diy: coffee filter flower garland

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Our Dinner x Design table scape received countless questions about the hanging rose petal garden installation we created above the table. So much so, we decided to prepare a step by step DIY guide. We dyed 600 coffee filters and used roughly 500 in our installation. The outcome was incredibly dramatic, more so than we anticipated, and we too were quite smitten with the result. We hope you find this tutorial useful should you decide to channel your inner creative and take on the simple yet dramatic task of dying this ever so popular household item.  NYLAFREEDESIGNS_DXD2015_FINAL 003 Image credit: Phil Crozier

step one

you will need:
• food colouring, a minimum of two packages (we used clubhouse brand from superstore, blue, red, yellow and their unique purple from the neon collection) buy enough to manipulate the colour, the more food colouring the higher the saturation of colour
• gloves (as fitted as possible)
• water
• large coffee cup or tupperware container
• pitcher of water on hand, in order to dilute colour as needed
• coffee filters (we used superstore no name brand no. 2,  they are smaller in scale and create a realistic feel)
• 2-3 garbage bags. place over the surface you are using to dye the coffee filters, you will also need this space to allow them to dry
*finally, wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, the food colouring will stain coffee filter diy step 1 step two
• while wearing gloves, begin by adding food colouring to the water. dip coffee filter into liquid mix to test the colour. this will enable you to find the right balance in colour ratio. we used roughly:
5 parts red
3 parts neon purple
2 parts blue
1 part yellow.
• use artistic licence when testing the colours, they don’t all have to be perfect!
• variation in colour creates visual interest. also, remember the coffee filters will always dry to a lighter colour, therefore don’t be afraid to use a lot of food colouring. coffee filter diy step 2
• once you are satisfied with the colour, begin by dying 5-10 coffee filters at a time, dipping them into the coloured water. once all of the filters are saturated, lift out of the liquid and drain the excess by pressing them with your hands. set filters aside. step3 step four
• the dye mixture will slowly deplete after each 5-10 filters have been saturated. depending on the number of coffee filters you wish to make, dilute the food colouring solution, which will alter the colour, lightening each batch to create a natural ombre effect. step4 step five
• once you have used all the coffee filters or have simply run out of food colouring mix, open up the filters and prop them up like tents on the garbage bags. this allows them to dry in a open position creating a flower-like effect. allow a minimum of 4 hours for filters to completely dry. coffee filter diy step 5 step six
• when the coffee filters are completely dry it’s time for the stringing process. you will need
-fishing line (we used 20lb)
-safety pin or paper clip coffee filter diy Step 6 step seven
• depending on desired length, take 8-10 coffee filters choosing ones that vary in colour saturation and hue. line them up on the table, arranging them in the preferred order. coffee filter diy step 7 step eight
• begin by taking your safety pin or paper clip and poking a small hole at the peak/highest point of the coffee filter. take a piece of fishing line approx. 4-5 ft. long and tie a knot at the end. thread the fishing line through the coffee filter so the opening faces downward. coffee filter diy step 8 step nine
• irregularly place the coffee filters along fishing line, becoming more concentrated at the top. this gives more volume as well as creates an organic feel. coffee filter diy step 9 Repeat until desired number of garlands has been reached. Now sit back and admire your hard work and creative genius. Well done!  coffee filter diy final

Thank you to Adrienne who put this DIY together, photographing and note taking along the way. Adrienne also dyed all 600 coffee filters for our Dinner x Design installation and as mentioned they were the pièce de résistance.




lately loving: pale pink

Lately Loving - Pink

Have you heard the expression “in the pink”? If you are in the pink of health, this means you are in the highest or best degree or condition, which in my own summary, means pink has some pretty positive vibes. It’s no wonder I love it so much! 

The softer shades of pink are sophisticated, elegant, pretty and so well rounded we’re seeing it everywhere from statement architecture to beauty products. Move away from the stereotype of too juvenile or too feminine and confidently add a little more pink into your world. Much like the look of rosy cheeks in the winter or a beautiful blush on our face, the addition of pink adds a warm glow and softness to any room.

Images sources: 1. photographer Koichiro Doi 2. the seeke 3. palace of the winds 4. aztec blanket 5. bedroom 6. chair 7. lush aqua marina


high point spring 2015 highlights

zoe bios creative I’ve just returned home from my first visit to High Point market in almost 20 years. My overall focus of this trip was to simply absorb and be inspired however I took away so much more. First of all, the market is huge. Several buildings with several floors, filled with furniture, accessories and everything in between. Secondly, it provides the means of seeing product in person. Sit testing, touching fabrics, opening drawers are just a few of the benefits of in person visits. Lastly, it challenges us to get out of our everyday bubble and consider new ideas and approaches to design, gaining inspiration from the vendors who take great pride in recreating their showrooms every market. It’s THE mecca for interior design and home furnishings and if you’re in the field and haven’t been, I highly recommend you find a way to add this event to your Fall calendar.

My highlights included Zoe Bios Creative (top), Natural Curiosities, Dunes and Duchess, Design Legacy, Mirth Studio and Vanguard. I couldn’t help but take note of the theme of colour and pattern throughout these showrooms, definitely two areas I am passionate about in our design work.
natural curiosities dunes and duchess design legacy mirth studios vanguard Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,


how to layer carpets

One of my favourite ways to add texture and interest to a room is to layer area carpets. It’s an unexpected addition and one that seems to surprise most as I learned on the set of Breakfast Television. Here are a few great tips:

1. Start big: Fill your room with the largest possible base layer.

2. Go flat: The bottom layer should be a flat or tight weave. You’ll be adding at least one other layer so starting thin ensures the thickness doesn’t reach trip-able proportions.

3. Texturize: Texture on texture is a great approach. Contrast shag with a woven jute to add warmth and visual interest.

4. Add impact: With the base layer neutral and natural, take your next layer up a notch by adding colour and pattern, or both!

5. Go bold: Layer pattern on pattern for a “collector’s” feel to your space. Combine similar style area carpets with complimentary colour schemes for high level interest and impact.

Overall, have fun and take risks. If you’ve found the perfect area carpet or a small work of art, but the overall size is too small or it’s the size you can afford, layering is a great way to work it into your space.

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,



a day in the life: install sourcing

a day in the life installation sourcing We’re preparing for a large installation in Canmore tomorrow! Last week we hit the shops for more fabulous finds, one being the Reclaimed Trading Co. We found wonderful accessories, furniture and some old moulds we’re going to use as wall decor. There are many treasures to be had here! And no those are not pizza boxes :) it’s an armful of frames for a fun gallery wall. Stay tuned for more! 
day in the life installation sourcing day in the life installation sourcing day in the life installation sourcing a day in the life installation sourcing Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,


project reveal: classic living room

Living Room There is so much excitement on install day. Seeing the vision come together is as thrilling for us as it is for our clients. While the larger pieces have been selected months ago, it’s the finishing touches, accessories and artwork that really put a stamp of completion on a space.

The jumping off point for this room was our clients Barry Weiss artwork. We married simple fabrics, textural furniture with a patterned area carpet and drapery for interest.  
Samples Living Room Close Up Living Room The result is a classic, sophisticated and welcoming room suitable for entertaining everyone from grandchildren to friends!

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,


lately loving: black & white buffalo check

black and white gingham I’m quite fond of classic black and white patterns. “Lately loving” has seen bold stripes so far and there’s more to come. This week we’re drawing inspiration from black and white buffalo check. Gingham, a name commonly associated with this pattern, refers to the cotton fabric used to make clothing or small house hold wares such as casual shirts and dresses, table cloths or napkins. Buffalo check (the actual name of the pattern), was named after the designer’s herd of buffalo, has been around since the late 1800’s and typically consists of two contrasting colours. Don’t let his classic pattern be pigeon holed into a cutesy, country theme as it is bold, graphic and positively current in design and fashion today.

Image credits: restaurant l dress l wallpaper l bathing suit l dining room l chair l skirt Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,



Olga Korper Gallery

Olga1 After a morning at the Toronto Interior Design Show this past January, I joined a fantastic group of designers for an afternoon gallery tour. Our first stop was Olga Korper Gallery. Our guide, Olga’s granddaughter Taiga, so vibrant and incredibly passionate about the art and artists gracing their space. Olga’s gallery is a special place as it is a live-work environment, where creativity oozes around every corner and it would seem that old souls gather with a cappuccino or glass of wine in the casual seating area. Olga4 From Olga’s personal collection: artist Yoshi Sankawa. Olga5 “Lobby” by artist Lynne Cohen l “Gdansk” by artist Sigalit Landau Olga3 There are no “accessories” in this home, only artifacts and collected treasures. Skull by artist: Tim Whiten vignettes1 The main space at the Olga Korper Gallery juxtaposes raw industrial and crisp white walls allowing the art to speak volumes in the space.  Olga6 Olga2 The main exhibition during our visit was by Marianne Lovink, a Canadian sculpture, now based out of Philadelphia. Her work evokes a scientific whimsy, a rare collection of ordinary objects, much like Wunderkammer (or Cabinet of Curiosities), not literally a cabinet, rather a collection of magical and mystical items inspired by organisms and elements of the natural world.   Olga7 I was quite take by these neon words tucked in a light filled corner of the gallery. “Once, I saw” by artist Barbara Steinman

Thank you Olga, for welcoming us into your fantastic gallery and living space. And to Taiga for your passionate approach to art, one that I’m sure inspires many.

Be further inspired by Olga Korper and see more of her fantastic live/work gallery space in this House and Home video feature and if you find yourself in Toronto, a visit to her gallery is a must.

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,



before & after: family room bookshelf styling

Family Room We have a blank canvas of open shelves awaiting embelishments in this modern family room. At this stage of the design process we apply the finishing touches, arriving with bags and boxes of carefully selected accessories to outfit the room. The styling stage requires a thoughtful approach and a discerning eye in an effort to bring a space to life. See how it all unfolds in this colourful family room in our time lapse video.

Family Room Family Room Music credit: What So Not, How High You Are (Branchez Remix)

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,


lately loving: wide black & white stripes

black and white stripes Admittedly I am always drawn to stripes and the black and white kind are my favourite. The graphic nature and bold expression of this classic combination is one I could find an excuse to add to an outfit or room any day!

Image credits: skirt l area carpet l agenda l bowl l tile l flower

Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,


lately loving: modern windsor chairs

windsor chair Dating back to the 16th century it is safe to say the “Windsor chair” is a classic. It is unknown as to their official origin however some speculate they were named after the town of Windsor which became the centre for trading in the early 1700’s. Other names include stick-back or comb-back chairs, however the construction of all styles are similar. The seat is the integrity of the chair providing strength to both the legs and back, both are securely fastened into the thickness of the seat.
windsor chair windsor chair It’s ability to meld into any environment, the Windsor chair provides comfort and a classic form available in an array of colours and stains. Suitable in a kitchen, a desk chair or a dining room, it’s casual elegance and simple lines make it an easy choice and one that will never go out of style. 
windsor chair windsor chair windsor chair Image credits: House and Home l dezeen magazine l Domaine Home l Desire to Inspire l decorpad l facilisimo Nyla Free Designs, Calgary Interior Designer, Calgary Professional, Interior Designer,