Since buying a heavily altered Victorian property in east London that had lost many of its period features, Jessica Horton has been on a mission to restore it to its former glory – sharing her project, which began in the days of lockdown, with followers on Instagram.
From removing pebbledash to reveal the London brick lurking below to scouring online sites and antiques shops to uncover just the right fixtures and fittings, she’s found many fruitful avenues to explore. The result is vintage with modern touches, but always with a mind to creating those homely touches that make somewhere a precious space to hunker down, especially in winter.
Where is home?
East London is definitely our home, I love that you can be so central whilst being so close to beautiful outdoor spaces and parks. I love the people here, we have a great sense of community and it’s such a creative hub – so much going on all the time.
Tell us about your renovation journey…
We bought a doer-upper here about five years ago that needed a lot of work. It had been stripped bare of all its original features and had a very 1970s aesthetic, so there was a lot of work to put in to get it back to how it should have been – it was actually built in 1859.
The first thing we did was remove the pebbledash and expose the original brickwork, traditional London brick was just hiding underneath, and we also replaced all the windows with traditional wood sash – it makes such a difference.
We started renovating during Covid lockdown, so almost everything we bought was from eBay or vintage sellers. I would rather do that than buy new. I think this added to the authenticity, vintage-feel of the property.
How would you describe your interior style?
My personal interior style is traditional with a modern twist, I pay a lot of attention to the finer details in craftsmanship to make the space the best it can be and a space we are proud of. I find that a rewarding process. I think a home should feel like a sanctuary to relax and recharge.
What are your favourite rooms and objects in your home?
The lounge would have to be my favourite room in the house, it’s cosy, inviting, a real tranquil place to relax and recharge after a busy day. I love our fireplace, it’s an incredibly rare Victorian insert that I sourced from an antiques dealer, with a beautiful tile design that I’ve never seen before and would be really sad to leave behind if we ever leave. Also my plants, there’s greenery in every room!
“The perfect winter gathering is an intimate candlelit dinner with friends, a fire burning and cocktails flowing.”
Where do you gather inspiration?
I mostly find inspiration from travel – time in boutique hotels or from antique fairs. A great deal of inspiration came from my time spent in New York, I spent a lot of time staying in the Ace Hotel, The Standard – places that had very homely qualities; quite dark-lit and moody, that was the look we were going for.
Authenticity is also so important to me, I love when a space responds to its heritage in a way that makes it relevant in today’s world.
Describe your perfect winter gathering…
A small intimate candlelit dinner with close friends, relaxing music, a fire burning and cocktails flowing.
My go-tos for a winter table are tall candlesticks, wild arrangements of seasonal florals and lovely patterned tablecloths such as gingham. I love lots of eucalyptus-filled vases in the winter. It dries perfectly and adds a great scent to the room.
Any plans for the season ahead?
We are currently working on an exciting extension project adding a traditional wooden orangery to our house from the kitchen, which will be a great way to connect the garden and bring nature into the space.
I also love this time of year for wrapping up warm, getting cosy at home or meeting friends in local restaurants.
See how Jessica’s project is progressing @since_1859