If you think Nina Battley’s interior and homewares boutique MiiO Store is an impressive display of exceptional-meets-functional design, inimitable product curation and joyfulness, wait until you see her home.
Located in the trendy suburb of Tighes Hill in Newcastle's inner west, Nina purchased this property — which was once just two original shop fronts — nine years ago. Now, this charming, yet unassuming property is home to MiiO Store at the front and a modern extension at the back where Nina and her partner very happily call home.
A talented artist herself, Nina’s home is a clear representation of her self-confessed love for art, Mid-Century Modern design and interior design. This two-bedroom, one-bathroom space might be compact, but it certainly packs a serious punch.
Scroll on to take the tour of this playful and art-filled home.
What do you love about the neighbourhood you live in?
"Lots of little businesses are opening up all around our neighbourhood. It's walking distance to our local TAFE, great schools, restaurants and cafés, and it resides on a beautiful bike path that can take you to the wonderful beaches, parks and eateries Newcastle has to offer. Houses are being renovated beautifully here and there is a mix of all cultures and generations here. It's a creative vibe with galleries in walking distance."
How would you describe the style of the home?
“An old shop front featuring high ceilings and double brick exterior with a new extension that we designed and built ourselves when we first bought the property. There is a nice mix of textures in an open plan, modern living design. It draws you out into the outdoor entertaining area. It is important to us to have a living space that looks good in all lighting conditions and from all angles, revealing interesting details as you move around in the space."
What sort of home is yours? For example, is it an entertaining type of house, where you have friends over for dinner parties, or is it more of your sanctuary where you get away?
"I would definitely say it’s both! We love entertaining, especially dinner parties with friends, but we also love chilling in the space just as much. It lends itself to both perfectly well. In summer, we open all the big doors and windows and the outside becomes part of the inside which extends the living space. In winter, we close up and get cosy. The house is not big, we are living on a small footprint, but it is utilised well."
"WE LOVE ENTERTAINING, ESPECIALLY DINNER PARTIES WITH FRIENDS, BUT WE ALSO LOVE CHILLING IN THE SPACE JUST AS MUCH. IT LENDS ITSELF TO BOTH PERFECTLY WELL."
Do you have a favourite room in the house?
"Our living, kitchen and dining all melt into one and that is my favourite place. I can be sitting on the lounge or in front of the fire with my vino and talk with my husband while he is cooking something fabulous for us. He loves to cook!"
What has influenced the design style and decorating of the house?
"I worked in the arts and painted for many years. I travelled extensively and lived in different countries throughout my life. I also have a huge passion for interior design and all these elements have totally influenced the style of our home. I love moving and changing the look around often, too. My family has always said if the loo wasn‘t plumbed in I would move that too! I love to be surrounded by art and I am a big fan of good, well made functional design that gives visual joy. I believe in investing in pieces that you cherish for a long time."
"I LOVE TO BE SURROUNDED BY ART AND I AM A BIG FAN OF GOOD, WELL MADE FUNCTIONAL DESIGN THAT GIVES VISUAL JOY. I BELIEVE IN INVESTING IN PIECES THAT YOU CHERISH FOR A LONG TIME."
What is your favourite item in the home and why?
"This changes all the time, but I was recently given a dining table that has been in the family for many years and this carries a lot of special memories of us all enjoying dinners and lunches together over the years. I also have a big soft spot for my dining chairs — I bought those when I was in my early twenties. Every pay day I went into this shop in North Fremantle called 'Article' and bought one chair per week until I had six. The chairs cost me $150 each and this was a lot of money in those days. I still love them as much now has I did then. This is a great example of good design that lasts a lifetime and moves and blends with trends and changes, which is pretty much what MiiO Store is all about."
What was your biggest splurge for your home?
"Building the extension, but the latest being the beautiful Moroccan rug from House of Lita and the Muuto coffee table."
What was the last thing you purchased for your home?
"My Alexander Girard Flower Table from Vitra which was designed for the Eames House in the '50s. My little MiiO Store at the front of our home sells these so it makes it all the more special."
How would you describe MiiO Store?
"Colourful, functional and well-designed homewares, lighting and small furniture pieces with a creative and unique collection from designers from all over the world. I‘m very passionate about design from the Mid-Century Modern era — clean lines, simple and good design."
"I WOULD DESCRIBE MIIO STORE AS COLOURFUL, FUNCTIONAL AND WELL DESIGNED HOMEWARES, LIGHTING AND SMALL FURNITURE PIECES WITH A CREATIVE AND UNIQUE COLLECTION FROM DESIGNERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD."
What inspired you to open MiiO Store?
"MiiO Store was a dream of mine for a long time. I always wanted to open an interior design shop that featured what I am passionate about. MiiO means "mine", but I spelt it with two i’s — I call that artistic licence, but also because I wanted it to be pronounced like "MEO Store" (my store). There is nothing in MiiO Store that I wouldn‘t put into my own home. Everything I order I love which gives me so much joy. I wish I had of started this earlier in my life, but as the saying goes — better late then never! I am very lucky to be working with so many creative brains, who are behind all these great brands and designers."
If you could purchased one item in your store right now, what would you choose?
"I am sitting behind the counter at MiiO as I am writing this. I‘m looking around trying to pick one item I would purchase over another and I simply cannot answer this question. There are too many things I want and love!"
What can customers expect when they visit MiiO Store?
"MiiO is a very happy, colourful store. You will be surrounded by beautiful modern brands, designer pieces that all complement each other, creating a very special and unique curated vibe. Everything we do at MiiO is done with love and care and you will be greeted by a very knowledgeable and passionate shop lady — me! Customers can expect to leave feeling happy and inspired with a visual feast and a selection of options with a variation of price ranges to suit everyone."
Photography by Teresa Brincat.