design: allison’s bedroom & kids office preview

Last Friday was such a busy day! (You can see the shopping extravaganza here). I was working towards completing two rooms in a clients home, a young girls bedroom and kids homework room. I am really pleased with how things are coming together. I took a few snapshots with my phone to share a little sneak peak with you.

A highlight of the installation was the hanging of the drapery. It was my very first purchase from Layers and Layers and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Sharon was extremely helpful from start to finish. I sent images of the bedding, paint colour and overall look and feel of the bedroom I was after, all via email. Sharon then sent a number of fabric samples and even added a few drapery style ideas. We moved forward with the design shown above and I am thrilled with the result. Proof that so much can happen from a distance!

There is a void in front of the window as we are awaiting two chairs being re-upholstered in the fabric on the right. A bold navy and white geometric from Kravet.

A close-up of the bed and a look through the mirror above the dresser.

Above: a few close up shots of the kids homework room

I was having so much fun in here, placing and setting things up. Unfortunately I ran out of time, but I’ll be back to finish it off!

These are not professional photographs, nor have they been styled properly. They are merely snapshots from my phone to capture the day. I hope to have photos taken when both rooms are finished.

So far my client is very happy with how both of these rooms are looking. A few remaining details and they’ll be complete!


a day in the life: shopping

I often get this type of comment when people find out I’m a designer ~ “Oh how fun, you get to shop for a living!”. Yes, this is true (among many other things) and I do love this part of my work. It’s just not always as glamorous as one might think. Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop! I just had to laugh at myself last week, while I was shopping for a young girls bedroom and kids homework room as well as a great room for a different client. I ran around the city filling my car to the brim and squeezing my children in amongst accessories, lamps, pillows and pieces of art.

I thought I would give you a quick behind the scenes look at ‘a day in the life of Nyla Free Designs’.

Day one: Not bad… I could actually see out the back window and fit both girls in the car.

Day two: I should have picked up a larger cart. As you can see things were overflowing and I was having a great deal of trouble hanging on to everything while trying to maneuver the Ikea carts that never seem to go straight!

End of day two. Car is full. I can barely see out the back window, however I can still fit both girls in the car. Good news.

Day three: All shopping bags found their way into my dining room where I could sort and organize the contents. Thankfully I have an understanding husband who can tolerate this type of chaos. (Disclaimer: only for a very short amount of time though)

On Friday the first of two installations was completed. I forgot to take a photo because I was in a hurry, however once my car was packed with the contents of both days of shopping I was full to the rooftop. Thankfully I only needed to fit one of the girls in the car that day.

Kimberley Seldon, based on her Business of Design course, would have words about this I’m sure. I can only imagine something like this ~ “What are you doing hauling all this stuff around yourself? That’s what delivery companies are for!” Well that is all fine and well, however when you are shopping at stores like Homesense, Ikea, Staples, Michaels and the like, it just doesn’t quite work that way. So I managed on my own. I love this part of my work. The finishing touches that inevitably complete the room is like icing on the cake.

Almost every item I bought stayed at the house. Yay! But every bit of garbage went back into my car…

So there you have it. A day in the life of a designer where maybe things aren’t quite as they seem. Designers, Stylists, Stagers, I’m sure you can relate?

Thanks for joining me on “A Day In The Life”!


mini trend: chunky knits

It doesn’t take a lot of convincing to get me into a sweater and this Fall, how lovely to see this idea transfer into interiors. Adding that extra texture and knit quality may be just what your room needs to give it a warm and cozy feeling as the days start to cool off.

1. I love this knitted pouf that has the look of a big ball of yarn. 2. Throw this over sized ‘snood’ scarf around your neck for instant warmth. 3. A sweater dress is the perfect go to piece when the weather gets cool. Tights, boots and voila! 4. A cable knit sweater for your ottoman…why not? 5. Cozy up underneath one of these chunky knit blankets. 6. Switch your area rug and add one that is thick and chunky. Your bare feet will thank you!  7. A woven rope knob can add texture and warmth to an otherwise simple piece of furniture. 8. These Emu Australia boots are like a cardigan for your feet. Need I say more? 9. Cable knit floor pillow, perfect for any room.

This is just a small sampling of chunky knit items that are in stores now so it’s easy to add this mini trend into your decor (or wardrobe!). One simple item can make a significant difference to your space for Fall.

Don’t these rooms make you want to curl up under a blanket with a magazine and a cup of tea?


happy fall

I really do love summer. I’d like to think it’s my favorite season. However, each year, at the end of August I start to feel a sense of excitement and yearning for a new beginning. I love the start of a new school year, always have. Warm days in September and even into October are a gift. Fall is the best of both worlds ~ sweaters and flip flops, the front door open and a pot of soup on the stove. Fall, to me, is a fresh start, an open road of opportunity and this year I’m embracing all that comes along with it. So a few words of encouragement, from me to you, as the lazy days of summer are behind us and this new season is near.

Outdoor dining, although fast coming to an end can still be enjoyed. Light a fire and cozy up! Source left: Real Simple right: eInvite’s Insights

Twinkling lights are festive and can be enjoyed all year, from the inside and out. And don’t forget to look up once in a while. Star gazing is a must! Source: Modern Outdoor Lighting

I have several books I would love to dive into. Here’s to making time to sit down, relax and read. Source: Guardian Books Blog UK

Fireplaces and wine go together like white t-shirts and jeans. Celebrate the new season with food and great friends. Source left: House Beautiful right: House Beautiful

Fall is a time to launch and a time for change. We see new products, new television series and premiers, renovations get underway, and we revamp our wardrobes. It’s exciting!

Already this Fall has brought about new thoughts, ideas and opportunities to me and many others. So with this, I wish you time to enjoy these final days of summer. Curl up by an outdoor fire and raise a toast to welcoming all the new and exciting opportunities that have, and are to come.

You just never know what’s ahead. Source: dsphotographic



inspirations: my love of black patent

I have had a love of black patent for as long as I can remember. From a young age I have been influenced by fashion and now even more so with how it relates to interiors. I recently purchased a few new pairs of shoes, all black patent. You see, I just can’t bring myself to purchase a black leather shoe that is not shiny. Glossy black, whether in shoe form or otherwise just adds something, something that sparkles and adds a little more glamour to your day. Admittedly, I own a few of the accessories below and others are on my wish list. There is just something I love about an outfit with a fancy accessory!

Black patent shoes, boots or whatever else you fancy on your feet are classics for me with any ensemble.

What does this have to do with interiors, you ask? Similarly, I love an interior that has a sparkle to it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to the 80’s high gloss black that seemed to take over an entire room. You don’t need a lot. A little bit of fancy will go a long way. This coffee table with it’s lacquer finish adds a reflective quality that gives drama to the room alongside neutral furniture and hot pink accents. Image: DecorPad.

Left: I love black doors and with this bedroom in particular, the black and white colour scheme is simple yet so dramatic. A black throw on the bed balances the black doors and offers visual weight to the bed. Image: House and Home. Right: A striped detail on the wall is interesting, bold and graphic while the desk and accessories are so very simple. Image via designblahg on twitter.

Think of shiny black accents as the jewelry for your room. You may adorn yourself with jewels to complete an outfit, so why not add that same touch to your room?

Left: The mannequins at the J.Crew bridal store are glossy black, offsetting the pale shades of the garments with a modern elegance. Right: The hanging fixture in this bedroom is the jewel in the room, a stunning focal point that accentuates the ceiling height. Image: Better Homes and Gardens.

A great handbag is a must! You don’t need to limit black patent for only dressy occasions. It can be an everyday staple and one that adds the finishing touch to an outfit.

If you are daring enough, consider your kitchen as a place to invest in black. These cabinets are high drama, however the white washed edges soften the lines and marries well with the carrera marble counter top and back splash for an overall beautiful kitchen. Image via Marie Burgos Design Blog.

Not feeling quite so bold? It can be as simple as adding a side table or light fixture, but a little dose of black in a room offers tension (the good kind!) and an intensity that will really add to your room. Table: Image via Four Walls and a Roof. Pendant: Marcel Wanders Skygarden Pendant for FLOS.

Left: A simple, modern staircase where a black bamboo stick has been used as the railing. The black against the off-white is like a piece of art in and of itself. Source: Living Etc. Right: The artwork may not technically be glossy, however the glass reflection offers that same feeling and demonstrates that a neutral black and white room need not be boring. Source via Luphia Loves.

The black and white striped rug, and more specifically the black, is the anchor in this room. It makes everything harmonious adding just enough depth to allow the room to sing. Source: via damask_dentelle on twitter

So you see, my love for black patent goes beyond my fashion accessories. It can be that glamour, drama or small dose of something special within your space. As you can see, most of these images include a few black items which help to anchor the space and balance the room. Add a little or add a little bit more, but one thing’s for sure….any black in a room is a good thing. When it’s glossy black, I say it’s even better.

Accessory sources ~ Shoes left to right: Maria Sharapova for Cole Haan Air Bacara Ballet Flats, Cole Haan Dalya Air Mary Jane, Whyred Laguela Boot, Michael Michael Kors Bayville Loafer. Jewelry left to right: Stella and Dot Bloom Flower Ring, J.Crew Chain Gang Bracelet, Tahitian Pearls similar to shown from Birks, Stella and Dot Sophia Cluster Ring. Handbags left to right: Kate Spade Summerville Jenkins Black, Tory Burch Logo Embossed Continental Wallet, Burberry Black Patent Shopper, YSL Black Patent Hobo, Cole Haan Wristlet