At Home: Paul Bernstock, London

Paul Bernstock, one half of the playful contemporary milliners Bernstock Speirs, invites us in for a cup of tea and reveals he’s just a normal home-bird… with an obsession for vintage Hermès ashtrays

“I’ve lived in Shoreditch, East London, for the past 25 years. My house was built in 1885 and was originally a carpenter’s workshop with living a quarters above it.

Does my home have any particular style? I don’t know. The whole house is pretty much a mix of things that have been collected over many years: The parquet was reclaimed from an old bank in the City, which was being refurbished, and the light was from a junk shop. I like that it looks as though it came from an East End pub (the matching wall lights are in my bedroom).

I’m obsessed with jugs and find it hard not to buy them when I see ones I like, but I’ve managed to curb my spending (now that I’ve run out of shelves and storage). Ashtrays, again, are a slight obsession. Particularly Hermès ones.

I’m very much a home-bird. I don’t feel precious about it but it does give me pleasure. I think it’s comfortable and I really love it when friends are here eating, drinking, or dancing.

My favourite aspect of the house is that there are large windows overlooking the street with trees outside. The window seat is from my parents’ house and is covered in pattern and print from magazines.

When I first moved here the area was much more run-down but in the past 15 years has seen it become very developed. Hopefully, it will keep a balance of the old and new. Favourite local haunts include Rich Mix for cinema, Redchurch Street for shopping and Franzè & Evans, where we lunch every day.

“We?” – well that’s me and Thelma, who lives upstairs with Skipper the cat. He mainly comes to visit me looking for food treats but he’s very affectionate. After all, it’s a warm welcome that makes a house a home.”

Interview Alex Jackson
Photography Emli Bendixen