Expecting: Lauren van Uden

Lauren van Uden has more than a few strings to her bow. During the day, she works as an industrial designer in the Research and Design team for Transport for London, trialling and developing new products and technologies for the transport network. In the evening, you’re likely to find Lauren sat at a pottery wheel in Peckham, where she creates beautiful ceramics at the South London based studio The Kiln Rooms. However, Lauren is about to get even busier in a different way. At 35 weeks pregnant, she’s preparing for her and her partner Tim’s first foray into parenthood. We spent some time in her home with photographer Jessica Maccormick as part of our Expecting series, where we chat to mothers-to-be during pregnancy as they are about to enter the next, new chapter of their lives.

Lauren and Tim are both long-term Glasshouse friends who have been with us from the very beginning. In fact, the pair were the aesthetic visionaries behind the Glasshouse interior, designing the salon and taking it from abandoned storage space into a fully-functioning, sustainably-made salon. Everything from the lighting to the bespoke in-built furniture were masterminded by the duo, and they still contribute to the design of the salon today.

“The salon was an amazing challenge which Tim and I throughly loved working on” Lauren explains, “A salon is a very functional, hard working space so we spent a lot of time making sure we could get the best out of a fairly small footprint using durable materials. When we initially saw the site it was 2 separate storage rooms in a mezzanine space, accessed by a hatch ladder. The windows were boarded up and the ceiling a mess of cables and metal trunking. We could easily see the potential and were lucky enough to have the support from Olivia and Netil House to transform it into the space now.”

"We could easily see the potential and were lucky enough to have the support from Olivia and Netil House to transform it into the space now.”
“We could easily see the potential and were lucky enough to have the support from Olivia and Netil House to transform it into the space now.”

Originally from New Zealand and now calling Leytonstone home, Lauren is venturing into a challenge of a different kind. “Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about” Lauren told us over cups of tea in her East London home, “Tim has been very supportive throughout my pregnancy which has made the whole journey exciting and relaxed.”

Relaxing isn’t always the easiest feat during a first-time pregnancy, but Lauren has adapted her own ways of slowing down and zoning out from trimester to trimester. Exercise has been key - swimming in particular and some local pilates sessions at The Space East in Forest Gate (“It’s taught me a lot about the function of the pelvic floor muscles and the changes that our bodies go through during pregnancy”). However there are some forms of exercise Lauren has had to ease up on, “Before pregnancy I was cycling a lot which I gave up in my second trimester as I work in central London and the roads can be a little hectic” she says.

In fact, her morning routine has changed further, despite “still jamming myself on the Central Line at Leyton during rush hour”, Lauren now gets up half an hour earlier to fit in some morning stretching exercises, pilates and a bit of Swiss ball before tackling the commute head-on. Evenings involve a long bath, more pilates and some hypnobirthing exercises which she and her husband have been practising together.

Gentle exercise aside, Lauren has another method of unwinding that stems much further back than her pregnancy. Starting life as an escape from days spent in front of a computer at work, creating beautiful ceramics has been Lauren’s passion project since she signed up to a Tuesday night class in 2014 with Stuart Carey at his Hoxton Studio. Four years on and the side hustle has evolved into a fully fledged enterprise, with a collection of cups, jugs and plates under the Studio LVU umbrella, all moulded from natural clay and taking inspiration from texture, shape and sculpture.

“Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about”
“Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about”
“Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about”

During pregnancy, ceramics has become even more of a release: “Throwing on the wheel is very relaxing - you have to be focused so it’s a great way to zone out” Lauren explains, “Sitting at the wheel is a good position for baby too; upright, forward and open.” It’s also been a great way of meeting likeminded people as well, as a member of Bellenden Road’s The Kiln Rooms. Lauren’s most recent commission has been a collection of stoneware ceramics for Burgess & Hall, a wine shop and bar in Forest Gate that focus on natural, organic and biodynamic wines.

There’s something endearing about Lauren’s love of being hands-on and her connection with nature - whether that’s through working with clay or getting outdoors and active. A New Zealand-native, pregnancy has given her time to reflect on the kind of upbringing London offers for a child. Far from the sweeping landscape of her Kiwi childhood, Lauren has made East London her home and is looking forward to motherhood in the city.

“I had a very free childhood, walking to school unaccompanied and meeting with friends on my way home” she says, “It’s funny when I talk to some friends in New Zealand as they can’t understand why we want to raise a child in such a busy city as London. I think London is one of the best cities for mums and babies. I’m really looking forward to taking our little one to the London art galleries and museums and for him or her to grow up in a very diverse multicultural environment.”

The view of her Kiwi friends about parenthood in London isn’t a rare one and it’s certainly a justifiable one: the open coastline and beautiful scenery of her home country doesn’t quite compare to Hackney’s gritty urban streets. However, culturally and socially, London is unrivalled when it comes to mum and baby offerings. Besides, as Lauren says “Margate is only just over an hour away on the train if we need some ocean air.”

“It’s funny when I talk to some friends in New Zealand as they can’t understand why we want to raise a child in such a busy city as London. I think London is one of the best cities for mums and babies."
“It’s funny when I talk to some friends in New Zealand as they can’t understand why we want to raise a child in such a busy city as London. I think London is one of the best cities for mums and babies.”

Since being pregnant, Lauren’s biggest challenge has been slowing down and listening to her body: “Up until the second trimester I would be at the ceramics studio several nights a week until late but I quickly realised I needed more rest” she explains, “It’s quite hard when you’re used to doing certain things and then your body just says no - you need to go home and sleep.”

As Industrial Designers, home is something that’s integral to both Lauren and Tim. With only a couple of weeks to go before baby is due, the pair are still making some final renovations on their Leytonstone home - which they bought as project and have been working on ever since.

“We didn’t quite realise how much of a project we had bought until we started peeling off the wallpaper to reveal the original lathe and plaster and removing the moth-eaten carpet to find newspapers from the 1940s” says Lauren, “The house has been in the same family for 90 years so it was full of history but very run-down.”

A self-confessed minimalist, Lauren’s home is an extension of her’s (and Tim’s) personal aesthetic and their work in the industrial realm too. The airy Victorian house features stripped wooden floors and tones and textures drawing from nature, with plenty of subtle nods to the duo’s curated design taste too - think orb-shaped lighting and framed artwork. The 1940s newspapers may have vanished, but the space is still packed with character.

It’s time to peel ourselves away from Lauren’s squishy, denim-blue sofa and leave her in peace for the final few weeks of pregnancy. Calm-headed and composed with a healthy approach to life, home and wellbeing, Lauren is as well-equipped as she can be for her imminent foray into family life. As we wave her Leytonstone abode goodbye, we feel hopeful to see what motherhood will bring for Lauren and privileged to get a glimpse into these last days of her Expecting journey.

Lauren’s pregnancy recommendations

Book:

Olivia (Glasshouse Salon director) recommended the Ina May Gaskin book Guide to Childbirth which I read early on in my pregnancy. It was a great confirmation that the female body is capable of amazing things and is designed to enable a natural birth, even if your baby is 10 pounds plus. The book is full of inspiring and positive birth stories and advice, I would recommend to any expecting mum.

Clothing:

I have tried not to change my wardrobe and continue to wear a lot of my favourites still at 35 weeks. Being pregnant over winter means I have been able to layer up slouchy knits and floaty dresses. I love leggings and trousers with stretchy wastebands and have some pieces by Alexander Wang and Rick Owens that I mix with staples from Cos and Folk. I have bought some maternity leggings and sleepwear and of course some comfortable bras and singlets to stretch right over bump and keep bubs nice and warm.

Beauty:

My bump started showing quite early on, people thought we might be having twins! I have been using the Dani Kenny Beautiful Belly balm and, with only 5 weeks to go, there are miraculously still no signs of stretch marks.

Classes:

Happy Parents Happy Baby antenatal class in Waltham Forest
Pilates at The Space East in Forest Gate

Thank you Lauren for letting us in your beautiful home.

Words: Lucy Vincent
All images: Jessica Maccormick for Glasshouse Journal

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Rule Of Three

    Celebrating the diversity and freedom of colour on different skin tones, Glasshouse’s resident makeup artist Emily and photography duo Al and K collaborate for a shoot that bends the rules of colour theory.

    More +
  2. Period Matters

    As more and more topics are placed under the sustainability spotlight, we have turned our attention to an interesting one: periods. As menstrual products start to modernise and with attitudes towards our monthly cycle becoming more open, we are delving into the subject and taking a look at some of the consciously-created menstrual products that we’ve introduced in the salon and online.

    More +
  3. Fashion Month: Round-Up

    As the curtain falls on the Spring/Summer 2019 catwalks, we have gathered together some of our favourite hair and beauty looks from all four cities.

    More +
  4. Reads: 11 by Jasmine Deporta

    Jasmine Deporta has been a favourite photographer of ours since her series Sofa Safari, where she matched her models outfits with the furniture they were sitting on. Now she’s back with the release of her first ever book, 11 - a personal journey through her last 4 years of work. We caught up with her to find out more.

    More +
  5. Hair Story: Ayesha McMahon

    As part of our Hair Story series at Glasshouse Journal, we spoke to up and coming model Ayesha McMahon about her natural hair and the story behind it. From free flowing curls to intricate braided styles, Ayesha walks us through her favourite looks and her love for her fro, along with her thoughts on the misconceptions of black hair in society.

    More +
  6. Turn of the Season

    ​Inspired by the tones and textures of Autumn, we’ve collaborated with still life artist Sophie Kirk and East London florist Still Life Flowers for an editorial shoot celebrating the new season, featuring some of our favourite Glasshouse Shop items.

    More +
  7. Nude by Kana London

    Inspired by sculptures and skin tones, the Nude Collection from Kana London is a unique take on ceramics for the home. After launching the collection at London Design Festival, we sat down with founder Ana Kerin to discuss the inspiration behind the project and the crossover between art and practical objects.

    More +
  8. Masterclass: Growing Your Hair

    Our ultimate guide to growing your hair. From the best treatments to the foods you should be eating, these top tips with help from our Creative Director Mia will help you to achieve longer locks whilst maintaining the long-term health of your hair.

    More +
  9. Photography: Yumna Al-Arashi

    ​London based photographer, filmmaker and writer Yumna Al-Arashi uses her art to challenge perceptions of women and Eastern culture, offering a new, more powerful narrative for us to explore. We sat down with her to find out more about the inspiration behind her work.

    More +
  10. Bug Clothing: The Magda Pants

    Glasshouse friend and collaborator Amy Ward designs linen easy wear that’s made to last and to be loved. The Magda Pants are her first foray into trousers and Amy has hand-picked an inclusive mix of interesting women to show them off. We chat to Amy about her open and ethical approach to clothes and running an independent business.

    More +
  11. On Art: Weronika Siwiec

    ​Self-confessed ‘creative’ Weronika Siwiec has tried her hand at everything from graphic design to building a natural house. However, her playful illustrations of women and their bodies is where the Amsterdam-based artist has really found her stride. She shares her thoughts with us about nudity, femininity and a slower pace of life.

    More +
  12. Masterclass: Second Day Hair

    ​Whether you struggle with frizz, kinks or greasy hair, we’ve put together the ultimate guide on second-day styling to help you avoid washing your hair everyday; saving on water and keeping your hair healthy.

    More +
  13. Introducing: Mia Waldern, Creative Director at Glasshouse

    As Mia steps into the role of Creative Director at Glasshouse Salon, we head to her East London home to find out more about her upbringing in LA, her love for animals and her passion for natural and organic beauty.

    More +
  14. Illustrated Form

    ​An exclusive new editorial in collaboration with illustrator Alexa Coe and photographer Thea Lovstad, shining a spotlight on the female figure from a woman’s perspective and the new nude.

    More +
  15. Work with us at Glasshouse Salon

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We are looking for a talented Hair Stylist to come onboard.

    More +
  16. Hair Musing: Taja Feistner

    ​Our latest Hair Muse is shaking up the summer months with a haircut that’s fresh, directional and neatly cropped. Taja Feistner is the model-slash-eco-warrior with a conscience that’s as cool as her short back and sides. We learn more.

    More +
Load more posts