This Lisbon Home’s a “Vibrant Creative Space Filled with Color and Joy”
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Artist and designer Elizabeth Olwen is Canadian, but she moved to Lisbon six years ago to “realize a life-long dream of living abroad. For the first four years living in Lisbon, I was living in furnished apartments, so it’s been so refreshing to create a home from scratch that really reflects how I want home to feel. It’s really changed my life,” she writes.
Two years ago she purchased this two-bedroom, 700-square-foot apartment. While she says she didn’t do any major or structural remodeling, she did change the look of the space drastically, bringing her own personality and style into the home. “I am a print-and-pattern designer, so I create artwork and work with brands to create product collaborations. A lot of my work can be seen around my apartment, from pillows to tea towels to art prints, like the canvases I painted above the sofa.”
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Tell us a little about your home: I also worked with an amazing design team at Santo Infante (interior designers, and specialists in Portuguese design, based in Lisbon) who helped me source pieces from Portuguese makers, like the custom-made emerald green sofa (we had them make it ‘inside out’ as the green upholstery was more vibrant on the inside), the orange kitchen stools, and the bedframe and crocheted orange light fixtures in the bedroom.
Owning my own home and getting the chance to decorate it has been so rewarding, inspiring, and expansive. As a designer, it has opened me up to wanting to design even more products. I have so many visions for interior design objects, for wallpaper, for furniture, and light fixtures. (I did a lot of customizing things for my home — like the light fixture above the island from H&M, which I custom-painted to match my aesthetic).
I love to travel and want to make the most of my life abroad, so I often do home exchanges with other travelers and it’s been such a nice way to travel and host lovely people.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Joyful, playful, colorful, creative, sunny
What is your favorite room and why? It’s hard to choose! I think I would say my open concept living room / kitchen / dining area because it’s such a free open space where I can dance around, it’s where I host friends so it’s got lots of great memories, and it’s full of color. There is nothing like waking up in the morning and being greeted with the beautiful sunshine-yellow in the living area. It’s so uplifting!
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Yet another plant! A crispy wave fern for my cozy nook in my studio.
What’s your best decorating, shopping, cleaning, or organizing advice? I’d say this: think about how you want your home to FEEL. Do you want it to be a cozy, nourishing, serene, a peaceful sanctuary, or perhaps you want it to feel warm, vibrant, social, colorful, and inspiring. Figure out your list of keywords, and create a mood board — then use that as a guiding light when choosing colors and piece for your home.
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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