Almost immediately after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design, Lizzy Janssen moved to the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. During the day, she works as a designer for Free People, and she spends her free time working out of this jewel-box apartment — literally, the apartment was originally a jewelry shop — working on illustrations, collages and freelance art direction for Print Liberation. Lizzy has had a dollhouse obsession since she was a child, and this home, with its spiral stairs, chandelier and lofted bedroom, fits the bill perfectly. Thanks Lizzy! — Amy A.
I have always been “more is more” when it comes to design. When I look for inspiration, I find myself drawn to the rooms wallpapered in pictures and overflowing bookshelves. The space houses my collections and the furniture I’ve accumulated through the years. My parents are antique collectors, and I spent my childhood in flea markets, auctions and garage sales. When it comes to furniture, it’s actually hard for me to buy anything new! In collecting, I don’t stick to a particular style — I love early Americana, mid-century modern, 50s kitsch, and anything with a sense of humor!
Image above: My parents live in a small town in Pennsylvania, where no one knows what they have! I got this vintage egg chair at a garage sale for under $20; I think it once lived in a doctor’s office. The vintage hand-painted eye chart I found this summer at a town-wide garage sale in Amish country in PA. We all held our breath as we plugged it in, but it has an interesting lighting system, which turns on one little box at a time. One day, I’d like to turn on the eye chart after a good party and quiz my friends!! I love blankets, and on the chair are some vintage Navajo blankets. I love their colors and the patterns.
Image above: One day, I decided to start collecting hand-painted vintage portraits. I love the outsider art feeling of the paintings, as well as the strange personalities that come through. Having always been a collector, it’s starting to become fun to put faces to eras and times. On the far left is the “headmistress” as I call her; she came from a flea market. My favorite is the portrait of the guy in glasses and a red blazer; it looks like it was painted from his school picture — he cracks me up! I fell in love with the color of the couch — that perfect rusty red — and made a trade with a friend. A drawing for the couch! My pillows are a mix of new finds and a few from a friend’s travels in India.
Image above: My bathroom, surprisingly, was the first room to come together. It is such a beautiful, bright and sunny large space, and it gets an immense amount of light from some secret skylights. The stark white just seemed to ask for really bright, playful colors. This room has everything in it that makes me smile; it reminds me of a kid’s room from the ’60s — a globe, bright colors, funny little animal portraits and statues. Under the table is a funny vintage chalkware bank of three cats in a basket. They happen to look exactly like my cat, Arlo, who out of nowhere popped his little head out of the tub!
CLICK HERE for more of Lizzy’s Philly peek!
Image above: I love the way anything looks when placed on a black wall. This wall houses my little collection of vintage photographs — the ones that don’t end up in my collages can be found here! In there, you’ll find some old tin types, a pageant queen, my grandfather’s graduation photo and a drawing by my boyfriend Jason. I also love letterforms, so it’s a treat when I find old wooden letters; the “R” is from Three Potato Four, a great shop in Philly. (Editor’s note: Don’t miss the Three Potato Four sneak peek!)
Image above: This is another view of my bathroom; I love the clawfoot tub against the black-and-white tile. I found the wall hanging at a Goodwill in a small town. It’s the unfinished work of someone’s latch hook project; it has fun, bright red tacks keeping the fabric stretched, and inside are little numbers and instructions to follow, surrounded by the colorful unfinished pattern. On the nearby shelves is my collection of funny porcelain animals — most of them are hand-painted and from Japan and have the most hilarious expressions.
Image above: These spiral stairs lead up to the bedroom. The house is very angular as you can see here! The exposed wood ceilings create a real cozy feel. This George Nelson Bubble Lamp was my most exciting find; it was found one rainy night on the side of the road.
Image above: This is my kitchen. I love that it’s so modern, which is a nice contrast from the rest of the house. It has some really fun lighting features, so at night, the frosted cabinets give a relaxing, subtle glow. I am a music lover and the print above the fridge is folk hero Woody Guthrie, from Print Liberation. On the fridge is a portrait of Elvis that I picked up at Graceland.
Image above: Some of my vintage cookware and bowls; the mixing bowls on the counter are Pyrex. Pyrex came out with the most amazing prints and colors, which were made to display! A friend of mine got a Pyrex pattern tattoo, and it’s adorable. The mixing bowls on the oven are Fire King, the most beautiful milk glass with an amazing polka dot pattern. Next to them are some deco milk glass shakers.
Image above: This is my bright and lovely bedroom. The bedding is from Anthropologie, and it’s also covered in Hudson Bay wool blankets. I recently found this drum head in central PA, and I fell for it immediately; it’s the perfect amount of ripped and torn and has this beautiful hand lettering. Just the name “Citizens Band” brings such a romantic iconic view of a small town. To the right is an adorable paint-by-number horse on a hill and found vintage-framed shots of a pageant girl in glittery costume.
Image above: Portrait by Conrad Benner.
The entry to my place with a fun graphic black-and-white wallpaper contrasted with a red door, and up the stairs to my place is a black-painted stripe. This hallway also holds all the photos I didn’t have room for upstairs!