East London is known the world over for its creativity, diversity and rich history. Stylist and author Sarah Bagner and photographer Jon Aaron Green have stepped through the doors of the most exciting homes in the area, each one reflecting the individual style of the people who live there. Artists, architects, designers, musicians, restaurateurs and more have transformed both classical and modern spaces to reflect their personal tastes. Combining insightful text based on Sarah’s interviews and beautiful photography from Jon, these homes capture the unique and eclectic spirit of a fast changing East London.
Can you tell me about yourself and the book?
The book is a celebration of personal style. I’m interested in when people’s personalities are reflected in their homes, for me that’s a beautiful home. 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. Jon and I have tried to capture the very essence of each home. I work as a stylist and the styling of the interior images is all very natural, we wanted the images to look inspiring yet real, so I work in the back- ground with the homeowner’s own items as props, setting up tables and clearing areas slightly, or the opposite. We often found when we arrived that home owners had cleared up too much, so we would have to take things out of cupboards etc.
When I work on the interior styling for homes or commercial spaces, I see myself almost as a therapist, the client usually knows what they want, you just have to draw that out of them, and it’s about celebrating their personal style, helping them be bold. As stylish as all the homes are, these spaces are not design statements, they are personal statements. Sue Kreitzman surrounds herself with her art, hanging it on red and yellow walls; whereas for 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 Kentaro Poteliakhoff ’s place sees a constant flow of quirky vintage furniture bound for his shop. A journey through 29 inspiring interiors in London’s most creative and diverse neighbourhood.
What inspired you to write this book?
My last interiors book, Wonder Walls, Supermarket Sarah’s Guide Display, which was published by Cico Books is about homes around the world and focused more about display, this book is really about the home as a whole and how it acts as vehicle for living. I’m really intrigued by the idea that Interiors and architecture can on a higher level really drive happiness and I wanted to explore homes which really work for different individuals.
Why do you think East London homes are more interesting than the other parts of London?
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 and subject to constant change and this sense of movement feeds into the pres- ent day.
As you turn these pages, consider how the spaces have been transformed: 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. I live in East London so I felt it was pretty apt to discover the world around me.
What did you learn when writing the book?
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. What I learnt was that 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.
What surprised you the most?
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. From a Georgian house sensitively restored over many years, to a self-made eco house built on a budget, and from a unique architectural feat to an urban cottage that feels like it could be in the countryside, the range of spaces has been a constant surprise.
Any last thoughts for our readers?
I hope this book inspires you to look at your own home with a fresh eye, perhaps with a little of the creative spirit of east London.
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Published by local indie publisher Hoxton Mini Press, the 272-page hardback East London Homes is out now and available in bookstores or order from www.hoxtonminipress.com RRP £30