img_6197

3-5 February: Big Sale Weekend


If it is as big a success as last year’s, I’d better hunt for some extra stock! Come down on the weekend of 3-5 February to the old church hall in Kirkton of Rayne, as there will be plenty of treasures and bargains – old or new – to be found from various local traders. Styled and displayed beautifully as usual, offering something truly special. Open every day from 10am – 4pm. Come! 

Here are a few previews of some of my items on sale:




img_5782-1

How to paint a dated traditional wooden kitchen

So I was tidying up the other day and stumbled across some photos of when my husband and I first moved into our house nine years ago. Our house is a detached 1930s granite house in an Aberdeenshire village. It has a kitchen extension built by the previous owners. The decor at the time was very dated throughout the house; terracotta walls, mahogany woodwork, pine staircase, green carpets and a traditional maple shaker kitchen. But the kitchen was solid wood, good quality, made locally and as moving house is expensive enough as it is we decided to try and live with it. We lived with it for six years! Today I will show you the before, the interim and the after.

So this how we found it. Oucha. Yellow walls and orange wood. But a good cooker!

Below: looking into the kitchen extension from the main house (the garden was also a little over grown, look at the windows! And what on earth are those light shades?). Excuse the poor quality picture – it is a picture taken of a print.

I thought about a colour scheme to somehow tone down the yellowness of the room and decided on steel blue-grey for the walls to combine better with the natural wood. We replaced the cheap sticky vinyl flooring with (also pretty affordable and very practical) dark slate look laminate, which is in fact still our flooring today. I painted over the 1990s yellow floral tiles with some grey tile paint and ordered some colourful tile stickers online. We also replaced the wooden door knobs with brushed steel ones and stuck a chalkboard sheet on the cupboard door. Oh yes, and that silly breakfast table went of course.

Here is the interim phase! Slightly better than it was.

2e267-ourkitchen

Below: the dining area. Looking pretty neat, I think, and much fresher in greys than yellow. (Those wishbone chairs? I sold those…I know, aren’t they nice?)

aec1a-wish3

We must have grown rather fond of our silly old kitchen, because six years later, when we decided to change things again, we amazingly still didn’t rip it out. We just hate waste and rather ‘upcycle’ something. The kitchen worked fine for us, so why not just update it a bit more? We also felt sorry for the kitchen – we are such a sad bunch! After all, it wasn’t her fault that she had gone out of fashion, was it?

So we took off the wall hung cabinets and another unit on the other side, painted the ones left, spent some money on a fancy big fridge, a freestanding dresser, oak shelving, new tiles and a slate worktop.

Of course, I would be lying if I said it all happened as by magic overnight. For a while I seriously doubted our decision. The dust, the disruption…trying to keep a baby out of the mess. You get the picture.

img_3516

In the end it must have taken us a good few weeks to paint the cabinets, organise tradesmen and redecorate. But the result was worth the effort. Hello contemporary country kitchen!

img_5782-1

So how do you paint an old wooden kitchen?

1. Prep & prime

You really don’t have to go and strip the cabinet doors before painting. Giving it a good sand to create a key – is key. Then wash off the dust with sugar soap and get the primer out. This doesn’t need to go on too neatly, but the bigger your brush strokes are, the harder to sand them smooth afterwards. Buy good quality soft brushes and do the brush strokes in the same direction. With the shaker style doors you will also have the beveled edges and corners to deal with. It worked well for me to first do the inside (lower) square in one direction (making sure to take away any surplus paint from the corners with the tip of my brush), and then the middle panel and outside frame. Once it is dry, use fine sandpaper to create a nice smooth base for your gloss (or eggshell). You may need more than one coat of primer, and remember to sand in between coats and wipe off the dust.

2. Top coat

For the final colour we chose Farrow and Ball Off White eggshell (water based), used on the cabinets on the right. A nice colour that looks neither white nor cream and sometimes even a bit grey depending on the light. For the ones on the left we decided to get that same colour mixed up as an oil based paint at a decorator’s trade centre (Crown). Why? Because it really makes a difference! Now, three years later the water based paint is starting to show some wear, whereas the oil based paint is still perfect. It maybe isn’t the most eco friendly paint to use but for a high traffic area like a kitchen you really don’t want flaking paint after a year or so. Oil based paint is good to work with, goes on smoothly, but takes longer to dry and can still feel a bit sticky for days while it is hardening. So don’t touch it! And don’t try and sand it when it is not hard yet. I must admit I did not sand in between the top coats, as the paint stuck fine and I was scared to ruin the previous finish. It worked ok.

For a more detailed how-to you can find plenty tutorials online including this one

3. Hardware and other upgrades

We reused most of the brushed steel knobs and handles we put on previously, which looked great on the newly painted cabinets.

Other alterations we made were moving the sink away from the window to create more work surface next to the cooker. Lethenty Cabinetmakers did an excellent job refitting the cabinets, placing a new worktop, tap and big cooker hood, steel splash back and the nice floating natural oak shelves.

Last but not least we had the wall above the work top covered in pastel coloured craqueled glaze metro style tiles and the room painted in a soft pale grey-white.

Do we still love it? Yes! The pretty slate work top proved a little bit sensitive to lemon stains and knocks…but hey, it is a work top after all so we just have to be careful. The kitchen overall feels lighter, brighter and more modern – but still very unique because of the choices we have made. We could have ripped it all out, but it feels so much better giving the kitchen a new lease of life. And we saved some money too. What we’ll do in the future? Oh, we are always full of ideas and no doubt there will be changes again in years to come. But the kitchen stays for now.

Below: a bit more of a ‘lived in’ and messy real-life picture after two years! (and oh, look, we also broke through to the lounge in the meantime! But that dusty episode I will leave for a future post…)

 

fullsizerender-2

Did I say the C word? The Christmas Shop is open!

I know, I know, Halloween hasn’t even been yet and we’re already talking about Christmas. It is many people’s favourite season though, something they really look forward to each year – especially when it comes to decorating the house. For those itching to get those garlands up, this is for you. However, even if you insist in not putting any decorations up until at least the start of December, you really need to come down, because it is an amazing place. Go for a nice countryside drive, have a cup of tea, a piece of homemade cake and a browse around Nina’s Apartment’s quirky finds (not Christmassy, but usuable year-round!). I am talking about the Kirkton of Rayne Christmas Shop, open from the 27th of October. You are welcome!


For the second year running the wonderful old church hall in Kirkton of Rayne in the Aberdeenshire countryside has been transformed into a Christmas wonderland with beautiful gifts, decorations, home wares and vintage finds by various local traders. Nina’s Apartment has a corner in the shop full of lovely goods, including furniture, cushions, lanterns and retro coffee sets. There are also a cafe with amazing cakes by VanillaBoutique, creative workshops and even a gin tasting evening coming up.

fullsizerender-3

Open every Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm. Until Christmas. Entry and parking is free.
—————–

Old church hall
Kirkton of Rayne

AB51 5AH

Facebook

Save

img_5558

Vintage revisited: the future is bright

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.

img_5526

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.

alfordblog

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”!

img_5558

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!

blog2blog3

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.

img_5538

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.

img_5535

blog4

Autumn interior design offer

Nina’s Apartment is now offering interior design services in addition to blogging about beautiful homes and selling cool stuff online. To celebrate this news we are offering the service at a reduced price this autumn for bookings made before the 1st of January, to help spread the word and get us involved in even more exciting design projects. Want to know more or book a free first appointment? Don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information. We are here to help. Contact

flyerfinal



Example of a recent room design (in a new-built house) by Nina’s Apartment

Mood board

slide1

3D designs

slide3

slide5

slide2

Room layoutslide4

img_5430-1

Vintage trader of the month: Peapod

Every month we put the spotlight on a different vintage trader, showcasing their business and asking them about their passion for vintage and why they love what they do. This month we interview Claire Milne, who founded Peapod in Rosemount, Aberdeen.

14205938_1516011898424430_6492504375527280349_o

Why did you go into the vintage trade? What made you want to start your own business?

Five years ago I decided to change track and start my own business, with help from the Retail Rocks project. You should know Nina, you were there! (Nina’s Apartment also took part in this local business startup project- this I where I met Claire first! ed). My dad is a retired joiner and my mum is a fanatical recycler so furniture recycling and upcycling is in my DNA. The shop was initially in Torry for the first year, and we discovered I was pregnant with my second child soon after we submitted the Retail Rocks application but thought we’d give it a shot anyway. That’s where the name came from, Arthur was the pea in the pod! After a year we moved to Rosemount and we went in a more vintage direction as it seemed a logical step as I had less time for painting furniture, and my passion for quality items that were beautiful just as they are was growing.

What inspires you?

For us it’s more of a who than a what. Through working in the shop we meet some amazing people. Who knew Aberdeen was full of such wonderful creative people? Where were they all hiding before? We are also inspired by the other lovely vintage businesses we meet, we’re lucky their enthusiasm and knowledge rubs off on us too.

What has been the biggest challenge running a vintage shop?

Time. Never enough of it. Sourcing new stock, having a stall at fairs, changing the window display, social media all take time. Self-employed people don’t tend to take days off, but if you love what you do you never complain.

What is Peapod’s strength? How have you tweaked and improved over the years?

Moving with the times and our ability to stay on-trend. Most new trends have their base in something that has gone before, so we try to source the original goods while still putting our own twist on it.

Who does your window displays? They are fabulous!

We both do (Claire and her business partner June. ed.) It can take a whole day to do a window display in our wee shop. That’s what we do with our “day off” so it doesn’t disrupt customers and their browsing and purchasing. Great fun, we love a new window! It’s great fun and we’ve already started on our (dare we say it?) Christmas window!

What is the weirdest thing you ever had in the shop? 

When you do this line of work the weird and wonderful appear on a daily basis so it’s hard to pick just one item, you just get used to it.

And tell us about something so beautiful that you regret you sold it.

Ah, this is an easy one. An Abel Morrall’s thimble box with glass panels that I didn’t get to enjoy long enough before it was snapped up by someone with a very good eye. Also a black gloss bar that opened up to reveal a mirror with cocktail glasses design on it and a light inside. Knowing these items went to very good homes makes it (slightly) easier to let them go, and the people who bought them loved them as much as we did.

Why should people buy vintage?

We’re great believers in buying what you like. All current trends have a base in a vintage past and the older items are made to a higher standard. It’s one of the greenest ways to shop and saves amazing historic items ending up being thrown out and wasted. Buying vintage can also introduce a unique twist to a home that also features high street styles.



What’s your plans and ambitions for Peapod in the future?

Developing a larger online presence with our Etsy shop, keeping up to date with social media and working on growing the Peapod Pinterest page.

Peapod can be found on:

144 Rosemount Place, Aberdeen

Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm

Facebook

Etsy

Pinterest

 

Nina’s Apartment is back in business after a fire destroyed the shop

scottish home show flyer and stand numberNina’s Apartment is back on her feet since a fire destroyed the shop and all vintage stock at Lethenty Mill at the end of April.

Nina Eggens, owner of the business, tells about the experience: “It was horrifying to see my shop go up in smoke in front of my eyes that morning. I worked hard for four years building up the business, collecting rare vintage pieces and creating a real destination for people to find something unique. It felt like I had lost a limb.”

Since the blaze the business woman has not sit still however and after an extended summer break she has rebranded the business and has decided to go into interior design as well as still selling vintage, but only online for now.

“Hundreds of people sent messages of support after the disaster and I felt very humbled. Customers told me they had always enjoyed following the Nina’s Apartment design blog and how much it inspired them. I have now decided to develop that side of the business and help people create a home they love, designing interiors with ‘soul’ and using a unique combination of new and vintage furniture .”

Nina’s Apartment – Interior Design and Vintage will be at the Scottish Home Show from 23-25 September 2016, at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. Special introductory offers will be available at the stand.

From cutlery drawer to sewing cupboard

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.

img_5181

combi4

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.

combi

img_5184

“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.

img_5191

img_5189

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.

combi2

img_5203

J55pxXa85O73-l0fCKhTV3A9C3ttF7u_w4ZkzgCWD9w,Bnm1yZH9mpba5RKNwOxfUxfbeYp5YwWKrmTCuzI_qVM,W5x8VG0xFobYFqucuy-If7RzQdIFCTO8CRuBAPl7Wiw,zUdtZpP11HU6-g1RAv0lQSBGBj7077HO8p4q6woRKYk,S2z9ZZOG9ehZJdHoBMOELWs5Iev9d_Fz58EJCqPUZRE

Discover art on your doorstep during NEOS open studios

I don’t know about you but I love art. I have run out of wall space a long time ago but I still can’t help myself when I see an artwork I really like and that would look amazing in my house. More than once I raided my bank account for a painting or print that really wasn’t something I could or should spend money on that day…but oops, I did it again! I have never regretted any of those purchases however, not like I regretted buying those shoes in the sale or another plastic toy for my kids that they only played with once. Art does not seem to go out of fashion. And if anything gives your home personality, it is those unique pieces of art that you love and nobody else owns.

neosbanner

Each year in September, now for the 14th year running, there is NEOS, or North East Open Studios, where over 200 artists across Aberdeen city and shire open their doors to the public, showing off their work and technical skills. It is amazing. Not only do you get to see a wide variety of art in all shapes and forms, you also get to speak to the artists, ask them questions and – this is what I like most – you discover places in your local area you never even knew existed. It’s like a treasure hunt, a discovery trail, an off the beaten track adventure, finding those yellow numbered signs dotted all over the North East for eight days. Oh there’s one! Keep going!

neosbanner2

People exhibit their work in the most unusual places. An old train carriage in someone’s back garden? It’s there. Whisky distilleries, village halls, sheds and of course people’s own front rooms and workshops are transformed into temporary exhibition spaces where you are invited to see arts and craft. Informal, welcoming and you often even get a cup of tea. All for free. Try that for an average day out.

ZHJnHeG9RJYd02nDRsFkWQWbOkHcbMF0U38ydxHloZE,wh8wPUaY0jnDb54XMDIzjhLcu03JYPNPVcgLg3ypWIc,AdeGLXcvKQwnwuZmImbt866gFkq7ky1122SrJfzN84A,wDHL_W1OMRRZqZoCwjp6-LGDAW-xKgHRMqfbW1LiOuc,dUnPHX5688jRz8XolgnC_26qaPu0B75yGs08a816ZX4

Upper Loop Studio

You don’t know anything about art you say? It’s not something that really interests you ? Nah – you’re just saying that. If you like beautiful things and getting inspired, then just give it a go. A number of artists are professionals and are doing it for a living, but most participants are people like you and me who make art in their spare time. Many of them are real talents. Flicking through the thick NEOS directory you’ll be able to select the artists you might like to visit, whose work is anything from cool abstract paintings to water colours of our local ‘mountain’ Bennachie (oh yes, loads…), wood sculptures, ceramics, photography, jewellery and contemporary printmaking. A lot of artists also give demonstrations and workshops for you to have a go yourself.

J55pxXa85O73-l0fCKhTV3A9C3ttF7u_w4ZkzgCWD9w,Bnm1yZH9mpba5RKNwOxfUxfbeYp5YwWKrmTCuzI_qVM,W5x8VG0xFobYFqucuy-If7RzQdIFCTO8CRuBAPl7Wiw,zUdtZpP11HU6-g1RAv0lQSBGBj7077HO8p4q6woRKYk,S2z9ZZOG9ehZJdHoBMOELWs5Iev9d_Fz58EJCqPUZRE

Pick up one of the directories and go visit a few places. Pile some friends in the car and make an afternoon of it. Download a trail if you fancy ‘doing an area’. You’ll be amazed how many artists you have living on your doorstep. You may even find yourself coming home with an original piece of art or commission someone to make you one. If you still tell me you didn’t enjoy any of it after all that, then – oh well. But I bet you have a blast.

NEOS starts on Saturday 10th of September and runs until the following Sunday 18th of September.

www.northeastopenstudios.co.uk

NEOS on Facebook
NEOS on Twitter @NEOS_uk

Online Directory Flip book

CpLD4h5WIAAHKRW