Making a Home

For the love
of Colour
with
House of Hackney

Words by LUCY SIDDAL

On living life in full colour - the luxurious house of
interiors spearheading a sustainable path rooted in
responsible practices and inspired by nature.

House of Hackney, a London institution founded in 2011, excels in the artistry of print - deeply textured, rich, vibrant and detailed designs that bring a space to life. So, it was natural for owners Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle to venture into the world of paint—a seamless step to avoid signposting customers away from the brand for the perfect hue. In 2022, the inimitable, colour-obsessed brand launched 60+ “perfectly considered” shades explicitly designed to complement their print collection. As expected, the collection honours the brand’s commitment to sustainability. The water-based, low VOC and non-toxic paints are eco-friendly and made to order to avoid waste. The vibrant, intensely pigmented shades effectively allow anyone to incorporate "colour with confidence" in their homes.

The Condo speaks to Caroline Aston, Interior Design & Trade Executive at House of Hackney, about the collection and how to curate the perfect palette for our spaces.

“Nature is our design muse”, explains Aston. “We’re constantly looking to the “sublime” colour palette of the outside world to fuel our creativity”. “Naturally occurring” shades feel better in the home, whereas artificial hues “jar slightly,” she continues—a sentiment that rings true with customers. The brand’s best-selling paint colours, Laurustine, a soft green named after a “charming shrub of the same name”, and Alabaster, a “warm neutral, crafted from equal parts red and pink,” demonstrate this point perfectly.

The vibrant Salvia shade. Named after the flower, this bright red with blue undertones makes a "welcome statement" in spaces both vast and small. Ananas Lampstand by House of Hackney.

Euphorbia, an "oceanic green" with "spearmint" undertones, adds a sense of tranquillity and calm to a space. The Artemis Velvet Castle Chair by House of Hackney is merely a cosy addition.

Where blue hues once populated the walls of many a home, the collective voice has moved towards more “green tones” and a nature-inspired palette. “If a colour exists around you, you’re going to feel more comfortable with it, and it will be easier to live with,” suggests Aston while holding the swatch of an earthy, mustard shade named Umber. There is a strong pull towards recreating the freedom and feel of the outside world in our homes. “People want to echo nature in their spaces,” explains Aston, as “the colours have a grounding effect.”

For creative input, colour suggestions or simply design and style support, House of Hackney offers a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation service where skilled and knowledgeable consultants like Aston offer advice for those embarking on an interior journey. Here, Aston explains some of her most relevant guidance in terms of exploring paint in our homes.

The "steely blue" of the flower this shade is named after has inspired the "Mediterranean" hue of Lobelia.

Consider how the room should feel

“First and foremost, I ask clients how they want a room to feel?” says Aston. “How does it feel now, and how do you want it to differ.” The aesthetics and design can come after. “Do you want it to feel cosy and enveloping or bright, light and full of energy?” As “a mood creator,” colour can impact a room and alter how the space feels. It can “establish any mood you want,” so it has much potential but must be well thought out. It’s common to start with the visual aspects of a space, but we will live in these rooms day in and day out, and the way we want them to feel is paramount. Start here, insists Aston.

 

Consider the aspect of the room

Avoid making costly mistakes and think about the direction the room faces. Is it north or south-facing? A north-facing room will naturally feel quite cool due to the time of day the space gets light. So, if, for example, you want the area to feel cosy, stay away from cooler shades. A green-blue, for instance, would counter the natural blue light. “If you have a south-facing room, you’re lucky as you can do anything,” notes Aston. However, the amount of light you have coming in and where the windows are, even in a south-facing room, will impact the presentation of the paint colour you select, so this element is critical.

Achillea, with "tones of beige", belongs to the "cream family" of shades. Ananito Pineapple Lampstand and Romily Lampshade by House of Hackney.

Consider prominent or distinctive pieces already in the home

Think about what is already in a room or space, what is staying and what needs to work with the intended aesthetic. “Rarely, clients are completely starting from scratch,” notes Aston. “People will most likely have bigger investment pieces, like a sofa, art or a feature rug, that they want to keep and work with, so it’s essential to think about how the new design and colour scheme will fit with what you already own.”


Consider existing favoured colours

Redecorating a space is a profoundly personal experience and must originate from personal preference rather than purely external reference. To aid this, Aston recommends considering colours we “naturally gravitate” towards. “What are the predominant colours in your wardrobe? These are the colours you’ll naturally move toward and love, and if someone is unsure where to start, this is a great place”. The process is an investment, something you’ll live with for a long time, so Aston encourages people “not to follow trends” and instead go with a “gut feeling for something you love.”


Consider each option carefully

Before committing, live with your colour options and assess what works or doesn’t. Paint big pieces of paper using testers or samples and observe them for a few days. Move each one around the room and notice how the light changes the hue at different times of the day. “Put the colour in the darkest part of the room and the lightest,” and “never put potential paint colours next to one another as you won’t be able to decipher one from the other,” adds Aston. “Once you’ve seen a colour in a room for a few days, you’ll know which one feels right and works for you.”

An unexpected statement

A dusty, warm red.

Dahlia is as pretty as sweet and "procured from the petals of the perennial plant." Acanthus Floor Lampstand and Galanthus Silk Lampshade by House of Hackney.

Nephrite paint is "swatched from the deep green gemstone, " creating a safe and comforting ambience. Cheetah Lampstand and Romily Lampshade by House of Hackney.

Consider an element of experimentation

Start small if the thought of bold paints or a botanical print feels intimidating. Use a smaller space such as a cloakroom or downstairs bathroom as your way in, suggests Aston. Move gently towards an intense pigment rather than trying to do an entire house in one go. “People say to me, I can’t tell you how much I love it,” referring to their tentative venture into colour, “and that now they're prepared to be a bit braver.” “We call the ceiling the “fifth wall”, and it’s a really fun way to change the feel of a room completely,” Aston adds. A dark ceiling can make a high, lofty room feel more cosy, or painting a ceiling the same colour as the walls will make a room feel bigger, giving, according to Aston, a “perception of space.”


Reconsider neutrals

Gone are the days when a neutral colour meant cream, beige or ivory. A whole world of delight awaits in this versatile and sophisticated family of colours. One of the House of Hackney showroom walls is painted in Phlox, a warm shade derived from the tones of stone and ecru and another in Artichoke, a colour the brand describes as “where grey meets green”. Both colours are perfect neutrals with a lovely warmth and are easy to live with. A dark colour can also be neutral. Umber, a deep mustard shade, falls into this category, too. “I like to think of a neutral as a piece of gold jewellery or a camel coat - it goes with everything,” notes Aston.

 

Remember, colour doesn’t need to be gaudy or garish; there is an elegant combination of bold or neutral, nature-inspired hues for every palette.

Jadeite's eye-catching shade celebrates "nature's mesmerising colour palette."

Acer, a "cinnamon" shade derives from the tree of the same name.

Apple, a fresh green, comes with "yellow undertones" and subtly honours the natural world. Hollyhocks Scalloped Headboard by House of Hackney.

Share