My Design London:Rebecca Hossain, head of retail at the Design Museum

The Head of Retail at the Design Museum shares her style, inspiration and favourite spots near her Streatham home.

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We bought our three-storey Victorian house in Streatham 16 years ago. I live there with my husband, Christopher, our three children Jordan, 23, Joshua, 20 and Charlotte, 17, and 24 bike frames. We love its traditional features including a stone floor and exposed wooden beams in the kitchen, the original wooden winding staircase, a working range in the dining room and three Victorian cisterns.

The garden came with an original 1880s summer house and a pond with 200 frogs. Our mixed heritage of Bengali, Danish, Sierra Leone and Irish means we have put our eclectic stamp of colour and culture on the house and somehow it all works. We did most of the work and still do so.


Growing up in a colourful place like Bangladesh made me understand the power of colour and I fell in love with rickshaw art. I started collecting the original metal panels made for the backs of rickshaw seats on rickshaws which often feature Bollywood-style actors painted in bright colours. I also collect nakshi kantha (embroidered quilts) and sari designs.

When we bought our house I was going through my Moroccan phase. The living room is painted terracotta, one of the bathrooms in a firecracker red and another one is a pale lime green.

Power of colour: Hossain collects rickshaw panels like this one in Bangladesh (Alamy Stock Photo)

Having worked for Farrow and Ball in 2007, I had access to the loveliest chalkiest paint and have not looked back: Green Ground is in my dining room. I've collected cushions from India, bought from Liberty and Designers Guild, Anthropologie and the Conran Shop, online from Plumo, bags from Rau in Islington but mostly I buy from markets on my travels.

The first kilim I bought was over a glass of sweet mint tea in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but I have bought some equally stunning ones at John Lewis. My growing woven textiles collection comes from the tribal areas of Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts, including the Chakma tribe.


My favourite talented new designer who mixes art and design so well is Camille Walala. Camille creates stunning, bold design and art statements that on walls of buildings spread instant cheer. London is brighter for her! I also love Tom Pigeon's stationery, prints and accessories in simple shapes with copper and brass detailing. Lindsey Lang has a keen eye for shape and colour and applies it beautifully to tiles, textiles and paper.


My Anglepoise designed by Paul Smith, which you can buy at It's not easy to improve on the original but Paul Smith has used different colours for the different parts of his limitededition design with each component in a different hue to create a practical and beautiful lamp.

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Playing with shades: Paul Smith anglepoise lamp, £160 (Andrew Sutton)


Anywhere in Brixton covered market is high on atmosphere, especially Elephant, a Pakistani restaurant with beautiful elephant-themed wallpaper. Bravi Ragazzi is a good Neapolitan pizzeria which has turned large colourful painted pomodoro tins into useful cutlery storage on your table.

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High on atmosphere: the Elephant Pakistani restaurant in Brixton (Rebecca Reid)


Herne Hill Velodrome is my secret getaway. The iconic open-air track is open to all, was built in 1891 and is the only remaining venue still in operation from the 1948 Olympic Games. It's an oasis of calm. Sitting in the track centre with a cup of Jan's tea (she's been making tea there since Bradley Wiggins first raced there), watching the sunset/cloud formations always relaxes me.


Two shops I visit frequently are T&Shop, 78 Green Lanes, N16 ( and Future and Found, 225A Brecknock Road, N19 ( for their range of unusual interior accessories. Lavish Habit, 75 Bedford Hill, SW12 ( has a fun selection of vintage and original homeware.

Vintage fun: Lavish Habit in Balham has a fun selection of vintage and original homeware

The Design Museum reopens in its new location in High Street Kensington on November 24, 2016. Its shop is already open at 224 High Street Kensington (020 7940 8775)

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