At home with House of Hackney founders Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle

Interiors brand House of Hackney has trailblazed a return to more-is-more maximalism. And, say its founders Frieda and Javvy, their East London home is where it all started…

House of Hackney
‘The family room is a snug, cosy space full of books. It’s where we all hang out,’ says Frieda. The couple are dressed in House of Hackney. Image: Benedicte Drummond

Step inside the townhouse of Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle – with its exuberant mix of colours, textures and prints – and you’re looking at the original inspiration for their label House of Hackney, which they launched in 2011.

House of Hackney
‘Our style DNA at home is integral to the collections we create,’ says Frieda. ‘We are inspired by a mix of traditional British, layered with textiles, rugs, carpet prints, artworks and plants. The Artemis wallpaper and leopard footstool are both by House
of Hackney. Image: Benedicte Drummond

When the couple moved into their home in East London’s Hackney in 2007, Frieda was working as a fashion buyer for Topshop and Javvy as a product designer. ‘We whitewashed the walls, decorated in Scandi style and thought, now what?’ says Frieda. ‘We were going through the recession, times were bleak, and we began to crave colour and fabrics that harnessed the traditional along with more contemporary ideas. We wanted to be brave, but the products weren’t out there, and this triggered the idea for House of Hackney.’ 

House of Hackney
A stair runner, from, offsets the more traditional ‘Lincrusta’ wallpaper. The first floor of their Hackney townhouse is dedicated to bedrooms and bathrooms, while the top floor is home to the family room and the couple’s creative studio. Image: Benedicte Drummond

Taking inspiration from the nonconformist style of William Morris, the flamboyance of iconic interior designers such as Dorothy Draper and Loddiges – Hackney’s famous Victorian nursery garden and botanical hothouse, after which their house is named – the couple set about reworking their home. Natural arches were opened up, a side extension designed and a central atrium added over the capacious kitchen. ‘The house is very Moroccan in feel, with earthy pigments in soft pinks, greens and blues,’ says Frieda.

House of Hackney
The newly designed kitchen by Devol showcases the couple’s love of traditional-meets-quirky. The wallpaper is House of Hackney’s Mamounia and the Italian cooker is from Image: Benedicte Drummond

While the label’s lavishly patterned wallpaper and textile designs abound throughout the house, they are offset by surprisingly classic, understated details such as black and white Victorian tiles, lime and white Lincrusta wallpaper, dark woods and a traditional Devol kitchen. The place is dotted with antique pieces collected over the years. ‘I grew up surrounded by creativity,’ says Frieda. ‘The home of my late grandmother, Peggy, was filled with exquisite textiles and vintage finds – I fell in love with the alchemy of her layering. We are champions of colour but our maximalist style is countered by a desire for a minimal amount of possessions. We are nostalgic but with a modern edge,’ she adds.

House of Hackney
In the sumptuous master bathroom, the wallpaper is House of Hackney’s Sumatra and the towel features the Palmeral print. For a similar style of light, try Image: Benedicte Drummond

Family and a strong work ethic are at the couple’s core: Javvy began a paper round aged six; Frieda was awarded Young Irish Entrepreneur of the Year when she was 13. ‘Both of us have always been driven,’ she says. ‘House of Hackney has enabled us to create something special and collaborative.’ The label offers furniture – traditionally made in England – home accessories and fashion as well as wallpapers and fabrics, and harnesses the talents of a diverse team of artists, designers and craftsmen. 

House of Hackney
House of Hackney’s bold Orsman Stripe wallpaper is paired with a striking antique bed in the master bedroom. Visit for a similar bedframe. House of Hackney’s fringed Zanjan cushions add contrast and texture. Image: Benedicte Drummond

‘I hope that our designs will become future heirlooms – and appreciated for their longevity as well as their beauty, and enjoyed down the generations,’ says Frieda. 

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