Stuart Eminson's Quirky Mid Century 60, 70s Home
Today's Home Tour is with Stuart Eminson and his mid-century, colourful, eclectic Home. Stuart is multi-talented creative being also a freelance musician, regularly playing principle at The Orchestra of The English National Ballet, BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the Halle Orchestra. You can read more about Stuart's professional life here.
Being a self-employed musician isn’t one of the most ordinary or secure career paths to take, but for me there was no other direction to follow. It’s something I’ve done since about the age of 11, and grew into something all consuming, more than just an interest, it was and IS still a passion. I couldn’t live without creating music, and feel very lucky to have carved a successful career in something I enjoy so much. The down side is, the insecurity, never really knowing when the next bout of work will suddenly appear. I studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London and have since played for many of the leading orchestras around the country.
I was a massively late starter when it came to home buying mainly because of the above. At the age of 42, I was finally decided to get myself on to the property ladder which has enabled me to unleash my love of interior and eclectic mid-century goodness. I love searching for pieces which are quirky, colourful, rare, striking and unusual.
Basically, I like to just buy! (When the finances allow!) I’ve always had an interest in the 60’s and 70’s but rather than create a contrived looking mid-century space I like to throw in inspiration from other eras including the modern day (as long as it’s a bit quirky- I’m just naturally drawn to that)
Some of the items have been passed down from my parents and my Gran, including a Guzzini floor Lamp, some Royal Alma Staffordshire storage jars, and some gorgeous Portuguese Secla ceramics.
My home is a 2 bedroomed apartment in Manchester, within a Victorian house which was modernised in 2004. The facade has retained its original look, but from the rear, it looks very modern. Being in the loft, there’s lots of angles, beams, beautiful sloped ceilings and even a mezzanine off from the living room.
In my bedroom, after being inspired by all the amazing dark interiors on Instagram, I decided to try it out for myself. I felt attracted to creating a cocoon-like feeling but to still keep my style with all the retro v modern accessories. I just can’t stay away from colour, so there’s still lots of it, but against a dark backdrop.
Whilst I was on a massive 2-year tour in 2013-15 before I’d even moved into the apartment I was already designing and purchasing. One of the first things I bought was the humongous print of the Green Lady by Tretchikoff, which is proudly on show in my room, there’s a bright yellow Ilka Plast floor lamp, from the 70’s, flown over from Germany (the factory apparently burnt down, so they are fairly hard to find these days) and the most stunning sun flower 70’s Rya Rug I picked up from a lady’s garage, gave it a good clean and have since discovered it’s a real sort after gem. I guess I would suggest these are the most prominent pieces of my room. There’s loads more artefacts from bygone times, though, which thinking about it started with a relatively large collection of L.E.D watches from the 70’s, of which I have a few on display.
My living room, is a fantastic shape, with angles, and beams making it feel quite original and slightly unusual. Here you’ll find the walls painted white. It’s a very bright room, a massive skylight from the mezzanine and a floor to ceiling window leading onto a small balcony at the front, so the sun light flows through form both sides.
It’s open plan with a modem kitchen to the side, which I’ve quirked up in a kind of pop-art kitsch feel and covered in Matt white metro tiles. One of my favourite looking things is the curved orange microwave. Bought it purely on looks! Because my previous rented place was a huge converted vicarage with the biggest and highest living room ever, I treated myself to a cow-hide, which unfortunately doesn’t fit in my current home. Cleverly, (I thought) rather than just store it away, I folded it over and into a corner of the kitchen! Now it’s on display and doesn’t swamp the room!
The living room although white, is an abundance of colour with all the accessories. Two massive Stanley Chow prints one of Elvis and one of his take on the Green Lady, are encased in antique frames to give that more contrasting, eclectic look. Off EBay I found a gorgeous vintage fire is superb condition which happened to be from up the road, and another Rya Rug which I bought in Bristol whilst still on my tour. I guess the colour tones started with orange, teal, and brown, but it’s kind of, erm, expanded.
My orange Terence Conran boardroom chair from the 60’s I’ve had for probably about 20years and won’t be going anywhere other than with me, for evermore. I love it. It has really heavy stainless steel legs and castors. It weighs an absolute ton! Another piece I’ve had for as long, is this baby blue Formica-Esque desk with smoked glass on one side and mirrored on the other. I think it’s from the 50’s and again, it’s really unique. I have loads of ceramics, German fat lava, French, Hungarian, Portuguese, you name it. A friend of mine counted once- over 50 vases!
My spare bedroom, has a slightly more rustic and serene ambience. The bed was actually owned and made by a carpenter called ‘Andy’ for the late Derek Jarman, the English film director, again it’s from a few decades ago.
I used to work in India for the Symphony Orchestra of India and so I went through a phase of being pretty inspired of all things Indian. I have a beautiful antique Indian Cabinet with several pieces of antique Indian art, a very ornately decorated Ganesha and several other bits and bobs from the region. Not being able to keep away from the 70’s, one of my prize possession’s is the Rya wall hanging I bought from Germany, it’s striking shape and colours makes it a real feature.
The hallway has evolved into becoming a pink haven, re-named “manpink”. Again, there’s art by the local illustrator Stanley Chow, Julian Opie (Woman Taking Off a Man’s Shirt) neon mirrors, a neon yellow wall, more Rya rugs, and an Artemide bright orange Nesso Lamp. Oh, and an original Nautilus Maxiswatch from the 80’s. What makes the hallway slightly special is an elegant curved wall which everybody always comments on when they visit.
My apartment isn’t grand, it’s not big, but it’s mine and it’s my home. And although I’m away an awful lot (currently writing this whilst I’m on tour with Wicked the musical in Dublin) I absolutely love it and feel very proud.
The Girl with The Green Sofa