A Converted Warehouse in East London

A converted warehouse dating back to the 1800s is given a new lease of life whilst drawing inspiration from its East London heritage.

For an interior designer, getting the brief of a discerning client just right is all part and parcel of the job, but when that client happens to be your best friend, the job suddenly takes on a whole new perspective. 

That’s the situation newly qualified interior designer Cassidy Hughes found herself in when her partner Angelo Perna bought an old warehouse conversion in East London and commissioned Cassidy to make the building into a home. Although it was a project that she had a vested interest in, Cassidy was conscious that to fulfill the brief she would need to refrain from letting her own tastes influence the interior design too much. “I tried to keep it quite masculine and to treat the project just like I would for any client, rather than taking over and just doing things the way I liked,” says Cassidy. “I’m drawn to things like lace and vintage photos, so I had to curb my feminine side a little for this project. Even so, the end result does reflect my own style as well as his to some extent.”

Cassidy describes her style as eclectic and this is certainly evident in this project, which has stayed true to its industrial roots with the fixtures and fittings, while being brought bang up-to-date with the choice of soft furnishings and accessories.

Dating back to the 1800s, the previous owners of the apartment had two bathrooms and used the second bedroom as a walk-in closet. Under Cassidy’s watchful eye, the builders totally gutted the space, restoring the original features and taking down the wall that separated the kitchen from the living area to make a modern open plan space. “I was on site every day for the duration of the project,” comments Cassidy. “With a client who noticed every detail it was important that I was here to oversee things as much as possible, as I had him on my back too.”

The result is bare brick walls and exposed pipework in the living area, which is quite a contrast from the master bedroom with its calming white walls.

When it came to furnishing the property Cassidy didn’t have to travel far for inspiration, as she was able to browse the many quirky stores that are scattered throughout East London, not to mention the delights of Spitalfields Market.

“Much of the building is original, including the floors, walls and windows, so I tried to keep the interior in line with the industrial look in terms of the lighting and such, whilst adding modern touches with the soft furnishings,” explains Cassidy. “The trick was to be resourceful and really shop around to get the right eclectic mix. Lots of the lighting was sourced from eBay, the table and bench in the kitchen came from Spitalfields, while the sofa in the living area is from Ligne Roset so there is a real mixture of styles.”

With the work now complete Angelo can sit back and enjoy the space they have worked so hard to create together and Cassidy in particular can breathe a big sigh of relief. “He’s definitely the most difficult client I’ve ever worked for,” she laughs.

For more information on Cassidy’s interior design business visit cassidyhughes.com

A Converted Warehouse in East London originally appeared in the Autumn 2012 issue of Heart Home magazine.

Photographed by James Balston. Words by Kelly Lavender.