Q&A with Canterbury interior designer Nicola Elsaka of By Design Interiors 2021

Thanks to her love of textiles and sewing, Nicola Elsaka was always drawn to interior design. After training in Christchurch, she worked in soft furnishings and flooring before starting up By Design Interiors in Middleton with fellow interior designer Lynley Hansen. She’s a fan of investment pieces, natural materials, bold patterns and the beautiful North Canterbury landscape.

How would you describe your home and style?

I prefer a lived-in look in my own home. I love to blend old and new and to use natural materials, combined with splashes of colour and personality.


What inspires you about living in your region?

North Canterbury sunsets are amazing and the night sky is beautiful. We are surrounded by mountains, forests, hills, rivers and the ocean. You just can’t beat it.

What’s the last thing you bought for your home?

Bedroom curtains. I went for a double track, which gives me privacy but still lets the sunshine in.

What was one of the memorable first items you ever bought for your home?

A concrete dining table. I still love it. I get many compliments about it, and it was definitely the right fit for the space.

What’s your favourite room in your house?

The office area I created in the sunniest half of the lounge during lockdown. It’s my creative space. I have added a nook where I sit in the morning sunshine with a coffee. What’s the trend you wish would make a comeback? I would love to see daring interiors like those created in the 70s. I don’t know if I would go as far as patterned wallpaper, carpet and curtains but I do love bold patterns to add spark and personality to a room.


What’s a trend you’ll be glad to see the back of?

I have a firm stance on not becoming a victim to current trends. Your home is yours. If it works for you, it’s right.

If money was no object, what would you splurge on for your home?

A home needs to evolve with a family’s needs, so I would probably move a few walls around and create a space that works for mine. Then I would create my dream kitchen.


What would you go budget on?

Items that can be easily swapped out or upgraded later. You’ve got a day to refresh your house. What do you do? I would add a splash of colour/texture to the master-bedroom walls, update the lighting and finish off with styling. You can spruce up a room in 30 minutes by changing up the cushions and throws and restyling the bedside tables.

What should every home have?

A heart, where the family can catch up at the end of the day, eat, laugh, cook, play games etc.


If you could have a ‘house tour’ of any home in the world, whose would you choose?

TV interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s. I would love to see how he put together his own home(s).




The Bathroom Report 2018

Bathe in beauty – and enjoy how having a good-looking bathroom enhances your spa-like experience at home