summer solstice 2011

Is there anything better than a summer party? They are easy, casual and can go long into the night on a warm summers evening. We recently welcomed summer with our annual summer solstice party and even though it poured with rain we sparked up the bbq and had an amazing time. If you have plans to throw a bash or perhaps you end up with a spontaneous get together, I’ve got some tips for you over at Decor Mentor today. I invite you to pop over and enjoy more photos from our party and hopefully get some ideas for your own.

Happy summer!




dabble issue 3 is live!

Can you believe we’re on to Issue 3 already? I’m really excited to share this issue’s Reality Check column where the topic is Custom Millwork and all the details that you will need to consider when starting a project of your own. I’m also proud to show you my clients space that we photographed for this feature. Floor to ceiling bookshelves stacked with books that have been collected over the years creating a space filled with incredible stories and adventures. I hope you enjoy, get inspired, and learn a little something along the way. Pop on over to Dabble to find my column along with more inspirations in design • travel • food.

Photo credit: Lori Andrews


design: lake house sneak peak

Last Tuesday I flew to Kelowna to help a client receive and install furniture at their new (to them) lake house property on Lake Okanagan in British Columbia. I got off to a late start due to a crazy morning illness (NO it’s not what you might think so move on from that notion!)

I had put together a collage of some of the items we will be installing that you can see on my A Day in the Life‘ post.

The delivery truck was late arriving at the house so the timing ended up perfect. Plus I stayed overnight so we had extra time to work on unpacking, placement and putting together all of our fab purchases. When I arrived most of the furniture had been placed with packing still attached. The white glove delivery service was due to arrive within an hour so we got down to business to prepare for more pieces to arrive.

First thing on the agenda… hello beautiful view!

The state of the living room when I arrived.

A pile of pillows waiting for a special place to rest.

Here is the living room when I left Wednesday morning. Our original plan was to place the cane chairs upstairs in the family room. We’ve been looking tirelessly for a pair of danish modern chairs to take their place. With company soon to be arriving, these chairs will add the extra seats needed in the space and the hunt for our modern finds will continue.

We hung a fabulous white starburst over the fireplace with a concave mirror. I thought this was a fun shot of the space from a distorted angle.

Family room with pull out sofa that also acts as a guest room. Because we borrowed the cane chairs for the living room I didn’t capture the end result as it will be evolving over time.

Small bedrooms for the kids will accommodate two twin beds. We opted for low profile beds as to not obstruct the windows. I must say the girls room has the most incredible view.

White glove service building the kids beds. These guys were nothing short of amazing going above and beyond the call of duty and so incredibly nice to boot.

I adored how the girls rooms were coming together. We decided to hang the round mango wood mirrors (shown in the family room image above) on the wall across from the beds to capture the view. That way the girls will have a view of the lake from almost every angle.

The main eating area in the house is not yet complete. We have an ‘L’ shaped built-in banquette to be installed against the wall with a wide striped sunbrella fabric for the seat cushion and several fabulous pillows we ordered from Etsy that were lost in the abyss of the Canada Post strike. I was so hoping we would have had more to show you here!

A collage of kids artwork will hang over the banquette and as you can see we planned the placement of the art with kraft paper for ease of hanging after I left.

As the sun was setting on our day I quickly grabbed a shot of the outdoor deck. Such a spectacular view of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Working together with my client on achieving the perfect summer getaway for their family has been so incredibly fun. It’s what really makes me love what I do.

There is still lots to do here at the Lake House however I’m so pleased with how everything has come together, especially considering this is the first time I have been in the home. So much can be done from a distance yet it’s very gratifying to be able see it all come together in person.

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peak into one of my projects. And as always thanks for stopping by!



free design notes: 6.27.11

When I look at this kitchen, my first thought is “when can I move in?”. There’s really nothing I don’t love and oh how I wish I could flip the page of this Metropolitan Home image and see the rest of the house. *sigh*

What do you think? Are you bored with white cabinetry? Do you mind open shelves? Would love to know your thoughts!

Image: Elle Decor

Happy Monday!


a day in the life: lake house installation day

I’ve done a few projects outside of Calgary and most recently a Lake House property in the Okanagan. I don’t often get the opportunity to see the end result and help pull all our hard work together but today I’m headed to Kelowna and could not be more excited to see this place come together.

Our goal was to create a casual, beach-y feel that is stylish and family friendly. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the pieces we have on the truck ready to be unloaded and welcomed into their new home.

I hope to take lots of pictures and share some of the results with you!

Have a great day. I know I will :)

Sunbrella fabric, Ikat pillow, Chair, Bedding, Sectional, Chevron rug, Platform bed, Blue pillow, Floor lamp, Yellow patterned pillow, Coffee table.

free design notes: 6.20.11

While perusing the internet this weekend I came across, and fell in love with this image. Immediately I started to make notes in my mind so here it is as today’s *free* design notes. Of course you are always welcome to share your thoughts as well :)

Image source The Brooklyn Home Company via Design*Sponge. Photo credit: Emily Gilbert

Blogfest 2011: NYDC scavenger hunt

During our visit to the New York Design Center we were given the challenge of completing a scavenger hunt to help familiarize ourselves with the showrooms and give us an opportunity to use our creativity while we came up with our answers.

I wish I had more time to visit all the showrooms. So much eye candy and an incredible resource for Interior Designers.  I know I’ll be back to explore and take in all 16 floors of the building. Until then I will investigate more online.

Here are my answers to the scavenger hunt. Enjoy!

Find an item reminiscent of this famous New York City landmark.

The iconic Chrysler Building with art I found in the Atelier showroom representing the architecture of this magnificent building. Chrysler image via: Wikipedia

Central Park serves as a backyard to all New Yorkers and is the most visited urban park in the U.S. Find an item that would fit into the one of the parks 250 acres of lush green lawns.

In a grassy area of Central Park, I would love to see some of these sculptural elements and urns filled with colourful flowers. Both from 1st Dibs.

They say “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!” Find an item that represents the glittering lights of Times Square.

Representing the lights of Times Square on the left and what can be somewhat of a mesmerizing experience represented in the art on the right. Both 1st Dibs.

This line of custom lamps “Petal Pink” Collection benefits Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Visit this 5th floor showroom and take a shot of the colour you would choose for your creation.

New Mottega lamps from Arteriors and my choice, if I could choose just one :)

Sometimes when visiting NYC, you need a little assistance getting around, information on what’s happening and insights into all the city has to offer. The NYDC’s new Access to Design program allows both designers and consumers to navigate the NYDC and learn about design. Stop by our brand new office on the 4th floor and take a shot.

My favorite part of Access to Design is the fact that it’s a resource centre that connects consumers to designers and offers a helping hand that is much needed in what can be an overwhelming building to navigate your way through.

The BLOGFEST hosts showroom is always a destination for the NYDC. Currently decked out in colours that will make you smile, find your favorite texture and hue from Kravets new Modern Colors Collection.

It was hard to choose just one. I’m a little obsessed with all shades of orange right now so this seemed like the perfect choice. I love the geometric prints that can be used in traditional or modern settings.

The New York Design Center was built in 1926. Find an item that represents the 1920’s glamour that could have been shown when we first opened 85 years ago.

Here are some items I found from that era representing a time of breakthrough design and timeless elegance.

The Brooklyn Bridge is the oldest suspension bridge that connects NYC to uber stylish Brooklyn. Find an item that reflects it’s architectural splendor.

I found this mirror at 1st Dibs that I thought was a perfect match to the architecture of this striking bridge. Brooklyn Bridge image source.

While this bird is not native to New York City, we love seeing its colours and motif explored through this 6th floor showroom. With over 4,000 pieces introduced each year, Global Views is full of incredible treasures. Take a shot of your favorite item.

Many fabulous accessories to be found at Global Views and my favorite being the area rug and mirror.

Strike a pose in front of the BLOGFEST Step and Repeat backdrop. Take a shot of the “Sweet Endings Event” special A-list guest. Peacock image source.

Me, striking a pose and A-list designer Thom Felicia on the right.

Find something that represents your experience at BLOGFEST 2011.

Finally, to sum up my experience at Blogfest 2011, it was an incredible few days of the most inspiring experiences, people and places. Thank you Kravet for all your efforts. Please know they are appreciated and I’m sure I speak for those who attended and the many who were on the wait list….we can’t wait until next year!


Special thanks to Michelle from Holley & Gill for helping me!

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!


what’s in a name: N.Y.L.A.

I feel like this acronym is a little cliche, HOWEVER it happens to be my name. Several years ago I went on a weekend trip to Los Angeles. Later that year I visited New York. While chatting with a girlfriend about my trips she said, ‘Hey! New York Los Angeles…it’s your name, NYLA!” Two of my favorite cities end up creating my name when you put them all together, which I think is quite possibly the reason why my bags are always packed and waiting at the door, ready to take on any new adventure.

This year has definitely been a year of travel and I couldn’t be more thrilled to add New York to the list of cities I’ve visited.

I’ll be attending the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair) and Blogfest, a three day conference sponsored by Kravet Fabrics that will be filled with the most amazing line up of events, speakers, home tours and inspiring people. I can hardly contain myself and can’t wait to tell you all about it. If it’s anything like the Design Bloggers Conference I attended in Los Angeles it will be nothing short of fabulous.

If that isn’t enough, on Thursday I’m getting together with someone I met at the Traditional Home party in LA to have a tour of their workplace, but I’m keeping this one a secret for now :)

And let’s not forget about the people. There are so many that I can’t wait to meet and see again that inspire and encourage me everyday. Rooms full of creative minds, bursting with energy, ideas and insights…yes please!

Watch for highlights from my trip in the coming weeks!

Nyla xo

Image sources: New York, Los Angeles

how to: arranging pillows

After receiving a comment on my May/June Dabble Mag Reality Check column on bedding about how best to organize the pillows on a bed, I thought I would post a blog about it in order to answer the question and provide some images for inspiration.

Pillows are not only functional but also decorative and regardless of your style they are an important part of ones bed. Some like many pillows, others only a few. Whatever your preference, here are some ideas and tips to get you on your way to putting the finishing touches on your bedroom.

Symmetry is the most popular way to organize pillows and also the one that makes the most sense. To me, including your pillow cases with your ensemble is really important. They would typically match your sheets and compliment the scheme and besides, who wants to put these away everyday?

Tuck your pillow cases at the back of the pile so that they’re there, but don’t take center stage. Next, layer your shams, which may or may not match your duvet cover. Most bedding is sold as separates nowadays which gives you the option of mixing and matching. Front and center is a pair of accent pillows that complete the look. This is an easy and simple way to dress a king size bed. For a queen, use queen or standard pillow cases and shames, and slightly smaller accent pillows.

The queen bed above, again shows pillow cases at the back with euro shams and accent pillows in front. Another very simple approach to dressing a bed. Colour, pattern and texture will add the interest. For a king bed use king pillow cases, three euro shams and three accent cushions.

If you’re not a fan of too many pillows whether it be for the look or maintenance, this option is for you. A set of pillow cases, a set of shams and your done. This works the same way if you have a king size bed.

Like to pile them on? Or perhaps you sleep with several pillows. Start with the euro pillows at the back. Next layer your sleeping pillows one in front of the other. If you only sleep with one set of pillows then add another set of shams. Finally the accent cushions offset in front. For a king bed you’ll require 3 euro pillows, king pillow cases and 2 accent pillows.

Another simple approach, and one that I’m quite fond of is stacking pillows. Sleeping pillows and shams stacked on top of each other with an accent layered in front for a contrast in colour or texture as well as dimension is quick to put together as you’re rushing out the door.

Lastly, if you want to go against structure and have a little fun. Mix up the colours, patterns, textures and sizes of complimentary pillows. You can see symmetry is still present without the formal approach. It’s casual, relaxed and has an ere of confidence that says anything goes. Perhaps the most daring of the options yet one that I think offers a fabulous result.

There are no hard and fast rules for organizing pillows, so have fun with it. Mix it up or keep it simple. Most importantly consider the look you want as well as the maintenance of putting it all together. Having a completed space includes a bed that is made and I can guarantee that making your bed, fitted with your beautiful bedding and pillows will have a positive impact on your day :)

Images sources: 1 & 2 House and Home, 3  4 & 5 House Beautiful 6 The Marion House Book

my bedroom reveal

A while back I blogged about embarking on the design of our bedroom. It was high time we had a grown up space to call our own. No more books and lamps on the floor, no more bedding that will ‘do for now’, and for Pete’s sake my windows were desperate for some attention.

So where did I begin? Well first I gave myself a deadline. This deadline was a little more serious than others as I decided to include it in one of my Reality Check columns for Dabble Mag. Better get a move on!

I originally started with images that I thought closely resembled what I wanted the room to look and feel like. This is a very important process that I encourage clients to do. If you’d like to see the images I chose you can pop over to my ‘new bedroom‘ post.

The wallpaper was the jumping off point. I have to admit I did start this process full steam ahead a few years ago and then stalled out completely. Shuffling beds around the house meant we needed a new one and we decided on king size. A king bed resulted in the need for all new bedding, and this is where I came to a full stop.

After giving myself a deadline it seemed as though the decisions came easy after that, although my husband may beg to differ. I would say that my creative juices started flowing after the purchase of my vintage spaghetti, spun fiberglass swag lamps from Wonders on Wonderland antique shop in Nashville TN. They are the jewels of the room.

Drapery and bedside tables were high on the priority list. I wanted to fill the wall so I opted for tables that were larger than most. With hanging lamps this afforded me the full surface of the tables for functional display. Our wall of windows is over 12′ long so drapery is a key element in the room. To create impact with subtlety I chose a muted mauve textured fabric in a floor to ceiling ripple fold treatment.

Lastly, yet arguably most important was the bedding. With the floral wallpaper as my focal point I chose simple bedding in a dark, charcoal cotton sateen. Patterned sheets were a must for me and I accented with a rich plum velvet in the euro shams and patterned accent cushion.

We have a large bedroom and ample room was left at the foot of the bed begging for more furniture. I originally thought of a sofa, however after spotting these corner chairs I knew they were perfect. I adore the stitched paisley fabric and how well they mix with the other patterns and textures.

If you’ve read the current issue of Dabble Mag this may be familiar to you already…..

What’s a photo shoot without a little drama? Electricians were installing the light fixtures about a 1/2 hour before the photo shoot began. I’m sure you didn’t stop by to see images of men at work and an installation in progress now did you?

So here you go…the reveal of my bedroom. Finally, a grown up space!

Our bedroom is very different than what I originally set out to achieve, but I’m so pleased with the end result. Who knew I would ever own swag lamps?? With a sophisticated, relaxed elegance, this is just the right mix of colour, pattern and texture for our bedroom. We’ve since added a piece of art on the right hand wall and we are still on the lookout for a dresser/storage unit.

To learn more about choosing bedding, please head on over to the May/June issue of Dabble Mag and flip to page 65. You can also watch the bedding video on the Dabble website.


Wallpaper: Designers Guild, Bed: Crate and Barrel, Bedside Tables: Elte, Bedding: Cushy Life, Chairs: Domaine, Drapery: through Nyla Free Designs, Area Carpet: through Nyla Free Designs, Throw: Pottery Barn, Her shoes: Cole Haan, His shoes: Nike, Man Bag: Vintage :)

Photography by the talented Lori Andrews.