Room makeover ideas: from dated pine to art deco glam

Everyone love a great room makeover ideas! Last year I had the pleasure of designing a living room for a lovely couple in Aberdeen. Typical Victorian granite property, high ceilings, fire place and a large front window. They loved dark moody colours for their home interior and the dining room was already decorated in a beautiful deep blue. Their living room was still very much in need of some love and attention. A lot of dated pine woodwork, tall white walls, nothing really worked and it lacked warmth. The only thing they really liked and had added to the room was grey patterned wallpaper on the chimney breast.


Art deco, greens and gold

They didn’t quite know what else to go for with their living room, but they did tell me that greens, golds and art deco were colours and styles that had crossed their minds. They hired me to provide my ‘design package’ for them, in which I suggested practical solutions and ideas to make the room look more ‘together’ and add the cosiness they were looking for. They were very pleased with that and decided to go and decorate and finish the room themselves, using my designs as a guide.

room makeover ideas

room makeover ideas
The room before the makeover: a lot of pine and big white walls.

Almost a year on I contacted them to find out what had happened since I last saw them, as I was keen to see the room again. I was pleasantly surprised that not only had they managed to redecorate, they also became new parents to a beautiful baby girl! Time for a visit.

room makeover ideas

room makeover ideas


Emerald green walls and brass accents

I was a bit nervous to see my designs brought into reality. Still, I was delighted that it looked much as I had envisaged. The walls were green (I had initially suggested a more smoky green but their choice definitely makes a great, bold statement and works well). White shelving had been built into the alcoves. They put down a beautiful dark mahogany colour floor and the furniture they had picked was not far off my ideas. They had splashed out on a very nice brass and glass coffee table from Rose and Grey but saved on other items such as the grey Ikea sofas and a simple cream rug. The lovely dark sideboard came from House of Fraser. Their existing framed stag print now looks great against the green back drop. It’s really picking up the green in the picture.

room makeover ideas


art deco sideboard

Buying everything new at once certainly has its conveniences. My clients did confess that if they had sourced an original art deco sideboard that it would probably have saved them some money. Buying vintage also means getting something totally unique.

room makeover ideas

room makeover ideas


white woodwork as a contrast

They decided to go for white woodwork rather than the grey I originally suggested. I think it makes a good, fresh looking alternative. Still a few finishing touches to make, such as perhaps some light weight curtains and a different lamp base. They are also still looking for a mirror above the fire place, artwork above the sofa and maybe a vintage art deco drinks trolley. Still, they achieved a gorgeous result so far nonetheless. Well done to them for doing all of this by themselves! And all of it in quite a hectic time of their life with the new addition to their family.

“We absolutely love the room now, it is lovely to spend time in”, they said. And the baby and cat seemed very happy with the calm atmosphere in the room too, cooing and purring away.

Does your room need a makeover too?

Contact me to discuss what you need. A first no obligation meeting is free. Call +44 7724622835 or click on the link below:

Interior design services

 

A midcentury sideboard in a modern converted steading

Today I am visiting a midcentury sideboard in a modern converted steading. In this blog series I am tracking the beautiful vintage pieces that were once bought from my store Nina’s Apartment. I am looking them up them in their new homes. I rescued most of these pieces from house clearances or I bought them from older people who were downsizing and no longer had space for their beloved (now vintage) furniture.

the journey of a vintage sideboard

Whatever their story, they carry a lot of history. 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. Dusted off, polished up and giving some TLC. Currently taking pride of place in a gorgeous modern converted steading near Alford, Aberdeenshire.

modern converted steading


looking for stylish storage

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 sideboard didn’t change that much in use compared to its original purpose. It’s main function is the 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.

modern converted steading


modern converted steading

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. They 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”!

modern converted steading


a quality vintage sideboard

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. It was also among the first firms to make Scandinavian style furniture in the fifties. Finally it was one of the first manufacturers to abandon the style in search of something more original in the late sixties (more info on Retrowow).

modern scandinavian style decor

The design of the sideboard goes very well with the rest of the modern converted steading. The space is decorated in a kind of Scandinavian style and fairly monochrome colour scheme. It is 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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They found the vintage green kitchen table 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.

modern steading conversion


from neglected to adored

A lot of vintage pieces came into my shop in a very unloved, neglected state. 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. This modern converted steading with its beautiful interior, light and open plan living is just perfect. And I can’t help but feeling slightly envious.

modern steading conversion scotland

vintage furniture in modern home

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

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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!

Bitossi style lampbase with oatmeal linen shade

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