One Room Challenge Week Three: Slow and Steady Progress

We’re another week in to the Fall One Room Challenge and since last week’s update a LOT has happened! And yet, nothing has been finished.

ORC-Guest-400x218.png

We are very much in the messy middle of this project and if I’m being honest, it feels a little frustrating to not be able to check anything off our list. Our cabinet doors arrived and they are so pretty! But they’re still not painted or attached to the cabinet. We took our ugly fluorescent light down and our new fixture arrived! But it’s not installed yet so we just have wires hanging from the ceiling. We’ve started the window and door trim and I’m loving the new look! But we still need a couple final pieces of trim to complete each one. So many things are in progress and nothing is fully complete, but it feels like we’re nearly to the top of a steep hill and once we get there, we can roll down and everything will pick up speed.

The thing we really need to do in order to reach that hill top is finish all the planking. So much is waiting on that: installing the ceiling fixture, crown molding, window and door trim, baseboards, painting, etc. The planking needs to be done first before we can tackle anything else.

The reason this step is taking so long is because we’re covering all the walls and the ceiling and there’s a lot of measuring and troubleshooting involved. None of our walls are square, we have a bay window, and there are so many tricky little cuts involved.

Just look at the photo below. Between the three windows + trim and the bay window + all the angles on the wall and ceiling, you can see its a lot of precise measuring and cutting with each board used. We’re cutting out notches, figuring out angles, finagling wonky corners – it’s a time-consuming, meticulous process.

It’s also not really a one-person process. The walls are one thing, but the ceiling is absolutely a two person job. We’re using 12 foot planks and there’s just no way for one person to be able to hold the plank in place and nail everything at the same time. So I not only need Justin to be home to keep making progress, but we need our kids to be napping or have someone else watch them in order to work. Needless to say, we’re working with small, inconsistent windows of time to get things done.

This weekend, LJ is going to visit my parents so we’ll have some extra time when Vi’s napping to hopefully finish out the rest of this planking. From there, progress is really going to pick up so I have a feeling that next week’s check-in is going to be full of finished updates! I can’t wait!

Make sure to stop by the One Room Challenge blog to check out all the other projects in progress!

Fall 2020 One Room Challenge Week One: My Dreamy Office Plans!

I am so excited for another round of the One Room Challenge!

ORC-Guest-400white.jpg

After tackling our basement kitchen renovation in the spring challenge, I was inspired to choose another space to renovate for the fall challenge. If you’ve been following me on Instagram lately, you know I’ve chosen to renovate our home office and make it the dreamy office + library of my dreams.

Here’s where we started at the beginning of this challenge:

One Room Challenge Home Office Renovation

When we first moved in, this was one of the rooms I was most excited about. From the first moment I saw it, I knew that this could be a special room. First of all, I think the French doors (which aren’t really pictured but you can see a bit of them in the first image) set the stage for a dramatic space. My heart was immediately invested in the idea of built-in storage along the far wall and I could picture this being a warm and cozy space to work on a computer or relax and curl up with a good book. Unfortunately, this room was not high on our priority list so for the first year (yes, year!) of living here it looked more or less like this:

I joked that this was our “Room of Requirement” (Harry Potter anyone?) because it had all the unpacked boxes from our move. All the extra stuff that we didn’t need yet was stored here and whenever I needed to find something random, this was usually where I found it. It was a hot mess of a room and didn’t get fully unpacked until July (14 months after moving in). Throughout that time it rarely ever got used as an office – I would typically just work in the less-cluttered kitchen – but it did sometimes double up as an overflow guest room. The picture below shows how last fall, my in-laws stayed in here because our guest room was mid-renovation AND a couch from our living room had to get moved in as well because of our Christmas tree in the living room. All our boxes were shoved either behind the couch or under the desk on the left side of the room. Suffice to say, this room has been a workhorse for us.

Now that we’ve tackled a few of the more pressing needs in our house, it felt like the right time to address this room and I can barely contain my excitement! My goal to create storage with the built-in cabinets + bookcases while still allowing plenty of room for a desk and office chair. I’m also hoping to create a cozy reading space tucked in the bay window area.

The Plans

This is the largest-scale DIY room renovation that Justin and I have ever tackled on our own. Justin was admittedly nervous that my plans would be too difficult to actually implement ourselves (in all fairness, I do tend to make things sound like they’ll be easier to do than they actually are haha) but so far we’re cautiously optimistic about completing this project! Our to-do list includes:

-remove all existing beadboard

-DIY built-in storage along the back wall with closed cabinets on the bottom and open bookshelves on top

-install vertical planks from floor to ceiling on all walls (and hopefully the ceiling too!)

-replace window and door trim

-replace baseboards

-add crown molding

-PAINT!

-replace light fixture (that fluorescent one has got to GO)

-finishing touches: curtains, cozy seating, all the fun stuff!

We’ve already ripped out all the beadboard and the built-ins are underway! If you follow me on Instagram (@simplifythechaos) you can see all the progress there. We just finished all the trimming out and plan to fill all the nail holes this week. I’ll share all the details on the DIY built-ins next Thursday! For now I’ll leave you with this little sneak peek:

I’m SO excited to transform this space into the office + library of my dreams. Check back here on Thursdays to watch the progress unfold! 🙂 In the meantime, you can check out all the other ORC participants and their chosen rooms here.

One Room Challenge Week One: The Plan for the Basement Kitchen

The One Room Challenge (ORC) is a bi-annual challenge where twenty featured designers choose a room in their house to focus on renovating and finishing in a six week timeline. Because of the pandemic, this year’s challenge got postponed to May and the timeline is extended to eight weeks. The ORC always encourages guest participants to join in and I have decided to participate this time around!

ORC-Guest-400white.jpg

I love that this is not a competition, but a way for everyone from top interior designers to little amateur DIYers like myself to inspire and encourage one another as they work to transform a space in a focused amount of time. I’m excited to join in and work on renovating . . .

20200313_092717

. . . our basement kitchen!

The Space

We love to entertain and host events, so this basement space was a huge selling point for Justin and I when we bought the house last year. The basement level is mostly comprised of a large, open-concept living space and this kitchen, although it does also have our guest bedroom + bathroom. There is potential for this level to be its own living quarters as an in-law suite or space for an adult child living at home, but for the foreseeable future we will use it as a gathering space for hosting friends and family. To the right of the kitchen is a door leading directly to our patio and pond, so it is definitely going to get a lot of use, especially in the summertime.

Truthfully, there are a lot of things I would love to change about this kitchen. The half wall + ledge along the refrigerator side of the kitchen isn’t ideal but it has to be there because it is part of the house foundation (that side of the house is built into a hill, while the other sides are not). I have a several ideas for larger projects that would make this space more functional and visually appealing and would love to completely re-work the layout, replace the tile, upgrade the appliances, the whole shebang. Since this not our primary kitchen though, I just cannot justify allocating a substantial budget to remodeling the space. It doesn’t make sense to pour a ton of money into a full remodel when there are many other rooms in the house that I want to address that we’ll use more often.

That being said, since this will be a major entertaining space, I don’t want it to feel dated. I want it to feel cozy and welcoming for our guests. I want it to feel like a reflection of us and fit in with the rest of our home. I want to freshen it up and make it shine, I just don’t want to spend a fortune doing that.

So I’m putting my own little spin on the ORC and issuing myself this challenge: incorporate budget-friendly cosmetic upgrades and DIY changes that are high impact but low cost.

The Plan

Flooring: I actually have already worked on the flooring and upgraded our boring tan tiles using the power of paint! I used a Rustoleum system that required 7 days to fully cure, and I wanted to get that out of the way before I started working in the kitchen so I completed this last week and the floors finished curing yesterday. I plan to write up a blog post on the process I used so look for that next week, but in the meantime, here’s a peek at the new floors:

IMG_1049

Cabinets: The cabinets are in good shape, but I don’t love the wood tones. My plan is to give them a dramatic face lift by painting them a dark, moody color and upgrading the hardware on them.

IMG_1016

I also want to make the space feel larger by removing the awkward single upper cabinet to the left of the sink and replacing it with artwork or possibly a small floating shelf.

IMG_1025

Walls: That burnt orange needs to go!

Countertops: This is the item that is the most up in the air. I really dislike the counter tops, but my options for upgrading are limited with my budget. I may try a simple upgrade like painting them, or I may go for a DIY counter top option using butcherblock or even concrete. Or perhaps I’ll just learn to deal with them as is. I need to wait and see how the rest of the kitchen comes together before making a decision about them, but I would really like to do something.

Remove trim around the half wall: The half wall + ledge extends through the whole length of the side of the basement, and while there’s nothing I can do about its existence, I can make it look a little more modern by ripping off the decorative trim on either side of the ledge and creating a cleaner, more streamlined overall look.  I’ve already removed it from the living area ( wrote a blog post here about the process) and I plan to follow the same steps in the kitchen.

IMG_1004

Replace window trim: I want to change the look of the windows with a chunkier trim to match what we did in the guest bedroom and plan to enlist Justin’s help with this. 😉

Finishing touches: Different barstools, some artwork, maybe a patterned runner . . . just a few little touches that finish off the space and make it feel complete and not like an afterthought kitchen.

20200313_082145

The Challenges

Two big challenges with this project: the budget and the fact that I’m a stay at home mom to a 2.5 year old and an 8 month old. My goal is to spend $1500 or less on this entire project. That feels like a lot but is actually not much $ for a kitchen renovation. I really believe I can make a big impact on this space without blowing a ton of money! I think this will also challenge me to learn to love the space we have – it’s not going to be a brand new, shiny kitchen that was gutted to the studs and replaced with the best of the best, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a great space when I’m done!

The fact that I’m going to attempt to do this as a stay-at-home mama to two very small children is no small thing. My kids are both in pretty needy stages of life, and they are definitely not at a stage where I can leave them unattended for more than a few minutes. The current pandemic means I don’t have the option to have my babysitter come over or swap childcare with a friend. This makes it tricky to get things done, but not impossible. I have built up confidence over the last few small projects I’ve tackled (our DIY date night, our basement updates, the height wall in the garage, this dresser makeover, the secret nook under the stairs, the scalloped accent wall in Vi’s room, the painted tile floors in this very kitchen) to feel like I’m ready to take on a bigger scale project with my kids at home. I know that I can get things accomplished in the small windows of time throughout the day, particularly if I utilize time well during nap time and after bedtime. I just need to stay flexible and keep my expectations managed: there will be days I can’t make a dual nap happen or someone wakes up early or is feeling sick and needs extra snuggles, etc. so I will just need to roll with the punches and know there will be days where I don’t accomplish much in the kitchen.

20200313_092749

I’m really excited for this project and hope you’ll follow along with the transformation over the next eight weeks! And you can also see the other participants and their rooms by checking out the One Room Challenge blog. I think this will be fun!