Meet Mitch Evans and Keri Howell
The 725 kilometre long stretch of the Niagara Escarpment, in its Ontario section, weaves through the City of Hamilton in Southwestern, Ontario. Psychotherapist, Mitch Evans, his partner, Community Dietitian, Keri Howell, and their cat Linda live in the St. Clair neighbourhood of Hamilton, on the edge of the Escarpment where their four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-storey red brick century house is located.
Mitch and Keri’s concept of “home” runs deeper than a house in which to live and in this month’s NPL Journal our featured homeowners discuss what went into creating a space that offers the haven that they call home.
Mitch’s psychotherapy practice involves supporting individuals and couples through relationship and emotional challenges. Mitch spends the majority of his workdays in virtual meetings with his clients and then going for runs along the trail that abuts the Escarpment, as well as taking reading breaks in the backyard hammock. Keri’s work as a dietitian focuses on food security and food sovereignty with First Nations communities. Her days, Keri explains, “are divided equally between working from home and going on-site to facilitate programs in the community I serve”. After her workday, Keri looks forward to returning home to tend the vegetable garden. Mitch and Keri cap off their full days by “putting on a record while making dinner and walking to Gage Park”.
Mitch and Keri paint an idyllic picture of their property that features “a backyard full of mature trees providing both shade and privacy”. In describing their home decorating style, they explain, “our appreciation for mid-century modern décor and styling takes a primary role in our decorating style and is accented by more contemporary pieces. We have been mindful not to go too retro in our styling, as we do not want to come off as kitschy, so we have intentionally added more modern pieces to help promote balance, and as a result, our space has become quite eclectic. The colour palette we have used to decorate our home consists mostly of yellows, oranges, and pinks, which are often complemented by the darker tones found in the natural cherry wood and teak furniture found throughout the home. Most of our furniture has been sourced through antique shops in the Hamilton area, with some more specialty items coming from independent online vendors.”
Favourite pieces are always worthy of special mention when describing home décor. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, the pieces Mitch and Keri list also hold sentimental value and serve a decorative, functional purpose. Some of their favourites include, “the bench in our bedroom, which was passed down from Mitch’s great-grandmother and has a pretty, stitched paisley design. Our home has many little mushroom ornaments, though the orange glass mushroom on the hallway mirror is our favourite. One of our favourite modern pieces is the pond mirror in the dining room. More recently, we have been excited to acquire more modern and design-forward smokeware that complements our decorating style. We have also carefully curated the area rugs in our home, knowing the warmth and cohesion they can bring to a space. One of our favourites is the grid rug in our living room. We had been looking for a checkered or grid rug for months and ended up having a custom yellow and off-white rug made by an artisan in Morocco.”
Because of the many antique shops in Hamilton, Mitch and Keri explain that “we haven’t had to venture far to furnish our home.” Favourite shopping places they name are “the Hamilton Antique Mall and Antique Avenue, both located on Ottawa street. We also have found many pieces from Chaise Musicales and Clappison Corners antiques. For more modern and contemporary pieces, we have often turned to Etsy sellers as well as other boutique home and good stores in the GTHA including Pretty Grit, Easy Tiger, and Shop Hacienda. Most of our art has been created by our friends, ourselves, or a few artists we love such as Astrid Wilson.”
For decorating inspiration, Mitch and Keri have looked to television and film sets that feature 1960s and 1970s era homes and have been “very conscious of what shapes we include in our home and have made an effort to juxtapose hard right angles, with softer curves”. Favourite magazine, Gossamer, is another source of inspiration. “We often are inspired by the colour palettes and styling featured in the magazine. We have noticed a trend with modern homes where they have been moving towards a monochromatic direction, perhaps as a means to make homes more generic. Despite this trend, we strayed from this minimalist approach and haven’t been afraid to feature bolder and brighter colours in our home, with the hope to add warmth and more emotional symbolism.”
Travelling, as well, has provided Mitch and Keri with decorating inspiration. They have, they note, had the privilege of travelling to many countries, each time returning home with “new inspiration on how to use colours and shapes in different ways. We tend not to bring back too much with us, though will bring back the odd print or trinket to commemorate a special moment”.
“We both enjoy using photography as a creative medium”, Mitch and Keri say when speaking of their own hobbies and special interests that enhance their home environment. “We are now getting to a place where we are printing some of our favourite shots and featuring them in our home. We oscillate between film and digital photography, both offering different perspectives of the same experience. Keri’s passion for gardening translated into multiple vegetable gardens in our backyard, as well as a large collection of houseplants, which add a lot of texture and colour to many of our spaces. Mitch’s longstanding relationship with music creation also plays a role in our home, where instruments have become essential to the function of a space, including the upright piano in our dining space.”
“Decorating and curating our home has become a primary source of expression for both of us”, Mitch and Keri conclude. “Over the last couple of years, it has become more meaningful than ever to create a sanctuary-like space for us to retreat to, that offers us both the comfort and calm we often crave, while also providing inspiration for us to promote greater vitality in our day-to-day living.” This sentiment is apparent in the accompanying images of Mitch and Keri’s beautiful home.
To connect with Mitch and Keri, visit them on Instagram: @mtchvns @keriHowel