Velvet is the one fabric I can’t walk past without touching it. Can you? It is very much on trend just now and many home interior stores are selling cushions, upholstered furniture and soft furnishings in this luxurious material. Here is some velvet inspiration to soften up your decor. A roundup of some gorgeous products for the next season. Enjoy!
Velvet fabrics for soft furnishings
Rich velvet-like texture gives a luxurious look with irresistible soft to touch feel. Go for a decadent interior or bejewel a room with a few velvety touches for a must have look of 2018. Embrace the velvety look and give your living room or bedroom an on-trend plush update.
Where to buy velvet fabric?
Dekoriahas a fabulous collection of fabrics that are – very useful – washable at 30 degrees. Affordable too at £17.00 / metre.
Luxurious velvet sofas
If you are looking for a beautiful luxurious sofa to make that grand statement in your interior, Graham and Green have a good selection. The one pictures shows the ‘Wellington 3-seater, a timeless sofa inspired by the classic chesterfield, in a royal blue velvet material. Luxury meets comfort here. It has beautiful scrolled arms and a plush button back finish creating a decadent focal point for your living room. Request a free swatch of your favourite colours to see and feel the material up close.
I really love this one, looking very midcentury modern and sleek. A long, rectangular 3-seater sofa from Homelia, online destination for luxury & designer homeware and furniture. The silhouette adds structure and style to a room whilst its plump back and seat cushions offer sink-in comfort as you completely stretch your legs out along its length. The small, angled legs in varnished chestnut add design-led flair.
Make a statement with a velvet armchair
If a 3-seater sofa is bit too much for you, why not go for a single armchair to add a smaller sophisticated statement to your interior? There are many shapes and sizes and with just the one chair you could go for something a bit more daring and different.
A true vintage classic, these gold Platner armchairs by Knoll. No boring interior for you if you invest in one of those. Place them around the dining table or add a single one to your sitting corner for a wow factor.
MADEhas a great selection of velvet armchairs, in both minimalist and bolder styles. I like this one with the elegant copper metal frame.
Snuggle up under a velvet blanket
Because the evenings are getting chillier, little feels more luxurious and comforting than to snuggle up under a super soft blanket. These Quilts With Printed Reverse (240 x 220cm) by Graham and Green are double sided and welcoming in every way. Besides that, the two colourways, Coral Red and Slate Blue are perfect colours for the winter months, treating your bedroom to warm tones while while the nights are getting colder. The quilt is soft to touch and showcases a neutral cotton reverse that has been embellished with hand block print work in a pale blue, inspired by floral Indian patterns. I’m sure I’d be loving these for a very long time, possibly forever.
When people ask me about my interior design style, I usually say ‘eclectic’. In any of my projects, or even during the time when I was buying and selling vintage, all I ever did was follow my intuition and try things out. I don’t follow a certain style, or even trend, I just pick what I love and usually immediately see if it works well together. You can’t help including things that are trendy sometimes because some pieces that are ‘in vogue’ are actually very beautiful and you know you will still love them even when the trend has passed.
Go with your instinct. If it speaks to you, especially when you have thought about it for a few days, get it.
Today I am sharing some tips to help you in your own interior design projects. Next time you are redecorating your living room, or in fact any room, try and follow these steps. They may help you see things differently and choose a colour scheme, furniture and accessories with confidence.
interior design tip #1: Start a Pinterest board
This is a no brainer really and I am sure most of you are doing this already. Create a dedicated board on Pinterest and gather images of rooms you like, furniture you like, colour schemes and images that inspire you and ‘fit’ within the look you are thinking of. While pinning your favourites, think about the function of the room too: are you going to spend time in it during the day or mainly in the evening? Which family members will be using it most? Does it need a play area, a library, a desk? Will it have a TV in it and where would it go?
Once you have built a bit of a collection, stand back and look at it as a whole to see if you can see a cohesive style. Is there a certain colour that is dominant? This might become your wall colour or accent colour in textiles or upholstery. Are there certain patterns or textures you pinned in more than one image? Then this is another element you can use, when choosing perhaps wallpaper or accessories.
Delete any images that you feel are just too different from the rest, as this helps you narrowing it down. You can always save the image in another board, for future projects and ideas. As you do this (fun!) exercise over the space of a few weeks, you will slowly see a cohesive style board emerging, which can serve as a very helpful guide when choosing colours, furniture and accessories for your redecoration project.
interior design tip #2: Look at the features of the room
When it comes to styling living rooms, I always start by looking at the features of the space. I try and picture it without anything in it. What is the light like? Are there any focal points like fire places or alcoves? Are the ceilings high or is it a cosy room with small windows? It is a good idea to measure up the space and draw it out to scale on a sheet of paper with written dimensions of walls, windows and doors. This helps you choose the right size furniture later on.
interior design tip #3: What to do with the flooring
Next you look another very important permanent element: the flooring. What is the flooring like? Is it staying? Depending on the ideas on your Pinterest board (and budget) you may choose to replace old carpet with wood flooring, paint your old floor boards or leave it as it is and work with rugslater on. Carpets can add a lot of warmth to a room, especially in old houses or if the floor boards on their own are just too draughty.
interior design tip #4: Walls and woodwork: wallpaper or paint?
Next up are the walls and woodwork around the room including windows, skirtings and doors. If you are going for the ‘Scandinavian’ bright look, keep it simple and choose different shades of white as a calm background for your more colourful furniture. If you are thinking of a more traditional or ‘cottage/farmhouse’ style, you may want to look at darker, moodier colours such as deep blue, sage green or dark grey for the walls, creating a cosy sitting room for the evening. It may feel scary to go dark, but you’ll probably be surprised with how good it looks.
Whateverpaint ideas you have collected on your Pinterest board, it is a good idea to get some tester pots first as you may change your mind when seeing colours in the actual light of your room. Woodwork can also look beautiful just stripped and waxed if you live in a period house, or go for a contrasting colour to make a modern statement. If you go for wallpaper, most people choose to use a bold pattern on just one wall as a feature, rather than plastering it on all four.
interior design tip #5: Lighting
Lighting is super important in interior design and needs proper attention. On your drawn outline of the room mark where you think you will need light. Where are you going to sit and read? What aspects need a spotlight (pictures, a bookcase)? Is a central ceiling pendant light necessary or can you just go for standard lamps, wall fitted lamps and table lamps to light the room in the evening? Perhaps consider putting in a dimmer for a ceiling light to change the mood of the room.
When choosing lighting, don’t buy lamps that are all very busy or different in style and pattern, but perhaps go for a standard and a table lamp with matching shades combined with some stylish wall mounted lamps. Or have one heavily patterned shade combined with more minimalist lighting. Also look at what type of bulb you are using in each lamp: white light creates a cool, contemporary atmosphere while yellow light gives off a warmer glow.
interior design tip #6: Furniture
You may want to start from scratch if the budget allows or you just want to make a clean break. The likelihood is that you probably have some things you want to keep, so it is a good idea to photograph them to include them on your Pinterest board to see them in the mix. Then it is important to make a shopping list, not the least because you likely want to know what it is all going to cost.
Invest wisely and think long term. It may be better to spend a bit more on a quality sofa than splash out on that super stylish vintage drinks cabinet you have spotted but are unlikely to use on a daily basis – although, I know, sometimes you just gotta have something. Shop around and mix and match. Don’t be afraid to buy your brand new sofa at a high street store, then combine it with an upcycled vintage coffee table and compliment it all with a set of cheap plain bookcases from Ikea. Your house is not a show home, make sure it is you and that your style shines through.
how much furniture?
How much furniture should you get? Less is more, you can always add something if you feel there is something missing. Just don’t cram a huge corner sofa into a small front room. Keep it airy, make sure there is still room to move. A 2-seater sofa and two matching midcentury modern armchairs on either side of a low table may be a good solution if you want to create a good ‘conversation space’ in a lounge. When it comes to upholstery, a safe bet is a quality lasting plain wool fabric or leather for the sofa. A grey herringbone is a timeless choice, and so is tan leather. Armchairs can add colour and contrast or even go for patterns to jazz it up.
interior design tip #7: Soft furnishings
Curtains, blinds and rugs. What does the room need? Plain grey or off white full length linen curtains are always a lovely choice, and go with both modern and traditional styles. Combine it with painted wooden venetian blinds or a patterned linen roman blind for some sophisticated layering.
When it comes to a rug (if you have wood flooring), choose a bolder pattern if your furniture is muted and calm in colour and texture. If there is already a lot going on in your upholstery or colours and patterns on the wall perhaps, select a large natural wool rug in a light colour as a base.
interior design tip #8: Accessories
Finally, accessories. Pictures, mirrors, cushions, vases, clocks, baskets, etc. Cushions are a good way to start. Combine contrasting colours, different patterns and textures. As long as they all fit in more or less with your image collection on the Pinterest board, they will add welcome interest.
>> General cushion pairing formula:
TEXTURE + LARGE SCALE PATTERN + SMALL SCALE PATTERN + LUMBAR
When it comes to choosing artwork, don’t be afraid to get a big frame. A large painting or photograph can make a great statement in a room. They also look good over a sofa or sideboard. Alternatively a gallery wall can add a lot of interest and a great opportunity to show off family photos. Maybe even show off your collection of fabrics.
play around and learn what works
Play around with placing accessories like vases and other loose objects. Does it look good where you placed it? What composition have you created, is there a good balance? Use other things as well to create interest such as some of your favourite books, found objects like shells or a rock and don’t forget plants! Plants literally add live to a room (as long as you keep them alive of course).
I hope this list is helpful in guiding you, whatever room you may tackle. What do you find most difficult in your redecorating projects?
I recently had the great opportunity to work with some lovely clients in Aberdeen, who asked me for help with the redesign of their living room in a ground floor Victorian apartment in the city centre. A beautiful living room is must be said; with the characteristic high ceilings, giant window, wooden floor boards and a fire place. The couple wasn’t keen on the current white walls in the living room and also generally struggled a bit creating a look that felt ‘together’. They clearly liked darker colour schemes, with a deep blue dining room already beautifully decorated, featuring some nice vintage mahogany furniture. The living room was next.
Art deco style accessories / furniture
Darker, moody colours for the walls
Woodwork (window and skirtings to be painted)
Mahogany or similar warmer tone natural wooden furniture
A new wooden floor
Metallic silver/grey wallpaper on chimney breast to stay
Black/gold lampshades to be used that were bought already
For their living room I came up with a scheme that tied in nicely with the moody blue dining room next door, but was still providing a contrast. Green. The walls were to be green! With their love for art deco, gold accents and deep, dark colours, we started to gather ideas on this Pinterest board to get a better feel for where the design was going.
I then came up with this mood board:
As the couple wanted their walls to be green (did I say green?), rather than blue-green, I chose to step away from the original art deco colour scheme a little and suggest Farrow and Ball ‘Green Smoke‘. This timeless colour goes very well with metallics so would make a good match with the art deco accessories and any vintage furniture that would be bought. For the woodwork I suggested an off black, which may proof to dark, but certainly adds to the drama in the room!
I love chesterfield sofas, both vintage tan leather ones and modern versions that nowadays can be found in many stores, covered in any fabric. I felt a graphite grey or dusty blue linen would go well with the scheme, especially on top of a lighter coloured rug, to ‘lift’ the dark scheme a little. Some gold yellow accent cushions and foot stool also add a bit of interest. The black with gold lamp shades were already bought by the client and waiting to be used, so I incorporated them in the scheme, combining them with vintage mahogany standard lamps. The chandelier I selected may not be the one they eventually go for, but something along those lines would look stunning in my opinion!
The existing living room currently has no book shelves around the chimney breast, so I felt including built in bookcases with cupboards at the bottom would be a great use of space and adding a sophisticated bit of storage, for any dvds and other bits and bobs you may not like to have on display. A very large painting above the chesterfield would add an amazing final touch. Très chic, this room!
As a give-away price on Facebook last year I offered to create a free design for someone’s room of choice and I was delighted to be asked to come up with ideas for a living room in a wonderful old house Laurencekirk, Scotland. They fancied some ‘rockabilly interior design’!
High ceilings, lots of character – and a very inspiring interior already. The owners, artists and musicians, had already decorated their home in a fabulously creative way. The room featured colourful and full of vintage finds, including a vintage radio collection and a 1960s record player. I found it quite a challenge to add to this!
Probably the most eclectic room I have done so far, I decided to mainly focus on storage and making the room look a bit more ‘together’, using the pieces that were already there. I also wanted to change the wall colour to give the room a bit more wow factor without losing the wonderful bohemian vibe that was present in the house.
Colours: duck egg/teal and red (‘vintage rockabilly’)
Shelving in the alcoves around existing fireplace.
New sofa, table and possible accessories.
Storage for kids toys and books.
Piano, rug and fireplace artwork are staying.
Have a look at the Pinterest board and what ideas came up with: Pinterest board
low budget, grand plans
The budget was very low, more like next to nothing, so I had put my upcycling and second-hand buying hat on. I really pulled out all the stops to come up with cost-effective solutions. As their old Ikea sofa was really on its way out, I managed to source a gorgeous vintage leather chesterfield sofa in the process for an absolute bargain. This is now taking pride of place in the room. The shelving in the alcoves are going to be scaffold planks.
Duck egg blue with red accents
To add to the rockabilly interior design style, I chose a duck-egg/teal blue for the walls. On the wall at the far end I imagined a nice red floral wallpaper, as a contrast with some heavy blue velvet curtains. A wooden crate on wheels holds toys, with a soft sheepskin rug beside it to play on. A couple of knitted pouffes function as additional seating, that can be moved around the room. A slim drawer unit fits in between the piano and the sofa for additional storage and to put a plant or table lamp on. The artwork above the sofa could include a changing exhibition of kids drawings, framed vintage fabrics, photographs or prints.
As part of the rebranding and promotion of Nina’s Apartment’s Interior Design services we are at the Scottish Home Show this month, at the AECC in Aberdeen. It is on from today until Sunday 25th of September 10am-5pm. Architects, designers, kitchens, bathrooms, retailers and builders all under one roof. Great!
On my travels through the Netherlands this month I popped into my friend Frederiek’s house in the tiny village of Huizinge, north Groningen, who lives there with her partner Wimer and their three-year old son Teun. Huizinge is a beautiful characterful village surrounded by endless flat green fields and far horizons. Frederiek and Wimer recently bought one of the old houses and brought it right up to date with a gorgeous interior full of vintage finds, contemporary art, minimalist touches and plenty of house plants.
Although the house inside doesn’t look anything like it originally was, Frederiek and Wimer didn’t have to do a lot of structural work to the building themselves when they bought it. “We bought the house casco (Dutch for a ‘shell’ building ed.), so it was mainly the inside that still needed to be finished. That way we were able to make the interior just the way we wanted which was great because we were looking for a blank canvas to work with”, Frederiek says. As a result the house is now much more suitable for modern living. The small rooms in the front of the house were originally living room and storage but are now the two bedrooms and the old animal barn got converted into a spacious and very bright kitchen-dining room.
Frederiek (here pictured with my husband)
The couple, who both work in the creative sector, have a keen eye for finding design on a shoestring budget and were lucky enough to salvage the large globe lights from a building in Groningen that was about to be demolished. Other vintage finds are the mid century dining chairs, sofa and armchair and the beautiful old tall glazed cabinet that came out of a cafe. Teun’s nursery is an eclectic collection of heirloom furniture from Frederiek’s family.
Despite the huge transformation there are still many original features which give the house a lot of character, such as the old barn windows, wooden doors and beams, now all painted in a fresh duck egg blue and warm greys. The seamless minimalist grey Egaline floor was poured throughout the house and forms a nice contrast. This type of floor is normally only used as under flooring but when mixed slightly different and coated it works well as a finished product too. Oh, and it is highly practical – what else would you expect from the Dutch?
A glass fronted extension looking out onto the garden and adjoining fields forms their bright ‘sitting room with a view’ including a wood burning stove, wall to wall book shelves and plenty of space for little Teun to play.
Their drive to make the house their own doesn’t stop here though. Having only moved in last December the energetic couple is already working on their next design project: the garden studio / guestroom. No doubt this will look just as stunning as the rest. I can’t wait to see it!
A lot of people believe that midcentury furniture doesn’t suit an our older style house. I don’t think this is true. I believe that the clean, simple design of midcentury furniture suits most properties, whatever the age of the house and no matter whether you live in the city or countryside. The highly decorative features of Victorian properties, like ceiling roses, high skirting boards and tall windows create an excellent backdrop and contrast to show off your sleek, timeless midcentury modern design.
What is midcentury modern furniture?
Midcentury modern furniture and the Scandinavian minimalist look has been on trend for quite a while now. For good reasons too! The clean, fresh designs of a teak Danish sideboard or the monochrome graphic 1960s patterns in lots of textiles and other home accessories are simply beautiful. What is Midcentury modern furniture?
Mid-century modern is the design movement in interior, graphic design, product design, architecture, and urban development from about 1945 to 1975. It started just before the Second World War but became particularly popular in the 1950s and 60s in the Nordic countries, but also in England and the US. Scandinavian architects were very influential at this time, their style known for clean simplicity and integration with nature. Designers like Arne Jacobsen and Charles and Ray Eames produced their most famous classics here, including the iconic Ant chair and the Eames chairs, of which are now millions in reproduction.
Light, connection with nature and large windows have always very important features in midcentury modern architecture. Victorian architecture is different in almost every sense, but the usually large windows are a feature that is similar. The light and connection with a garden for example can be utilised well. Use them to your advantage and make midcentury modern furniture work well in your historic home.
Create contrast with midcentury modern furniture and victorian features
If you happen to live in an old house with lots of character, a minimalist, understated piece of furniture forms a nice contrast. It will compliment the features of the house rather than compete with it. Likewise, a Victorian property with high ceilings forms a perfect back drop to show off the clean lines of a mid century modern armchair or sideboard. Please don’t feel you have to compromise on style, just because you think a country cottage doesn’t go with a 1960s sofa. Think outside the box! Be brave and mix it up, you might surprise yourself.
To match the minimalist look of the midcentury modern furniture, you may want to choose to keep the room decor quite simple. Choose floor length curtains to dress windows, but without patterns. Keep the walls plain, but instead use abstract art and framed prints to jazz things up. Keep the floorboards bare, rather than using carpet. Use vintage rugs instead.
This is a bright Georgian house in Islington, London. The old shutters, decorative ceiling and original fireplace create a nice contrast with the midcentury modern style furniture. The design of the armchair and bookcase are very 1950s. The blonde wood floor boards are typical in Scandinavian homes. The standard lamp in orange adds a lovely pop colour. Image via Design Milk
In this little dining room inside a Victorian or similar age cottage, the midcentury modern furniture looks great. The old floor boards, bright orange retro pendant light and bookcase all combine very well and create a lovely space. The retro style is not overpowering, there is not much clutter and all is in balance. You can try this look in any country cottage.
Do you live in a small cottage or apartment? If your living room just isn’t very big, try and find a smaller midcentury modern sideboard. Keep the room light and bright. You can also combine it with some vintage finds and a statement armchair for an eclectic, Scandi look.
Bohemian decor is all about indulgence, decoration, oversized drapes, large house plants, and plentiful soft furnishings. Add the exotic furniture and souvenirs from travels far away and you get the picture.
Romantic escapism, day dreaming, artistic flair and heaps of personality and soul. Few things are new, most are found, inherited or collected, lots reused and re-purposed. I am probably too much of a mid-century modern fan to go all floral and decorative in my own house, but I do have a weakness for the more exotic interiors and love taking ideas and inspiration from them.But did you know bohemian and mid-century styles go surprisingly well together? I wrote all about this in another blog post here.
If you’re a monochrome kind of person, look away now, because here are my top five tips for getting the bohemian vibe going in your own home!
Create a bohemian decor #1: The Peacock chair
Decorative, feminine, exotic…love it or hate it, the peacock chair is a true essential in a bohemian home. Surround it by lush plants in your sun room, drape your scarves on it next to your dressing table in the bedroom or create a cosy little corner with plenty of books, cushions and textiles. They also look amazing outdoors in summeron your terrace in the garden.
The Peacock chair, here combined with a shaggy rug, floor cushions, cactus plants, rattan accessories and a vintage swivel chair. Img: Moon to Moon–
Could you recreate this private little jungle in your sun room? Image Sarah Kaye–
Create a bohemian decor #2: layer your textiles
Do you love traveling to exotic places? Ever been to Marrakesh or Ecuador? I bet you came back with some pretty throws in your suitcase. Use them! Drape them over the sofa, hang them on the wall. Other essential textile items are rugs, shaggy or oriental ones, ideally slightly worn. Check Etsy for some amazing Floor cushions, great for adding some bohemian style to your room.
A rug draped over the bed? Why not. And hang those guitars up in case you feel like serenading your loved one in the morning. Image Magic Dream Life
Who needs matching cushions anyway? Great mix of textures and patterns going on here. Image The Jungalow
create a bohemian decor #3: house plants
House plants are great to add a bit of bohemian style to your room, the larger the better! Hang them suspended from the ceiling in macrame hangers or just place them on the floor in a big ceramic planter or old tin or brass pot. Did you know plants clean the air in your house, making your living space extra healthy? Better than any artificial air purifier. Here’s some more useful info I shared on the blog earlier.
Great combination of a large houseplant in an old brass pot, a vintage chest, natural wooden flooring, colourful art and layered textiles on the sofa. Image Pinterest
create a bohemian decor #4: add vintage finds
Love going to flea markets? Collecting weird and wonderful items? Show them off! Vintage finds are ideal items for creating that bohemian vibe in your interior. Group your vintage finds to create little collections and displays, on a shelf on the wall, a table or in the window. Lanterns are great to collect and display together, both inside and outside – because why stop indoors? Create a magical bohemian corner in your garden, on your balcony or decking. Oh and get that peacock chair out when it’s sunny!
Oooh…this makes me long for summer. Gorgeous lanterns. Image Residence Style –
Ceramics and crockery! Mix and match, collect beautiful ‘orphan teacups’, bring back decorative bowls and dishes from your holidays abroad, find fabulous plates in the charity shop. They will look fab all together in your vintage kitchen dresser. Image via Life is in Everyhting Beautiful / Tumblr –
Group fresh green leaves and a single pink rose in vintage bottles together against a dark painted wall.Image via Bloglovin
get a bohemian decor #5. Art. Lots of it. And books. Lots of books.
I have a weakness for art, whether it is big oil paintings, graphic design, prints, black and white photography or sculpture. I LOVE art and when I see something that catches my eye and ‘speaks’ to me, and is within budget – I have to buy it. You’d be surprised how often you may find original art that isn’t expensive. A little bronze sculpture at a yard sale, a vintage oil painting in a charity shop or a cool film poster at an auction. You really don’t need to fork out thousands to buy original artby famous names to get a great collection going. Just do it.
Try also going around exhibitions in your local areato discover artists in your own community whose work may be more affordable than you think. Or how about framing some of your children’s drawings to add to the mix? Or an illustrated page from an old book? To get the bohemian vibe going, group your framed art on a wall to create a colourful eye catching gallery. Lean them against a wall, overlapping even, or arrange them on a shelf if you like changing them around every now and then.
Old paintings, framed prints, stacks of books, vintage furniture and oriental rugs. Oh…and that mid century chair…what a gorgeous mix. Image Lonny
These are the type of paintings you could easily come across at flea markets or charity shops. Group similar ones to create a colourful ‘themed’ wall. Image Happy Loves Rosie
Not into paintings? Frame your plants and dried flowers! Collections are all about reflecting your own personality, so be creative and think outside the box. Image Our Southern Home
Inspired? Have fun giving your own interior the bohemian touch. And remember:
It is February, it is freezing, it is dark and we are all longing to see the first signs of Spring, right? Not long now until the first daffodils pop up in the lawn and I am sure I have spotted some snow drops already. In the meantime, why not bring some sunshine into your home? Add some bright colours, fresh flowers, new cushions, a funky light shade or a statement chair to your living room and lift that winter mood. We have been doing our best as always to source to most beautiful and unique vintage furniture as well as complimentary home decor products to add to the mix. We hope you like them.
As usual we are open every Saturday between 10am and 5pm and by appointment during the week. Pop in on a Saturday, or just phone or email us if you want to come and have a look around at another time.
You can never have enough cushions! Starting at £15.00
Beautiful solid teak mid century wardrobe and chest of drawers – in one! 185cm tall x 124cm wide x 55.5cm deep. £165.00
How funky is this chair? Mid century teak armchair with new seat cushions £195.00. Industrial ‘cage’ light shade £28.00. Star burst 1960s clock £49.00, Anglepoise 1960s light £49.00. Red trunk £70.00, black trunk £55.00, suitcase £18.00. Vases from £15.00.
Add a gorgeous hook to your hallway, bathroom door or bedroom. Beauty is in the detail! £14.50 each.
“Oh my goodness, my mum had one just like that!”…. “It’s like walking into my auntie’s house”…. “I know folk who burnt a whole lot of these on the bonfire, that’s what they used to do”
Yep, that’s what I hear in my shop almost on a weekly basis! I sell old furniture that for some people is too much ‘like their childhood’, or is ‘too recent’ for others. But I love it. And this is why.
The wonderful Mies van der Rohe pavillion in Barcelona
Danish architect and designer Arne Jacobsen,
who made the famous ‘Ant’ chair
In Groningen, The Netherlands, where I am originally from, I studied Architecture History with the emphasis on the 20th century. Modernism was a big part of the course and that is most definitely where I got my passion for form and design. A lot of architects, such as Juhl, Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Jacobsen and Le Corbusier are not only responsible for revolutionary buildings, but created some of the most iconic pieces of furniture too. If you have ever visited Barcelona you might have come across the gorgeous pavillion by modernist Mies van der Rohe (pictured above). Would you believe this was built in 1929?
The Eames DSW chair
A lot of great chairs have been produced by these guys too. Who doesn’t know the famous ‘Eames chair’ from the 1950s, that is still being produced and more popular than ever? Mies van der Rohe’s ‘Barcelona chair’ is still in such high demand that there are now numerous companies around selling reproductions.
It is the attention to detail, the love for material and the belief that ‘form follows function’ rather than to adorn a piece of furniture – or building – with unnecessary decoration, that make these ‘vintage’ designs into timeless classics. Buildings are ‘light and open’ instead of dark and heavy and so are the chairs, tables and sideboards.
Danish architect Finn Juhl’s house in Copenhagen. http://www.finnjuhl.com/inspiration/inspiration-finn-juhls-house-copenhagen-2/
A Danish style sideboard combined with a Mies van der Rohe ‘Barcelona’ day bed and some bold artwork. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/259027416041155470/
A 1960s tallboy that may have ended up on the bonfire if I hadn’t
rescued it, polished it up and painted the outside grey to cover
the stained top.
The key to a great looking interior with these vintage pieces though is to create a cool mix. Don’t buy a complete matching set of 1960s teak furniture or you will recreate your auntie’s house (especially if you get that orange Hornsea coffee pot out as well). Buy a good solid mid-century sideboard, hang a large bold painting or photograph above it, invest in a great new sofa from a designer shop (or get a budget one from Ikea 😉 and add old and new accessories you find on your travels to make the room truly your own. And keep it light and airy.
When you visit my little shop you will often find teak sideboards and chests of drawers, 1960s dining room sets and Scandinavian looking armchairs of at least 40 years old. Some pieces I paint when I think they look better in a different colour or are too damaged to sell as they are. Some chairs I recover to give them an updated look. But all items are chosen because I really liked them.
The word ‘vintage’ is terribly trendy at the moment and the word ‘retro’ always reminds me of brown and orange psychedelic wallpaper (and that matching Hornsea coffee set). When I select furniture for the shop I go for pieces that have a beautiful shape, are well made and would look just as good in a modern home as they did 50 or so years ago. While I can’t promise you that all pieces found at Nina’s Apartment are designed by famous architects and designers (but I do my best to hunt them down!), I do promise that they will be great examples of beautiful & classic design.
Is this 1960s dining set still reminding you of your auntie’s house?
A great looking dining room with some prime examples of mid-century modern design