experience: calgary stampede 2014

The Calgary Stampede has once again come to an end and each year we seem to be joining in the fun more than in years passed. The Stampede is a culture like no other. The entire city is involved with pancake breakfasts, western wear for all ages (even if, and especially if you aren’t a cowboy), beer tents galore, bull riding (whether you’re in the rodeo or not), lunches that never end and all work seems to slow down for what has become “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”. Those are tall boots to fill! but one thing’s for sure, Calgary has a lot of pride in it’s city, people and vibrancy. Don’t let the “cowboy theme” fool you. This is an internationally recognized event with high caliber concerts, as well as fireworks and a Grandstand production every night. Even though locals have been known to run for the hills when the Stampede rolls in, there is no denying the amazing spirit of the city for these ten days in July.

Here are some of my Stampede highlights via Instagram.

calgary stampede 2014

Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. also offers online design to Canadian clients through Design in a Box.


summer solstice weekend

Summer solstice has become one of my favourite days of the year. It means summer is officially here and we enjoy the day with the most amount of daylight. Last year we hosted a party to celebrate milestone birthdays as well as this special day with family and friends.

Part of the fun of hosting parties is creating the ambiance. The music, flowers, candles, food, beverages and decor elements all add creative touches to any party. Of course the main ingredient is always the people.

We’re planning to do the same this year so today I’m working on all those decorative details in preparation. As we’ve just come off of a difficult week personally, I’m so looking forward to having this time with special friends.

Last year we were lucky enough to have my sister in law (and photographer!), Blynda DaCosta here for the party and she took a few photos before and during the party. Here’s a little “taste”.

summer solstice 2013 Do you have any plans to celebrate summer solstice? Whatever you’re up to, I wish you a wonderful weekend and happy first day of summer!

Photos by: Blynda DaCosta Photography


a day in the life: birthday party bliss

I adore birthdays. It’s the one day of the year to celebrate YOU and of course kids are on the count down months in advance to this highly anticipated day. Both my girls have summer birth dates which proves difficult in organizing parties as many people are away. This year I waited until school started up again to celebrate or 7 year old’s birthday with her friends and OH!, what a party. Admittedly, I was feeling the stress of pulling it off but when I leaned over to hear my little girl whisper in my ear “Mom, this is the best party ever!”, it made every ounce of the day worth it. The cupcake piñata was epic, although I nearly shed a tear as the girls attacked it’s beautiful tissue paper icing adorned with a cherry on top. *sigh* Sometimes I wonder if the party is as much for me as it is for them.

birthdday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties birthday parties

Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. also offers an online design service to Canadian clients through Design in a Box.


trend from decorex: sculpted

While across the pond last September for the London Design Festival during BlogTour London we visited Decorex, the UK’s premier luxury design and interiors show. I couldn’t help but notice the incredible number of sculpted pieces, whether furniture, lighting or accessories, it was a predominant design element in numerous booths.

We’ve come through a ‘phase’ if you will of boxy, square, clean lined and somewhat minimal however there’s a movement towards added detail and shapes with softer lines and curves, and I like it.

What do you think? Are you ready to embrace a softer side of design?

Take a closer look at these great lines here: Graham and Green, Ochre, Julian Chichester, William Yeoward, Louise Bradley, Cox London

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.




trend from tent london: graphic

Tent London is a multi faceted design show and considered one of the most creative events in the design calendar. It boasts over 200 established, yet up and coming interior product designers. These companies are pushing boundaries, with colour combinations and graphic patterns, a trend I spotted each and every row I traveled.

Seaside inspired, Zoe Murphy uses textiles and imagery on recycled furniture encouraging a ‘love what belongs to you’ mindset.

Vintage toys, childhood memories and travel continue to inspire the designers of Mini Moderns where they’ve mastered the art of pattern in their own voice on such items as pillows, wallpaper, fabrics, rugs and ceramics.

Luxurious bohemian patterns is all you really need to say to pique your interest of Surfacephilia. A sketched approach to the design of wallpapers, cushions, bone china and greeting cards, the depth and interest in each pattern caught my eye instantly.

It doesn’t get more classic than black and white, however award winning print design company Erica Wakerly, has taken the graphic combination and softened it. Their approach to interior textiles and wallpaper is described as ‘Modern and delicate. Distinct, but not overpowering’.

Lovers of colour and inspired by their surroundings of nature, art and fashion, Parris Wakefield Additions collection is bold and graphic. With a strong and successful background in graphic design they’ve embraced interiors with their collection of cushions, fabrics, rugs and wallpapers.

What I loved about BlogTour London and the London Design Festival was the diverse visual eye candy that did not disappoint day after day. Each show, showroom tour and not to mention BlogTour London participants, brought a different approach to design, inspiring avenues of reaching their end product as well as a style so apparently unique to everyone,  you couldn’t help but be filled with the vigor to go forth and create!

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.


get to know: lapicida

“Nature does not differentiate between ‘new’ and ‘old’ – a block of limestone quarried yesterday could be over 180 million years old; anchoring even the most contemporary of homes to Earth’s genesis.” Lapicida

Simply defined as “stone cutter, quarryman”, Lapicida is mastering the art of stone. They are taking stone to new levels, pushing boundaries of what we expect and assume. I never thought the words ‘bespoke’ and ‘stone’ could be used in the same sentence. Lapicida proved me wrong during the tour of their King’s Road showroom, opening my eyes and inspiration vault of what is possible. And it’s endless….

Lapicida is combining the traditional skill sets of masonry with high-tech capabilities such as 3-D objects, scanning and automated stone working. The outcome is pure drama, creating etched patterns, inlay details and carvings of such objects from sinks to cars. Anything your heart desires.

The showroom in and of itself spoke volumes to the company’s vision and road ahead. They are leading the way in the world of stone with an ‘outside the box’ approach to all they do. The space is full of romance and grace, architectural elements and a past meets present feel, much like their reclaimed collection which is beyond gorgeous and perfect in any setting.

Budget, lifestyle and of course taste are all part of the dialogue when considering flooring, counters, walls etc. whether in limestone, marble, travertine, onyx, slate, sandstone, rock crystal or other semi-precious stones. Where possible I encourage clients to invest in stone. There is no material offering the depth and variation of natural stone. Questions often come up regarding durability and maintenance, both honest and important questions. Education is the key to making the best decision for you and your home, however I challenge you to find anything as beautiful and hard wearing as stone.

This is raw sophistication at it’s finest. Thank you Lapicida for touring us through your exquisite showroom and for being a BlogTour sponsor. The attention to detail was apparent around every corner. The knowledge and enthusiasm you brought to us is paramount in helping us talk with our clients about choosing stone and natural products.

Lapicida has plans to enter the North American market which is beyond exciting. Until then, they have a fantastic website as well as an interactive app. so please do connect with them. You can also following them on twitter and facebook.

Nyla Free Designs is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs also offers an online design service through Design in a Box.


Blogfest 2011: Day 1

I’ve just returned home from my trip to New York City and what an incredible week I’ve had. So much so, there are many blogs to come in order to report my experiences, findings and inspirations. I can’t possibly fit them all into one post.

My first day at Blogfest started with a rainy taxi ride to the Hearst Tower, a building that welcomes you street side with an old facade indicative of many building in New York. Look up and you’ll see that it towers with modern architecture. This is the first building in New York City to be certified LEED Gold and also the first to break ground after 9/11. It’s beautiful, inside and out.

Atop the 44th floor and celebrating the meeting of new friends and reuniting with old, we had lunch in style with House Beautiful. Our view was hidden by a dense fog but that didn’t matter much. We were all so happy to be sharing this incredible experience together.

After lunch we moved into the theater for panel discussions. Above, the team from Veranda magazine lead by Dara Caponigro where she shared her vision for Veranda and how they work towards creating the pages of their magazine. One thing Dara said that spoke to me was “magazines can really touch people”. There have been many times, countless actually when I’ve had a *moment* with a magazine and I have been experiencing and reading Elle Decor and House Beautiful for years. Dara has definitely opened my eyes to Veranda. With their gracious approach to a liveable luxury, you bet I’ll be checking them out regularly now.

During one of the discussions the panel was asked the following:

I was very appreciative of the thoughts on blogs from the editors. Magazines are imperative to me and my designs, not only from the perspective of leading the industry in design, inspirations and news on what’s up and coming, but also giving me ideas on what to blog.

Above the team from House Beautiful with Newell Turner leading the panel. Newell charmed us with his poise and encouragement with the acknowledgement of the time and effort that goes into blogging. He also shared that House Beautiful has some exciting news coming to the airwaves, so stay tuned!

With both House Beautiful and Veranda we had the chance to meet some of the people behind the scenes. I loved hearing where they got their start and what their position involves now. It was interesting to learn that almost everyone included in the panel that day had at one point or another worked in the offices of House Beautiful.

Another topic of discussion with some advice to bloggers from the magazine editors:

Again, so appreciative of what the editors had to offer as advice to bloggers. Nothing we haven’t heard before, but a reminder and reaffirmation is always good.

What was most incredible was listening to the editors and stylists from these magazines. It’s quite a moment when you realize that you are sitting in the same room with people you admire, learn from and drool over the pages of the magazines they work hard to put forth each and every month. The candor and respect they displayed for each other, their industry and even us as bloggers was quite something.

Taking a break on the mezzanine floor of the Hearst Tower was no hardship as we admired the architecture and mingled. There never seemed to be a shortage of words!

Finishing the day with a cocktail party with Mark Rozzo, Editor At Large at Town & Country magazine. Covers from the archives showed us how far T & C had come. Can you believe it’s been in print since 1846? In 1901 the name changed to Town & Country where you’ll continue to find fashion, arts, culture, interior design, travel, weddings, gala events and most recently, philanthropy has become a priority for the magazine.

I was proud to be one of many Canadians attending Blogfest and I don’t think this is even all of us! From left to right: Yvonne of Layers & Layers, me, Jennifer Powell of Kravet, Dane of 2Hounds, Michelle of Holley & Gill, Lisa Ferguson of Decor Mentor, Vanessa of Decor Happy, Sharon of Layers & Layers, Meredith Heron of Sashay and Amy of Eye See Pretty.

What a full day so far, but it doesn’t end here. Thursday’s post will share the rest from Day 1. Tomorrow watch for a fun scavenger hunt that we did during our visit to the New York Design Center.

Thanks for stopping by!



dabble mag launch party

Off I went to the Dabble Launch party and boy am I glad I did. Elte was the place to be last Thursday night. The party was highly interactive and an extremely social evening. I met so many new friends and re-united with others that I had briefly met during IDS11 a few short months ago. The sad part is that I hardly took any photos. The night got away on me. There were so many people to see and talk to that I forgot to capture the evening. The truth is I rarely even had my camera with me as my husband carried my handbag all night, bless him. I’ll share the few snapshots I did take as well as a few that I *borrowed*.

Let the celebration begin!

Admiring the eye candy of the amazing showroom at Elte we stopped for a Kodak moment. Me, Kimberley Seldon and LeAnne Bunnell (@ellestudio).

This night was all about painting the town blue, not red. Mini nail-bars were set up and guests encouraged to treat themselves to “The Cows Come Home” by OPI.

Kimberley Seldon talks to City Line and Design Contributors Nicholas Rosaci, Christine Da Costa and myself strike a pose.

Kimberley shared a vision for the magazine that started many years ago and that dream has come to life on the pages of Dabble Mag.

Cocktail Deeva’s ‘Dabble-tini’ drinks were a huge hit. Glasses here are all garnished and ready to be filled.

The people…oh the people! It was chock a block full with almost 1000 in attendance.

Fit with a red carpet, everyone had the chance to walk toward a photo opportunity to be on the cover of Dabble.

If you’re passionate about design, travel, food or even all three, then this magazine is for you. Warning: the photography on the pages of Dabble Mag is so incredible that it cause hunger, spur on a renovation or induce a travel bug. Dabble Mag will not be held responsible for any of the aforementioned, however please be sure to let us know if any or all have occurred :)

It was truly a night to remember and I was thrilled to be able to share it with my husband, family and friends.


Kimberley with CityLine and Cover photo shoot *borrowed* from Dabble Mag website.


off to the dabble launch party

The day has finally arrived. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be attending the Dabble launch party tonight. Many hours, many people and much support and encouragement has brought us not only to the inaugural issue but as well to this day of celebration.  Congratulations to the entire Dabble team!

There are many more people than this involved in the making of Dabble magazine. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again and meeting some new friends too! Watch the ‘Making of Dabble‘ video and see the evolution of this photo.

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know. I would love to say hi!

xo Nyla


almont yard garden party

I have always wanted to visit Almont Yard so when I found out Traditional Home and Lonny Mag were throwing a party to wrap up the Design Bloggers Conference I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Not only were we allowed the opportunity to walk through the showrooms, we mingled and chatted with some pretty fabulous people.

Clockwise from top left: Almont Yard signage, entrance into the garden area, lovely gift bags from TRADhome (a new online magazine collaboration between Traditional Home and Lonny Mag), and what would a party be without a few bevies?

Left to right: Julianne Covino (@CreateGirl and Jace Interiors), me, Jennifer Powell (@jenniferepowell) from Kravet, Jacqueline Corea (@coreasotropa and The Pink Chandelier)

Michelle Adams Editor in Chief of Lonny Mag and Stacy Kunstel of Stacy Style and Dunes & Duchess.

Garden lights in Almont Yard.

The studio space of Kathy M. Ireland was chock full of pattern, texture and colour. Overwhelming to some, but piece by piece the showroom was filled with inspiration.

Lucas Studios, small but mighty with fabulous furnishings and artwork.

Every corner I turned in the Nathan Turner showroom I found something I loved. So much so that I’m still contemplating the purchase of a fabulous item.

Almont Yard is like shopping in your backyard. It’s a quaint, foliage filled oasis of design goodness. When you walk into the showrooms you feel like you could be walking into someone’s living room as each piece is displayed according to it’s purpose. There are rarely duplicates which means you’re purchasing something truly special. I highly suggest a visit to Almont Yard, I know I’ll definitely be back.

Thank you to Traditional Home and Lonny Mag for hosting a fabulous party to end an incredible few days.