Vintage revisited: midcentury sideboard in a monochrome converted steading

In this blog series I am tracking the beautiful vintage pieces that were once bought from Nina’s Apartment, looking them up them in their new homes. Most of these pieces were rescued from house clearances or bought from older people downsizing and no longer having space for their beloved (now vintage) furniture. Whatever their story, they carry a lot of history and I am sure if the original owners saw their furniture getting a new lease of life, it would put a smile on their face. So who bought them, why and where are these pieces now? This time I am looking up a sleek teak sideboard, bought from a house clearance – then dusted off, polished up and giving some TLC – and now taking pride of place in a gorgeous converted steading near Alford, Aberdeenshire.

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New owners Erika and Derek came into Nina’s Apartment two years ago, looking for something that was stylish, of a mid-century modern design and with plenty of storage space. It also needed to be low enough to fit under the sky light windows. The use of the sideboard didn’t change that much compared to what it was originally used for: it’s main function is now as the family’s drinks cabinet. They did update the original door knobs and replaced them with dark grey marbled ones to add a bit of contrast.

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Erika, who produces artwork at a design company and her husband Derek, who works in the oil industry, converted the old steading ten years ago and live there with their two teenage daughters. They chose to have the living space upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs. This provided them with amazing views over the Aberdeenshire countryside and also makes the large open plan top floor very bright and sunny. Although according to Erika “the whole space gets pretty dark in winter on days when there is heavy snow and all windows are covered”!

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The sideboard Erika and Derek bought is a 1960s design by A Younger Ltd. This English company was a high quality furniture manufacturer that led style and contemporary taste in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Younger furniture was low volume, well made and aimed at the top end of the market and amongst the first firms to make Scandinavian style furniture in the fifties. It was also one of the first manufacturers to abandon the style in search of something more original in the late sixties (more info on Retrowow).

The design of the sideboard goes very well with the rest of the house, which is decorated in a modern, kind of Scandinavian style and fairly monochrome colour scheme. It’s nice to see how the owners have creatively combined vintage, high end design and high street furniture. The black and white rug was bought from La Redoute, the large grey corner sofa sofa is by SITS. I love the Ikea kitchen cabinets that, placed upside down and beside each other, were transformed into a full length TV and media unit. Talk about thinking outside the box!

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The green kitchen table is a vintage piece found locally, as well as the old chest underneath it. The wall paper on the central staircase adds a nice bit of pattern to the bright room and is from Scion.

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Knowing the often unloved state vintage pieces were in when I first got them in the shop, I just love seeing them come to life again in their new environment. I know it sounds like I am talking about the adoption process of an abandoned kitten, but I think this was one lucky sideboard to find such a fitting, stylish and sunny home. And I can’t help but feeling slightly envious.

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Vintage revisited: journey of a sideboard

One of the great things about buying and selling vintage is knowing where it came from and seeing it off to a new home. Often I buy from older people who need to downsize and it is lovely to hear the history of the dining table they had so many Christmas dinners at, the china cabinet that always took pride in their living room or the sixties sideboard they bought for their wedding. Some people are happy to get rid of things, but more often than not you spot a bit of sentiment in the seller’s face as you lift the piece into the back of the car and drive off. Knowing that their beloved piece will be given a new home makes things easier, for sure. I thought it would be nice to share some of these stories and see the old pieces in their new setting. In this new blog series I am revisiting the vintage pieces that left my shop over the years and find out where they ended up.

First up is a sleek mid-century sideboard, now living in a converted steading in rural Aberdeenshire. I found her in a beautiful artist’s home, surrounded by other vintage pieces, colourful rugs, ceramics, books and artworks.

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New owner Kate bought the sideboard from Nina’s Apartment three years ago after spotting it on the facebook page. She was looking for plenty of storage for her craft supplies and in particular her sewing stash. The sideboard was the perfect low shape for the location she had in mind: the upstairs landing which doubles up as office, library and cosy TV nook.

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“The beauty of these vintage pieces is that the functionality of them can change with the years” says Kate. “The top drawer of a sideboard was normally used for cutlery back in the days, but it actually makes a great drawer for sewing supplies like thread, scissors and haberdashery. The cupboards have plenty of space for fabrics too.”

Kate and her husband are clearly big fans of the mid-century and Scandinavian style which is visible throughout the house. Downstairs a vintage blond wood Ercol suite and matching tables take pride of place in the wonderfully bright sitting room looking out onto the garden. The chair, footstool and day bed were reupholstered in the mustard yellow velvet curtains from Kate’s family home, providing just enough fabric to cover all the seats. Artworks, old rugs and house plants add to the eclectic, colourful mix.

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Mid century ceramics can also be found dotted around the house as well as glassware. “Some of the things I have had for years”, Kate says,”Some were inherited and other things I picked up from shops over the years. If it has a great shape and design it doesn’t matter where it is from, I just add it to the collection.”

The sideboard has certainly landed itself in the perfect environment. To imagine so many of its contemporaries ended up on bonfires is incredible. This one is definitely enjoying a fantastic second life.

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House tour: a small converted farmhouse in the Netherlands

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!

House tour: a mini tour around Nina’s own home

I love interior design, I love styling, my house is never finished. My style? I mix it up. A lot of customers ask if my house looks like my shop, full of vintage. Well, not quite! Of course we own some lovely mid-century furniture and quirky stuff, but I also have two little boys who like to run around with superhero swords and get their sticky fingers everywhere, so nothing can be too valuable and precious really. So I would call my style colourful, practical and vintage-meets-now. After all, I strongly believe that vintage furniture and decor should be functional rather than just to look at and not touch.

Built in bookcase, open plan living, wooden flooring, pappelina rug

We turned a 1960s dressing table into a small sideboard by taking off the mirror. A bunch of Ikea Billy bookcases got the ‘built in’ look by a local joiner (who also put in some awesome sliding pocket doors! NB: please ignore the absence of skirting boards, we’re on it!). A mid-century tea trolley makes a handy side table next to the sofa. A retro teak bookcase is now a great storage for my CD collection.

Last year we invested in a beautiful handmade wood and leather armchair by young Scottish designer Hugh Parsons.  Oh, and we LOVE art. We’re running out of wall space! I also collect mid-century ceramics, which are dotted all around the house. West German, Bitossi, Swedish pottery, I can’t get enough of it.

My interior often changes, but the style stays mainly the same. Being a vintage trader does help finding some cool things for your home, that’s for sure!

handmade wooden chair, grey wall, built in bookcase, wooden floor, oriental rug

Bitossi style lampbase with oatmeal linen shade