For those who enjoy a quiet spot for a cuppa, Kirsty Cameron’s Second Home Studio and Cafe in Aberdeen is just the place when you need to take a moment for yourself.
The peaceful studio is run by the 28-year-old who launched the not-for-profit business in 2019.
Described as “a home from home” Kirsty and her team have created a space which allows creatives and non-creatives to explore their talents and enjoy a coffee while sketching or drawing using free materials supplied.
Based on the second floor of The Gym on Huntly Street in the city centre, the cafe is a space for escapism, and with art positively linked to mental health, and local, seasonal dishes on the menu, there’s plenty ways for customers to relax.
Housing a cafe area and art studios where she and other tutors run workshops, Kirsty is delighted the business has helped local creatives and residents alike having generated £1,400 for artists.
She said: “Our main way of making money is through the cafe. The money we raise from it goes towards materials so we can run our classes at an affordable rate.
“We absorb a certain amount of the cost and our tutors are paid fairly. When you’re eating with us you are supporting the local creative scene. In the last three months we’ve raised £1,400 in income for local artists.
“I launched the business part-time in 2019 and that was running from Parx Cafe where I was working full-time. I was running workshops in the evening to test the waters.
“Coronavirus hit and everything stopped. I was still looking for premises and I was approached by Amy Christie from The Gym and we opened the cafe in November 2020. We had to close for quite a while but we’ve been open for the past three months.
Pairing art and food
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm, Kirsty says the space is used by all walks of life, and is somewhere emotions can easily be expressed by putting pen to paper.
She continued: “I think it can sometimes be a bit intimidating going into artistic spaces if you aren’t that creative, whereas if you were to go into a cafe, which is more familiar to you, and explore art in that way it is a bit more comfortable and homely.
When you’re eating with us you are supporting the local creative scene.”
Kirsty Cameron, owner of Second Home Studio and Cafe
“The social aspect of meeting up with your friends with a cafe, or sit and have quiet time yourself, finding that half an hour to sit with a coffee can be quite difficult.
“Art can help improve your mental health through expressing emotions through it. Combining the two is creating this space which will definitely help I would say.
What’s on offer?
From bagels and pancakes, to flatbreads, toasted sandwiches, buddha bowls, and more, Kirsty and her chef, who is also named Kirsty, work together to create a seasonal, fresh menu filled with home comforts.
Easily adaptable, every item on the menu can be tailored to being gluten-free, dairy-free or vegan.
“Initially what we wanted to do was to make things your mum would have made for you at home. It encompasses the whole second home thing,” said Kirsty.
“I like to let the chef be as creative as she wants and she works with seasonal ingredients and we update it with the season. The menu is mostly vegetarian and it is very inclusive. I’m vegetarian so it was really important to have that covered.
“I also need to think about the customer base in The Gym as well which is mostly women, so lighter options are appreciated more.
“We use Scottish produce as much as possible and we try and make our own stuff, too. Our kimchi is made in-house and so is the hummus. Almost everything we make, minus bread, is made here.
“We’ve been running a brunch club for the past few months and we just recently hosted a boozy one for the first time which was a huge success. So we’ll look to do more events going forward.”