70s-Inspired Style in South East London

70s-Inspired Style in South East London

Viv Yapp
Nov 13, 2016

Name: Nisha Stevens, Tim Stevens (husband) and Kester Stevens (son, age 3)
Location: Deptford, South East London
Size: 1160 square feet
Years lived in: Owned 4 years

When I stepped into this flat-fronted Victorian terrace in South East London, it was as if I was magically thrown back in time to the '70s. Nisha, an interior designer, and film producer husband Tim, are clearly big fans of the decade and it shows. The vintage furniture and retro lighting are layered with vibrant patterns, bold textures and iconic artwork. This is not a house with "pops of colour." It's an explosion of colour.

Nisha and Tim bought this house four years ago. "We moved in a few months before Kes was born, which was the coldest winter ever," Nisha recalls. "We'd just ripped up all the carpets and there was no insulation so the place was absolutely freezing. I remember wondering what we'd done!" Nisha tells me they had no money left after buying the house, "Tim used to go and paint after work every evening wearing all his clothes at once, whilst I stayed with my parents. We only just completed the work before Kes was born." I love the beautiful muted, earthy tones of Farrow and Ball that they have chosen; it really gives a contemporary edge to the bold '70s style.

This very creative and handy couple also saved a lot of money by renovating most of their old kitchen themselves. They sanded down the wood-look laminate worktop, and painted it in an oil-based blackboard paint. They then hired a carpenter to build the open shelves after ripping out the old top units, which really opens up the space. The beautiful tiles that Nisha found in Istanbul completed the look.

Nisha's ability to spot interesting pieces anywhere she goes really adds a lot of character in this house. They've sourced a lot of their furniture from carboot sales, charity shops and flea markets in places like Berlin and Paris. "Nothing we have is particularly indulgent — most of our possessions have sentimental value only. I particularly love my collection of posters and artwork from my dad — he is a graphic designer, and gave me lots of prints by illustrators that he used to work with in the '60s and '70s like Bob Lawrie and George Hardie."

The '70s was a decade of iconic art and music influences. It was brave, bold and confident, just like the taxidermy fish display on top of the fireplace in the living room. Tim told me that he sometimes wonders whether a mirror in place of the fish would look a bit more…normal? Well, the '70s may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I love Nisha and Tim's contemporary reinterpretation of it (so much so I'm off to buy that taxidermy fish in a minute).

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style/Inspiration: We're big fans of 70's style – homewares, furniture and artwork. We also have a lot of hand-me-downs from family; my mum is Indian so we have a few Indian textiles from her, and I also have a lot of my grandma's old furniture. I love plants and like to have as many as possible in the house.

Favorite Element: Probably the dining room. It's where we spend most of our time and is a very relaxing space.

Biggest Challenge: Our biggest challenge is not having quite enough space to have more than a few people over — knocking the two reception rooms together would help with this, or ideally a kitchen extension (I can dream…) Failing that, some doors from the kitchen straight out onto the garden would be really nice, so that we could make better use of the garden.

What Friends Say: I think most of them like the house! Ours is certainly not a minimalist aesthetic so there's always something for people to comment on!

Get the look! → Seventies Coziness & Funk

Biggest Embarrassment: The bathroom floor! It's grey sparkly vinyl and definitely not what we'd choose. Replacing it is our next project — I'd love to put cork tiles down for a '70s feel.

Proudest DIY: Very boring, but it has to be insulating the loft…

Biggest Indulgence: Another boring one! Hive central heating, which you can turn on from your phone before you get home! It's amazing in the winter.

Best Advice: Paint an ugly kitchen worktop with an oil-based blackboard paint. Ours was a not very nice wood-look laminate, which we sanded back and then painted. Much cheaper than replacing it and gives a completely new, and very practical, look. If for whatever reason it starts looking a bit tired you can simply re-paint. I love it!

Dream Sources: SCP, Viaduct, Two Columbia Road, Baines & Fricker, Donna Wilson, Sunbury Antiques Market

Thanks, Nisha and Tim!

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