A Corner Shop Turned Home Is Now the Colorful “’70s House Manchester”

published Dec 5, 2023

A Corner Shop Turned Home Is Now the Colorful “’70s House Manchester”

published Dec 5, 2023
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Designer and ’70s decor expert Estelle Bilson says that it’s not so much that she chose this home, but that the house (and the husband!) chose her. “My husband, Stephen, has lived here for 22 years; it was his first house purchase,” she begins. In 2015, Bilson moved in when they decided to sell her house.

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Bilson describes the Edwardian end terrace as a “reasonably modest-sized, period property, which is incredibly commonplace in the U.K., especially in the North of England.” But there’s something fun in the structure’s history: “It used to be a corner shop from the early 1900s to the 1980s, when it was turned into a dwelling.”

But it’s not just the home’s past that’s fun; it’s present is quite exciting! Bilson and her husband’s home is also known as the “’70s House Manchester,” thanks to its incredibly bold, colorful, and retro-themed decor in every room.

“I have always loved vintage clothes and accessories, which led me to a 20-year career in the fashion industry working for luxury brands such as Burberry and as Head of Technical Design for Gieves & Hawkes, the royal tailors on Savile Row,” Bilson begins.

“My interest in furniture and design came from my parents, especially my father, who was a cabinet maker and antiques dealer who used to take me along to auctions as a child. I started buying items from the ’50s to the ’70s in the early ’90s when nobody much really wanted them, and by my teens and early 20s I had started to amass a lot of furniture; these were the days when you could pull amazing mid-century pieces from a skip or off the side of the road.”

“I already had a house filled with my collection of furniture and accessories by the time I met my now-husband, Stephen, and I had to downsize when we moved in together; thankfully he also loves retro-style furniture, so it wasn’t a shock to him,” she continues.

“I started renovating the house and turning it into my dream home when our child was born in 2016. Faced with long days staring at walls during that first cold winter, I started to inject some color into the home. I started with our living and dining room and slowly worked my way through the whole house, taking inspiration from vintage ’70s magazines and interior design books.”

“I love using color and furniture to define a space, as well as bright and bold wallpaper, which has a retro feel,” she explains.

Bilson’s vintage furniture hunting hobby turned into an expertise; her Instagram account is popular, and she has spoken on retro interior design on television, like BBC 1’s The Bidding Room. And in early 2023, her book, 70s House: A bold homage to the most daring decade in design, was published. She’s also designed retro-inspired home products like wallpaper, floor vinyl, art, fabric, and more.

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

LIVING ROOM

  • 1973 G-Plan vintage sofa — Facebook Marketplace £100
  • Beaver and Tapley wall units — Facebook Marketplace £120
  • ’70s Rya rug — eBay £450
  • ’70s Murano pendant lights — eBay £200
  • Pillows — 70s House Manchester
  • ’70s Keracolor TV — Facebook Marketplace £100
  • Lips artwork — Trafford Parsons

DINING ROOM

  • Vintage marble dining table and chrome chairs — eBay £50
  • Vintage Ladderax unit — eBay £280
  • Danish unit — Facebook Marketplace £100
  • Accessories — Car boot/thrifted

KITCHEN

  • Old Kutchenhouse units from the ’00s painted with Annie Sloan

BEDROOM

  • Esmonde wallpaper, raspberry — 70s House Manchester
  • Paint — Valspar “Neon Apple”
  • Vintage space-age James Seacomb bed —Facebook Marketplace £180
  • Units — eBay

BATHROOM

  • French ‘Selles’ bathroom suite — £20 eBay

Thanks, Estelle!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

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