2012

The bar at the Ace HotelDark, glamorous, rough luxe, peppered with vintage curiosities and stuffed animals; the ACE Hotel is the perfect venue for an Abigail Ahern Workshop.

Trying to find the hotel I have a mix of emotions, I’m excited, but also have that nervous energy that comes with attending these kinds of events on my lonesome.  I was a little skeptical too, would she live up to her book and hype?

I’m pleased to say she did, and although the shop recommendations were geared towards the American Market, it was perfect for me with three weeks of shopping time in New York ahead.  The only thing I missed was seeing Abigail’s home in person, I guess I will just have to book another in London.

Sign for Liberty Hall in the Ace HotelI was amazed at the distance attendees travelled to attend the course.  Two women had come from Australia and the rest were from all over America, including the lovely Van from San Francisco, a fellow KLC student I meet about six months ago through twitter.  Everyone was so friendly and open that it was easy to ditch my usual British reserve during the team discussions and presentations.  I can imagine the atmosphere would be quite different in London.

After a jam packed morning soaking up Abigail’s wisdom we had a fabulous lunch at the Breslin, where I got to know Van and some of the other girls.  The photo below doesn’t come close to capturing the amount of quirky pieces in there.

Breslin Restaurant at the Ace HotelI was expecting Abigail to say that everything had to be dark, but to be honest she put across quite a balanced point of view and seemed almost down on some of the photographs of her interiors.  It was nice to see that even someone like Ms Ahern finds fault in the things she has done in the past and openly admits that her designs can be aesthetics over practicality.  She is also really approachable and lovely even posing with Van and for a photo at the end of the class.

Van and I with Abigail AhernI’ve come away full of ideas for my home, I just want to get back and get started!  The main thing I learnt is that I need to be fearless, play with symmetry, and get more ‘stuff’!  I think I will also be braver with pattern after witnessing how it works so well with a restricted colour palette.

Will I be moving to the dark side soon?  I think so, but not quite to the extent that Ms Ahern might if she got her hands on my very white home…

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire August 22, 2012 at 6:45 am

Hi Kelly,
I went to Abi’s London workshop back in November. It was amazing and you will have to book yourself on another to see her home. It is wonderful.
I couldn’t sleep the night afterwards thinking about all the exciting ideas I had! Like you I have a “white” home! Over time I have started adding quirky ornaments, lamps and side tables, moving items into the centre of the room and adding layers. Even in my white or light interior it has made an incredible difference!
I’m off to Lille next weekend for the Brocante – an opportunity to acquire some quirky French accessories! Cx


Kelly Sparkes August 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hi Claire,

I’m still excited about it a couple of weeks later :) I’ve bought lots of accessories over here and can’t wait to see how they look at home.

Have a fabulous time at the Brocante and snap up some bargains! It sounds fabulous x


Tina August 22, 2012 at 8:58 am

You brave thing you….. I think it’s so cool you did it in NY…

When Barbara Streisand gave her last concert in 2007, I thought it would be far more decadent to go and see it in Paris than the O2 Arena in London. It was magic as we went to Flo Brasserie afterwards and the likes of Jean Paul Gautier and others walked in at the same time. Where would that happen in London at midnight??

I’m still due to do AA workshop, so let’s go together…

I like her very much. I remember when she opened her first shop, round the corner from the present one and she only had a few products in and was rather nervous about her new venture. I assured her she has a great eye and if she can move to Upper Street, she’ll do really well.

Like with everything in life, I take the bits I like and create my own manual. Abigailmhas fabulous ideas and her passion is infectious!!!

Nice to accompany you on your trip….. what’s next????


Kelly Sparkes August 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

It was great to do it in New York, but I’m looking forward to doing another and seeing her house in London. I would love to go together, we should look at dates :)

That’s a great story about the concert, I’m sure it was so much better seeing it in Paris and your right about not being able to go to a chic brasserie to mingle with celebrities afterwards in London. You would just have had a packed tube journey home to look forward to!

I love that you knew Abigail way back when she first started out, it’s easy to forget that all successful people had to start somewhere.

We are in the Meat packing district now on the last week of the trip, it’s a fabulous area, vibrant and interesting. I feel a post coming on ;)


Laura Passey August 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hello lovely miss Kelly! Can I please join you both when you go in London? What a lovely picture of you with Abigail. And what’s all this about British reserve?!? The Breslin looks so fun! xxxx


Kelly Sparkes August 31, 2012 at 11:21 am

Yes of course you can! The Breslin was loads of fun, food was gorgeous too xx


Sam Lennie August 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm

That’s a great photo of the three of you, love Abi’s top :-) How lovely you got to meet Van too. I shall have to go see the Ace Hotel next week, the place looks amazing. See you Monday lovely xx


Kelly Sparkes August 31, 2012 at 11:24 am

I still cant believe she posed for it, shows what a lovely lady she is. You should pop into the hotel, I don’t think I would want to stay there as the area isn’t great, but the interior is inspirational x


Annie August 26, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Hey Kelly. So glad you got to go, she’s awesome. You should definitely take the chance to go to her house if you can. It makes everything come alive and when you read her blog you kinda know which bit of her house she’s talking about even though she doesn’t say.

Also I have this unshakeable feeling that she’s going to change her house soon and then it’ll be gone forever.

So jell you and Sam are meeting up in NYC! Wish I could be there. On the train from Stanstead waving at your house as I go by.

Catch up soon love Annie xx


Kelly Sparkes August 31, 2012 at 11:26 am

Wish you could have been there too, we will have to sort out a meet up when Sam gets back. I’m definitely going to go soon, would hate to miss the opportunity to see the house :) x


Kate Lovejoy September 15, 2012 at 5:43 pm

This is brilliant! It has got me even more excited about Abigail’s London day I’m doing on Friday!!


Kelly Sparkes September 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I’m so glad about that Kate, I hope you had a fabulous day :)


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