SHOP WATCH - Feeling Smug
Smug is a vision of homeware loveliness, the perfect fix for anyone in search of well-designed products to enhance their décor. No surprise proprietor Lizzie Evans is also a graphic and interior designer, offering the Smug brand as an appealing mix of the bold and gently eccentric, from vintage furniture to natty stationery, with each room in the home lovingly catered for. Lizzie champions British designers and maintains a regular rotation of craft and print works, all housed within her perfectly located Camden Passage store.
Smug, 13 Camden Passage N1 020 7354 0253 ifeelsmug.com
The line-up: Art for children
A-Z print by Charlotte Trounce at Smug
Smug’s tiny boutique in Islington’s Camden Passage has an eye for the knowingly and humorously bourgeois, as you would expect from its name. It has some witty prints suitable for a child’s bedroom, including this limited edition, by illustrator Charlotte Trounce, of old-school gymnasts contorted into the alphabet, £25.
Porcelain Tiny Birdie Necklace - £45
Guinea Pig Apron hand screened by Thornback & Peel exclusively for SMUG - £25
Chickens made from vintage jumpers - £35
A4 Cutlery Print by Holly Exley - £15
Mustard Hankie Flower Washbag - £24
Cup and Saucer by Ali Miller - £25
Happy Mothers Day from SMUG
Red Hot House:
Fire up your home this February with a selection of red tone interiors
1. Guinea pig tea towels, £13.50 each, hand printed by Thornback and Peel for SMUG interiors.
SMUG’s Valentines Pairs include our new navy guinea pig tea towel.
Pair of guinea pig tea towels hand screened by Thornback & Peel exclusively for SMUG - £13.75 each
Pair of Donna Wilson cushions including Mustard Bunny cushion made exclusively for SMUG - £67.50 and Bora Da Willow cushion - £70
Pair of ceramic owl candlesticks made exclusively for SMUG - £12 each
Pair of A4 Cylinders Prints by Linus Kraemer. Red edition made exclusively for SMUG - £15 each
Pair of Valentines cards. Flamingoes card by Darling Clementine - £2.65 and ‘I LOVE YOU’ Mouse card by Stacie Swift - £2.75
Pair of walnut and oak yellow topped Matt Pugh owls made exclusively for SMUG - £28 each
If you’re not part of a pair why not have both? Or share with a friend! Either way, happy Valentines Day and a happy February from us at SMUG
Graphic designer Lizzie Evans has decked out this lovely lifestyle boutique with all her favourite things; the result is a space that’s a labour of love as well as a canny commercial move. With its well-edited selection of home accessories, such as owl ceramic candlesticks and gorgeous teacups and saucers, as well as vintage homewares such as Welsh blankets and 1950s and ‘60s furniture (of the Formica and Maid Server ilk) you can see why she might be proud of it. Pixi makeup, rainbow kitchen accessories, homemade brooches, old fashioned notebooks, retro and knitted toys, stylish watches and clocks, colourful cushions and a range of tea towels and men’s T-shirts emblazoned with cool graphic print are further draws, and various Smug exclusives are available.
Billed as a ‘concept boutique’, Smug opened on this quaint passage in 2009 and is curated by the cheerful graphic and interior designer Lizzie Evans. Expanding over three floors of a rickety, old terrace house, the narrow premises were totally reworked and now feel like a welcoming and somewhat retro home. In case you’re wondering, the name refers to the 18th century definition of ‘smug’, which meant ‘to smarter up’ – it’s a far cry from today’s connotation.
Evans introduces a treasure trove of new and vintage homewares, with a distinct bias for anything midcentury. An intriguing window lures you into a ground floor displayed with unusual accessories, prints, cards, stationery and toys, many of which are ideal for gifts or impulse purchases. In the light filled basement, melamine and vintage kitchenware prevails, with colourful glassware, muted ceramics and some candy coloured accessories in abundance. The top floor is dedicated to ‘living’, its texture-rich scrap-wood floor a warm, earth complement to cushions, woven textiles, vintage furniture and artwork. Evan’s Top Ten Gift Ideas is an ever-changing display of her favourite finds.
Evan’s passion is clearly the force behind Smug’s sass. She supports young designers and niche producers and is true to her conviction that her wares should be affordable and, as often as possible, unique to the shop.
Lizzie Evans has every reason to feel smug. At just 27, she presides over three floors of Islington retail that have been breathing fresh air into the area’s interiors offerings for the past two years. In fact, the store’s name alludes to an "old dictionary definition that defines it as smartening up one’s self or a room – basically, interior design”.
Smug came into being after Evans, who studied interior architecture, redesigned the Camden Passage space owned by her family. "I ended up renting it,” she says.
"I didn’t realize I wanted a shop, then it just happened.” Though not without a few detours: struggling to open by Christmas 2008, Smug popped up elsewhere – in the kitchen of Evans’s parents’ nearby home. Apparently, they were thrilled: "We were living out of a little space in the kitchen and had endless microwave meals.”
The store now exudes a similarly homey feel. "I didn’t want it fitted out white with glass shelves,” says Evans. "I wanted the stock on vintage furniture. But I wasn’t planning on selling the furniture… The first weekend we were open, people asked, ‘How much is the table?’ It’s now a big part of what we do.”
On the ground floor are the more quick-fire purchases. A stationery selection included neat notebooks (from £2.50) and chic laminated rulers by Offcut (£11), laid out on the Smug-standard vintage Formica tables (from £90) alongside a selection of cards, such as Stacie Swift’s quirky animal illustrations (£2.75). The counter is filled with crafty jewellery and retro Casio watches (from £28), soft toys made from old jumpers (rabbits £35) spill out of drawers, and there’s a stack of recycled "random wool” picnic blankets (£28), which "sell like hot cakes”.
Downstairs is dedicated to kitchen – and homewares, from the bestselling melamine teaspoons (£6 for six) and vintage Poole teacups (£55 for six) to Lisa Stickley’s printed oven mitts (£14) – and more Formica.
Upstairs, you’ll step onto a reclaimed wood floor that is in fact an artwork by Henry Krokatsis, owned by Evans’ father and brother, who run a contemporary art business one floor further up. Art makes its way onto the walls here too, as with the current exhibition by Argentinian Cesar Paternosto, while lined out on a low sideboard is the Smug Top 10 – a handy barometer for gifts that often features the exclusive rustic bowls of French ceramicist Natalie Colombel (£32).
Exclusives are something Evans is keen to expand on, so there’s a special yellow version of Matt Pugh’s stylized oak and walnut owl ornament (£28) and a Smug-only Bunny cushion form the now-well-known Donna Wilson (£68). After all, "It’s nice to have something other people don’t.”
Your newsletter from SMUG concept boutique for the month of July
On Saturday 9th July SMUG will be celebrating it’s 2nd birthday. Pop in to say happy birthday, have some cake in the yard and have a look at our new SMUG exclusives.
Yellow Matt Pugh owls – we’re very proud to announce that for SMUG’s 2nd birthday we’ll be launching these yellow topped Matt Pugh owls which Matt is making exclusively for SMUG. £28 each
Wedge by Ed Carpenter – made from untreated solid European oak with a painted edge in either blue, green, pink, white or black. At only £7.25 each why not have a different colour for each room? £7.25
Graph paper notebooks – I warn you now, these mini coloured notebooks are addictive. There are 8 different colours in the range, each with a different type of graph paper inside. Chose from checked, ruled or even honey comb to mention but a few. £2.50 each
Ceramic owl candlesticks – our bestselling white ceramic owl candlestick is now available in citron and pale blue exclusively for SMUG! £12 each
Mustard Bunny cushion by Donna Wilson – we’re also excited to let you know that Donna Wilson’s Mustard Bunny cushion is back and now being knitted exclusively for SMUG. £67.50
Lizzie the Owl – Chloe Owens has been busy hand making owls for us at SMUG from Liberty lawns and vintage fabrics since we opened in 2009. Lizzie the Owl shown above is a collaboration between Chloe and Lizzie Evans, founder of SMUG and has been a great success. We’re now working on a Louise owl named after Lizzie’s right hand woman at SMUG, Louise Gibbs. Both owls are exclusive to SMUG. £18
1950’s wooden stools – Lizzie continues to be passionate about 1950s furniture and currently has a bit of a thing about stools. Lots more in store. £30-60
Animals handmade from vintage jumpers – we love finding our animals a happy new home, if you’re after a rabbit, turtle, duckling, gosling, chicken or even a polar bear pop in and choose from argyle, cable knit, ribbed wool, chunky weave and cashmere. £18-£35
SMUG loves Thornback & Peel – you may have noticed or even bought Thornback & Peel’s wonderful hand screened hankies, tea towels and aprons from SMUG before. The big news is that we will be revealing our very own Thornback & Peel guinea pig tea towel to customers on our birthday, Saturday 9th July £13.75
Tucked away between the ubiquitous antique shops of Islington's Camden Passage, new comer Smug may be bijou, but it stocks a neat range of 1950s homeware that sits perfectly with current designers such as Donna Wilson and Lisa Stickley. Best finds include some vintage sugar shakers and gorgeous Welsh wool blankets.
13 Camden Passage, N1 8EA(73540253/www.ifeelsmug.com). Angel tube, 11am-6pm Wed; noon-7pm Thur; 11am-6pm Fri, Sat; noon-5pm Sun.
Ceramic Owl Candlestick Holder, £12.
Each pot is hand coiled, slip decorated and then for the final firing embellished with line drawings that endeavour to capture different identities through illustrating the objects we choose to define ourselves. Pets and cars feature alongside caravans, picket fences and trainers. Post War Architecture held dear the premise that nothing could be too good for the common man - but who is he? This question preoccupies the English, and is a question Emilie has asked herself and others since childhood when moving between the localities of different family members in Sheffield and experiencing the complex snobbery prevalent throughout British society. What are we trying to identify, or contain?
Vintage inspired throws and beautiful glassware, mixed together with bright and popping colours; this is the brainchild of a talented young designer.
Vintage and the new co-exist in harmony in this stylish shop.
Smug – nestled in the well-known and popular antique market of Camden passage – is a new and exciting boutique where you can find an eclectic mix of new and vintage homewares. Lizzie, the store owner, has had a soft spot for antiques since she was a young girl. Now, not only is she a graphic designer but also collects and sells antique items and supports young, talented designers by stocking their creations. On the ground floor you can find items such as cosmetics and stationary and in the basement, kitchenware. The first floor looks as if it could be a window into Lizzie’s own home, filled with more homeware such as furniture and graphic prints. Everything you’d need to decorate your space with can be found in Lizzie’s boutique; it’s the dream home that everyone hopes to achieve.
Translation by Roxana Mirshahi
Time for Tea
Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is Lizzie’s absolute favourite treat. Now with a little help from SMUG you can host the perfect tea at home. SMUG has selected beautiful 1930s to 60s afternoon tea table linens, both cloths and napkins, and our collection of vintage cut glass cake stands, conserve pots with silver spoons and bon bon dishes look fabulous on them.
Our 50s Formica table are even the perfect size for a little afternoon tea gathering. All you need to do is make the finger sandwiches and scones and you’re away!
Vintage cut and pressed glass cake stands, £25 each
1930s-60 Irish linen, embroidered, cutwork and utility clothes, £25-£45
Pairs of Chairs
These fabulous pairs of 1950s wooden kitchen chairs are the epitome of quirky chic. They’ll work in any room either pulling together an eclectic mix of things or standing alone as statement pieces. Stylish, sturdy, easy to clean and they work great when you mix the colours.
1950s kitchen chairs in pale blue, yellow or orange, £80 a pair
Introducing Chloe Owens Owls
Chloe’s Owls are lovingly handmade from vintage fabrics, often Liberty lawns, with bright felt and buttons. They make a stunning alternative to a pocket handkerchief for the eccentric gentleman. £18 each.
Hello Lizzie, what is your role at SMUG? I guess I'm the creator, curator and custodian of SMUG. I designed the building, managed the building project, designed the brand identity including the website www.ifeelsmug.com, source all of the stock, style the space, and I even do the accounts with a little help from my uncle!
When did you open the store? The store was opened in June 2009 on two floors. In November of the same year we introduced a 3rd floor of homewares which opens at the weekends.
What was the original idea or concept? I
wanted to create a 'home'-like space where people could really get a sense of
what a 50s Formica table, anglepoise lamp, Donna Wilson cushion or contemporary
artwork might look like in their home. I always wanted SMUG to be, not the way
people saw me, but they way they felt when they found something just perfect
for them in a friendly little shop in Camden Passage. Like they'd been let into
a secret and become part the SMUG family.
You have spoken about a division of three floors. What
type of products are on each floor? The lower ground floor is
full of kitchenware, vintage and new. 1930s heavy pressed glass jugs sit along
side enamel pots and pans and brightly coloured melamine cups. Hand screened
and locally sourced tea towels hang over the backs of 50s kitchen chairs and
dustpan and brushes made from oiled beech and horsehair hang from the walls.
The ground floor is filled with quirky stationary from vintage looking exercise books to rulers made from reclaimed hardwoods and laminates. We also carry the exquisite make up range 'Pixi' which sits on a yellow vintage dressing table. There are also trunks full of toys handmade from vintage jumpers and monkeys made from furnishing fabrics as well as the jewellery by young London based designers laid under glass in the cash desk.
The 1st floor houses Stag sideboards, vintage floral Eiderdowns, welsh wool blankets both new and vintage, cushions by Donna Wilson and Emma Loves Retro and 40s mirrors and contemporary Italian clocks line the walls.
SMUG March Newsletter
New Donna Wilson Cushions
Lizzie’s loving Donna’s cushion offering for Spring. Keep your eyes open for the new range upstairs at SMUG on the Ercol sofa. Twigs & Leaves in Grey £37, Grey robin £65, Meg in yellow £37, Bunny in mustard £65, Bunny in grey £65
Also New for March . . .
These gorgeous old school notebooks are perfect for getting you motivated. Use the linen bound books to make your sketches and the ruled ‘Le Cahier’ for your to do lists and ideas or inspirations.
Le Cahier, £2.25-£3.50, Linen bound notebooks £6.25-£9.25
Hand screened union linen tea towels - £13.75, grey goose, rabbit, cabbage, lobster, jelly and pigeon also available
Introducing Emma Loves Retro exclusively for SMUG – Emma’s fabulous retro cushions, handmade from vintage fabrics and buttons, fit seamlessly into the world of SMUG. This Delaunay Deco cushion comes with ochre or white flowers and is exclusive to smug.
Ochre Delaunay Vintage Fabric Cushion £49.95
Eco Gift Idea
Offcut door wedges and rulers are made from discarded laminate and hardwood. Great gifts for eco and design fans alike, £12 and £11
Bright and beautiful; so alluring you’ll want it all.
Whether they’re from decades past or by an unknown designer, Lizzie, a graphic designer, collects all of her favourite things to deck out in her boutique. In the basement you’ll find anything from rainbow coloured melamine cups to Parisian antiques, while the ground floor is filled with goods by the likes of Donna Wilson. The first floor gallery captures what Smug is all about – feeling good.
Left - Smug opened in the lively market of Angel two years ago.
Below - £5 kitsch goods. The displays are so inviting they draw you inside.
Translation by Roxana Mirshahi