Back in 2018, when Lisa O’Hagan and her husband Jonathan stumbled across their current home in central east London, it was the quirky shapes and unconventional layout that caught their eye. Once a Georgian carriage house, the terrace-end property has been converted into a large ground-floor garage and studio, with the two-bedroom property spanning the two floors above.
“It seems to offer more than a regular house, with three distinct exterior spaces – a cobblestone courtyard, a roof terrace and a back garden,” said Lisa. ‘The plot at the end of the terrace is wedge-shaped and narrows almost to a point at the end of the garden. This gives the layout a unique charm. Rather than expanding, we saw the potential to create something very special.
Owner Lisa O’Hagan, Senior Development Manager and Owner of Vintage Clothing Company @thehackneywardrobe (opens in new tab)lives here with her husband, aerospace engineer Jonathan Bishop and their son Cillian
the property Four-bed Georgian coach house built in 1890 in Clapton, East London
project costs £102,000
Between the two of them, they came up with designs that incorporate the house’s asymmetrical shape. The obvious move was to move the first-floor kitchen and living room downstairs and reconfigure the upstairs room into two additional bedrooms, with guest and family bathrooms on each floor. The large garage and studio space make it a versatile open plan room; the ceilings are high and the room has a real sense of scale by opening the hallways and stairs.
“Jon and I love the creative process and sense of accomplishment when we get things done without help,” says Lisa. “Our starting point with any project is to decide if we need to pay the contractor or if we can do the work ourselves. Always, we end up in trouble!
Read on for the full tour.
Over the next five months, before their son was born, Cillian, Lisa, and Jon did most of the dirty work, knocking down walls, exposing bricks, stripping interior fittings, and laying out new layouts. An important part of the couple’s design was to bring more light into the property. With no windows between the old garage doors at the front and rear of the house, the downstairs feels dark and oppressive. The front of the house was opened up and custom floor-to-ceiling glass and steel doors were installed to flood the space with light and connect it to the front yard.
“We love the feel of the space and gallery downstairs, and how unconventional it is,” says Lisa. “I love the simplicity and sturdiness of the materials used. It’s a great entertaining space, perfect for Cillian zipping by on his scooter. Jon spent two weeks painstakingly removing the paint from the back wall, Revealing the original brick underneath. Residual paint and plaster. “I love the way it adds a rustic feel to the room,” adds Lisa.
Polished heated concrete floors in the living area continue the industrial feel, where skilled carpenter Jon built the steps to the kitchen area and used birch wood room dividers to define the space. “We love simple, honest materials, and we tried to apply a simple, strong aesthetic to every area of the house,” says Lisa.
The kitchen is long enough for a large vintage table and mismatched vintage chairs. “This table is a great find,” Lisa said. “As soon as we saw it we knew it would bring life to the kitchen.”
The couple wanted the kitchen to have a utilitarian feel, so Jon designed a fitted unit made from the same layers of birch, with clean lines that take advantage of the room’s unusual angles. “Terrazzo and cork tiles on the walls and floor add warmth and texture, and a table made from reclaimed roof wood completes the space,” said Lisa. “It has a beautiful, rustic feel that contrasts nicely with the simple tones of the kitchen.
“Cork floors are something we absolutely want. I love how warm it is, how sustainable it is as a material, and how quiet it is underfoot – that’s important in an open space. Terrazzo tiles in the kitchen are in the bathroom Leftovers. They’re one of the most expensive materials we buy, so it’s great to have the right amount for our kitchen – zero waste!
The stylish stair spindle is a safety feature that allows for separation without compromising the bright, open feel of the living area.
Fees and Contact
Construction works and materials £48,000
concrete floor £9,000
Furniture and Finishes £8,000
Kitchens, Accessories and Appliances £9,000
Bathroom Tiles and Accessories £4,000
Professional fees £3,000
Builders National standard construction
concrete floor Woody’s Concrete Company (opens in new tab)
steel window clement windows (opens in new tab)
Upstairs, space for the two top-floor rooms was used to create a modern bathroom with skylight and walk-in shower.Mid-century style bathroom with reed glass doors with vintage sideboard from @vintiquelondon (opens in new tab) Re-used for sink unit. Terrazzo tiles and black paint tie the scheme together, and a full-length skylight floods the room with light. “You can see the sky when you take a shower,” Lisa said.
Cillian’s nursery is outfitted with a simple pine crib and armchair, while a bright green feature wall and vintage airframe add interest to the house’s smallest room.
The room was redecorated in a relaxed style and an office/work space was created in the old first floor living room for Lisa’s retro chic business @thehackneywardrobe (opens in new tab)“Fortunately, we have a very similar aesthetic, and people often say it’s a ‘very Lisa and Jon’s house,’ and we think that’s a compliment.”
The furniture and fabrics outfitted in the house reflect the couple’s love of mid-century design and complement the simple, timeless materials used throughout the renovation.
“Most of it is retro,” says Lisa. “It’s important to us that finding furniture for our home is an organic process – rather than going out and buying a new sofa or rug, we like to find interesting pieces when we least expect them.”
The bedroom opens onto the sun terrace. “The floral print on the William Morris duvet is nostalgic and a nod to the textile designer’s East London roots,” says Lisa.
The guest room doubles as Jon’s office — “so we wanted the space to feel light and airy,” says Lisa. The couple made the design decision to include quirky spaces and create a home that is functional and characterful. “It’s been hard work, but our unique family home makes us proud – and we’re delighted!”