Ella Toal-Gangar began her career at Relative MO PR looking after designers Charlotte Olympia, Markus Lupfer, and Christopher Kane before heading up a new VIP department to work with celebs from Blake Lively to Beyonce.
As your own boss, working from home, how do you get into office mode?
Since leaving the world of fashion PR, Ella is now a freelance project manager and consultant for clients such as Reiss, Linda Farrow, Clash magazine, The Box Soho, and recently acted as producer on Nike's 'Feel London' project. Alongside some short film projects and a new exhibition, Ella will be organising a series of feminist talks over 2014. The busy bee invited us over to her North London hive, beautifully decorated with an array of artworks and personal trinkets.
I could sleep forever if I allowed myself! I'm now super strict and my flat has lots of light which helps me to get up early, ready for the day. I like to listen to Radio 4 and then clean the flat before sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop. The rest of the day is usually spent in meetings; I love rushing through town with a coffee, bouncing off different people and discussing potential projects.
Having lived in Dalston for six years previously, what made you move to Islington and what do you love about it?
I got to a stage where I needed to buckle down and wanted a space where I could enjoy my living environment. I found my flat on Gumtree when looking to move with my boyfriend at the time. l worked on the space for a while and decided to stay here by myself. I now wake up so happy - it feels like me! The anonymity that Islington gives me compared to East London has been amazing - in this industry people really get on top of each other. I do miss the different shops and Ridley Road market in the east end, but it's great leaving my house with only the glare of the yummy mummies on my front door.
How would you describe your interior style?
I love old and new together and collect any packaging I find interesting, even if it's a Happy Meal Toy! I like to think my interior style is "new modern"; I hate the term "shabby chic" but I guess some would say that. To me a house has to be cosy. I can't stand anything too sterile, something about raw wood and a million things to look at is really comforting.
Art - both your own and others' - are a key decorative feature in your flat. Is art very important to you?
Art is a very personal thing and having a random pretty picture on the wall would feel like there was a stranger sitting in my living room. I like it all to have a story and be something a bit different, by a friend or often my mum and dad, both artists. I was excited when I moved in to finally invest in some original pieces; in my old house it was just postcards in my cramped bedroom.
I just bought a great print from my friend Rob Whoriskey but it took me a while to put my own paintings up. I was really shy, but now I have a few commissions which is great.
You mentioned that you're a keen cook. Is that how you unwind?
I love the ritual of going to the supermarket and getting everything I need for a specific meal. I love to look after people, feeding them and keeping them warm is the best way to do this! My grandmother is a war baby from Berlin and taught me to cook big meals from nothing. I'm pretty confident I could make a huge healthy meal out of a few cans and an onion.
Where do you see yourself living in 10 years?
I would like to own a house in London in the next three years, then I wouldn't mind living abroad. I was thinking of moving to LA last year because I love the lifestyle. Plus everyone thought I was the funnest person ever because none of them party like us Londoners! I visited Reykjavik recently, I would love to buy a flat there one day as it is such an amazing place. But for the moment I'm seeing where work takes me....can't wait to see where I end up!
See Phoebe-Lettice Thompson's full shoot of Ella's amazing flat below...
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