Author Archives: Dayna

Instagramming // March

March snapshots via Instagram | Inspiration for Decor

1/  Hello climate change.  When is Spring going to arrive?

2/  I’m a design blogger, of course I have a fiddle leaf fig.  Two years in and he’s still alive and thriving.  He seems to sprout new leaves about once every 8 months and we have 5 leaves sprouting now!  My recipe for success:  stick pot in a sunny location and water once a week. Sometimes I forget and he goes two weeks without water…but he seems pretty forgiving.  People are funny about their figs, here is another fig story.

3/ Our main bathroom used to look like this but function trumped form.  This is our main bath and we needed storage and counter space.   I am not loving the chrome knobs even though they match the rest of the chrome finishes.  I’m going to replace them with darker oil-rubbed bronze knobs, to tie in the dark accent tile.

4/ These pretty agate pulls are on sale at West Elm.  Perhaps a bit too delicate for cabinets used regularly, but lovely nonetheless.

March snapshots via Instagram | Inspiration for Decor
















5/ Thinking about one of these Capiz orb pendants for our dining room…

6/ A $5 pick-me-up that lasted almost two weeks.  Now if only these would start sprouting outside!

7/ I’m always on the hunt.  I spotted these wood + iron industrial stools, perfect for a friend who was hunting for stools for a higher-than-standard bar height counter.  Found at In House, one of my favourite interiors stores here in Burlington.  A similar stool at a lower price-point (same style but not quite as solid), can be found at Urban Barn.

8/  A sneak-peak of my son’s nursery.  I have a few mini projects to complete then I’ll share photos.  Hopefully next month!


Decorating a small foyer

Foyers are the first impression guests have of your home, so ideally it should be welcoming and reflect your style. But since they are also the transition point between the outside world and your personal space, they should also be functional (i.e. where do you put your coffee when your kid is crying about a missing boot, the dog is barking, and someone is at the front door?….yeah, me this morning).  You don’t need a large space so long as you include a few basic elements:

  1. Mirror for last-chance-do-I-have-food-in-my-teeth checks
  2. Table/console/shelf to place keys, mail, coffee etc.
  3. Storage (hooks/closet/baskets)
  4. Rug or mat to ground the space and protect floors
  5. Ample lighting so it doesn’t feel like you’re entering a cave
  6. If you have the luxury of space, a bench or chair to put on and take off shoes (especially for the old folks)

Time to fess up: my entryway has been sorely neglected.  After removing the winter runner last night I realized that it’s time to pay some attention to our (small!) foyer.


What you don’t see in this picture, is a mirror and set of hooks just inside the door.  They are both awesome. Hooks at kid-level are great.

Long-term, I’d like to rip out that first doorway which acts as a bottleneck, tile the floor with slate (or slate look-alike) in a herringbone pattern (like this), and replace the hall closet door with a pocket door.  Until we can afford this reno, I plan on painting the foyer and adding a few pieces (console table is first on the list!). 

Here’s what is inspiring me now:

Decorating a small foyer
  • Lighting // Alexa Hampton flush mount in natural brass - Visual Comfort
  • Console // Echelon iron console table - Crate & Barrel (at 8″ deep this console is perfect for a narrow entry!)
  • Rug // hand-knotted Royal Balouch wool runner - ECarpet Gallery
  • Storage //modern weave basket - West Elm
  • Hooks // brass hooks - Light + Ladder
  • Mirror// Tork brass mirror – CB2





P.S. I’m Canadian and I say “foy-yay” not ”foy-er”.  Whenever I hear the latter I kinda cringe. You?

Done with Snow

About two weeks ago I was driving in town and passed a church billboard that read “TO THE PERSON WHO KEEPS PRAYING FOR SNOW – PLEASE STOP”.  I thought that was pretty funny.  But clearly the message didn’t get through.

March 12, 2014 snowstorm

I am normally a winter person but week after week of crazy cold weather and snow is wearing me down.  It’s March 12th and we’re experiencing another major snowstorm! Really, is anyone still enjoying this weather?

To lift my spirits I’ve started to think about our gardens and what we’ll need to do this Spring and Summer (they need major help).  While at the hairdressers last Saturday, I flipped through the April 2014 issue of Canadian Gardening (probably the first time I’ve looked at a gardening mag at the salon, normally it is celeb trash….am I getting old?).  Anyway, the issue had some good tips for sunny spots (basically our whole yard), so I picked up a copy to read in more depth.  I’m a bit out of my element with gardening, so will be calling in Mom-help soon.

I’m also researching the best smaller-scale trees because I’d like to add a bit of vertical interest next to our deck, while adding some shade. Let me know if you have any recommendations!  I’m pinning garden ideas here and might share some progress over the next few months, if you’re interested.

For now, bundle up, stay warm, and be careful on the roads!





Image: Dayna McCarthy for Inspiration for Decor

Dark Paint in a Nursery: Would you do it?

Last year, when I found out we were expecting again I was excited to start planning a new nursery, naturally. Where to start!?  We already had the basics (crib, changer, etc.) and weren’t going to purchase any new major items but I wanted to change up the look from our first son’s nursery.  I decided to play with colour!

For a while now, I’ve been inspired by several dark-hued nurseries I’ve seen around the web.

Dark Painted Nurseries

Image credits (clockwise starting on left): Chezerbey, Elements of Style, Sarah Catherine Collective100 Layer Cakelet, House*Tweaking

Dark paint in a nursery is unconventional, yes. But at the same time, it creates a cozy cocoon-like atmosphere. What do you think? Would you do it?

DECORATING TIP: Contrary to popular belief, dark walls don’t necessarily make the space look smaller. When paired with neutral, light accents (like trim and crown) and pops of colour, the room can still have depth.



Instagramming // February

Did you notice I gave the blog a little face lift?  For those who follow along via email or Reader, check out my blog home page to see the fresh new design (including links to Inspiration for Decor on Facebook and Pinterest).

We are inundated with social media these days.  Everyone is on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc., etc., and if you’re not you might feel you’re totally missing out.  Or maybe not.  Maybe you are spending quality time AWAY from the computer/smartphone/iPad screen. If that’s the case, good on you!  I’m certainly guilty of spending too much time on Pinterest. It is such a source of inspiring ideas and photos!  But I don’t spend time on Twitter. I don’t get it. Am I the only one?

Anyway, I’ve been using Instagram for a long time, but mostly for personal family photos. Like bathtub snapshots and crazy monster faces and sweet sleeping baby moments.  Stuff I don’t really want to put out on the web.  So rather than link to my Instagram account from this blog, I’ll just post some of my interiors-related photos from time to time. You know, to give a little glimpse of what’s going on ’round these parts.
February Instagrams

1/ It’s hard to find a double sink vanity under 60″, this one is nice but probably too modern for the project.

2/ Shopping for toilets – life is glamorous! This one has great lines and fits a tight budget.

3/ Love my new dishes. Now that I have the basics, next up are these pretty bowls.

4/ Freshly painted cabinet for a nursery project. Thank you Paint It Like New!





P.S. This perspective on Instagram made me laugh (language rated R). Make sure to read the Comments too.

A “Designer” Lego Tray

Does anyone else have a coffee table that looks like a Lego set (or ten) exploded all over it?

Messy Coffee Table

(P.S. This mess is just the beginning of a disaster, four more sets were yet to make an appearance)

This was definitely the scene around our house and it was driving me crazy!  Visual clutter gives me high blood pressure. Besides that, I started to worry about how I will keep all these little Lego pieces out of the hands of a baby, who in a few short months will be grabbing at everything and popping it in his mouth.  I debated a few different options, such as a Lego table (like this) or hacking my own version with an edge to prevent pieces falling onto the floor. But our bungalow is small and unfortunately, there was just no space for another play table (we already have this one).


Ack!  We needed a solution, since me, my boys, and insane amounts of Lego will have to co-habitate for years to come. We required a solution that would meet the following criteria:

  • prevent Lego pieces from falling all over the floor
  • be large enough for building on the surface
  • can be whisked out of sight/reach when not in use

Fast forward to Christmas, and my mother-in-law came to the rescue with this genius gift:

Designer Lego Tray

Over sized deep faux-croc tray +  15″x15″ Lego building plate = a “Designer” Lego tray

Stylish way to control overflowing Lego | Inspiration for Decor

Designer Lego Tray

Go ahead, roll your eyes. But let me tell you –this works great!  Not only does it keep the Lego mess contained, but we can easily move the toys from one room to another, or tuck it away under the sofa or our son’s bed. And the kiddo thinks its pretty cool.


Best of all, the Lego building plate can easily be removed and I can use the tray as a chic makeshift bar or serving tray. That is, as long as there is no major Lego City building underway.

DECORATING TIP: Trays are an essential accessory for any room in your house. Trays can be used to pull together an assortment of items for a “collected” look on a coffee table, to hold jewelry/perfume/photos/flowers/keepsakes on a beside or dressing table, for serving food and drinks, to corral magazines and books, and my favourite – to gather papers and junk when company is coming and you need to quickly stash it away.


Images: Dayna McCarthy for Inspiration for Decor

It’s Been Awhile!

Hi folks.  It’s been a while.

I didn’t forget about you.  Life got busy, with big work projects, backyard projects, a pregnancy, and the arrival of a happy healthy little boy.

The good news is I have a little more time on my hands these days (assuming a certain little man take his naps) and I’m taking on a few client projects. So in addition to some upcoming client Before & Afters, I will also be touring you around my home and sharing some of the work we’ve done and what’s in store.

So thanks for sticking around, I’ll be back soon!

Spotted // Chippendale Chairs

Spotted: Chinese Chippendale chairs sitting outside my favourite antique shop.

Four chairs at $60 apiece (prices always negotiable), so I probably could have had the set for $200. I was THIS CLOSE to snapping them up to bring them home for a fresh coat of paint and new seat cushions à la Jonathan Addler–

JA chippendale side chair

Jonathan Addler

The Jonathan Addler chairs retail for $550 each. Versus $60 each for my vintage find.  I’m kinda regretting leaving them there on the sidewalk….


One of a Kind Christmas Show


I hope all my American friends had a great Turkey Day!  Thanks to your holiday yesterday, I was able to take the day off work to visit the One of a Kind Christmas Show. This year I received a Media invitation to a preview breakfast and the show.  Media?!  So cool.


There SO MUCH great stuff to see so in case you are planning on attending I’m going to give you a run-down of my favourites, which I’ve broken down into four overall categories: 1. Canadiana, 2. Textiles, 3. Art, 4. Kid Stuff. If you aren’t in the Toronto area, I’ve provided links to all the artisans websites and/or Etsy shops so be sure to check them out!


All the artisans at the One of a Kind show are Canadians, but some really take their national pride to heart and the result are some unique pieces–identity apparel co.(website)

Identity’s brand is based on the ideals of the Canadian identity. Designed for the sophisticated male, they have an awesome collection of wool pillows, tees, bags, and hats bearing images of the queen, antlers, moose, beavers, geese, etc. If I was decorating a man cave, a few of their plaid wool pillows would be on the top of my list.

nicole tarasick (website and Etsy shop)

Nicole is a graphic designer and screen-printer whose work I first spotted at IDS 2011 (review here).  Her pillows and textiles feature Canadian airport codes and images such as the Great Lakes.  I’ve had my eye on a YYZ pillow for more than a year and I finally got one!

freshly printed (website)

Freshly Printed is a Toronto-based company producing household textiles, with a focus on environmentally conscious materials and production methods.  Their hand drawn then screen-printed products feature nostalgic images of flora, fauna, cottage life, and icons like Canadian geese.  This was just one of several booths who crafted lovely tea towels and napkins, it was hard to walk away empty handed.

vicki carruthers (website)

Vicki’s acrylic works are bright, energetic, and feature idyllic Canadian landscapes. Reminiscent of the Group of Seven, her stylized work drew me in and made me smile


I don’t know if it was just me, but there were a LOT of tea towels this year. I’m not complaining, I love them, but it took a lot of self-control not to buy them all up!

avril loreti – modern home (website)

Taking inspiration from antique market excursions, art and design history, icons and concepts cherished in our collective experience, Avril’s collection features playful patterns, and bright bold colours, perfect for the modern home.  I desperately wanted one of her 72″ graphic table runners but sadly my dining table is a smidge too long.

tissage magély weaving (facebook)

The gorgeous muted colours and timeless stripes of the handwoven blankets made by Tisasage Magély Weaving were a real hit for me.  Made in Drummond, NB., this family run business creates blankets, placemats and tea towels using traditional looms.  For my friends in Ottawa, they will also be at the Originals Ottawa Christmans Craft sale from December 6 to December 16, 2012.

bookhu (website and Etsy shop)

Bookhu has a shopfront on Dundas St. West in Toronto which is filled with multidisciplinary works in wood, ceramics, and textile.  The booth at the show mostly showcased their bags, fold-over clutches, and tea towels, all of natural handmade materials. The designs and colours are just so laid-back chic.

kailey hawthorn (Etsy shop)

Kailey Hawthorn is a super sweet girl hailing from Kitchener. Her colourful and fun booth was packed with pillow, stockings, clocks, and upholstered benches in vibrant, bold, and trendy fabrics.  Kailey sells all her work on Etsy so be sure to check out her affordable home decor items.  What really piqued my interest were the upholstered ottomans and benches (crafted jointly be Kailey and her father) at really reasonable prices.  If I had hadn’t been carrying five bags already I would have left with the black and white hounds tooth ottoman (above, bottom right)!

The show runs from today to December 2nd, so you have ten more days to pop in for a visit. Give yourself at least 3-4 hours to browse the booths of all 800 artisans.  It took me about 3 hours to get through the show and to be honest I skipped almost all of the jewelry, clothing, and food vendors.