ISSUE 24  |  City Summer

House Call: Artist Mat Collishaw’s Converted Pub

June 16, 2015 1:00 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Mat Collishaw, an instrumental if lesser known figure in the YBA movement (think Tracy Emin, Damien Hirst, and Sarah Lucas), creates art that by turns seduces and repulses. Art to him is not about beauty or perfection; the point is to get people to think about real issues. By extension, a tour of his home, a former pub in Camberwell, London, reveals a related approach. This is a man who engages with his personal environment on a practical and functional level. 

For more, see Collishaw’s studio spaces and an interview with him by Freunde von Freunden. 

Photography by Antoine Breant for Freunde von Freunden.

Above: To convert what had been a pub and more recently a photo studio, Collishaw hired a crew and took down some walls. He then painted all his rooms white and applied a dark stain to the wood floors.

Above: The furnishings are spare but comfortable.

Above: “I don’t agree with the cosmetic look flowers have been given,” Collishaw says. “For example, if you look around and see birthday cards with drops of dew on the petals–this image has killed them.”

Above: Diffused light comes into the house through simple blinds. (Learn where to source your own at Remodelista 101: Roller Blinds.)

Above: A taxidermy pheasant as decor.

Above: Windows without curtains provide maximum light.

Above: Collishaw in his fuss-free kitchen. 

Above: The kitchen chalkboard bearing the artist’s grocery list and a sketch.

Above: A small work surface and counter provide a separation between the living area and the kitchen. 

Above: Over the Aga, Collishaw lines up his spices and other essential cooking ingredients on an open shelf for easy access.

Above: Appliances and utensils sit on the counter as they are, with no attempt to hide them away.

Above: A metal hat and coat rack provide towel storage over the bathtub.

Above: The exterior of the Victorian pub that Collishaw calls home. “I’d prefer to live in Camberwell in South London, which is still under development, and have space, rather than to live with the people who have their little hats on with their little bikes,” Collishaw says. “Let me have my space!” Go to Mat Collishaw to see his work.

If you’re planning a trip to London, a visit to The Draper’s Arms, a gastropub in Islington, is a must. Check out some of our other favorite London hangouts in our City Guides. 

This post is an update; it originally ran on October 14, 2013, as part of our Handyman Special issue.