Hot Houses: Cluttered Minimalism

Hot Houses: Cluttered Minimalism

Designer and shop owner Lizzie Evans lives in the top floor flat of her parents' three storey Georgian town house in Canonbury, Islington. She is living proof that you can create a truly stunning home whatever the size of space you're in. It's all in the detail.

To see more pictures of Lizzie's flat see the picture gallery below.

Lizzie, how would you describe your decorative style to someone who had never seen where you live?

Cluttered minimalism.

What three words would you most like people to use when describing your home?

Eclectic, well curated, playful.

Which word would you least like people to use when talking about it?


You have some really fabulous decorative pieces in the house – other than at your own shop(!) where do you tend to shop for interiors?

The first place I ever bought a piece of design furniture was at twentytwentyone. It was with my first proper pay packet in 2001 when I was 18. I bought myself a small square-topped occasional table with a wooden veneer of swallows and powder coated folded metal legs in tomato red. It's still one of my favourite things.

Islington is still pretty good for collecting vintage pieces too if you keep your eyes open. Over the years I've found some of my most special pieces there. Rusty duck egg lockers in Camden Passage, a very tall dark wood draper's cabinet that I've never seen a match for from Castle Gibson, great wallpaper from places like Timorous Beasties and there's always The Peanut Vendor where I found everything from old metal ice-cream parlour stools to tiny sets of vintage scales.

You do also have to go further afield of course. Bits of Kent are good for picking up treasures in junk shops. I love Whitstable in particular. My grey anglepoise lamp and wire magazine rack were both found there. I've also picked up a few of my tacky ceramic animal ornaments there but my favourite is my Dulux dog which a bought for 20p at a church jumble sale when I was 9.

Which is your favourite space at home and why?

I most enjoy being in my living room. It's actually the smallest room in the flat but that makes it the most cosy too. I like to curl up on my Robin Day sofa – covered in Donna Wilson cushions – and flick through a copy of Vogue or just spend time looking at the Osborne and Little bird wallpaper and Trevor Appleson photograph above the mantelpiece.

Even though it's the smallest room it's got the most stuff in it. The bits and bobs I've collected over the years, from a hologram of Mecca found on the street in Brixton to 1950s map books of Greater London found when clearing out my Grandma's house; a Matt Pugh owl my mother in love bought me for Christmas a few years ago (when the Matt Pugh yellow topped owl SMUG exclusive was just a twinkle in my eye) to lidded jam jars I picked up in Williamsburg New York to use as juice glasses, all smooshed together and displayed together in my own special way. It's my favourite place.

Do you have a favourite object or piece of furniture at home?

I love my Eames chairs. I think I may be a little addicted. I have four so far. Two rockers and two Eiffels. They are all from different places bought at different times in my life. The cream Eiffel in the living room is probably my favourite. It's the oldest and was made in the original way with the early rope detail around the edge of the fiberglass to help with getting the shell out of the mould. I was bought it as a present from my father who also collects them. We saw it in a great 20th Century design shop called Origin in Camden Passage years before I had my shop there.

You're an interior and graphic designer as well as a shop owner – if there was one piece of decorating/interiors advice you could give our readers, what would it be?

Don't use gloss on woodwork. Opt for eggshell. I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about this one. Gloss can make a perfectly lovely home look like it's had a hospital style makeover whereas eggshell's chalkiness is soft and elegant and I think it actually ages better. Gloss can show up the imperfections much quicker. When eggshell woodwork starts aging it almost looks nicer than when it was crisp and perfect. Well, that's my two pennies' worth anyway!

In your opinion, no home should be without...what?

Art. I feel really strongly that art is something people should invest in. I've grown up in a house with art from floor to ceiling, as my dad is a contemporary art collector. Art is such a good way to add personality to your home and can also be a very good investment. Be it known and established contemporary artists – if you have the money – or young up-and-coming illustrators who are able to sell their work for £10-£40. Buy something you love and enjoy having it on the wall for years. SMUG actually currently has a Pop Up Print shop selling affordable art – plug plug plug...

SMUG, 13 Camden Passage, Islington, London N1 8EA


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