Hannah Rochell has been a friend in the fashion industry for years, we often get booked on the same work trips and it’s always so nice to see a friendly face. We also started our blogs around a similar time so it has been good to have someone in the same field to bounce ideas off.
Hannah is the founder of EnBrogue.com (such a good blog about flat shoes), InStyle fashion features editor and author of En Brogue and The Trainers Guide books. Just a bit busy then. She lives in South East London with her husband Mark (who also has blog: Man About A Dog) and their dog Grenson. They kindly let me into their home on a weekend to photograph their new loft conversion, which allowed them a spare room, bathroom and dressing room – and boy, does it look good.
Whereabouts do you live, and how long have you been in the area?
We live in Hither Green and have been in south east London for about 15 years. We bought this house in 2004.
When did you complete your loft conversion, and what made you do it?
The builders finished back in September but we’ve only really finished decorating this month! We wanted to add value to our house and to be able to have our extended family come and stay, who have children. No-one else in our street had had one done and our terraced house is quite petite, so we’d always assumed it wasn’t possible. But we decided to just get a quote and find out for sure – turns out everyone in the street thought it wasn’t possible too but our neighbours have since converted their loft as well. So we’re, like, trailblazers!
What do you love most about your loft?
I love having my own dressing room. Aside from the fact that it gives me loads of room to keep my clothes (I’m a hoarder – I still have Britpop outfits from 1995 that I can’t bear to part with!) it gives me space to do Pilates exercises in peace without the dog jumping on my head! It’s so peaceful up there and it’s such a luxury to have a room that is all mine.
So is this basically your walk-in wardrobe?
Yes! I know, it’s so indulgent. Initially we thought we might need the extra room to start a family but as that hasn’t happened for us I wanted to enjoy the space. And I REALLY enjoy having a walk-in wardrobe!
What colour is the floor painted? It looks very Farrow & Ball….
It’s just Dulux floor paint in Deep Fossil. We also painted the doors in the same paint as we had to fit horrible fire resistant ones because of building regulations but the coverage of the floor paint is really good. And it doesn’t chip, either.
|Just a few of Hannah’s favourite flats. Clockwise from top: Clarks, Grenson, Northern Cobbler, Marni|
I love the pop of mustard in your interior style – where did you find the chair?
The 1960s chair is from a lovely vintage shop on the Isle of Wight that sadly isn’t open anymore. It’s basically me in a chair! I walked past the window and saw it and couldn’t not buy it. It moves around the house quite a lot as I can’t decide where I like it best!
Where is the light from in your hall?
It’s a cluster light from Made.com. It wasn’t mega expensive and it is a real centre piece. We just have to be careful not to leave the light on by accident as the bulbs ARE expensive! And the ceiling lights in the dressing room are from Industville.co.uk – they supply bars and restaurants but were a real find for industrial finishing touches.
Who has more of the interiors flare, you, your husband or is it equally shared?
I would say me – I love reading interiors magazines and watching TV shows about property – but it’s not like he’s not interested and we definitely have the same taste. Which is good because I’m not exactly a minimalist! He’s getting more and more into it though and is finding ways of using our left over tiles to cover tables in the garden and shelves in the kitchen!
Did you shop online for most of your furniture or look around vintage markets, go into stores?
It’s a real mixture. I love vintage furniture shopping, but for practical items like chests of drawers I like to buy new with functional slow closing drawers, non wobbly legs…there are loads of great mid-century reproductions that I tend to opt for with new furniture so that it fits with our vintage stuff. For trinkets and cushions, I tend to pick things up in independent boutiques rather than in big stores in London. And I love collecting candles and bits and bobs whenever I travel.
Big fan of your books here, do you have anymore exciting projects in the pipeline?
I have a collaboration with a sock brand coming up in the summer (you can’t be a flat shoe fanatic and not be obsessed with socks!). So that’s really exciting. And I have lots of plans for my shoe illustrations, some also sock related, but I can’t reveal those yet!
What are your favourite interiors stores?
bluesuntree.co.uk – we have quite a lot of furniture from here and it’s lovely
nordichouse.co.uk – I’ve splurged on a few lamps
randomretail.co.uk – for gorgeous really good quality cushions
Topps Tiles – obvs
thebottomstable.co.uk – I’ve yet to visit here in person but I love their Instagram feed
Magma – I love the prints you can get here – great for gifts too
John Lewis – you can beat for bed linen and reliable furniture!
Habitat – our cabinets in my dressing room are from here.
Habitat – our cabinets in my dressing room are from here.
Generally though I’d say I pick up stuff all over the place. There’s nothing I love more than an independent boutique!
Where are your amazing bathroom tiles from?
They’re just from Topps Tiles! The floor tiles are from the Francisco Segarra range, which all have an aged feel, and the wall tiles are called Vyne. People always comment on them. I am obsessed with Topps Tiles. We have tiles all over the house from there. I’ve just spied some for our front path too.
You were the ones who told me about these fab radiators – are yours Acova, too?
Yes! We bought them from Screwfix. We’re slowly replacing all the other radiators in the house to match as and when we can afford it.
Any builder issues? Would you recommend the company you used?
We used South London Loft Conversions. They were realistic about the price and timings and were happy to accommodate things like our weird shaped window in the spare room (even though they initially forgot and put in a standard hole and had to change it). In retrospect I might be braver and speak up about a few more things that could have been finished a bit better, and they took AGES to do the last few finishing touches and give our keys back but in a nutshell, if you want a standard conversion they do the job quickly.
Do you think your place is finished now, or do you have further plans?
The trouble with getting an extension is that the rest of the house that looked fine before suddenly looks a bit shabby! The next room we’re focusing on is the kitchen. It’s not really worth the money to extend into the side return as our garden is so small, and we don’t need more space as it’s a generous kitchen to begin with, but now that we’re used to having so much light upstairs I’d like to re-paint, rearrange and make it a bit sunnier in there. And any excuse to think about new floor tiles from Topps Tiles…!
Thanks so much for having me round, Hannah!