Life & Style

Frieda Gormley, co-founder of House of Hackney, on life in the Cornish countryside

Frieda talks fairytale gardens, antique treasure troves, and Cornwall’s coffee scene

Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royale in the countryside – house of hackney
(Image credit: House of Hackney)

Frieda Gormley is one half of House of Hackney, a luxe interior haven that is filled with colors and prints inspired by nature. Frieda launched the brand with her husband Javvy M Royle in their east London Victorian townhouse but has since relocated to the Castle of Trematon in Saltash, Cornwall. 

See: Our Country channel to indulge in everything rustic

Last year, the fashionable couple transformed their home into a pop-up B&B, and this year, they launched their SS21 collection – The Fantastical World of Flora Fantasia, which is inspired by the mystical fairytale gardens surrounding the castle. 

Our house is located…

… in Cornwall, surrounded by nature, [which] has been so nourishing. The beautiful estate we live on is a place of fantasy and escapism, which is what we’ve needed in tough times. It can feel like being in another world. Nature is our biggest muse. 

My day in the country involves…

Tamar–Tavy Estuary at dusk, with boats and wildlife

The Tamar–Tavy Estuary

(Image credit: Alamy)

… swimming in the Tamar Estuary every day of the year, whatever the weather. Actually, it’s even more joyous in the rain. It gives me the most incredible health and wellbeing boost, and I just feel so incredibly lucky to be able to do it. 

Our biggest concern when we moved from London… 

… was ‘are we going to be able to get our favorite coffee?’ But we’ve found that Cornwall is actually amazing for coffee; Yallah is roasted in Falmouth. 

The move has made us more conscious of...  

Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royale in the countryside

(Image credit: House of Hackney)

… our environmental footprint. We’re trying to be more plastic-free and also support the local producers. We get a weekly produce delivery from a community of growers called Keveral, which includes a wonderful box of Coombeshead Farm sourdough bread. 

The area was historically… 

… one of the most fertile areas of the UK, but because of invasive farming, the soil has become overused. People here are committed to changing that, such as Michelin starred Chef Dan Cox, who heads up the regenerative farm Melilot. This summer (if Covid allows), I think we’ll see more farm-to-table restaurants opening and putting this area on the map in a beautiful way.  

See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens

At the weekends…

 … we like to take our ridgeback dog and two children walking in Rame Head. Up there is The Canteen at Maker Heights, which was started by Nick Platt, an ex-River Cottage chef, and it has the most amazing breakfasts and Sunday lunches.  

We love Porthcurnick Beach because…

View of the beach from The Hidden Hut in Cornwall

(Image credit: Alamy)

… it’s got this incredible beach cafe called The Hidden Hut, which makes lunches such as fresh mackerel salad and coconut dahl – so, not your normal beach food.

My secret antique treasure trove is…

… actually in Somerset, but it’s worth the drive. It’s called Wessex Beds, although they sell everything. The owner, Jeremy, has the most amazing eye. 

My favorite art shop...

Beach in Cornwall

(Image credit: Future)

… is a gallery that I go to that has famous Cornish artists called Livingstone St Ives. I particularly love an artist called Henrietta Dubrey

Over the last year…

… I feel that people have become increasingly attached to the idea of having beautiful products in their homes, knowing where they’ve come from and who has made them. 

See: Experts reveal the 5 antique pieces you should invest in right now

It’s the same as caring about the provenance of the food you eat. I believe in the positive energies of an inanimate object.