Personal Statements: East London Homes
15 October, 2019
When people think of East London, they tend to imagine warehouse conversions with high ceilings and exposed brickwork and artists living in their studios. Though I have seen some beautiful flats in former factories that are reminders of the area's industrial past, there is so much more to this eastern side of the city.
What struck me most in making this book is the sheer diversity of homes in the area. I encountered a Georgian house sensitively restored over many years and a self-made eco house built on a budget; I witnessed unique architectural feats and an urban cottage that feels like it could be in the countryside. The variety of spaces has been a constant surprise.
As stylish as they are, these buildings are not design statements, they are personal statements. Artist Sue Kreitzman surrounds herself with her work, hanging it on red and yellow walls; whereas for photographer Ed Reeve a minimal space, free from clutter, is more stimulating. Ceramicist Ana Kerin is inspired by the natural shapes and imperfections of the objects in her home, while interior designer and stylist Kentaro Poteliakhoff has a place that sees a constant flow of quirky vintage furniture bound for his shop.
The rich history of East London - this loose collection of districts that grew out of the old East End - has helped shape its contemporary, eclectic energy. The area has always been a melting pot of cultures subject to constant change, and this sense of movement feeds into the present day. A hummus factory, a cheese fridge, a coffin workshop, a gin distillery and a rotten old garage, among others, have all been reimagined by their dwellers and turned into striking personal spaces.
It has been a real privilege to visit 29 of the most creative homes in East London, and talk to their residents about what inspires them. I've met owners and renters, families and flatmates. I've heard from people who have undertaken extensive DIY projects with remarkable results, and those who have worked with world-renowned architects. But what unites them is that they have all thought passionately about what home actually means to them.
Making your home special is not to do with how much you spend or following a certain trend, but in finding an energy that matches your lifestyle and bringing that to life.