In February, Nina Belton, founder and creative director of The Styl'd Life by Nina B, was in Minneapolis for work. It's where she grew up. It's where family still was. And it's where she rode out the first wave of the pandemic. "I was only supposed to be here for two weeks," says Belton. Los Angeles has been her home base for almost a decade, but she had been going back and forth all the while. "I thought, Why don't I flip it — and make Minneapolis home base for now?"
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She moved, officially, in August, into a one-bedroom apartment in South Minneapolis, not far from where she grew up. "This is the first time in three years that I've lived by myself. It's nice to have a sanctuary again," she says.
Hunker: Where is that space, or spot, in your home that is uniquely your own … where you feel your most you? And what do you do there?
NB: I bought a very comfy cozy plush black velvet sofa and I am obsessed with it. And I am very happy with my choice. It took me over a month to decide on a couch. That's the little corner. I didn't want to do something cheap and then regret the decision. This really was, okay, if I'm going to buy a couch. It's important to feel comfortable, because I work at home. It's important that I have a place that's comfortable that's not my bed or my bedroom, so I can relax. I've got all my plants. I probably have more plants than anything else.
Hunker: Why does this particular space have meaning for you?
NB: A couple of things, it represents accomplishment, for one. It took me a while to get to this place, putting so much into my business really. This was, kind of like, you've made it so far. You can have this little spot.
It's just comfort. When I'm done working, I just want to turn it off and unwind. I sit in my corner with a chunky knit blank and drink a chai. I just feel peaceful. It's so important to find comfort and stillness. This is the one place that I really find that.
Hunker: What is something you like to do in that space that might surprise people?
NB: I talk to my plants. You have to talk to them. And I play music for them.
Hunker: What do you like to surround yourself with in this space? And why is it important?
NB: Plants and art. Because at heart I'm an artist. I really value and appreciate art, especially art by people of color. I spent a lot of time collecting and investing in pieces of art. I started collecting about 12 years ago — little things here and there. It's the one thing that I will spend quite a bit of money on. And then I get art as gifts because friends and family know how much I value it.
My biggest accomplishment is these two pieces by Christina Martinez, who I love. I saw her on Instagram and I love her art; I finally was able to buy two pieces. It was kind of the beginning of the pandemic. It was the first thing I put up on the wall. It's a reminder. One of them says Bloom Here. It's about growing where you are and making sure you're taking care of yourself internally.
Hunker: What are three things in your home that hold the most value to you?
And my Le Creuset pots and pans. I love to cook and I love fine cookware.
Hunker: Finish this sentence, "Home is where …"
I find peace.