Design professional who is transitioning from fashion to a career in Interior Design.

So that's the opening sentence and reality of my world! I have been a Children's Wear Designer, in NYC, for the past 23 years. I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology and received a BFA in Fashion Design. It has been rewarding and considering I have worked 4 days a week much of my career, and make a good living, I shouldn't complain. BUT personally it feels like Groundhog Day! I should warn you now I will proof read this but English/ Spelling (thank goodness for spell check) and grammar have never been one of my strong points. 

Going back to my childhood, my mother for the first 12 years of my life was a stay at home super creative mom. She wallpapered, painted, sewed and could make whatever she wanted. My father had an aluminum siding and roofing business. Both my parents came from large families. My mom was the oldest of six children, while my dad was third youngest out of eight. Most of my uncles were in construction from small jobs, to full house remodels and rental properties. As a child I was up on the roof and always around some sort of remodel/ construction job site. If my families houses were being improved my uncles did the work themselves. I loved seeing the mess turn into beautiful spaces.

In High School, I was in the Fashion Design program and we had an annual fashion show, where I made several garments from scratch. I didn't know that Interior Design existed as a career option back then so my creative outlet was fashion. I took classes at F.I.T. on Saturdays and then during the summer for High School students. When I graduated (a year early), I ONLY applied to F.I.T. so THANK GOODNESS I was accepted!! I was married and had a baby from the age of 16 so I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't been accepted. Luckily "it all worked out" and I graduated F.I.T. in 1996. I was only 5 years into my career when I realized  I wasn't going to want to do this the rest of my life. I owed a house by then and loved decorating and remodeling. I also pretty much only watched HGTV which is when I realized, I wanted to be an Interior Designer when I grow up!!

I attended night classes in Interior Design and in 2004 I received my degree. Around the same time we took on a huge remodeling project of our home. We added an entire second floor and extended the house out 10 feet. With the help of my step father and brother-in-law, I designed the entire remodel, which was given to the architect to draw up for the permits. My uncle was the contractor that did the remodel so I had hands on experience though out the entire process. Every morning at 7am we went over the plan for the day. The house went from a 1975 sq ft ranch to a 3800 sq ft 2 story home (including the basement). With my degree out of the way and the distractions of the house, I faux finished, applied venetian plaster, painted and designed my house. I LOVED every minute of it. Life happened, my son attended college and a career change was just not an option. So I continued on as the not so glamorous "Fashion Designer".

Fast forward to today.... Finally after dabbling here and there over the years in Interior Design projects, I am in a position to make a career change! I am super excited for what the future will bring. I hope you will follow me in my journey as I transition from Fashion Designer to Interior Designer : ))) I hope to aspire everyone to follow their dreams because I truly believe that if you put your mind to something and work hard ANYTHING is possible!!!


Nicole de la Cruz

(my alter ego since my husband spells it Dela Cruz but I told him de la Cruz is more glamorous lol a la Oscar de la Renta ; ))

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ORC Week 6 The Final Reveal - Dining Room to Sitting Room Willow House makeover // IQ Design

We made it to the end of the One Room Challenge!!

After 6 long weeks I am super excited to share with you the BIG REVEAL!

To see how all the progress of this dramatic transformation click on the links below:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

Before I remind you of where we started let me first share the final result!

Drum Roll Please!!!

Walls:  Classic Gray  Eggshell | Moldings:  Simply White  Semi Gloss | Ceiling:  Simply White  Flat

Walls: Classic Gray Eggshell | Moldings: Simply White Semi Gloss | Ceiling: Simply White Flat

And here is the BEFORE photo of the same space which was previously a Dining Room.


Other than being used a few times during the year for company this room was a catch off for stuff the rest of the time. Since I decided to change the “look and feel” of my tuscan trend home to an updated contemporary, glam, urban vibe it made sense that this room be changed to function for our family. The design plan was to change the room into a lounge sitting area as shown.

WH SITTING ROOM9-30@1,5x.jpg

Now before we get into the details of the room design let me ask you this:

Do you want to have an inspiring room designed for you home?

Yes! ok Great!! Now let’s get into the details and show you some possibilities!

One Room Challenge Reveal YouTube Video if you prefer to watch instead of read about it!

For the Willow House makeover everything came in time for the deadline of the ORC except the Leftbank Art shown in the design rendering above. I knew this so I had the HomeGoods art as a backup which is in a similar style. The new art will be changed out in the next week or so. Stay tuned for the updated image of the room because it will even more beautiful!

That said now for the fun part! Let’s take tour the new space shall we?!

ORC Week 6 The Final Reveal

One of the first pieces I knew I wanted in the makeover was that teal velvet sofa from Interior Define which is just so yummy!

Sofa:  Interior Define  | Coffee Table:  TOV  | Rug:  Safavieh  | Pillows:  Pier 1  and  Hobby Lobby

Sofa: Interior Define | Coffee Table: TOV | Rug: Safavieh | Pillows: Pier 1 and Hobby Lobby

Then there is that Arteriors Hands Vase which I absolutely love and had been obsessed with.

ORC Week 6 The Final Reveal

It literally makes me so happy every time I look at it. Seriously!

Bar Cabinet:  Crate&Barrel  | Vase:  Arteriors  | Flowers:  Numa’s

Bar Cabinet: Crate&Barrel | Vase: Arteriors | Flowers: Numa’s

The drapery panels were so much work to hem but they turned out awesome! Well worth the effort. Another thing that was worth the extra time it took was installing the Lucite Rods. My eyes twitch at the thought of ever having to redo those!

Chaise:  TOV  | Drink Table:  West Elm  | Hide Rug:  World Market  | Flowers:  Pier 1  |  Drapes:  Z Gallerie  | Curtain Rods:  Bed Bath & Beyond

Chaise: TOV | Drink Table: West Elm | Hide Rug: World Market | Flowers: Pier 1 |

Drapes: Z Gallerie | Curtain Rods: Bed Bath & Beyond

This spot right here is where you will see my daughter laying most days now while she charges her phone and waits for her ride. It is the perfect spot to relax and look out the window.


The mix of textures in the chaise and pillows add interest to this area.

ORC Week 6 The Final Reveal

Since I am all about self awareness and positive vibes these days the Neon sign selection was definitely the right choice! I’m so happy we went with the “good vibes only” sign and that pop of pink really ties back to the rest of the room.

ORC Week 6 The Final Reveal

Then there was all that obsessing that I did over the Bar Cabinet before finally just biting the bullet and ordering the Crate and Barrel one which came just in time. You know I’ll see another at HomeGoods eventually BUT I am super happy with the one I chose in the end. The black balances back to the black of the front door very nicely. The gold trim adds a glam element and coordinates back to the rest of the metal touches in the room. The with the neon sign up above it looks awesome when turned on from both the inside and outside. There is also plenty of room to store liquor and bar accessories so we don’t have to run to the basement bar anymore when we have company over.


Another piece that was the perfect addition was the lucite side table from Kravet. I got really lucky with this find that ties back perfectly to the lucite drapery rods. The Z Gallerie marble and gold accent candle holders coordinate nicely with the TOV coffee table. Then there is that gold peace sign find which I think is super cute and quickly becoming my signature thing!

Table:  Kravet  | Candle Holder:  Z Gallerie  | Peace Hand:  HomeSence

Table: Kravet | Candle Holder: Z Gallerie | Peace Hand: HomeSence

Now we can not forget to talk about the metallic silver wallpaper which I wasn’t sure would come in time since it was on backorder. Luckily it did! Wilmer the wallpaper installer was able to fit me in his schedule and get it up. Having that accent wall complete made a huge impact on the overall “look and feel” of the room and I am thrilled with the result! Not to mention the Kelly Wearstler gold sconces look even more amazing now against the silver. Mixed metals is trending right now and this room definitely has a mix of silver and gold. On a side note it is so funny to me that my family is so unfamiliar with grasscloth wallpaper. They kept asking me about the seams when it went up because they are so used to painted walls. I had to keep reminding them it’s wallpaper, thats how it’s supposed to look lol!

Flush Mount Light Fixture:  Dutton Brown

Flush Mount Light Fixture: Dutton Brown

So there we have the final reveal! I really hope you enjoyed following along in my first ever One Room Challenge journey. This has been a great experience and I truly felt like I wasn’t alone! Instead I felt I was a part of community of designers who were all sharing their process and struggles to get to the beautiful end result! Here is the link to see the final reveal of the other amazingly talented Featured Designers and guest participants who participated! It is really important for everyone to know that what you see on HGTV is not reality but great television. There is so much more time, planning, problem solving and behind the scenes that result in the beautiful designs you see!

I believe that great design is timeless, livable and most of all inspiring. My mission in this journey is to inspire others so that they know anything is possible so that they dream big! Hopefully I accomplished this mission here as well!!

Please continue to follow my journey through my Instagram Stories and daily Facebook Live videos where I will continue to share behind the scene videos. Also if you have a project you are considering working on, know your budget and like cool things then reach out HERE so we can help!

Have an inspired week everyone!!


Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

@oneroomchallenge | @betterhomesandgardens |@homelovenetwork 

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YouTube Video Blooper! Life is too short to take yourself too seriously! Enjoy the laugh on me!