trend spotting: blue & white

blue and white

Oly Studio

The combination of white and blue is as classic as it gets and we’re seeing a resurgence once again. There’s always an ebb and flow to a colour palette yet some never go out of style. While trends may come and go, are reinterpreted and made new again, blue and white have staying power to make investing in furniture, artwork and even fabrics an easier bill to swallow.

blue and white

Thibaut furniture and fabrics

blue and white


blue and white

Traditional Home showhouse

blue and white

Oomph tabletop backgammon


Bedroom makeover by Emily Henderson

The addition of brass accents is perfect with this pairing!

final project: jackie reid

We had the pleasure of attending the Class of 2015 Interior Design Grad Show (way back!) in August to acknowledge the hard work by all the students and not to mention, our own Jackie Reid. No more internships or part-time work, Jackie has officially joined Nyla Free Designs full time and we’re thrilled to share her final project with you today!

Jackie Reid, Nyla Free Designs, MRU Interior Design, Final Project

It’s funny how time can drag on so slowly but pass you by in a flash. This essentially sums up my time spent in the Mount Royal Bachelor of Applied interior design program. No sooner did I receive my acceptance letter three years ago, did I find myself planning for my final project.

With the ability to create any style of space I could imagine (an extreme luxury!), I drew inspiration from an impromptu viewing of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 classic “The Shinning” at a small independent theatre. The experience of viewing one of my favourite films in this theatre inspired me to create a space for people to enjoy old and independent movies – essentially the anti-Cineplex, in a nostalgic venue. In addition to the theatre, I wanted to celebrate great food and fine art (two more of my passions!) to create a sensory experience. And thus was born the Beltline Theatre and Bistro Lounge.

Jackie Reid, Nyla Free Designs, MRU Interior Design, Final Project With the idea of showcasing older films, I was immediately drawn to a “throw-back” style. I wanted to create a feeling of the old days without being too old time-y, maintaining a fun and eclectic vibe – can someone say Wes Anderson? The concept for the space came from the talented styling and look of Anderson’s collection of films. The pairing of unlikely colours and materials in conjunction with my current favourite wood, walnut, created a winning combination for this eclectic cinema.  Jackie Reid, Nyla Free Designs, MRU Interior Design, Final Project

To all of those who supported me throughout the past 3 years and at my grad show – thank you! All in all I was able to finish up a unique and rewarding university experience with a project I couldn’t be more proud of.


Congratulations Jackie on a job well done. Not only for successfully completing an intense program but entering a new chapter of the world of design where you’ll be able to put all your talents to work.




lately loving: shades of raspberry

Lately Loving - Raspberry It’s in the realm of colour similar to that of crushed concord grapes, deep merlot, berry coloured lipstick and it feels like the perfect hybrid between summer and fall. We’re hanging onto any ounce of warm weather we can get however the chill of the morning air is nipping at us. This colour feels fresh and moody at the same time.

1 B&B Lucrezia sofa collection | 2 Concord grape syrup | 3 MAC Heroine matte lipstick  | 4 fuchsia anemones | 5 Vintage Chanel clutch | 6 Rustic upcycled wood stools | 7  crystal necklace

3 ways to set your thanksgiving table

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are rolling in and it kicks off with Thanksgiving here in Canada. One of the things I love is holiday entertaining, bringing family and friends together around a table of good food is one of my favourite things to do, not to mention the fun of setting the table. We prepared a few ideas for you to get the creative juices flowing and inspire you for the weekend festivities. Enjoy!

Nyla Free Designs, Thanksgiving table settings

A casual approach with textures and warmth.

1. The Saturday Brunch – mix natural materials with a neutral palette and you’ve got a stylish setting perfect for a casual get together.

Nyla Free Designs, Thanksgiving table settings

A traditional and formal setting.

2. The Sunday Dinner – a more formal setting mixing texture and festive pattern alongside brass accents is sure to impress your Sunday guests.

Nyla Free Designs, Thanksgiving table settings

A bold and graphic setting of black, white and brass.

3. The Monday Feast – get bold and graphic with the formality of black and white, mixed with pretty glass and brass. Yes please!

{insert Turkey coma here}

project sneak peek: ensuite renovation

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary, Interior Designer We’re nearing completion on a bathroom renovation we began at the end of the summer. A much needed update from peach carpet and multiple levels of flooring in an untouched 1970’s ensuite. Here are our selections and inspirations to bring this space back to life.  We hope to share the final result with you!

project completion: inner city refresh


Kitchen renovation, Inner city Calgary, Nyla Free Designs, Phil Crozier Photography

We maximized space with storage to the ceiling.

Last summer we embarked on an ambitious kitchen renovation in a 1930’s Calgary inner city home. The turn around time was tight and as we started the demolition phase and walls came down and studs were exposed, many ghosts came to light causing set backs and delays. Renovations are never cut and dry, so staying open to changes and unforeseen circumstances is the best way to approach the update. We worked as a team to resolve situations quickly with as little disruption as possible.

The result is a fresher feeling kitchen with a better use of space. This new kitchen provides plenty of counter space, seating for five and a new floor to ceiling pantry wall, all the while keeping consistent with the era of the home.

Kitchen renovation, Inner city Calgary, Nyla Free Designs, Phil Crozier Photography

The combination of old and new details updates the space while embracing existing elements of the home.

Kitchen renovation, Inner city Calgary, Nyla Free Designs, Phil Crozier Photography

A light filled area of the kitchen with cast iron apron sink and copper bridge style faucet.

Kitchen renovation, Inner city Calgary, Nyla Free Designs, Phil Crozier Photography

A bare wall adjacent to the kitchen was turned into a floor to ceiling pantry and desk space.

Kitchen renovation, Inner city Calgary, Nyla Free Designs, Phil Crozier Photography

A saloon style door flanked by fridge and counter provides easy access to the dining room.

Photography: Phil Crozier

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,  best designer in Calgary

trend spotting: tortoise shells

tortoise shell

Windsor Smith’s bar area with tortoise shell wall decor. Photo credit: Michael Wells

Tortoise shells are quietly entering the scene of decor from lamps to accessories to wall decor (as seen in Windsor Smith’s home above). Ranging from wooden, metal, shiny or matte and showing up in a variety of shapes and sizes, I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of these interesting shells in the world of design. I came across several during spring market in High Point earlier this year so keep your eyes peeled for these beautiful creatures!
tortoise shell tortoise Bottom image via: Home Bunch


before and after: closet to bathroom

Once upon a time, a third storey bedroom was in need of a bathroom. After careful investigation, the conclusion was to renovate, relocating the closet area to allow for a three piece bathroom for a teen girl. With facilities on the 2nd floor, directly under the current closet area, bringing plumbing up was not as difficult as one might think. Our biggest obstacle was the slopped ceiling which had no flexibility.
Bathroom The vanity placement shifted from our original plan due to the amount of head room with the slopped ceiling. The sink was installed offset on the farthest point possible on the left to give the maximum ceiling height.  Plan With no windows, our finish and material selections were white on white, allowing the room to be bright and airy with the exception of the dark vanity to ground the space. The flooring transitioned well from the existing hardwood into the bedroom. With clever maneuvering and a few remaining touches, this bathroom is a welcome addition to a 3rd floor loft space.
Bathroom Close Up The BEFORE: what was once a closet is now a fresh new bathroom space.
Before Before Shower Photography: Phil Crozier Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,


back to school mom style

BackToSchool It’s the time of year us moms crave schedules and structure at the end of the lazy days of summer and if you’re anything like me, it takes a few weeks to settle into the Fall routine. The runaround prior for school shoes, clothes, school supplies and backpacks, all of which are carefully selected, takes a lot of time and energy. Now that the kiddos are back in the swing of things why not spoil yourself with a little back to school shopping of your own?

1. Biker jacket | 2. Blackwatch plaid skirt | 3. Moleskin notebooks | 4. White leather sneakers | 5. Iron utility scissors | 6. Frieling french press | 7. Accessory tool box | 8. Robert Geller David reading glasses


a weekend in Quebec City

Quebec City, nyla free designs, travel This summer we went on a few extended weekend jaunts rather than a large vacation and first up was Quebec City. With a swim meet spurring on our decision to visit, we were unaware of the treat we were in for. We flew to Montreal and drove to Quebec City to avoid an additional flight (and so we could make it in time for our daughter’s first race) and as we turned onto the street our hotel was located on I had a gasp of excitement. I felt as though I had been transported to a far away country after a 4.5 hour flight. If you’re looking for a taste of Europe without hopping the pond, Quebec City is the perfect choice. I was smitten by it’s charming streets, friendly french folk and delicious fare.

STAY: Hotel 71 – a boutique style hotel located in Old Quebec and offers a wonderful “french style” breakfast

DRINK: some of the best coffee I have ever had…

WANDER: there’s no shortage of charm in Old Quebec with cobblestone streets, colourful doors and windows nestled into old stone as well as a myriad of boutiques and cafés. And clean! So clean.

EAT: La Bûche 49 Rue St Louis – we didn’t eat here but the decor and sangria’s are reason enough to go | Brynd smoked meat – it’s namesake salad is one of the best I have ever eaten | Le Quai 19 – lovely dining experience, patio, wine, amazing food….. need I say more.

SHOP: m0851 named after the founders birthday, I could not leave without a handbag from this handcrafted locally made boutique | La Fudgerie – the design, detail and packaging will almost keep you from eating this mouth watering fudge | Plein Art Quebec – an outdoor event in tents and the largest summer arts and crafts show in Quebec.

I know there is so much we didn’t see in the short time we were there so I look forward to going back to explore more of this fabulous Canadian city with a taste of Europe.


advice from a summer intern

As we settle into September and verge on saying farewell to summer, we asked our intern, Adrienne, to share her best advice on being a fresh face in the world of interior design. We’re wishing her all the best as she starts her next semester and hopefully some of these tips and tricks will come in handy for the classroom too!

InternAdvice Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,