free design notes: 4.18.11

Today’s notes are on a more modern and minimal space. Despite the simplicity it still feels quite comfortable and inviting to me. Whether it be the open shelving housing kids books and toys or the warm grey wall in the background, I can relate to this photo very well as it reminds me of the house we lived in when we had our first daughter. White walls, maple floors, a charcoal accent wall with floating shelves and a large colourful painting were all a part of our decor at the time.

What do you think of the space? Any thoughts of your own to add?

Image Source: Design Wagon

artist: murray duncan

There are certain pieces of furniture that go beyond function and can truly be called works of art. A collaboration between Murray Duncan and Hardware Interiors has become just that. Focused on unique, vintage and salvage findings in an effort to create one of a kind furniture, lighting and art, each piece is a conversation starter in it’s own way. Not limited by conventional applications, Murray’s art is incorporated into the faces of such pieces as sideboards, credenzas and armoire’s creating a statement in any room. Subtle yet dramatic, I adore the graffiti like quality in the hand written text with a message of contemplation.

“the end of monday” 2011 mixed media under resin 48″ x 60″

A collage of both furniture and traditional artwork.

Two armoires with Murray’s artwork incorporated into the doors. Each piece is custom built so whatever your space, size or function needs are, the team at Hardware Interiors are sure to create that special piece and truly a work of art.

You can see more of Murray’s art at Hardware Interiors and Rouge Concept in Toronto or online at

colour inspiration: cobalt

Inspired by a new pair of shoes and our bright and beautiful Alberta blue skies, I can’t help but be drawn to the intensity of this classic colour showing up in everything from fashion to home accessories. If you’re shy of colour, blue is an easy one to add and most would gravitate towards the lighter shades. This year, take it up a notch by adding cobalt. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

1. Circa Lighting 2. Moma Store 3. BM Paddington Blue 791 via House Beautiful 4. Marimekko via Finn Style 5. Hammocks and High Tea 6. Anthropologie 7. Prada via Polyvore 8. Crate & Barrel 9. Tory Burch

Image Source: House and Home

before & after: bathroom renovation

You’ve seen the ‘after’ in the March/April issue of Dabble Mag (pg.68-72), and now see where it all began.

After moving into a previously owned home typically there are grand plans to make it your own, however it’s common to settle in and watch years go by before a renovation occurs. In my client’s case it was thirty and high time to bring this bathroom to life by removing wallpaper, carpet and drapery.

Before photos of the ensuite.

Quick sketch of the bathroom layout and floor tile configuration.

The layout of the bathroom remained the same. We took advantage of the large window by adding a glass wall in the shower and opening up the space which involved moving the plumbing to the opposite wall. This was the biggest change in the bathroom and well worth it. Replacing and re-sizing the window was also a worthwhile change as the original window was too low to allow a new tub to fit properly without compromising the window frame.

As you know tile was a large part of our design scheme. Natural materials were also important in our decision making using marble, granite, glass and walnut wood to name a few. I originally blogged about creating interest with neutral tile at the start of this renovation.

A photo during the renovation. Floor is complete and counter has been installed. Next the tub deck is to be tiled so the glass can be measured for the new shower wall.

After…a world of difference. Bright, warm and inviting. A perfect place to wake up to and finish off the day.

Renovations can seem daunting and overwhelming at times. There are many decisions to be made during the process, but having the right team working with you will smooth the process and ensure a fabulous end result.

You can learn more about choosing tile from my Reality Check video on the Dabble website.


Accent table and chair: Maria Tomas, Painting: Kate Schutz through Domaine, Accessories: Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Homesense



free design notes: 4.11.11

My style is definitely all about the mix so I was immediately drawn to this image with classic pieces of modern and traditional paired together in this dining room. Klismos chairs with a Platner table is a sophisticated combination, all alongside metallic walls and what looks to be an interesting ceiling. Show me more!

Image: Jeffrey Bilhuber via Roomlust

new project: country house living room

Long time clients of mine are moving to the country. We’re going to make this house their own while still respecting it’s surroundings of prairie goodness. It’s going to be french, country, modern with a little bit of industrial chic. I put together an inspiration board of some of the pieces we have selected for the living room and perhaps dining room, showing lighting, fabrics, sofa idea and flooring.

We’re making decisions quickly as move in is fast approaching. I’ll be sharing what we’re up to in the kitchen on another post, so come back and visit!

designer eye candy: jf chen

During my recent visit to LA with my good friend Jacqueline Corea (@coreasotropa), we made a visit to JF Chen. If you’re a designer you may be familiar with JF Chen from 1st Dibs. If not, well let me introduce you.

JF Chen is a mecca of worldwide fabulousness. After entering a side door and walking up an unassuming stairwell, the minute I walked through the main doors I thought my eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. An overwhelming site lie ahead with the most incredible amount of eye candy.

Where to begin? To be honest I didn’t know where to look and I was trying to take it all in. With my head on a swivel I started snapping photos like crazy. Jacqueline soon asked what I was taking pictures of. I said, “I’m not sure. I just don’t want to miss anything!”

From mid-century modern, to asian antiques, you name it, you’re almost certain to find it here. I felt like I was inside Kelly Wearstler‘s head while wandering and you know what, she is a huge client of theirs. I die!

Here are a few images I took (out of the many) to share with you an insiders look at the amazing JF Chen.

I can’t even begin to describe the vast amount of collectibles, one of a kind pieces of furniture and artifacts that reside inside this massive two story warehouse. Visit 1st Dibs for a small sampling and stop by the store in LA to be overwhelmed in the most inspiring way.

it’s a new me!

nyla free designs has just received a makeover.

So much has happened since I launched my first website several years ago. Things have evolved, my business has grown and before I knew it I found myself with three different sites. I soon realized this was not a good thing and a change was needed.

Just as our homes get tired and in need of TLC, organization and updates, so did my website. It takes time, like any project, to figure out exactly what you want and how you see the end result. After several months, and a very patient web designer, I’m very pleased and ready to share. So here it is…a new me.

You will now find my blog, portfolio of nyla free designs and soon design in a box all under one roof. Ahhhhhh…that feels so much better and it’s been a long time coming. My site address is now Soon ‘the nyla blog’ will transfer over to this site. For now you can still find design in a box at it’s current location. If you subscribe to my blog, nothing will change, you will continue to receive updates as normal.

I hope you enjoy my new site. It’s much more user friendly and interactive so please stop by and say hi. I truly appreciate every single visit and comment.

xo nyla

web design by Beyond Digital

free design notes 4.4.11

I used to dream of one day living in a New York City loft. At this point I doubt that will ever happen so I will live vicariously through lovely images I find like this one.

Could you live in a space like this? It’s certainly not for everyone but I’m pretty sure I could handle it for a little while….

Image source: Desire 2 Inspire


project: bathroom reno sneak peak

The beginning of a renovation is always so exciting. I’m thrilled to be embarking on a new project with a client I’ve been working with for years. This time around is a bathroom overhaul. The walls are down and the renovation has begun. A well used, but tired space is getting a face lift. Actually it’s more like reconstructive surgery because it will hardly be recognizable once we’re done. Like a warm cup of coffee or a creamy, caramel ice cream cone this space is going to be soothing and filled with depth and texture…not to mention this fabulous bathtub.

Next up is finalizing the design of the cabinetry. Stay tuned my friends and thanks for stopping by!

Image credits: coffee, ice cream, Victoria and Albert Monaco bathtub