welcome spring!

Yes, there’s still snow on the ground here in Calgary. As a matter of fact we’ve been getting a light dusting of the white stuff over the last few days and yet, somehow I’m ok with it. There’s something comforting in knowing that spring has officially arrived. Snow or not it can only get better from here, right? It’s Spring!

Soon we’ll start to see life again. Trees will bud, flowers will bloom and the grass will turn green. Ahhhh…I’m even excited about the rain that will wash all of winter’s dirt away. Until then, let’s dream about a pretty Spring colour scheme and imagine ourselves sitting at this little bistro table enjoying our morning coffee, shall we?

Image sources: Spring dining, apple blossoms, teal paint colour, rose coloured paint, Graham & Brown wallpaper.

free design notes: 3.21.11

There’s so much I love about this kitchen I’m almost considering a renovation.

What do you think?

Image source: Traditional Home

circa lighting introduces ralph lauren

Lighting is an incredibly important feature in every room from a function perspective but why not make it look fabulous while you’re at it? Nothing says timeless more than Ralph Lauren, and Circa Lighting has recently collaborated with the classic fashion house to create a fantastic new line of lighting. Celebrating time-honored tradition and modern sophistication, the lamps could settle into any room quite nicely. Choose from Ralph Lauren Home or Lauren by Ralph Lauren, and similar to his clothing collections there is something for almost every taste and budget. I’m leaning towards Dustin and Delphene as my favorites. Both completely different but I love them just the same.

1. Dustin dodecahedron table lamp 2. Delphene blue stripe table lamp 3. Round leather wrapped table lamp 4. Camille pierced porcelain table lamp with inner night light 5. Erie marble table lamp 6. Heaton porcelain table lamp **many more on the Circa Lighting site!

So tell me, do you have a favorite?

If you have inquiries about Circa Lighting, give Nyla Free Designs a call or email. Happy to help!

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.

Design Bloggers Conference 2011

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up. It all looked great on paper with familiar and inspiring people in design on the list of speakers. Intrigued, and let’s face it, I could use a break from this Canadian winter so off I went to the Design Bloggers Conference in Los Angeles.

Let me start off by saying a huge congratulations to Adam Japko of Design Sherpa, the organizer of this conference that far exceeded my expectations. Adam started the event off with a celebration, champagne included, that made us all realize we were going to be a part of something truly special. Thank you Adam! This first ever Design Bloggers Conference was such a success that it sold out. And so it should have.

With such an amazing panel of speakers there was a lot to take in. Don’t worry…I’ll summarize the 17 pages of notes I took. Here are a few key phrases and quotes I took away from these two incredible days that I hope will benefit you as well.

If you’re a designer and a blogger looking to learn more about how this phenomenon can really change your business I highly suggest you put this on your list of must attend events for next year. Inspirational and educational on so many levels.

Thank you to all the speakers, organizers, sponsors, volunteers and the many others that helped to put this event together. Thanks also to all the attendees. What an incredibly supportive community! It was truly an honor to meet so many of you. I’m already looking forward to next year. Who’s with me?

Image credits: Jan Showers L/R, Tracy Porter L/R, Tobi Fairley L/R, Ronda Carman, Barclay Butera L/R

a day in the life: career day

One of the best parts of working for myself is having flexibility in my day so when my 4yo asked if I could come and talk to her class for career day, I said absolutely!

There were a few stipulations. I needed to bring a craft and I must “dress up in what I wanted to be when I grew up”, so said my 4yo old. The craft I could handle, and I was already doing what I wanted to do when I grow up, so off I went…dressed as a designer of course.

I had so much fun I thought I’d share some photos with you.

I prepared a craft for the kids to decorate a living room and dress a window. All my supplies are ready to go. A window, floor plan and all the cutouts to make the room pretty.

They were all so cute and the craft was a hit. Didn’t they do a great job?! Interior Designers in the making :)

Happy weekend everyone!

thoughts on wallpaper

I’ve just started working with a new client on a dining room re-decoration. The furniture is existing and very nice so the next step is to make this room go from basic to beautiful. Right out of the gate I thought about wallpaper. Here are some of the choices ~

Nice huh?!

Here’s the thing, from what I gather everyone seems to visually love wallpaper, but I wonder when it comes down to actually choosing it for their home if one would have the tendency to shy away.

I would love for you to really tell me what you think about wallpaper.

1. Is it too much of a commitment for you?

2. Do you think about re-sale and what potential buyers might think?

3. Are you worried you’ll tire of it?

4. Which one of the above is your favorite and would you put it in your own home? Or are the above patterns too bold for you?

Tell me! I would love to know your thoughts.

Thanks, as always for stopping by!

Wallpaper: Designers Guild

dasan interiors

I’d like to introduce you to a new friend of mine, Anita Martens of Dasan Interiors. I met Anita at Kimberley Seldon’s Business of Design book launch party in Calgary and she was not shy to come right on over and introduce herself. We soon met for coffee and a special trip to her storage space where I found many treasures.

I’ll turn it over to Anita so she can share her vision with you as well as a small sampling of her inventory. Take it away Anita!


I have been in the Retail/Design field for 20 years.  After moving to Calgary 4 years ago, I had the privilege of working at “The French Connection Interiors”.  Following the close of “The French Connection” we felt it was time to bring my lifelong dream to fruition. I am excited to introduce Dasan Interiors Inc.

The concept for Dasan Interiors is to provide beautiful, one of a kind pieces to the Design and Retail community. Be they antiques, reproductions or new; quality will always be at the forefront of each selection.

It has become very evident that Calgary is ready to embrace the exciting concept that Europeans have adopted for hundreds of years.  And that is mixing the old with the new.  There is nothing more beautiful than walking into a room, be it modern, contemporary or traditional, where history has been given the opportunity to breathe new life into a space.

Along with the history and uniqueness of the pieces, antiques play an important role in our care and concern for the environment.  By recycling these treasures, we not only reduce the need for mass production, we also preserve a piece of heritage to pass on to future generations.

I have put a lot of work into sourcing some wonderful vendors this past year.  The majority of pieces I bring in are from Europe.  There is also a line of new items that have an industrial feel which are constructed from antique elm and pine which are also out of Europe.

I have met some amazing people along this journey, inspiring me and encouraging me in my passions.
Thank you, Nyla, for being one of those inspiring people.

Vintage Louis XV Chairs -  Belgium – Original frame finished in Gustavian grey with slight distress.

Antique French Empire Commode  – Beautiful original piece with marble top and original key! Also has winged mirror available (1920c)

Left: Pine Armoire – This is a new piece but has been constructed out of Antique Pine Boards. Right: Antique Chandelier – Belgium

Left: Cross Back Chairs – Cane seating with wood frame and metal cross back (new). Right: Black Lacquer Table – Reproduction piece beautifully finished with polished nickel accents.

Vintage Louis XVI  Settee – Original frame with slight distressing finished in Gustavian Grey from Belgium. Beautifully upholstered in Europe. Back of Settee done in  grain sack fabric.


Thank *you* Anita! It’s been a pleasure to get to know you and I can’t wait to see what other fabulous finds you collect during your travels.

You can follow Anita on twitter (@DasanInc)

colour inspiration: jade

Inspired by a visit to the Viceroy in Santa Monica and a new little number I picked up at Bloomingdales I thought I’d put together a style board on the colour jade. It’s fresh, lively and a perfect infusion of colour after a loooooooong winter.

1. Shine Everyday Drake Table Lamp. No longer available in this colour combination, but with a little creativity you could re-produce this look. 2. Benjamin Moore 2043-20, image via Pinterest, originally from Real Simple. 3. Sliced Shirt Dress in Jade by Diane Von Furstenburg, available at Bloomingdales 4. True Imperial Jadeite. Image source: Gehna Bazaar 5. Jonathan Adler Chevron accent pillow in green and grey 6. Viceroy Santa Monica. Design by Kelly Wearstler. Image via Viceroy website.

‘free’ design notes: 3.7.11

If you’re new to my blog, I’d like to introduce you to Free Design Notes. It’s a post that will let you see inside my design brain and how I look at images. Designers are notorious for jotting down notes on tear sheets that they like in an effort to keep and use for inspiration later on. I decided to share my favorites with you each Monday, so I hope you’ll stop by each week to see inspiring images and visions of Nyla Free Designs. Feel ‘free’ to offer any other thoughts that you might have about the image. We all have different eyes so share away!

To elaborate further, I love how this image mixes old and new, traditional and modern ~ which is a concept I love to incorporate into my designs.

Image source: Living Etc.