At Home With: Househomo
Richard O'Gorman, the colour-theorist behind @househomo, opens the doors to his vibrant Victorian Terrace.
Having moved into his Victorian Terrace just before the initial 2020 lockdown, Birmingham-based Richard O'Gorman has been documenting his energetic interior restyle project on @househomo. Awash with colour, eclectic pairings and big, bold shapes, O'Gorman’s home is visual feast – so join us we venture inside.
What drew you to this house? And what was it like before you started the process of transformation?
The moment I walked in and saw the original Victorian Corbels in the hallway, I was completely sold; I knew I wanted them and they needed to be painted gold as soon as I moved in (and they were!).
There were also couple of serendipitous moments; the previous owners shared the same surname (but they dropped the O in the ‘80s) and they had a Westie who was identical to our family dog - but mostly it was just an overwhelming feeling of being at home.
The house itself was in great condition, most of the work has been cosmetic but it was crying out for some colour on the walls.
I guess I would describe my aesthetic as retro futurism with a focus on colour theory! It’s not catchy, but it feels the most correct!
How would you describe your interior aesthetic?
This is a tricky one! A lot of people refer to my aesthetic as colour-blocking, but I think that is way too restrictive. I’m drawn to colour and shape and ignoring every rule in interior design and colour-blocking doesn’t fully encompass that ethos! So, I guess I would describe my aesthetic as retro futurism with a focus on colour theory! It’s not catchy, but it feels the most correct!
Does this sit back to your personal style?
Definitely! I love colourful, well designed outfits with hints of vintage and retro and I hate wearing grey or anything basic (plain jersey backed T-shirts are my personal hell). I think dressing up every day should be fun & playful, and that is definitely a process I bring into my interior design.
What are you most pleased with?
The dining room has been the wildest journey and transformation, and the response has been so amazing. I spent five weeks of Lockdown 3.0 playing with shape and colour and it was only then that I stepped back and realised how wild it was! I was completely in love with it but I was terrified that my followers thought I’d gone too far/too wild - but luckily they love it as much as I do!
In which room do you spend the most time?
Definitely the living room, it’s actually criminal! I have so much additional space to play with but I do all my admin, reading, relaxing and zoom calls from the same spot on the sofa, I’m such a creature of habit!
How did you go about decorating/furnishing each room?
When lockdown hit, I was put on furlough and I realised I would never have this much free time again, so I bought as much paint as I could get hold of and decorated as many rooms as I could. I’ve now since gone back and redecorated the dining room because my aesthetic has changed so much, and I’m now looking at the same in the hallway.
My current method is to look at paint first and decide upon a colour story. I tend to pick a pink for warmth, a cooler blue/green for balance and then everything else is playtime. For the bathroom and dining room, I allowed the paint to tell me where it wanted to go and allow the room to grow from that point; it was a really wonderful way to decorate (if a little time consuming) and I’m in love with the result!
Furniture and accessories are something that takes time for me. I have a lot of pieces that I’ve collected over years, which hold so much story and irreplaceable value. It’s important not to rush buying furniture either, even if you’re sat on a cardboard box for a few weeks! I actually had a box as a bedside table for just under a year and I’ve only just replaced it!
And what was your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was the bathroom. I was determined to do it all myself, so I pored over YouTube plumbing tutorial videos, ripped out a built-in cupboard that could hold nothing (it was so pointless!) replastered that corner, retiled the room, plumbed the sink and it makes me so proud every day walking in there and the watching the tap work.
Are there any interior trends you’re particularly into right now?
I’m really obsessed with layering two shapes on top of one another and painting the overlap in a mix of the two colours; it’s starting to pick up on the ‘gram as a trend but I love the way it gives a hint of transparency and plays with depth!
Are you drawn to specific colourways or design styles?
I’m always drawn to pink and green (it should always be seen) - but mostly I just look for anything with a strong design sensibility, even if it doesn’t fit in with my aesthetic. If it’s well designed I’ll make it work!
Where do you look for inspiration?
I try and stay away from Instagram when designing to avoid getting lost in what everyone else is doing - whenever I have I end up trying to incorporate someone else’s vibe into my own and it’s never as successful. BUT I do have a little sneak peek on @_sitio @mrbuckleyinteriors and @petertarka, who are all documenting retro futurism and 3D design renderings.
I always look to fashion; I’ve religiously watched Prada runways live for about 12 years. More recently, I’ve been falling in love with the work of Iris Van Herpen, which is a terrifying inspiration; her work is so meticulous and mesmerising with such amazing movement. I’m trying to think of ways to incorporate that into interiors, but the way she speaks about finding direction between the overlaps of the codes of her collaborators is completely inspiring.
What’s your interior design motto?
Go Big or Go Homo!