Blog of the week – Nina’s Apartment

I am a big fan of this Dutch lady, who for some mysterious reason has woken up to find herself in the far north of Scotland…deeply puzzled by this occurrance she has stared a blog to try and find out why….??

We would love to do a feature on her lovely home in Aberdeenshire, but it is not quite ready yet…as soon as it is, we will be racing up there I promise. In the meantime, she sent me some pics of her home as a work in progress, I was very struck by it…

I think my friend PJ might feel this was a ‘normal home’….there is something very friendly about it…I can imagine a lot of people might think the owner was pretty unscary…however, I think there is something utterly magical about this room….

Nina’s studio…where she regularly upcycles…hurrah!

A Normal Home

An old school friend of mine, PJ, who reads my blog every week and always has something to say about it (PJ always has something to say about everything – she’ll be cross with me for saying that!) commented:

‘Why don’t you show more normal homes?’
‘What is a normal home?’ I asked her.
‘A home that couldn’t be in a magazine’ she laughed!

No, no, no, I assured her…..surely, lot’s of homes that appear in magazines are ‘normal’? The owners will have put a lot of thought into their homes to achieve a look that is, of enough interest to readers, but I would like to think that they are still within the bounds of ‘normality’!!

It got me thinking…and I suppose, to me a ‘normal home’ is inevitably the home you grew up in….that is ‘your normal’, as a child, that is ‘your world’ in fact…

I think one of the reasons that I enjoy my job so much as ‘Her Indoors’ is because, as a child, other peoples homes seemed like other worlds to me and I, very early on, developed a fascination with my friends homes and lives…that makes me sound terribly nosey – I am not – honestly, I am just genuinely interested in people and their stories.

Read Alain De Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness at my book club. It left me certain of a dilemma: certain that our surroundings do aid our happiness but also certain that at your core you have to be happy for your surroundings to help you…and let’s face it, we all know plenty of people who live in very humble surroundings who are perfectly happy and people who live in splendour who are absolutely miserable…
Food for thought and well worth a read

Caroline Key

Along with gardening, dontcha think ‘upcycling’ is just so ‘now’??
It’s what we are all doing…or would like to be doing if we had hours of spare time and could be bothered….

My upcycling efforts are a bit like my gardening…sort of going on more in my head, than actually, magically transforming lots of quirky bits of furniture into really edgy, on-trend, must have items, that my friends ooh and aah over, in my garage of an evening….

Loyal followers of this blog probably realise that I am much more likely to be found with my feet up in front of a really gripping thriller, of an evening, admiring the furniture, of course, and mentally noting the wallpaper…rather than err, upcycling…sorry…

However, luckily, for all of us, there are people out there who can be bothered and they really are making the world a better place…they are practically saving the planet, if you think about it??

Caroline Key runs the extremely on-trend upcycled furniture business Trash The above images are all from her furniture gallery and available for sale through her website. And below, shot by Doug, is her beautiful Edinburgh home.

Her Outdoors (ii)

Oh dear…Doug took a ‘progress shot’ of the lovely vegetable garden that he has created for me…


Had a most enjoyable trip to Dobbies to ‘buy seeds’…..lovely coffee with some friends…spent £16 on seeds…another tenner on coffees…hmmm, this gardening lark isn’t quite as thrifty as I had thought it was going to be??
Anyway, the moment I got home phoned Adria to get some advice on what to do with the said seeds…arranged to meet for another coffee…(?) and in the meantime, chucked this little pot of mange tout plants, that I really did intend to plant out very soon, ‘on’ the said vegetable patch…about a week later Doug took the rather sorrowful photograph above…

All neat and tidy now though…much better!

I have to confess to another gardening technique: paying my teenage son and his friends to dig up bits of turf….then Doug coming home and pointing out how un-ergonomically placed my ‘vegetable patch’ is…then secretly paying the boys to put the turf back…paying them again to dig up another patch – in a much better place that Doug has suggested…then, them getting quite bored by now…me too…and my leaving said patch half dug all winter….

‘Double digging’ …..Gary, Caroline’s husband described this technique to me in great detail…‘Pardon? What was that….?’ I did try and follow him when he went through it again….but really…oh dear….it sounds so complicated…..

Eventually Doug just did it for me…(bit of a confession that…) So much easier, honestly!

Dawn’s kitchen

Dawn Murray’s home in the Trossachs is a real bolthole – a hideaway from her hectic work life in town. Owner of the fantastic Richardson Murray Hair and beauty in the West End of Glasgow

Doug photographed her beautiful, hand-painted kitchen recently…

It is a large rambling farmhouse which she shares with her husband and two sons. Her dream is to be self sufficient and with this aim in mind, grows her own vegetables and is lucky enough to have a well in her garden. She has a rescued a thoroughbred horse, called Mr Connor and two Shetland ponies, Pixie & Pickle, as well as two British blue cats ‘Stilton & Rocquefort, a Balinese Lilac Point cat Mia, two peahens and a peacock, Guinea pigs, 8 chickens and two cockerels…not that the house is like Noah’s Ark or anything!

The house is available to rent as a holiday home as the family own a further property nearby that they love to retreat to. Find details on and search ‘Blanefield’