Thursday, 13 June 2013

All Hail House Of Hackney!

My recent post for the lovely Hear Home Mag.


I am a relative newcomer to Hackney, East London, a diverse borough regularly surveyed with delight and despair in equal measure. My parents (of rural Yorkshire village origin) find it unfathomable that I might want to reside in such a ‘noisy, dirty, busy hovel’. Whilst friends love the never-ending variety and constant evolution of people, places, not to mention the array of beards to behold!
Cycle 10 minutes in any direction (and I mean cycle, we Hackney-ites have evolved wheels in place of legs, walking is sooooo early 2000’s) and you will encounter a middle class hub of cafĂ© culture sitting alongside derelict factories, gastro pubs complete with celebrity chef proprietors next door to gone to seed housing estates,  and markets to cater for your every whim, both genuine East End and achingly hip. It’s a veritable melting pot and we love it that way.
We speak with immense pride of our alumni and success stories (I’ve been here 3 years and I bang on about them like they’re my brothers in arms!… Marc Bolan was born in Homerton don’t you know, and guess who lived up the road… Colin Firth… Mr Bloody Darcy!). So it is with utter delight and, ever so slightly, obsessive interest (just slightly) that I have observed the success trajectory of House Of Hackney (
The brilliantly OTT and utterly original design house who launched in 2011 with a stunning range of fabrics and papers have gone on to develop a range of furniture and fashion. Different, decadent, always with a hint of the debauched, I have loved them from the moment I happened upon them and have eagerly devoured every opportunity to encounter their wares. From website to pop up shop, their own home come showroom and now their first flagship store on – not even remotely shabby anymore, actually quite posh now – Shoreditch High Street.
HOH outside
So it was with utter delight I visited the store on its inaugural day of trading (last Friday) and it really did not disappoint. The rich dark blue walls, thick velvety carpet, mirror ceiling and dark wood paneling offer the perfect backdrop to the array of products ranging from pants to poufs, cushions to camisoles.
 HOH cushionsHOH inside
It’s the kind of space that makes you want to drink dirty martini’s, smoke gauloise and speak only in a gravelly voice. Clearly, if you try most of those things they will undoubtedly chuck you out, so try to refrain. But I do encourage you to go there, soak in the ‘matchy matchy’ mecca in all its majesty and as a real treat take a little piece of it home with you.
HOH Leopard Print walls

HOH sofa

House Of Hackney was one of the very first investments I made in my own House in Hackney when I proudly used their stunning Dalston Rose to deck out my downstairs loo. That a space so small and utterly functional, so devoid of glamour could be transformed into a thing of such beauty, a literal joy to behold, is beyond unlikely, it’s utterly incongruous… utterly Hackney and definitely House Of Hackney. Here’s to their reign and to my throne!
 Downstairs loo

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Thursday, 6 June 2013

The Finishing Touch

Plans and layouts - Tick.
Plasterwork and carpentry - Tick
Paint being liberally applied - Tick

Next phase... A critical phase.... accessories.

Now let's be clear, I am not saying the other phases don't matter... of course having a kitchen that functions well is essential and choosing paints that work with the natural light available can make or break. But here is where the house goes from being 4 walls and a roof, anyone's four walls and a roof to a home.. your home.

There is no science here, homes are an evolution and should continue to evolve as you do, they are an extension of you and the very best homes (rather like dogs) should look like their owners.

Therein lay the challenges... how to make this house feel like an evolved, lived in home in a very short space of time, and although I was to do the sourcing, ensure it was a reflection of my client's life and personality and not mine.

The answer .... conversation, collaboration, very strict editing (oh and some very reliable, endlessly inspiring and generous fail-safes @caravanstyle_uk, i mean you). Whilst I was blessed with the total trust of my clients, more than ever here, we worked together. Our approach... statement investments alongside junk shop second hand finds. It's become something of a cliche, I know, but one I stand by and when you spend £10-£20 on most of your accessories, you can allow yourself to invest in the jaw-dropping bathroom floor. Mix n' Match folks mix' n Match.