When House of Hackney’s founders, Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle, first bought their Victorian townhouse in 2007 it was divided into a series of bed sits. They quickly stripped the London Fields home back, pulling up carpets and painting the walls white to create a blank canvas for their future interiors adventures. It was when the pair realised that they couldn’t find the unique fabric and wallpaper they were looking for that House of Hackney was born. Started around their kitchen table in 2010, Frieda and Javvy set out to “shake up the otherwise beige world of interiors with a true celebration of print and colour.” Without a shop or a showroom, the first collections were set up and displayed in the house; ‘Dalston Rose’, ‘Hackney Empire’ and ‘Queen Bee’ all paying homage to the home’s Victorian roots.
As the small business grew into a brand, the house shut its doors, reopening this spring following a major renovation in line with House of Hackney’s aesthetic evolution. Working with architects to maximise space and light, the redesign includes a ground floor extension which takes inspiration from a Victorian greenhouse. Central walls have been knocked into Moroccan-style arches to create an improved flow of space. In line with Frieda and Javvy’s love of bringing the outdoors in, they have renamed their home ‘Loddiges’, a homage to the historical palm house that resided in Hackney during the 1800s. As Frieda explains, “Loddiges would have been there at about the same time as the house was built so there is this linked history to palms and to exotic plants which obviously very much inspire our designs.”
While deciding on the prints and colours that would embellish their home, Frieda explains that for herself and Javvy, “the most important thing was that the end result would be a family home that had our personalities stamped all over it – a home that wasn’t precious, that the children (Javi, 8 and Lila, 5) could feel free to enjoy, that would feel like a creative hub filled with books and colour and art.” Of course, it was also a wonderful chance for the pair to go bold with interior design. “We saw this as an opportunity to really play and break boundaries… to inject beauty and humour into our home. For example, for the first time we played with wallpaper on ceilings to create a mesmeric effect,” she explains.
In their redesign, Frieda and Javvy have remained faithful to the house’s Victorian roots, striking a harmonious balance between the traditional and the contemporary. A Moorish colour palette brings warmth and ambience to the space and reflects the couple’s love of gathering inspiration from near and far. Black and white photographs of Malawian women adorned in banana prints remind the couple of the spirit of their local Ridley Road market, while ornate mirrors hark to the faded grandeur of a Marrakech medina. Each room showcases House of Hackney’s fearless approach to design, from the ‘Red Room’ – a sumptuous family space swathed floor-to-ceiling in print – to the zebra stripe-adorned study, “a space to think and be creative”.
While the look is ‘maximalist’, the message is all about ‘minimalist living’. “The word maximalism has made quite a revival and myself and Javvy are big fans of bringing colour, print and texture into the interiors but at the same time the new maximalism isn’t about owning lots of stuff,” says Frieda. “For us it was about investing in those choice pieces which ultimately we want to have for a long time. We used the process of redecorating to do a big declutter, so we’ll be very careful about what comes through the doors going forward,” she adds.
In terms of advice to their customers, Frieda believes that, “when it comes to decorating, ultimately it’s just about really going for what you love. There are no hard and fast rules.”
We welcome you to be inspired by ‘Loddiges’…