Interiors guru Abigail Ahern: ‘I used to be a bit rubbish at work-life balance but hot yoga has completely changed my mindset’

Abigail Ahern
Interior designer Abigail, 49, is founder of her eponymous homeware business. She lives in London with her husband Graham and two dogs -

Wake-up time for me is 5am. I start the day by going through emails with a peppermint tea, which sounds a bit sad, but things tend to get crazy and chaotic later on so it’s the best time for me to get it done. Four days a week, I head off for a hot yoga class at 6.30am. I only took it up about a year ago but now I’m a total convert – I used to be a bit rubbish at work-life balance and it has completely changed my mindset. I’m back at my desk by about 8am after a quick breakfast.

I run my business from home, and my team arrive at around 8.30am. Generally there will be seven or eight of us there, including my husband Graham, who takes care of the business operations and logistics, and my sister Gemma. We work really closely together, which can have its challenges, so we have a rule that Graham and I aren’t allowed to talk about work after 8pm.

Because we’re quite a small team, I’m involved in every part of the business, from the website design to writing emails to subscribers. There’s also a lot of design time in my day – anything from botanicals to lighting or cushions. I’m very particular about how everything looks, but I have had to learn to delegate. 

I always have lunch with Gem, usually sitting at our desks bolting down some soup. Then at least three afternoons a week I visit our flagship store in Islington. Back at home, I finish the day as I started it by dealing with emails.

I finish around 7pm and often we’ll go to a local restaurant. As I spend so much time at home during the day, it’s nice to get out. I’m super-lazy so I don’t like to go too far, but it has to be somewhere pet-friendly, as our dogs Mungo and Maud come along too.

Abigail’s rules to get a good night’s sleep

  1. Stretch before bed. I do five minutes with my foam roller beforehand.
  2. Background noise can help: I can’t switch my brain off unless I’m listening to something. 
  3. Invest in some good blackout curtains or blinds. I have to sleep in total darkness.
  4. I have lots of cushions  in my bedroom – it  helps to create a  cocooning atmosphere.
  5. I put a few drops of Aēsop’s Anouk oil into a diffuser and it makes my bedroom smell like a spa.

My top home accessory...

Faux hydrangeas

Faux hydrangeas. My sister, who used to be a florist, designs our faux flowers and they look amazing.  £16 

My home smells of...

Aesop room spray

Aēsop’s Istros Aromatique Room Spray. I keep it in my car and carry it in my handbag too. £37 

I couldn’t sleep without...

Bed linen by Merci

My Merci linen bedding. It’s coloured with plant dyes and feels amazing. From £27

My make-up bag must-have is...


Chanel’s Vitalumière Aqua Skin Perfecting Makeup. I never go out without it on. £37 

I always wear...

Free People boots

My Free People biker boots, whether I’m working or walking the dogs. £248

My style icon

Credit: getty

The American designer Kelly Wearstler. I love how she’s broken boundaries in the design world. 

Interview by Jessica Doyle