Isabel & Claire's Globetrotting Apartment

Isabel & Claire's Globetrotting Apartment

Rebecca Proctor
Nov 13, 2012

Name: Isabel Cooke & Claire Walsh
Location: Hackney, London
Size: 2 bedroom apartment
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

Isabel and Claire's 1950's ex-local authority apartment has been given a new lease of life with their eclectic and global finds, family heirlooms and a huge dose of enthusiasm. Claire, a trends analyst, travels the world searching for great design, while Bel has a great eye for local vintage finds.

Slotted between Victorian terraces and converted factory buildings, the apartment was a great find when Bel bought it in 2010, but it needed a lot of work to become as cozy and welcoming as it is today. Paint was stripped, floors were pulled up and a new kitchen was installed. Slowly filling up with unique textiles and souvenirs, the apartment is now a wonderful place to call home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Ethnic throw up! Mixed with inherited furniture. And plenty of Ikea trips.

Inspiration: World of Interiors, but you couldn't tell. We did want to try and keep it fairly modern, in keeping with the time it was built — it is a 50s council flat.

Favorite Element: Bel likes the sunlight in the front room. Claire likes how cozy it is.

Biggest Challenge: Sourcing the green tiles for the kitchen. And the fireplace — Bel can't stand the surround and marble. No plant is big enough to mask it. But it is a work in progress.

What Friends Say: It's much bigger than they thought.

Biggest Embarrassment: We found something really embarrassing when we ripped out the cupboards in one of the bedrooms. But it didn't belong to either of us!

Proudest DIY: Chipping all layers of gloss off the woodwork, tiles, walls. It was everywhere. Ripping out the kitchen. Pulling up the floor. Gutting the place, really.

Biggest Indulgence: Hired muscle for the decorating.

Best Advice: Hire muscle for the decorating. And don't rush decisions.

Dream Sources: Local suppliers and Liberty.

Resources of Note: Ebay, Ikea, grandparents, London Plumbers, Abbotts Floors, a local tile shop, vintage fairs, car boots.


    • Farrow and Ball Lamp Room Grey
    • Everything else is white


    • Mirror from local record shop


    • Sideboard: Ebay
    • Rugs: Istanbul and Ikea
    • Bel's grandparents
    • Vintage Sori Yanangi Stool: Vintage Shop
    • Pouffes: Marrakesh
    • Striped blanket: Market in Argentina
    • Cushions: All sorts, some Claire made with fabric she bought in Myanmar
    • Print by a friend Gail Bryson
    • Shelf: Found in a field at a music festival; Claire sanded in back and re-sprayed it
    • Brass top table: Bel's Grandad got it when he was serving in Egypt during the war


    • Kitchen: Ikea
    • Worktops: Local Timber Suppliers
    • Light: Historical Lighting
    • Table and Chairs: Claire's Nana
    • Tiles: Pavilion Field from Original Style
    • Tons of plants: Bel has green fingers
    • Claire buys too much tableware from carboots and trips abroad


    • Table, Ikea
    • Shelves from Kempton race course
    • Bed, Ikea
    • Bedspread: Welsh tapestry from ebay
    • Mirrors: antiques fairs
    • Drawers: flea market
    • Rail: from a shopfitters in Whitechapel
    • Rocking chair: a swap


    • Mirror: 2021
    • Bed, Muji
    • Bedspread: French antique - flea market
    • Drawers: ebay
    • Wicker Light: Ikea


    • Tiles: Johnson's Prismatic in Victorian Blue
    • Floor: Forbo Marmoleum
    • Woodpecker Door Knocker: Ibizan Hippy Market!

Thanks, Isabel & Claire!

(Images: Rebecca Proctor)

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*Re-edited from a post originally published 11.13.12 - AB

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