It’s amazing what you come across in Tottenham. Earlier this month, DT visited Loren Wood who has decked out his rented home in South Tottenham with an array of vintage finds and antiques. Named Gladesmore Studios, the house has appeared in numerous high end fashion shoots and a handful of music videos.
Before moving to Tottenham eight years ago, Loren was based in Bristol. We had a quick chat and a sit down in the living room with a cuppa.
What’s your connection to the fashion world?
I was a milliner from the age of 18. I discovered I had this natural ability to make hats and that’s when I first became interested in fashion. I was sending pieces to London and all around the world, and I was like ‘oh wow.’ From nowhere it just happened. I decided to move up to London to do a tailoring course. I came here and I never left because I liked the location.
Millinery doesn’t sound like an easy job!
This is what’s really strange, I somehow make really good head pieces. I have designed hats for Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, Vidal Sassoon and worked at Stephen Jones. I did one the other day, actually, for an Egyptian advert.
Is that your day job?
I haven’t really done only millinery for ages. It’s one of those markets where the money is not really that good. The stuff I do is more editorial and fashion daywear.
Have you always had an interest in fashion?
Yeah fashion and just generally design. I’ve done set design, art direction, interior design, styling, tailoring and costume.
Why did you decide to start hiring out the space?
My old housemates and I decided to decorate it because it was a standard London rental. In the early days it wasn’t anything like it is now. One of our housemates, her mate was a stylist, and said ‘oh can we use your house to shoot in?’ and we thought, ‘god, really?’ At the time I was like, ‘you really want to shoot here?!’ Then we made the Instagram and it flowed in.
How did you end up with such an interesting collection of props and antiques?
Most of my family were in the antiques trade so I’ve always grown up around old stuff. I have this problem where when I come across something I like I buy it. That said, a lot of the stuff in this house is actually from the street. It’s crazy what people throw away!
We used to have a piano we found on the street. That plant was on the street… The fireplace was on the street… This area is the best for finding stuff. People just chuck stuff away and I’m not a chuck away person. I’m a borderline horder, although I do have big clear outs now and again. It’s such a shame that so much is wasted when it can be used, or sold, or given away to charity.
What’s your favourite piece in the house?
I think that clock. [He points to an antique clock in the living room]. I got that free off Facebook. It’s from the 1780s (George III). It’s the latest new thing in the house. These taxidermy birds are quite new as well, I bought them at an auction.
[He shows me another taxidermy cockerel]. I’m from the countryside and this is actually one of my cockerels. He died naturally. I used to make hats out of them and I was going to use him for millinery as he has really dark feathers, but I thought it was a shame and I wanted to get him taxidermied. I used to do taxidermy as well. He was frozen for 10 years until I found someone to do it. I wanted someone else to do it because they can be quite tricky with their combs. It’s a sentimental thing essentially. I finally found a taxidermist who did it for £70… I’ve always been into zoology – I see them more as specimens rather than decorative items.
What’s been filmed or shot here?
Everything. There’s been music videos for up and coming artists, and Gucci shot their cruise collection here… Initially it was random fashion student graduate collections, then it went really high end: Prada, Fendi, Gucci, Chanel, Roberto Cavalli, Louis Vuitton… It’s mental to have had £200,000 worth of clothes in this house.
How do you find sharing your personal space?
I don’t honestly mind. All of this stuff has paid for itself 100 times over, so I’m not that precious about anything in particular. When people come here I’m like do whatever you want, move what you like, unless it’s super fragile or glass. It doesn’t bother me that much.
How do you come up with the ideas to lay out the rooms?
What usually happens is one major piece comes in and everything builds on that. There’s always a key piece and then suddenly if it’s too strong everything else has to change. This room has changed so much. I’m trying to go for a posh conservative 70s vibe, like the original Omen film. Before it was more of a New Orleans plantation house meets Grey Gardens meets flowers in the attic meets old money…
You have an eclectic mix of items…
When it comes to editorials, every object is symbolic of something so each corner is set out slightly differently to another. This corner here [points to a corner in the room] is more contemporary and modern, than the other one. It’s quite an organic process, it doesn’t really have any rules to it!
I pretty much do all the DIY in the house. The thing people don’t realise about interior design is it doesn’t ever have to be expensive. I also make all the pillows myself. These pillows retail in House of Hackney for £175. I went to their sample sale and spent 15 quid on loads of remnants and I managed to make 12 pillows out of it. That pillow was an old fur coat from the East End Thrift Store – you can fill up a bag for £10. Fur’s not that popular at the moment but you might as well reuse it and recycle it. If you can make something out of it, no matter what it’s made of, you might as well do it instead of buying more crap from the high street.
The best place to go shopping is Princess May carboot in Dalston. It’s amazing. Most of the stuff in this house has come from there!