Interior designer Nina Maya’s family holiday home in Avalon, Northern Sydney, is a captivating play on light and materiality.
Alongside her husband, Trent, and three-year-old son Harley, Nina Maya’s recently-completed beach house in Avalon is where she spends her weekends. “The more time we spend here, the less time we want to be back in the city,” she laughs. The house – an all-black 1980s pavilion – was the blank canvas Nina was looking for. “Like most typical pavilion-style homes, the design was simple; box-like volumes with vast expanses of glass and an open layout suited to modern family living,” the designer adds.
Nina’s home is an honest showcase of her creativity, with each piece of furniture, lighting, accessory and artwork either custom-designed or commissioned. The designer reflects on her home as a capsule of her aesthetic; “minimal design in a neutral palette, with a strong focus on natural materials such as stone, plaster, weathered timber and marble,” she adds.
The kitchen features the Hama timber and boucle stools by Nina Maya and a pendant light by Canadian lighting designer Randy Zieber.
Located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Avalon is a scenic beachside suburb flanked by sandstone cliffs and Bilgola Head. Nina’s husband Trent grew up in Avalon, so naturally, they wanted their young son Harley to be exposed to a similar “carefree childhood” by the beach. “My husband grew up in Avalon, so we are surrounded by family and friends here,” Nina says. “People just feel so comfortable popping in at any time, which is not something we’ve experienced living in the city.”
Veined marble and tactile fabrics feature in each room, threaded with accents of aged brass throughout the tapware, mirrors and lighting. Nina Maya designed most of the furniture, from the boucle lounge and armchairs to the carved vanities and stone bathtub in the primary ensuite. “It was a great opportunity to explore some more adventurous prototypes of our own furniture and lighting designs which was a very rewarding process,” Nina reflects.
“It was a great opportunity to explore some more adventurous prototypes of our own furniture and lighting designs which was a very rewarding process.”
– Designer Nina Maya
Micro-concrete floors run throughout each space in the home, with the exception of the bathrooms. This textural flooring provides a subtle base for the tonal layering of brass, marble and timber.
Nina says her favourite piece in her home is the striking light work by UK-based artist Max Patte. Nina also designed the Tide brass canister lights and Koa dining table in white marble.
Nina says the room she gravitates to the most in her house is the lounge. “I was very conscious of creating a pared-back aesthetic so you can relax and recuperate here after a busy day,” she says. Nina designed the boucle Dune lounge, armchairs, and the Cove marble coffee table and Delmare rug in this space.
The custom granite coffee tables required three separate cranes to lift from the ground to the property and then eventually into the home. “It was so worth it in the end – they are such a pleasure to live with and we use and appreciate them every day,” Nina says. Artwork by Marisa Purcell.
Each piece of art is also a commissioned one-off. Nina collaborated with artists across New South Wales, including Tan Arlidge, Marisa Purcell, Marcus Piper and Henryk, to create bespoke artworks. Nina’s favourite, however, is the striking light work by UK-based artist Max Patte in the dining space. “It brings me so much joy every day and always becomes a talking point whenever we host dinner parties,” Nina says.
Nina affirms designing for yourself is always a bigger challenge than designing for someone else. “There is no set brief; therefore, in terms of design, it feels as though the possibilities are endless,” she remarks. This isn’t Nina’s first time being her own client, though, having designed her primary residence in Paddington – a three-bedroom terrace extension – in 2018. “Still, my design team say I was the most difficult client we’ve had all year!” Nina laughs. “It takes some rigour to define the overall vision and stick to it throughout the build without changing your mind.”
The solid marble bath and the granite coffee table each required three separate cranes to lift from the ground to the property and eventually into the home. “It was a feat of engineering and a logistical nightmare but completely worth it in the end,” Nina says.
Custom-designed pieces in Nina’s bedroom include the bedhead, bedside tables and Isla rug.
The all-black, 1980s pavilion-style build was exactly what Nina Maya was looking for in a holiday home. “Like most typical pavilion homes, the design was simple; box-like volumes with vast expanses of glass and an open layout suited to modern family living,” she says.
An outdoor bathtub and shower reaffirm the home’s holiday feel.
Nina Maya collaborated with Pacific Outdoor to custom-design the Planika fireplace surround and curved outdoor seat.