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milieu: cosying up for the holidays with ninelle mikula

milieu: cosying up for the holidays with ninelle mikula

Milieu is a series that explores the unique ways in which we breathe life into our homes. From coastal towns to city living, our homes are a celebration of small, simple moments. They’re a reflection of our lives. Our stories. Our milieu.

Our next feature has us visiting Ninelle Mikula and her family in their cosy, Chicago abode. Fabulous home chef, baker, and owner of a gorgeous (upcoming) B&B… watching her pull off each of these roles with such finesse is nothing short of inspiring.

Ninelle’s family home is a wonderful blend of style and comfort. Contemporary accent walls house classic treasures and we can only imagine the delectable scent of her latest recipes filling the air. We were thrilled to step inside her beautiful, family home – just in time for the holidays!

Please, introduce yourself 🙂
My name is Ninelle, I reside in Chicago with my husband of almost 10 years Stepan and two children Simone who is 4.5, Edmond who is 3 and our cat Lucie.

Has Chicago always been home for you?
I was born in Novosibirsk, a city in Siberia. My parents moved our big family of 10 brothers and sisters and myself to the United States when I was 4. I grew up in Washington state and then found myself in Chicago after I married.

What is one of your favourite things about Chicago winters?
That’s a tricky question! Our winters can be tough on us, but I’d have to say when the whole city (specifically our neighbourhood) is just so beautiful when it’s covered in snow.

What do your kids love about wintertime? Do they have a favourite snowy activity?
The kids love the snow! They especially enjoy us pulling them around the block on the sled when we get a few fresh inches. And now that they’re finally old enough we’re excited to introduce them to tubing this winter.

When it comes to adorning and decorating your home for the holidays, do you consider yourself a décor maximalist or minimalist?
I’d like to say I’m a minimalist but this year I think I’m more of a maximalist. I prefer the decor to be simple but went completely maximalist with the number of garlands outside and inside the home this year. No regrets! The extra greenery is so nice.

Which ornament/decorative piece in your holiday collection has the most unique story?
We have this little hot air balloon ornament we all love; my husband actually proposed to me on a hot air balloon, so it’s our special engagement ornament. Every year when we pull it out, the kids ask when they’ll get to ride one.

The food you prepare always looks and sounds incredible. Have you always enjoyed spending time in the kitchen? What sparked your love of food?
Thank you! I never cooked or baked very much before I married. My mother was (still is!) an incredible cook and my sister often emphasized the importance of making food not only taste good but also look pleasant. Mama cooked, sister baked, so they both had an impact on shaping me in the kitchen. After I married and moved to a new city I think cooking sort of became my outlet at first; finding a new workplace and making new friends isn’t easy, so I enjoyed the quiet time in the kitchen exploring new recipes and learning new things. (I’m sure a part of me naturally wanted to impress my husband as well!)

Do you prefer cooking or baking?
I’d have to say baking. I love seeing the final result; pastries tend to be very exciting to execute!

What is your absolute favourite, “it’s not Christmas without ______” dish to have for Christmas dinner?
For certain the Honey Meringue pumpkin tart that I discovered on Pinterest around 6 or 7 years ago – it’s always a hit! Friends and family all get so excited about that one and that brings me joy!

Do you have a favourite room, corner, or viewpoint in your home at this time of year?
The family room/living room most definitely. The Christmas tree is here, the stockings hanging on the fireplace, the garlands… and then there’s Lucie cuddled up under the tree. It’s the coziest space in our home during the holidays.

Tell us a bit about your Bed & Breakfast dreams! What inspired you to open one? (And when can we visit!)
My husband and I both love to travel. We’ve stayed in quite a few Airbnb’s ourselves over the years which often led to dreaming about opening our own one day but we never pinned down a place where it felt possible. Then, my in-laws purchased a home and began talking about moving to Florida to retire. When we visited them there we enjoyed it so much so that it made sense to put down roots near them. Now we have somewhere to escape to during our cold Chicago winters! We’re so excited to host our visitors in a comfortable, beautiful space where they can create wonderful new memories. If all goes as planned, the calendar could be open for booking as early as March 2022!

If Ninelle’s Milieu struck a chord with you, we highly recommend you follow her on Instagram where she shares all kinds of sumptuous recipes and at-home inspiration!

Browse a few of Ninelle’s favourites:

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