My design London: Lisa Whatmough, founder of Squint

Lisa Whatmough is the founder of Squint, a design company specialising in exuberant patchworked furniture, lighting and wallpaper. Here she reveals her favourite places in London.
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Lisa Whatmough
© Adrian Lourie
Lisa Whatmough sitting on her coveted Redchurch sofa (£4,800) in the living room of her Hackney home

I started my business Squint in 2005 literally from my living room, wrapping lamps and small pieces of furniture with patchworked antique textiles, which ended up in Liberty's. Now we make all our own furniture, lighting and wallpapers, and we're opening in South Kensington this spring.

Where I live: Hackney

In a small Victorian end-of-terrace house in Hackney with Stanley my beagle. I've been there for about eight years. It has high ceilings, sash windows over three floors and is five minutes from the Olympic site. And I escape to a modest beach-front bungalow in Norfolk. My street has definitely been one of the rougher ones in Hackney over the years — we've even had a shooting. But I never considered moving.

What I like about it

Hackney is raw, with a mix of cultures. The general bad temper of London can wind you up then grind you down but I could not be without it. Hackney has glorious dog walks including Victoria Park and Hackney Marshes. And over the past two years I've regularly walked the canal up to the Olympic site and watched the progress.

The area has changed so dramatically. Radio 1 is hosting a festival on the marshes this summer for 100,000 people. I can get to work in Shoreditch High Street in about 10 minutes, and on to the motorway for Norfolk in about five.

Beadhead from Squint
A single bedhead in carved mahogany, covered with her signature patchwork designs in woven silks and satins (£1,800). Patch cushions, £125 and £150. All from Squint

What home means to me

Home for me has always been an escape, a sanctuary, where I've felt safe and relaxed during a rather uncertain career. It's comfortable, practical, uncluttered and full of colour. There's definitely a shift from when a house becomes a home. I think that happens over time as you surround yourself with objects that hold memories and emotions. I think I'd struggle if I moved.

Favourite colours

Not very original, but colour for me means Farrow & Ball. The whole house in Norfolk is Cornforth White — it's not a very big place and so using just one colour opens up the space. The key to colour is quality. Every tone in nature is beautiful, but cheap paint is horrid.

I'm an old-fashioned colourist — and good at colour matching. A super colour for backgrounds for art or objects is Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball, an inky grey that looks pale or almost black depending on the lighting — though I'm moving away from darks these days. Light tones on walls are actually harder to pull off well but I'm about to go for light and pattern, and put up my wallpapers everywhere in my Hackney home.

Most coveted object

If I'm honest, I don't really covet anything: I tend to be pretty contented with my lot. But I've just acquired our new velvet Redchurch sofa. It's great for stretching out on — as my dog agrees — but bad for dog hair.

Duck table lamp
A duck table lamp from Caravan (£49)

My secret shop

I love Caravan with its eclectic, quirky mix of lamps, toys, books and homeware. The owner, Emily Chalmers, closed temporarily to have a baby, but the website is now live again. I'm planning to order one of its rugs by the Parisian artist Nathalie Lete.

Favourite home memorabilia

I’ve inherited all my parents’ ceramics and silver — my sisters didn’t want it but didn’t want it given away — including several Eighties pieces of Lladro and a marvellous rustic silver tray from Morocco. I am not in the slightest knick-knacky, so I keep it all in a Victorian shop display unit (right) in my kitchen.

Best market

Spitalfields on a Sunday, with so many great stalls for fashion, food and homeware — you can spend an afternoon mooching and eating. EdwynUK has all kinds of lovely things for dog owners, locally designed and made.

Boundary Hotel, Shoreditch
Lisa loves the rooftop terrace of the Boundary Hotel in Shoreditch

Favourite space when you want to escape

I like the rooftop at the Boundary Hotel, Shoreditch, in summer, with a stiff gin and tonic, a straw hat (which they'll lend) and great views over the city.

Best night out

A favourite pub is The Lock Tavern in Camden — the best kind of Victorian boozer: dark, noisy, Anaglypta on the khaki walls, really great music and a terrific vegetarian roast on a Sunday. Bistrotheque is a local restaurant, with riotous and risqué cabaret, in a converted warehouse hard to find in the dark — I love the banana custard tart with peanut butter ice cream.

Favourite new designer

Well, I rarely leave the studio and feel a bit out of the loop. But I do love a shoe brand called Irregular Choice (available at For me, fashion and home all blur into design, whatever the product.

Squint is at 178 Shoreditch High Street, E1 (020 7739 9275;

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