There’s a certain mystery Philly holds when it comes to homes and decor.
If you’ve been here before, you’ll be familiar with the row-home layout throughout many of the neighborhoods. The streets are tiny, and it’s sometimes hard to believe how many houses actually exist within one block. They’re similar in structure when you look at them side-by-side, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? Right. And you’ll never know what their interiors hold until you step inside.
I stopped by our Art Director’s South Philly home last week, and I have to tell you, I was blown away as soon as entered the front door. Lizzy, her fiance, Mike, and the warm smell of palo santo invited me in. I wasn’t really sure where to look first.
Their house is more like a gallery, showcasing trinkets and furnishings from all ages, each holding a different story. Some made by relatives, some by Lizzy and Mike themselves, and others collected over the years. Everything was placed just right, and one thing I loved is that so much of Lizzy’s and Mike’s creativity lives in each room. You can easily tell that these two have a keen eye for knowing what looks good, and when an assistant art director and photographer with a knack for interior decorating live together, the results are going to be A++. As Lizzy showed me around, I had to keep picking up my jaw. Each room is entirely put together, in a way that I was utterly inspired by. I was waiting for the invitation to move in, but unfortunately, I need to keep dreaming.
Get to know a little bit more about Lizzy and Mike below, and get inspired by their rustic dream home!
How did you make your way to Free People? Can you tell us a little bit about your current role?
I came to Free People right out of college, I had my eye on the brand for a long time, and definitely was drawn to the aesthetic. I felt so excited to find a company that held fine art, drawing, hand lettering and painting in such high regard. When I learned how important this all was to their graphic design, it felt like a true match.
Currently I am the Assistant Art Director. I work closely with a team of 6 lovely ladies, we’re in charge of graphics and artwork for the website, catalog, etc .. pretty much anything that includes type, art and layout!
What’s your favorite part about your job?
Without question, my coworkers. I love collaborating with such wise, curious and adventurous people. Exploring new ideas is a pleasure when you have such an amazing collection of inspiring perspectives.
Where were you before making the move to Philly and what were you doing?
Before philly, I was at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. I really got into painting and collage in school, which I still enjoy doing outside of work. When I wasn’t in class I worked at a cute little vintage store.
Are there any amazing hidden gems in your current neighborhood that you’ve discovered?
I live in South Philly, which I love. It has so much history and really has an authentic neighborhood feel. Being able to walk around is really important to me, so strolling down 9th st to the Italian Market for groceries is a real treat. East Passyunk Ave is great for restaurants, plenty of new spots and a lot of good old school Italian places. There are a couple that have opera singers perform weekend nights while you eat – it’s amazing.
Your house is by far one of the most amazing spaces I have ever seen. How would you describe your décor style?
We love the beach so there is a good beach vibe in there, and we love to collect keepsakes. Whether it’s one of our old surfboards, a succulent carted home in a suitcase, or driftwood we’ve picked up along the way during a trip, we can’t help but want to be surrounded by our great memories. I love all things handmade, especially wooden or ceramic, so we keep our eyes peeled for old pottery while thrifting. We’re both definitely drawn to that cozy rustic vibe.
What do you draw inspiration from?
I love films, going to museums, traveling, learning from and watching other artists. I am easily inspired by very simple things like a color, an object, a shape. I love to read blogs, but more than anything… I am pinterest obsessed.
Where in the house do you find yourself spending most of your time?
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen! We love to cook , and often have friends over for dinner. On slower days, our kitchen table is a nice sunny reading spot.
What’s one item in your home that has an amazing story behind it?
We really cherish heirlooms and things handed down to us. My favorites are some of our plants which were cuttings from my Grandmothers original plants. One cutting she has given us is from a plant she was given as a teenager.
Where are your go-to places to find unique accents for your home?
For vintage we love flea markets and usually go to Brimfield flea market every summer. I usually find some good vintage gems on Etsy, and we also love craigslist and Ebay.
For newer items, I love boutiques that sell handmade and unique pieces. General Store, Spartan, and Moon & Arrow in Philly are some favorites.
I hear you’re getting hitched soon, congrats! How did you and mike first meet?
we met at FP’s creative director Doub’s baby shower.. So funny! I was with the girls, and Mike, with the guys. We all met up after, and the rest is history!
What’s been the most exciting part about planning the wedding?
The options are endless which is fun but also hard! You can do anything, go anywhere. It’s been fun to explore and think about what an awesome day for you and your friends would be.
You both are very creative souls… how do you inspire each other?
We both approach creativity differently. Mike sees things with a really interesting eye, and pays close attention to detail. As a photographer, he notices light in a very cool way, or moments in life, which I sometimes don’t see until he gives me a little nudge while we’re walking :)
What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Are there any that you especially like to tackle together?
We really love to explore and mix it up. Most weekends we’re hopping in the car to check out a new place, or visit friends out of town.
We love food – cooking, and exploring new food in the area. Actively we like to rock climb, surf, travel, do yoga, or anything that brings us closer to the beach!
What do you think is the best recipe for a happy life?
Be present, mindful and thankful. Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Travel often, eat well, and move your body!
Lizzy and Mike, It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for letting us in!
Check out more posts from our About A Girl Series!