May 21, 2014
Growing up in a creative family, interior designer Hannah Trickett followed her dad’s example when she moved to London. Living in the city for 10 years now, she reflects on the changes, the challenges and the adjustments to her dreams: “London has driven me to continue as a creative and taught me that following your own path is not just ok but super exciting.”
I moved to London in 2004, within a month after getting my degree in Decorative Arts from Nottingham Trent University. This course covered so many aspects of design, contemporary craft, ceramics, designing and making, illustration, business planning, design history etc. I think I always imagined coming to London. My dad studied in London in the 70’s, hearing stories about the city captured my imagination and knew that one day I’d explore the city too.
During my final year at uni I was quite determined to enter a job immediately. I had interviews lined up while I was in London for the New Designers exhibition in Islington, where I showcased my final year work. The job I got was at Fired Earth as an assistant. They had an in-house design team and it was my aim to work my way up the ladder to become one of their designers.
I had a great first impression but also so very surreal. My first job was in South Kensington (at Fired Earth) and I lived in an apartment in Wimbledon. I was surrounded by wealth but unfortunately not my own. Living and working in such a beautiful and rich part of the city, gave me the chance to design in such beautiful buildings and meet some very interesting people. It was quite a hard job trying to keep up with that lifestyle, and having a false sense of wealth didn’t help my bank balance. I succeeded with my aim to become a designer for Fired Earth, working all over London which was amazing. I visited areas of London I’d not have seen if it wasn’t for being a designer. I found it so blissful walking to clients houses and staring at the London townhouses, dreaming that I’d have my very own one day.
I’ve moved around quite a bit over my ten years here. Each area that I lived in felt like home but none more so than Victoria Park in East London. This is truly my home, it’s my perfect sanctuary. I love walking around the park, along the canal and checking out the ducks and geese in the lake, especially the Egyptian geese. Victoria Park village has so many nice shops and restaurants too, sometimes I don’t leave this area for weeks. Plus I rehomed a cat that I named Hansel, he’s brought so much joy to my life. I know I sound like a mad cat lady but he’s amazing! To choose just one place in London that could be my favourite is so hard. It would have to be an area spanning from Islington to Victoria Park. I just love it, it’s full of great independent shops, markets, bars and galleries.
For a special place to visit I love to go to my favourite furniture shop 2&4 in Islington. It sells immaculately restored mid-century furniture, lighting and accessories. I’m half Danish so I have a slight obsession with Danish design, Maurice (the owner) drives over to Denmark regularly and brings something back to the UK. He restores the pieces if needed and then sells them in the shop. This makes the shop ever changing so it’s always fun to see what’s new in. There was a shop cat named Ed (who is retired now), he used to sleep on the vintage Danish sofas which was also another amazing reason to go visit.
I’ve never been an academic person, I have always gone down the creative route whenever given the option. As a child I cut up my fluffy slippers to make them into photo frames. I would also make hair scrunchies and sell them in the school playground. My dad is a graphic designer and I would spend time in his studio after school. I would see the studio busy at work with people drawing, cutting and pasting, spray mount corner and photo shoots. Seeing that environment drove me further into the creative path, it was great!
I always knew that I wanted to be designer and loved being creative, I just needed to find my own path. Arts college and my uni course helped so much but working in London directed me into my specific path. It’s been tough at times but I do believe you have to work hard to reap the rewards.
I’ve had quite a long history of being ill, since the age of thirteen I’ve suffered from a condition called Hydrocephalus, also known as fluid on the brain. To manage this condition I have a shunt, that drains the excess fluid away from my brain. Unfortunately shunts can fail and in 2009 after many months of tests it was discovered that I needed a shunt revision, which meant more surgery. Designing interiors and sourcing products was such a massive part of my life, so much so that I couldn’t let being ill stop me from doing what I loved. I needed to find a way to do this while being in a hospital bed or on the sofa at home.
And so I began to start my own blog, Hannah in the house. I worked on it slowly at first as I was a complete blog novice, being much more time consuming than I expected but totally rewarding.
Being able to comfortably fit in my craft love, styling shoots, design inspiration and interior trends whilst being ill has been a dream and kept me motivated. Once I healed from surgery in 2010, I returned back to work and kept the blog going and turned it into a much bigger part of my life than I had imagined before.
The past 4 years have been a little tough as more complications have occurred. So far, I’ve had four brain surgeries and three brain probes, I’m currently waiting to get readmitted into hospital for more tests as recently I’ve fallen ill again. This has not deterred me from my job as a designer. It has actually made me focus more on what I’m passionate about. Client side design has taken a back seat for now but doing the blog and the odd styling shoot really works for me. Time will tell how this blog will develop. I’ve learned that you never really know what’s around the corner but if you stay motivated and passionate about what you love, there’s no end to the possibilities ahead.
London doesn’t stop, there is always something new, places to visit and people to see. It has fantastic art and design communities, inspirational design events and just meeting so many other creatives in London is so inspiring. Seeing so many people driven in whatever career they do is infectious. My work has led me to a selection of the most stunningly beautiful properties in London. I’ve worked on some incredible projects and met the most interesting people. London has driven me to continue as a creative and taught me that following your own path is not just ok but super exciting.