Live Local - Designing Rental Homes With Soul



For the last month we've been in the thick of a big new design project – one of our biggest projects to date. And now that we are in the final stages of installing and styling we wanted to share the process and pics to hopefully give you some ideas for your own space. Especially if you are looking to inject personality and home vibes into a new build white box or rental space.  

Homes come in all different forms and sometimes if you are moving around for work or just enjoying time in a different city, it's important to stay somewhere that feels like a little bit of you. So we've been working on a new concept in short term stay apartments with fresh new business, Cuckooz.


We met over a coffee in East London (it wouldn't be a meeting for us without a coffee) and we hit it off immediately. When Charlie, co-founder of Cuckooz along with the fabulous Fabienne, told us that their new apartments were “a home from home for the design savvy traveller”, we were hooked. Having travelled on business ourselves on numerous occasions, it's so important to be able to relax and let your hair down when the working day ends, wherever you may be. So we knew that we could bring something special to this apartment block in Aldgate East.


With bold pattern, elegant curtains, hand printed fabric and wallpaper we gave this blank canvas that unique and personal edge. The key pieces of furniture we selected were from Habitat and they give the perfect contemporary design structure on which to add our layers of personality. Great tip here for any dining area, we've used the outdoor Tico Table in polycrete as our indoor dining table and it looks epic. Paired with the Thalia Dining Chair in black it looks monolithic and lends the room a calming Japanese quality. It's also lightweight and easy to assemble, which is a big help when you have 6 floors to carry it up.


Living local is so important to us and to Cuckooz so we sought out designer makers in the east London vicinity to flesh out our schemes for these 9 apartments. Starting off with Custhom design who handmade the feature wallpapers of offset and igneous in special colour options that we commissioned. The colours modulate throughout the each apartment from soft grey to pale Jade and gold to forest green. Adding pattern and a handmade quality really lifted each space. And we may have mentioned this before, but it's a handy tip to know, Custhom do their designs on removable vinyl if you are renting and don't want to damage walls but are looking to get some impact in your home. Keep it to limited spaces as it has a high price tag but the difference it makes is immense. It's the soul in the sauce. 


We then added the layer of stunning curtains by Kvadrat. They soften the hard lines of the new build and give subtle colour and pattern support, bringing some of the graphic, textural and patterned elements together. The Drizzle sheer fabric in all the lounges with its ombré blue into putty colour and sophisticated splatter design is totally off the chart beautiful. The complimentary, but heavier weight, Sparkling fabric in grey ombré adds elegance to the second bedrooms in each apartment and the soft blue grey of the Relax fabric in the master suites offers blackout quality with beautiful textured weave. Ethereal beauty, perfectly complimenting Custhom designs award winning Igneous wallpaper. You simply can't go wrong with Kvadrat, everything they do is Dreamy with a capital D. 


Staying in the bedrooms, we used the Lucia grey metal bed from Habitat to give the bones an industrial edge nodding to the Aldgate setting that is thronging with industry and development right now. We followed that through with some star bedside tables, by design brand &new, called 'Robot' in fabulous different colours for each apartment with elegant, gravity defying legs.  For the bedding we used our own designed bed linen from our collaboration with the lovely Secret Linen Store giving you something so much more than the expected crisp white sheets of most hotels or short term stay accommodation. The soft colours working beautifully with the strong lines of the grey metal beds. 


And on the floor there is a whole world of gorgeousness from our pal Floor Story, also based in east London. We chose these beautifully aged 'fading world' rugs that really ground the rooms. They add a simple eclecticism that helps any space feel more like home. 

On to the artwork and we commissioned young upcoming illustrator, Joe Gamble to work from our iPhone snaps of the surrounding scene in Aldgate East. He went above and beyond and created some truly beautiful original artworks for each apartment. We are in love with them and we wish we could keep one all the more because there was a connection to the process of working with Joe. This is another great tip to getting the soul into your space – commission artists and makers and designers. There are so many talented young people out there who want to make work and taking a chance on giving someone a showcase and a leg up can be so rewarding. Again if you are renting, an artwork or a one of design piece is something you can easily take with you when you move on. So the investment is worth every penny.  


Invest yourself too! We created some Rorschach artworks using indigo ink and cartridge paper with torn edges, mounted in the gorgeous 'bacall' floating glass frames. Just fold the paper in half and splodge the ink on with some drops of water to get easy colourful impact. Then for the plant pots we personalised them using a large bucket and some watered down white lime wash. But you could also use white emulsion watered down. We dipped each pot in different ways then left to dry and with the different directions of dip it creates a great collection. 


The grey swirled concrete side tables with gold hairpin legs on which one of the pots sits was designed and made in collaboration with our new pal, Grahamade. We commissioned the tables and after a sample stage, a design meeting and some tweaks, Graham delivered some side tables that are one of a kind and we are in love with them. 

Keeping it real with the recycling, we used cute but functional bins from Binopolis and last but never least, we got the ink arrow patterned cushions from Flock! The design by Lucy Rainbow for Flock is called 'Aldgate East' and how could we not put them in. They are a curve ball that breaks the formality of the scheme and they give big punch for just a little cushion. We've wanted to work with Flock for so long, ever since we first saw a sample of their fabric in Liberty many moons ago and we are thrilled that we got the opportunity here. 


This project has been hectic, but it has been full of heart and we loved working on it especially because of all the wonderful people we've been lucky enough to bring together. 

The full project with pics of all rooms will be coming soon but in the meantime, if you want to book a night in one of the apartments, designed by us, then go to and use this special discount code INTERIORS001 created just for our readers.


Jordan and Russell x


Connect with 2LG