Nikki Brown loves a striking contemporary look and couldn’t wait to blitz her new Aberdeen house into a luxurious home for herself and husband, Mark.
‘We’ve moved ten times and have always redecorated as we like a modern style with a luxe hotel feel,’ says Nikki, who runs Westholme Interiors, an online homewares shop. ‘I love big statement pieces – furniture, art, mirrors – and I like each room to have something a bit different.’
At first, Nikki wasn’t keen on the old-fashioned appearance of the house but inside fared much bigger and better than she expected. On the surface, updates looked cosmetic as the previous owners had renovated and added a double-storey extension. The decoration, however, wasn’t to the couple’s taste, and straightway Mark, who’s a property developer, replaced the ornate pine joinery with white painted wood.
‘The knock-on effect meant re-plastering some of the walls,’ Nikki continues. ‘Then we discovered the electrics and plumbing needed updating so we didn’t move in straightaway.’
Nikki didn’t want to rush the interiors but was mindful they needed to move out of their rented flat. She decorated all the rooms white with silver grey carpets in the bedrooms and luxury grey vinyl flooring downstairs.
‘I’m obsessed with white and grey colour accents,’ she says. ‘Once we had this neutral base I was able to get a feel for the light and make decisions about each room.’
Art became a central feature throughout. ‘I’m a bit of an art fiend,’ Nikki admits. ‘I love the commissioned pieces as no one else will have them. Even the prints are quite rare as I’ve requested them directly from the artist.’
A Dubai holiday introduced Nikki to the work of Syrian artist, Helen Abbas. Rather than shoulder the expense of shipping an original home, she carried a full-sized print back on the plane and had it framed locally.
‘The rich blues and flecks of gold in the picture are very compelling,’ she explains. ‘I thought the colours would work well for a starting point in our luxurious dining room.’
A locally-made slate fireplace followed, and Nikki chose navy fabrics for the curtains and curved seating around the circular glass table. In the sitting room, two large abstract paintings came from America after she spotted New York artist, Patrick Eugene on Instagram.
‘I was struggling to make this room work because I needed a bold statement on the wall behind the sofa,’ she says. ‘I sent Patrick a picture of our room and he produced these two pieces, which I absolutely love. Once they went up I knew this room was complete.’
Nikki is an Elvis fan and searched for Elvis art to hang in the kitchen-family room, finally finding Paul Lovering’s work online. By now she’d bought Ligne Roset’s Togo sofas in stone and pearl grey. The kitchen itself had only just been fitted before the couple moved in. Rather than squeeze in a dining table alongside the generous sofas, they decided to buy a breakfast bar. Discussions with North East Interiors about new bedroom wardrobe doors lead to the solution they were looking for.
‘I wanted the breakfast bar to be a separate piece of furniture, but look part of the kitchen still,’ Nikki explains. ‘I saw something like this in their showroom and we had the bar made to sit above the worktop.’
Upstairs, Nikki went monochrome in the guest bedroom and sought inspiration from Kelly Hoppen’s interiors book, Design Masterclass, for their master bedroom.
‘Kelly’s signature style is a statement headboard with wide panels of colour either side and two beautiful chandeliers,’ Nikki says. ‘I really love this dramatic look.’
Now the Browns’ home is almost finished (there are plans for a bathroom revamp), Nikki’s earlier misgivings about the house have completely disappeared.
‘This is our forever home and with more rooms to play with than I’ve ever had before I’m glad we took our time,’ says Nikki. ‘We’ve been lucky to turn our house into the home we really wanted.’