See inside SMUG Lifestyle Store owner Lizzie Evans’ mid-century nest
Cluttered Minimalism is a phrase coined by Lizzie Evans to describe the interiors style of the flat she shares with husband Daniel, son Constantin, and Persian cat Mabel. Lizzie is the shop owner and designer behind SMUG Lifestyle Store, one of London’s best-known interior shops based in Camden Passage, Islington, making her more than a bit prone to take her work home with her. So what is Cluttered Minimalism? This home is full of
everything that makes the couple happy, from beautiful pieces of Eames, Eileen Grey and Robin Day furniture, to old Pez and Street Fighter toys, with plenty of plants, light and colour mixed in. “We’re collectors at heart and love piecing together and curating our space based on what we have at our fingertips,” Lizzie explains. It’s a look that’s evident from the piles of books, clothes and rows of collected objects that are on display. “Rather than buying lots of new things at once that match or go together in the traditional sense, mixing old and new is what makes me tick.”
The flat itself is a bright and colourful home, peppered with mid-century furniture, layered with collected objects and Lizzie’s house plants. She bought the Hackney home 12 years ago. “My brother works in property – it was his idea I buy somewhere as an investment so I could stay living near the rest of the family when I ‘grew up’. He found the flat and we viewed it before it went on the market. I fell in love right away,” she recalls. For the first seven years, Lizzie lived with her parents while she set up the shop and let the flat to tenants. But things changed once Lizzie and Daniel decided to move in. “When we could a ord to live here ourselves, we did the flat up, got married and moved in together. The first night we slept here was our wedding night!”
So how did the couple begin with decorating? “I always start with white walls and let the books, art and objects bring the colour. I love bright yellow, soft pink, celadon and navy as well as soft greys and beiges,” says Lizzie, whose inspiration comes from museums and art galleries. “I’m very inspired by mid-century designers’ homes and classic Modernist architecture – think Le Corbusier and Ray and Charles Eames.” This love of mid-century runs throughout the home, forming its core look.
“I feel particularly ‘grown up’ owning bits of Vitsoe shelving! It’s such a classic design and a beautifully simple and functional solution to our shelving needs. We’re big fans of Dieter Rams – another mid-century hero!”
So where do these treasures come from? Lizzie’s favourite shops include The Conran Store, SCP, Margaret Howell and Merci in Paris, but it’s slow and steady for this couple. “Car boot sales are where we find the nostalgia. We’ve collected furniture over many years. As a teenager I’d ask for an Eames rocker or Tomado shelving for birthdays and Christmas!” Lizzie laughs. “I was lucky enough to inherit the Eileen Grey side table.” And the dining table, chairs and sideboard? “They all came with the flat, passed on by the previous owner.”
It’s no surprise the open plan kitchen and dining room is the heart of the home. Right now though? With those collected objects adorning the sideboard, Lizzie’s in love with the living room. “The art on the walls are some of our favourites,” Lizzie says. “Since Constantin was born, we’ve had loved ones come and hold him sitting on the sofa and we’ve snapped every one!’
A couple that works in design, living in a flat found by a brother, furnished with handme-downs and now home to the first of a new generation, it’s clear what’s important to Lizzie. “Home means everything to me,” she smiles.
01 Collected objects contribute to Lizzie and Daniel’s style. “We call it Cluttered Minimalism.” 02 The couple inherited some beautiful pieces from the flat’s previous owner.
01 In the living room, “the Farrow and Ball Hague Blue wall is a fantastic backdrop.” 02 Lizzie’s a real car boot fan and loves mixing old and new.