My Home: Chef Angela Harnett

With all the hours she spends in her other kitchen, returning this Georgian house to its best has been a slow journey for star chef Angela Hartnett

A former protégé of Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett MBE won a Michelin star at the Connaught and launched Cielo in Florida. Her first book, 'Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking' (Ebury Press, £25), is out now. She lives in Spitalfields, east London

I own this house with my brother, and I live here with my sister. I have photos of my family scattered throughout the house. My Italian grandmother's old pasta board sits next to the Aga in the kitchen, along with two of her chairs and one of her old coffee-makers.

My brother used to live here, and when I was looking for a new house to buy, he was planning to move to New York. So he asked if I wanted to co-own it with him. It made perfect sense, and I moved in four years ago. There was no point living in this big house on my own, so my sister moved in too. And though I normally don't do lodgers, Salvatore, who used to work with me, also lives here, and it works very well.

I had previously lived in Stockwell and Wandsworth and was unsure at first about moving north of the river. But I've come to love this part of London: Spitalfields is so buzzy and convenient. I always used to say that I'd live no further than a £10 cab ride from work. With the rise of cab fares, it probably costs closer to £20 now, but it's still a great place to be.

I'm having a break from the Connaught for a few months while it's being renovated, so that's giving me time to sort out the house. I'm decluttering like crazy.

I love living in a house with such character and history. I can see the attraction to modern homes, as you don't have to do any work, but it can be soulless. Some are so minimalist you can't find the front door.

Our home is Georgian, dating back to the 1800s. It's an old Huguenot house, once lived in by French-Jewish weavers and spinners. It was already restored before we moved in, so we haven't had to do much structurally.

But we are in the process of painting. The colours are expensive shades from Farrow & Ball, which could mean remortgaging, but it's worth it. The exterior woodwork is painted a shade of plum and the specialist restoration decorator Tony Gregory is painting the interior in blues, creams and reds. He always knows what's best for the character of a house.

There are original features throughout: wooden floors, wooden stairs, panelling, fireplaces, window shutters and shelving. We even have a cave-like space made from old Portland stone that used to be the old ovens. It must be about 250 years old and – if we can get permission – it would make a great wine cellar.

On the ground floor, there is a dining room painted a deep Hague blue, with original fireplaces, and tall windows with wooden shutters.

The first floor has a study overlooking the garden and another large room at the front. There is a wonderful mural on the walls: a trompe l'oeil border above egg tempera walls.

On the second floor, there is my bedroom and the bathroom – my favourite place in the house. It's painted China blue and white, and there is a large roll-top bath by a tall window overlooking the back garden.

A collection of fish drawings line the walls alongside black-and-white photos of my nephews.

It is also home to a work by the artist Steve Whittle – a landscape in his trademark collage style. I've hosted two shows of his work in the house.

The top floor has two bedrooms. They have lower ceilings but are the quietest rooms in the house.

Another favourite place is the walled garden at the back. It's a very peaceful green space, with views of the nearby church, rooftops and gardens. A curved wrought-iron staircase at the back of the garden also leads to a terrace with a table and two bay trees. Rose bushes cover one of the walls and we have pots of mint, basil and rosemary, as well as olive trees. We're also growing wild strawberries.

The heart of the house is, of course, the kitchen, which is in the basement. This is where everyone sits and drinks tea.

When I'm working, I cook infrequently at home and like to make very easy stuff, like steak and salad. We have an electric oven too, which I don't like and I'm going to replace it with a gas oven. I was given all the cooking things belonging to my nanna, my Italian grandmother, when she died. She was a big influence on me. I still use her old pasta board to make fresh pasta. You can see all the dents made over the years.

There are so many great restaurants around here that we eat out a lot. There's Canteen, St John, the Rivington Bar and Grill and the Lahore curry house on Commercial Street.

The only down side is the noise. There are always crowds heading to Brick Lane and people will from time to time urinate on your front-door step. But that's the double-edged sword of living in such a vibrant part of London.

I was sitting on a plane the other day listening to someone tell an American tourist visiting London for the first time that she had to go and visit Brick Lane. I felt quite cross. Enough people know about Brick Lane already. But at the same ti me, that's also why it is such a buzzy place to live. I can't see myself living anywhere else.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent