Get the Hip Hackney Look

How an Irish design duo came to personify London Hackney cool...

Interior and spatial designers Genevieve McGill and Phil MacMahon of Foreign Bear Studios like nothing better than taking a completely derelict space and breathing new life into it. An emotionally invested professional experiment for the married couple, this Victorian ground-floor, three-bed flat with courtyard garden was not their first renovation project. Their love of interiors was ignited by doing up their first flat in Hackney years ago. They say they've learned everything they know on the job and simply by living in the creative bubble of Hackney in London: ?There's definitely a creative community in Hackney we like to use and feed back into the area,? Genevieve says.

The Fassett Square project, originally a one-bedroom plus garage and an outhouse hovel, is now a glamorous, light-filled and imaginative three-bedroom space that their Z?rich-based clients use when in London. Contemporary, airy and bright, it certainly packs quite a punch. Set on two levels and fluidised by an ingenious use of colours and contiguous lines, it's filled with art prints and striking-looking furniture, like this centrepiece table, as well as decorative objects which would not be out of place in an experimental art exhibition. The truly individual dwelling still retains a touch of the Victorian atmosphere through a clever reworking of traditional furnishings and accessories and is made unique through an imaginative use of geometric patterns, sleek lines and mixing of different materials and colours.

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Interview by Amanda Cochrane. Photographs by Paul Riddle.

Like this look? Visit a Victorian Belfast townhouse modern retrofit and read an architect's tale of modernising a terraced house in D?n Laoghaire. And if you haven't chosen your home style yet, go find inspiration in our house tours.

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