Category Archives: design

Around the House // Nursery Reveal

Baby #2 arrived just over a year ago and this post has been sitting in draft for almost as long. I really have no good reason why, so I better get this published before he develops his own sense of style and pleads with me to redecorate.

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal |Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

The little man arrived almost two weeks early, at which point the crib was half painted, the room was full of junk, the walls were a light blue with lots of holes, and I had just barely moved my office from this room to the basement.

With help from my husband, my mother-in-law, and a professional wallpaper hanger, we pulled this room together within a week or two after bringing baby home.  And by “we” I mean the lovely people I just mentioned.  I’m pretty sure I sat around with baby latched on and just gave directions.

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

From the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew I wanted to use wallpaper in the baby’s room. Wallpaper has made an amazing comeback in recent years and there are SO MANY gorgeous papers now. This whimsical Julia Rothman Daydream wallpaper from Hygge & West was pretty much a front runner from the beginning, it was just a matter of deciding on the colorway.

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

I re-used the crib and dresser/changer from our first son’s nursery (see it here), but because I wasn’t feeling the original chestnut stain any longer I decided to paint the set in a soft gray.  Side note: I really wish I hadn’t bought a set (too matchy-matchy) and a changer really isn’t necessary – a dresser with change pad would have sufficed. Anyway.

This bedroom is incredibly tiny (about 8′x 9′) so it’s very hard to photograph!  Luckily, at this point in time the size is totally workable: crib (mini), dresser, glider, small side table, bookshelf, and the room is full.  It will be a good exercise in space planning and organization once he moves into a big bed, since the layout of the room will only allow for one placement for a twin bed (along the wallpapered wall) and maybe room for a bedside table and a dresser and not much else.

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

I custom colour-matched the walls to the darkest tone of the wallpaper.  The lady at my local Sherwin WIlliams store clearly thought I was out to lunch when I told her this dark moody gray paint was for a baby nursery but I’m glad I followed my gut and went with the dark colour. Inspired by these rooms, I knew it was possible to pull off, even for a little one. Since the bedroom is flooded with soft natural light from a large west-facing window, the dark walls are not overwhelming. I actually really like the contrast between the walls and the crisp white trim, window, ceiling, and simple light fixture.

Want to see the BEFORE?



And the AFTER:

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors

I hope this guy will be happy in this room for a long while.  Or at least until I get the decorating itch again =)

Nursery reveal | Inspiration for Decor by Dayna McCarthy Interiors


Spotted // Boho peacock headboard

There is a thrift store across the plaza from where we get our dog groomed and for the last two years I’ve been meaning to pop in.  I finally got around to it this month and oh boy did I score!

Peacock headboard, vintage find | Dayna McCarthy Interiors

$5 people.  That is a real score.

This style of head board is often referred to as a Peacock head board, in all its wicker glory.  So bohemian.  A fine vintage specimen and at that price I could not leave it for a second.  I rushed up to the counter and asked the sweet old lady to hold it for me while I ran home to get my wallet (she really didn’t understand my excitement).  Clearly they weren’t aware of how much these retail for!

Serena & Lily, $495Serena & Lily, $495

I think the natural wicker look is beautiful and combined with modern block print fabrics. They are also very cute sprayed in a bright cheerful colour. Or classic white. So many possibilities.

Growing up, I actually had a wicker head board (similar to the white one above).  I used to snap the scrolls off while laying in bed! Ha. I never would have guessed I’d be so happy to see one again.

I’m so eager to design a little girl’s room using the vintage head board I found. Contact me if you’re interested!



Instagramming // For Real This Time

inspirationfordecor on Instagram

I have about 5 posts in draft and lots of ideas swimming in my head.  But it’s SUMMER and its hard to spend time in front of the computer screen, you know?!  So hold tight, I do have some meatier posts coming up.

In the meantime, join me on Instagram (@inspirationfordecor) for daily doses of INSPIRATION…


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.


Downton Abbey and English Sofas

So we hopped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon….and admittedly enjoyed the ride!  We just finished viewing Season 2 and can’t wait for the next season to start. I don’t know about you but I can’t tolerate watching TV series on TV anymore. Who wants to suffer through commercials and have to wait another week for further developments in the storyline?  Nope, not us!  We’re all about downloading/NetFlix in this household.  There is nothing better than settling in on a Friday night to watch 2-3 episodes back-to-back. Or maybe more like 3-4, or 5…

One more ramble before I move on. Is it just me or are there so many parallels between Downton Abbey and Gone With the Wind?  I mean, Come on! After almost every episode I drew comparisons. <Update> I decided to Google it and ha! I am not crazy. If you’re interested, you can read comparisons here, here, and here.

Anyway, to the point of today’s post – the English roll arm sofa.

Lee Industries


Ever since I spied this style sofa in the homes of Director Sofia Coppola and Designer Lauren Liess, I have grown increasingly fond of this sofa.

House & Garden and Pure Style Home

The tight back is awesome for a family with a toddler and dog (both of whom perpetually squish our current sofa cushions), it’s deep and can accommodate lots of throw cushions, and the low arms are perfect for napping.

Jenna Lyons via Domino and Ann Mashburn via Atlanta Homes

Now I’d LOVE to be daring enough to upholster one of these sofas in periwinkle, mossy green, sunny yellow, or hot pink, but when I do take the plunge I really can’t justify spending the big bucks on a colour I may tire of in a year.  So I will probably go with a durable charcoal grey cotton velvet, similar to this (but punch it up with some colourful pillows):

Hazardous Design

I am 95% certain I will purchase an English roll arm sofa from Lee Industries but the 5% of uncertainty comes from the size of our entryway door frame. The widest part of the sofa is 34″ and our doorway is 32″. After many diagrams and calculations, my better half has concluded he is “fairly certain” the sofa can make it into the house.  Is “fairly certain” enough to take the leap and order a custom sofa?

Abigail Ahern

Kristen Marie Photography via Apartment Therapy

While I sit on the fence, I’ve been waiting to see an English roll arm sofa on Downton Abbey. And pouring over photos on the web, praying that our home can one day be graced by one of these lovely sofas.

Lonng Mag

Who thinks I should take the plunge?


Ochre’s Arctic Pear

OCHRE is a British based furniture, lighting, and accessory design company and they have the light I NEED.


The dining area in our new home is just begging for this lovely “Arctic Pear” chandelier.

via Pinterest and Elle Decor

via Elle Decor

I want to channel the look of Keri Russell’s laid-back but chic home but dang, the OCHRE  Arctic Pear is expensive! In the Toronto area, I sourced the OCHRE light at South Hill Home (for many, many more pennies than I have to spend), or I could get this Robert Abbey crystal drop fixture from Universal Lighting:

An excellent alternative I think.  Should I go for it?

Colour Matching – Chip It!

Have you ever stood in your local hardware or paint store with a zillion paint chips in your hand and been completely overwhelmed with the options?  Ever wish you could simply replicate a colour palette you had seen in a magazine, but you could only source the colour of the walls?  I know I have.

So I was very excited when I discovered this really cool online tool called Chip It!  This tool allows you to take any image on the internet and colour match it with Sherwin Williams collection of 1,500+ paint colours. It’s as simple as dragging the Chip It! button onto your browser tool bar, then dropping it over an image you love.  Two seconds later you have the Sherwin Williams paint matches.  Sounds interesting, right?

So here’s a photo I love from Canadian House and Home:

Gorgeous spring colours, right?  But what are those colours?  Hmmm…

I drag the Chip It! button over the image and I get this:

Awesome!  Let’s do it again with one of my own photos (our bedroom):

Drumroll please….


So here’s the thing – it is an online tool and there are only 1,500 SW colour matches so you may not get the absolute perfect match. In our bedroom, the duvet cover is really a mustard yellow and not exactly the muddy tan “Tea Chest”.  BUT I still like what the tool suggests, the palette is pleasing, and now I’m thinking that I should bring in a bit of a natural tone/texture into the bedroom to give it more of an organic feel.  See how useful this simple tool is?!

Check it out for yourself HERE – have fun!

all I want for Christmas…

Dear Santa,

If you happen to swing the ol’ sled by Indigo on your way over on Chistmas Eve, I would really really appreciate any of the following books, chock full of inspiration. To make your job even easier, you can simply click on each of the images below to purchase online.

I have been a very good girl this year.


tips for a functional kitchen

When designing a kitchen, good space planning and a functional layout are imperative.  Of course, aesthetics should always be top of mind but next is functionality.  For those who know me, you know that I am a practical person and I really appreciate functional things.  So kitchens really pique my interest.

Today I had the pleasure of spending 6 hours in a kitchen showroom.  I know – this may sound like a nightmare to some – but I enjoyed every second of it.  What’s not to love about surrounding yourself with gorgeous kitchens, whether they be modern, traditional, or transitional?  When you are looking at fine craftsmanship and beautiful and functional layouts, it is easy to imagine yourself working in such a kitchen.

The kitchen above is a prime example of an aesthetically pleasing and functional L-shaped kitchen. And although there are many lovely facets of this space, what I really want to show you is how they dealt with the corner because it really demonstrates how a potentially awkward corner can be made oh-so-functional if the kitchen is well designed:

Exhibit A (above) – Initial thoughts: upper cabinets extend vertically right down to counter and horizontally to the far wall.  There are two doors….hmmm….hello door in face.  And below the counter it looks like we have a great big corner cupboard. Sigh.

But wait! There is hope:

Exhibit B (above) – a bi-fold door disguised as two regular cupboards!  Now you can easily reach all the way in to access dinnerware and you don’t get smacked in the face. Ingenious.

Exhibit C (above) – Le Mans trays which allow you to easily access and use that corner space effectively. Solutions like this make me happy!

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with more details on how you can make a kitchen more functional. I’ll keep those tidbits to myself and my future fabulous kitchen (or yours, if you want me to help design it).

If you are here just to see pretty things, let me suggest you take a look at the Paris Kitchens website (the lovely establishment I visited today), visit my ‘kitchens to covet‘ over on Pinterest, or check out some of these older posts:


(images: d.simpson @ Paris Kitchens)