sneak peek: lizzy janssen


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!

Emily

Philly represent! Gorgeous space! I really dig the matte black wall for displaying things…that’s a great idea.

Andrea B

Oooooooohhhh … those colors! That kitty! Pennsylvania/Amish country influences! Vintage Pyrex bowls! I love those bowls. They are the BEST. I’m missing the red one, which makes me sad.

Everything about this makes me happy. What a lovely home, Lizzy.

deana - GWG

LOVE this place!!! I have a special place in my heart for people who can make old “Trinity” buildings airy and functional… Well done!!!

Hailey

Thank you for this – pure inspiration! I love Lizzy’s unique taste – such a fun space!!

Susan

Wow…what a find on the George Nelson bubble lamp…I’m jealous! Also love the wood ceiling and the colorful Pyrex and Fireking polka dot bowls. I have some of the coordinating refrigerator dishes in aqua and just love the look.

MEL

Wow this place is so lush and cozy! That swivel egg chair with the stack of wool blankets is killing me!

Phillylass

It’s so exciting to see a Philly space featured on one of my favorite design blogs!!! Happy day!! This space is so warm and fun and inviting. There’s so much to swoon over here. For starters, that bedside lamp is amazing– love love love it! I’m also loving the rust red sofa, the black accent wall, the spiral stairs. About the kitchen– are the cabinets Ikea? And what about the stove? It looks like the perfect size for an apartment and does the shelf above it also double as the hood? So smart!

mllep

You are killing me with the fabulosity! Especially a 20$ egg chair in leather – aaaa! Love the whole place.

taylor

One of the best spaces I have ever seen. This girl has impeccable taste! Colors are amazing.

Julia

i really enjoyed this sneak peek! the ceiling is amazing. it’s such a successful blend of style. thanks for the inspiration!

Eva@ Four Leaf Clover

I love the curtains in that first photo and Arlo in the bathtub, ha! Very cool that she works for Free People. Not so sure about the “more is more” saying though, ha!

Shona

The area where I live in TN is also an untapped treasure trove of great finds (we found an Eames wire chair at a yard sale for $2.00!) . Back roads driving is full of amazing finds.

Maura

Hi Lizzy! Great post! I have a painting of my mothers high school senior portrait hanging on my wall. My mothers boufriend at the time took a photograph to a commercial painter and had it done as a graduation gift for her. She hates it and I love it.

Julie

What an amazing place! It is perfectly cozy with a good dose of quirky. Loving that turquoise lamp on the bedside table!

trish

this is a stunning place! as a confirmed lily gilder i completely relate to the “more is more” ethos! would you please share the paint color and brand of that dark teal? thanks!

ruth ann

probably one of my favorite sneak peaks ever. i love love love everything about this home. it is BEAUTIFUL.

i also third the request for the paint color, the darker tealy navy looking one in the 1st photo.
love!

BrittanyH

How sweet that it used to be a jewelry store. It’s absolutely full of character, and she did a great job decorating it.

XO,
BrittanyH

Laura

Can you tell me where that chandelier in the first photo is from?? I love how it doesn’t seem to take up too much space in an area that doesn’t have tall ceilings! Perfect for my entryway!

Frances

What an inspirational home! I especially love that portrait wall. The home really feels like it reflects the character of its owner, rather than what’s fashionable at the moment. Love it!

Courtney

How come I can never find treasures on the side of the road?! How lucky to find the bubble lamp. And I love that the vintage egg chair was practically a garage sale freebie.
What a cozy home!

Jasper

My sister, mom and I each have a set of those same colored pyrex bowls – somehow I have two of the small blue ones which make for great cereal, or small serving dishes.
Love your place!!!!

christina

one of my favorites so far. the best! she has such amazingly eclectic taste. this gives me hope for a successful freelancing career while still working for urbn! i work for anthro as a display coordinator, but i really want to freelance more on the side. thanks, lizzy, for the inspiration!

Harbir

Thanks for sharing! I love the exposed wood ceiling! I’ve been wanting to do a wall like that in my place! What brand and shade # is the black paint that was used on wall next to bathroom?

BlueFlowerVintage

Oh my gosh! I love this! I could live here (only I would be afraid I would tumble out of bed and down to the room below). Gorgeous taste and colors!

Candace

I love the photo with the cat in the tub! That is just classic cat isn’t it! Great post today, I enjoyed it!

heidi

who makes your range? i’m looking for something similar for my kitchen redo. gorgeous place.

Tonya

Oh my word. Love, love, love your space. I was day dreaming recently about something almost identical and then up pops this post. Hope I can put similar ideas to use someday.

Katie

I am in LOVE with EVERYTHING! What a beautiful, beautiful home and I can only aspire to live like this in my own home, surrounded by light and color and everything that makes me happy. Just wonderful.

Samantha Lewis

The rich color is so inviting and warm. I want to curl up on that red velvet couch.

Ness

I love Lizzy’s place! I love parents who live in PA and have no idea what they have! I love your Hudson Bay blanket! I love more is more!

And you are pushing me over the “paint a wall black” edge. It’s gonna happen soon.

Patricia

Love it all, especially the vintage art on the walls!! Well done. I’ve saved my Hudson Bay blanket for 20 years, and I’m inspired to haul it out.

Morena Milani

This is such an inspiring and vital space. The hallway is gorgeous and the staircase is amazing. The combination of colours and the interesting blend of fabrics and furniture is fabulous, absolutely love it .

Michelle

I only got the same exact copy of your bed!! ..mine is from Ikea, but I asure you, the same model!

Cynthia Smith

Looking at your home inspires me to just ” go with my gut “, when decorating my home ! I simply love everything! And I too live in a small PA town called Gardners.

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