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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IDS MOMMAS House Makeover!

One of the many benefits of being a member of IDS (Interior Design Society) is the ability to get involved and give back. There is no greater feeling than knowing you helped make a positive impact on the life of another person!

When I had my son twenty-eight years ago MOMMAS House was one of the options I explored as a young mom. My situation worked out when I married my son's father but it was comforting to know I had another option for housing at the time. When I learned IDS was looking for a new Interior Design project to donate their time and expertise to I recommended MOMMAS House and their “Adopt a Room” program. I thought it would be a great way to get involved and give back. I was right! It was an extremely rewarding experience which I am honored to have been a part of!

Below is the final reveal of the room makeover which was completed with the help of so many IDS members both in person and in spirit.

The end result was beautiful and will hopefully inspire its future mother and children to dream big and know anything is possible with hard work and determination. It was, however, quite the process getting to the finish line. This is because when you do this type of project it is Pro Bono and you are at the mercy of the donations of awesome IDS members and individuals. It would be amazing if we had unlimited funds to makeover the room in a short amount of time but unfortunately that was not the case. That said here is how the project was completed.

We first reached out to Jill Klein the volunteer coordinator of MOMMAS House. She filled us in on the needs of the three houses and which house project was the priority. After learning it would be the Hempstead house we set up our first site meet up. The room for the makeover needed to house a mother with a toddler and infant. There was also an ensuite bathroom and a large closet. At our first meeting, we took measurements, discussed ideas and the plan of action for the space.

Sandra Asdourian Interiors  , myself   IQ Design  ,   Marie Byrne  ,   Isabel's Interiors, Inc.  , and Joe Calise of   Sights-N-Sounds   (IDS president) all met to view the space.

Sandra Asdourian Interiors, myself IQ Design, Marie Byrne, Isabel's Interiors, Inc., and Joe Calise of Sights-N-Sounds (IDS president) all met to view the space.

Below is the final floor plan we came up with. Since all the furniture and supplies were donated we needed to adjust the design as we went along working with what we had available.

Here you can see the images of the room we would be making over.

As you can see we had our work cut out for us with this project. Before we could get to the fun design part we needed to empty the room completely and remove the rug which was in bad shape. I don’t think people realize all the accumulated dust and debris that is within wall to wall carpeting. This is probably why I don’t have any in my home! Also since we did not plan on keeping any of the furniture this meant we needed to take apart that massive loft bed.

We had a lot of help that day and were able to empty the room out which was amazing. Joe Calise, Sara Reagan, Peggy Guerrin, Isabel Melo, myself and Yvonne Abrams all contributed this day. It was quite a sense of accomplishment since we made a lot of progress. Now that we had the carpet was removed we needed to figure out the new flooring solution.

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Our next meet up was at Designer Rugs and Carpet by Pekar where we discussed the plan of action as far as getting the furniture we needed for the room. Everyone discussed the things they could possibly donate or find for the project.

There were some leftover materials from the IDS Veterans House project we were able to make use of like boxes of faux wood vinyl flooring. Cyndy Katz of Harry Katz not only provided the installation of the flooring but also donated a beautiful 8x10 rug which was perfect for the room!

Above is the room after the floor install. It came out amazing!

Another thing we needed to tackle was the walk-in closet. Previously there was just one rod with a shelf above which did not maximize the space at all. We reached out to Bonnie Reich, former IDS president and owner of Symmetry Closets to see if she could help. She graciously said yes and supplied us with the above design.

We still had patchwork to do but the closet install was a success! Symmetry closets did an awesome job!

Now that we had the closet and flooring installed we needed to get to work on pulling the room together. Again we were working off donations so we had to get creative with the room design.

Above are the images of what we had to work with. Joe donated his son’s old trundle bed which was great since we needed both a twin and toddler bed for the project. By having a trundle option instead it gave us more space in the room. I donated my daughter’s Lapis shell chandelier and shelves I had in my basement. Then I was able to find a free dresser on craigslist and a crib on facebook. The crib would have been $50 but after asking if the price was negotiable and explaining where it would be used it was donated to the project as well.

I’ll do a detailed blog post on the mural wall at a later date but for now here are the images of the wall. I used paint that I had in my basement from leftover projects. Three different shades of grey were used to create the wall which had to be painted in stages. The end result was better than I expected and really added a focal point for the room.

At our next meet up we got to work installing drapery rods from Target and drapes that Sara Reagan sewed from donated Kravet fabric which was leftover from the Veterans House. She did an awesome job! We needed to keep the drapes short for safety purposes. Joe also installed the chandelier over the bed. The white shelves were painted in the same metallic silver used at the peaks of the mural mountains and inexpensive artwork purchased from HomeGoods. This was a super productive day as you can tell. Joe, myself, Lisa Aiello, Dolores Manicone, and Isabel all chipped in.

The next IDS visit was from Dean Camastro of Hansgrohe. He installed the vanity, faucet, and sink. The vanity was donated by Pasquina Regina D'Angelo of AF Supply and the metropol classic faucet from Nikki Parnell of Hansgrohe. This was quite an improvement to what was there before.

At the next meet the metallic painted shelves were installed and the closet was patched up and painted.

In between all of the above little projects in other parts of the house were also completed. A new pendant light was installed in the kitchen, cabinet doors were fixed, and the drapery panel rod was rehung. Joe and Isabel worked to install the stairway wheel light fixture which was donated by Yvonne Abrams and matched the wheel wall decor which was already hanging in the stairway.


At our last meet up Joe, Isabel and I got to work on the finishing touches. We put the crib together, finished up the bathroom project, added bulbs and outlet covers.


There was enough fabric to make a cover for the changing table pad to match the drapery panels. Other finishing touches to complete the room makeover included Norman cellular shades donated by Isabel which were hung in the bathroom and bedroom windows.


The bedding was purchased from Walmart while the navy blanket from West Elm was unused and laying in my house.

A floor lamp from my basement and stuffed animals from Isabel and myself completed the room. Notice the theme! We all have things laying around the house that we are not using or no longer need. What a better way to make use of these than to donate it to someone who can really use them.


Here we are on that last day very happy to have completed this project and helped to make an impact on a family in need.

This project was just the first of three that we will work on for MOMMAS House. We have another bedroom makeover and then a kitchen facelift coming up. For anyone looking to get involved or donate to either of these new projects please leave a comment and we will reach out with information on how you can help!

We already have donations from Nava Slavin, Salvatore Campitiello, and Corey O'Brien of Core Stoneworks for our next projects which is amazing!

As always please continue to follow the journey through our Instagram Stories and Facebook updates where we will continue to share behind the scene videos and findings.

If you are local to the Long Island/ NY Metro area and are in need of assistance with your next design project reach out to us HERE. We’d love to help you get started!

Have an Inspired day my friends!