Furnished with love and personality

Furnishings don’t get more personal than they do at Nina’s. Melissa York talks to the woman behind the concept

NEVER face the stress of squeezing too-large furniture through doorways or matching the right shade of mahogany again.

A new concept store has opened in Chelsea that allows you to design furniture and interiors to match your home.

Nina’s House, which sits proudly on the King’s Road, boasts a close relationship with its customers to bring their visions of a dream home to life “no matter how radical they may seem”.

Copenhagen-born creator Nina Bigbie was inspired to open the new store after she found herself commissioning more and more unique pieces while she was designing luxury interiors.

Over 20 years working in the industry, she grew tired of searching for furnishings to fit awkward sloping Swiss chalet roofs, narrow London townhouses, and Scandinavian loft conversions so Nina set about sourcing her own materials and craftsmen to make high-quality, handcrafted pieces.

Nina says she “always knew” her shop had to be on the King’s Road.

“It’s classic London, with a mix of local and international that reflects the vibrancy of London life,” she says.

“I live locally so I know it well, and the creativity and passion of the lower end of the King’s Road never ceases to amaze me.”

Nina particularly likes working with wood as it fits the rustic ethos behind many of her designs.

“Wood has both a beauty and soul and if the design is interesting, it’s very appealing,” Nina explains.

“The absolutely crucial thing about high quality wood is you need to touch, feel, and smell it to fully appreciate it.

“It is the type of material that improves with age just like good wine; it lasts forever and can be recycled endlessly.”

Nina also loves “up-cycling” urban objects to turn them into contemporary, quirky items such as up-beat, retro embroidered cushions, recycled lights, and rustic stools.

She adds: “Recently, I also discovered that working with reclaimed urban material is great fun.

“It creates the perfect balance between nature and our city lives.”

Most of the tables available from Nina’s House were made in Bosnia which is home to one of the largest selections of sustainable woods in Europe, made in the mountains using a mix of modern technology and old artisan skills.

Nina also took her passion for reusing old materials with her on an international search for quality.

The quest led to her discover Italian Briccole – reclaimed wood from Venetian pier posts that have partly sunk in water – which is renowned for its unusual texture and is also featured in many of her bespoke furniture designs.

GET NINA’S LOOK IN YOUR HOME

1) Invest in a statement piece:

“A great centrepiece is brilliant because it takes the focus, making decorating the rest of the room easy and cost effective.”

2) Size matters: “There is nothing that ruins the look of a room more than furniture that’s too large or the wrong shape for the room. Consider made-to-measure items, especially if the space is awkward.”

3) Good lighting and storage are essential: “It is worth investing in well-designed lamps that are visually pleasing and create interesting lighting. An uncluttered, clean look is important so opt for furniture that’s attractive and doubles up as storage. Two of our best-selling items are a decorative walnut sideboard and table, which doubles as a magazine stand.”

4) Use wood, hide and leather to give a homely feel to modern spaces:

“Solid wood adds warmth to any room; it ages beautifully and has a lot of character whether the design is rustic, contemporary or urban.”

5) Go for simple, timeless basics:

“If you use this mantra as the basis for your home design, you can add fun, trendy accessories to update the core staples to give your style a personal twist.”

Additional reporting by Naomi Mdudu