My Design London: Frieda Gormley, House of Hackney

Dublin-born designer and former Topshop buyer reveals her passion for early morning swims in the open air, why leopard print is the new neutral and where to buy the best rugs in London.
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Frieda Gormley set up cult interiors brand House of Hackney in 2010 with her product designer husband Javvy M Royle. The brand that has been described as Colefax and Fowler on acid became an instant word of mouth success and the pair opened their first retail store in 2013.
We live in London Fields, Hackney in a five-bed Victorian house, with our children Javi, 5 and Lila, 2. I love the area and have lived here for 10 years. In my twenties it was a great place to go out and have fun; now I’m a mother I’ve discovered that, with its beautiful parks and Victorian architecture, it’s a great area to raise a family. I love the version of Victorian London that Hackney represents.


New designer to watch: Lee Broom, for his Blue Tile Lamp
We bought the house eight years ago, when it was still divided into bed sits, and stripped it back to a nice blank canvas with white walls and parquet flooring, but it wasn’t long before we began to crave texture and colour. I love clashing print-on-print textiles and wallpaper and my idea of neutral is stripes and leopard print! Our home is decorated with designs from our first House of Hackney collection, which was dark and very Victorian. That was three years ago and since then our taste has evolved to a more white-based palette and pastel prints.
A luxurious, richly coloured velvet heirloom patchwork quilt which was a wedding gift to my grandmother. She passed it down to my mother, who has then passed it on to me. Made from pieces of diamond shaped velvet in gorgeous dark tones of ebony, blue, green and burgundy, it always reminds me of my grandmother, whose style remains my biggest inspiration. 
An iconic Tom Dixon spun brass Form tea set washed in gold, for the most sophisticated breakfast tea. Brass and gold are my favourite metals and this design has timeless appeal. From £60 for a sugar bowl and spoon.


Object of desire: Tom Dixon’s spun-brass Form tea set
My pure white 300 thread count cotton sateen bed linen. With all the pattern everywhere else in the house, it’s important that our bed is a calm and comfortable sanctuary. In winter I pop a traditional feather eiderdown on the top. 
Liberty. It’s jam packed with hidden gems and, as a busy person, I can always find the perfect gift or stuff for the house. I’m in love with the brand Astier de Villette and recently bought some plates there. Liberty also has the best rug department in London.


Top design shop: Gormley relies on Liberty for “perfect gifts, stuff for the house — and the best rug department in London”
Lee Broom is an inspirational designer who does fabulous lighting. I’m completely in love with his new Blue Tile Lamp, which comes in the most perfect shade of blue.
The Lido in London Fields at 6.30am. I try and fit in an early morning swim before I go to work. It’s a beautiful 1930s lido that has been completely redone. Swimming in an open air 50 metre pool in nature, under the trees, is a magical way to begin the day and it’s the only “me” time I get in my otherwise hectic day and a great antidote to all the stress.


Secret escape: Gormley loves an early morning swim at heated London Fields Lido in Hackney, open whatever the weather
Victoria Park which is so vast you can get lost and feel as if you’re in the countryside. It also has the lovely Pavilion Café and the V&A Playground.

Our local restaurant, Lardo. It’s in a wonderful 1930s Art Deco building and does the best pizza. For a heavenly family Friday evening, we get takeaway and eat it sitting on a picnic rug in London Fields.


Favourite museum: William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow 
We like to get our wellies on, jump in the car and have a stomp around Epping Forest followed by a pub lunch. A perfect afternoon would be then spent visiting the William Morris museum, for whom Epping Forest was a big inspiration.

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