A Designer's Guide to Melbourne by Interiors Guru Abigail Ahern

Hosier Lane/Rutledge Lane | © Geof Wilson
Hosier Lane/Rutledge Lane | © Geof Wilson
Photo of Charlotte Luxford
Architecture & Design Editor7 June 2017

London’s interior designer of the moment Abigail Ahern is taking her seriously successful Designer Masterclasses ‘Down Under’ to Melbourne on June 23. She reveals her favourite go-to spots when she’s visiting the city, from its artful backstreets to curated design stores.

Courtesy of Abigail Ahern

“Mornings anywhere in Australia are all about the caffeine. Coffee has been perfected by the Aussies – and no one does it better than micro-roaster Hobba in Prahran. Melbourne has such a big brunch culture, so it’s worth taking time over your morning pick-me-up. Most breakfast spots can whip you up anything from avo on toast and chia puddings, to flower petal-adorned waffle stacks and doughnut shakes. (Yep, apparently they’re a thing now!)

Courtesy of Hobba

“Melbourne is the city that I touch down in most when I’m ‘Down Under’ and I can’t wait to run my next set of Design Masterclasses over there. I’ll be talking about how to decorate differently, ripping up the interior design rule book. There are only a few seats left – so get booking!

Learn how to decorate like Abigail Ahern on her Design Masterclasses | Courtesy of Abigail Ahern

“To walk off your delicious brunch, head for a leisurely walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens. There is such a mix of stunning landscaped gardens, with more than 10,000 native and foreign species and ample space for a little snooze or an ice-cream stop.

Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne | © Wikicommons

“For lunch, head to this wonderful Vietnamese place, Saigon Sally, where the menu’s designed to be shared. It is a casual eating affair with a hugely tempting pudding menu – beware of the ‘tira-mi-sally’ (a play on tiramisu), with macarons, coffee parfait and peanut brittle – it’s to die for.

“After lunch head to the back streets – in a good way – and enjoy the street art. I love the colourful street art that decorates so many of Melbourne’s back lanes – their emblazoned with sophisticated murals, and well worth a look. If I remember rightly, Hosier and Rutledge Lanes are where it’s at, but any stroll through the city will turn up some very Instagrammable shots.

Hosier Lane/Rutledge Lane | © Geof Wilson

“Once you’ve had your fill, head to Happy Valley to find gifts for friends who couldn’t make the trek; it’s a beautifully presented book and design store that feels more like a curated gallery than a shop. It’s also worth a rummage through jumbles of quirky, pre-loved designer duds at Vintage Garage, with more than 40 specialist vintage dealers to peruse.

Happy Valley | Courtesy of Happy Valley

“Melbourne is so close to my heart and one of the places I could quite easily move to. It is a hugely inspiring city and I can’t wait to go out and say ‘hi’ to all my amazing Aussie followers.”

To book one of Abigail Ahern’s Design Masterclasses, click here. To read Abigail’s top tips on decorating your own home, click here.

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