In the old East End past little Victorian terraces that defiantly stood during the blitz, past the high rise estates that sprung up dominating the skyline of 1970s London, past derelict warehouses now home to the dance parties of twenty-somethings…, past all this there is a house. But this house is very different. This is House of Hackney - the newcomer to the interiors world that is described as "Colefax and Fowler on acid" and is busy turning traditional interiors upside down, forcing chintz to get cool.
Launched a month ago by Frieda Gormley (previously a fashion buyer at TopShop) and Javvy M Royle (a product designer) as a backlash against white walls and minimalism and using their own home in Hackney as a showroom, the company created three collections. They have captured an aesthetic that is ultra current, and have married it with timelessness and luxury (plus much of the collection can boast the tag of "Made in Britain").
The three rooms echo the fashion backgrounds of the two founders and are making waves for their edgy take on traditionalism. We caught up with Frieda to find out more about the rise of House of Hackney and have a snoop at their beautiful work.
The Dalston Rose is an explosion of blue and white rose wallpaper but not as granny knows it. The print has been ombred fading from florals into and inky blue.
The Hackney Empire room sees illustrations of quirky of animals: otters holding fans and badgers drinking cocktails.
The final Queen Bee collection has been given a more grown-up feel in soft yellows and delicate bee prints.
Because: Tell us a little bit about how House of Hackney came about?
Frieda: I have always been interested in interior design ever since my first dolls house as a little girl. I got my first tiny council flat in Dublin and on a shoestring budget I did it up sourcing all the weird and wonderful things I could find. The response to that sort of spurred me on.
What made you change paths from fashion to interiors?
I was working as a buyer for Topshop and realised that although there were many fashion labels that catered to our tastes in the office the interiors market hadn't really moved on much. There has been ten years of minimalism and plain white walls and I felt there was nothing for our generation. Everything out there felt very grown up and I was craving a return to print and something quintessentially British.
What has been the response to the collections so far?
Since the launch three weeks ago the response has been overwhelming. There seems to be an appetite for something new. People are finding it very fresh and different and want products that will last. We really want to support UK industry and craftsmanship here. We spent a long time all over the country sourcing the best in the industry. For example our fine bone china is made in Stoke-on-Trent and the lampshades are made in Wales.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I take inspiration from all over. This season there's a Victoriana flavour, but that doesn't mean we will stay that way. I am very inspired by great British decorators and by fashion and great editorials. Tim Walker's work has been a big inspiration. I love the great estates around the country like Cornbury Estate or Diana Vreeland's home.
Why did you choose Hackney?
I think it's a great melting pot of cultures with beautiful inspiring buildings and the best parks in the city.
So what's next for you?
All I can say is watch this space. We want to take House of Hackney internationally and we've got exciting plans to work with British bands and expand the label. I am sworn to secrecy for now though…