One Room Challenge: Week One

The One Room Challenge is a 6 week design challenge held twice a year in October and April. It features 20 designers who will document their transformation of a single room over six weeks. Anyone with a instagram or blog is invited to join the community and share their own one room transformation journey.

I need that push. So here I am.

I feel very under prepared for this challenge. I think everyone says that in the beginning of a challenge, but I’ve been following many designers over the years and some people have their room picked for the next challenge before the current room is done. Some people have been working on their design FOR MONTHS. Meanwhile, I’ve changed my mind 3 different times on which room I want to tackle. Then I had 20 different ideas for each room. Then the deadline was breathing down my neck, so I panicked, and picked what I thought would be the easiest on the budget. A room that would help me learn without being completely overwhelmed by the bigger ideas that are rattling in my head. A room that I would use a lot this winter. Drum roll please:

Our Master Bedroom!

It’s been 3 years in this house and I still haven’t hung anything on those walls.

Sad trombone. Before pictures are always sad trombones.

Side bar: Last winter we renovated our Master Bath. Mainly out of necessity because the tub/shower leaked. It became a “renovation creep” or a “if you give a girl a hammer” kind of situation. The kind of situation where if I have to replace the shower/tub I might as well change out the floors that I hate. Oh and the vanity was always so small, so I’ll replace that too. The lights and mirror need to match all these updates, naturally. And I’m painting all the walls. Now we have a small, but gorgeous Master Bath (which I will share more of in another post). Now do you see how it makes even more sense that renovation creep is going to creep to the adjoining room and hit our Master Bedroom? It won’t be a true renovation, I’m not knocking down any walls or even changing the floors (they are original to the house!). But the high designed bath needs a nicely designed bedroom attached to it. Right?

I have a list of goals for the room:

1.Solve the problem of the window

I look at this wall and just wonder “Why? Why? Why? Why design a house and put the window there?” I guess they imagined the room being laid out as we have it now – but even so – one could have centered the window? Could they not? It would look so much nicer. But I have a plan and I’m really hopeful it’ll look fabulous.

The other window butts up against the bathroom wall. I’ve been unsure how to dress this window. Curtains tight to the wall? Skip curtains use a different blind? Roman shade? Why is this even a problem?!? Who did this? I suspect that this was a previous renovation trying to steal inches from the bedroom for the bathroom. They stole a couple more inches from my daughter’s room, where her window also butts against a wall.

2. Rearrange the room

The current arrangement is what makes the most sense for the room as it is now. However if I can solve the window problem then I’d like to move the bed and have a more functional flow.

3. Makeover the dressers

Just ignore the pile of pictures in the right corner and The Great British Bake Off on the TV

The small dresser was handed down from my parents. It was in their parents home and probably is as old as our old house. However it needs some love. A new finish and new hardware.

Check out that makeshift drawer, super chic.

The larger dresser I bought from The ReStore. It is the perfect length for under the tv/mural wall. It had a broken drawer, that I had every intention of fixing. I might still fix it. I might turn the bottom drawer into a proper cubby. You’ll have to come back to see what I do. This dresser will also need some love with a new finish and new hardware. But I really believe it’s a diamond-in-the-ruff of a dresser, I love it’s heft and curves.

4. Upgrade the matress

Not really design related. We need a new mattress desperately. We bought the one we are sleeping on only 6 years ago, but about 3 years ago we knew it was a dud. Okay. I knew it was a dud the day we bought it. It was so cheap and poorly made. We had just moved cross-country and were waiting on our belongings in a very empty apartment. We were sharing an air mattress with a 3-year-old. It was rough. So we were desperate for a mattress, any mattress, that could be delivered that day to our apartment. It wasn’t a smart choice, it was a desperate one. So this month we’re going to commit to a nice new one. For our nice new room.

5. Makeover the fan/light fixtures and add more lights

This fan isn’t bad, but I have a great idea for making it look a little more modern. I’ll also be adding some sconces and just unifying the light design in the room. I loved light design in college as a theater major, and I still geek out about it when I go to the theater. Strangely I have yet to delve into the light design of my personal space. Probably because I swoon over big windows and natural light in homes. However my house is old and naturally dark, so if I really want to start elevating my home design, I need to learn about light design in the home. I’m excited to grow.

My unique challenge is this vanity.

My design preference is minimalist and modern. However I have this vanity. I’ve been in love with it since I was five, when I would play pretend games of princess and talk to myself in the mirror. It was in a spare room in my grandmother’s house. The story is an elderly neighbor gave it to my great grandmother and it’s been in the family since. When my grandmother downsized her house, my mother and I fought over the vanity. We both wanted it and compromised by saying she had ownership, but it lived in my childhood bedroom. When my parents downsized and retired to the northwest, my mother offered it to me and I had to say yes. Despite it not fitting with my modern style, I’m still obsessed with it. It’s cracked, has multiple jerry-rigged fixes from over it’s 100 years, and the mirror isn’t functional for applying makeup because of the aging of the glass, but I’m up for the challenge to make it look like it belongs in my home.

Things that won’t change:

  • the wall color. I painted it a year or two ago and I think it’ll work with the new design
  • the carpet. Honestly I don’t love it, but it’s fine, and the budget won’t allow a new one.
  • the bed. I actually would love to build a new bed, however I don’t think I can fit that kind of project into these 6 weeks. October is already looking to be a busy month. Halloween is coming.

This is all going to have to change. But it was a nice view while it lasted.

The tv/gallery wall featuring The Great British Bake Off.

Here’s to the first of many One Room Challenges!


  1. Fellow victim of “renovation creep” myself! I did my Master bathroom over the summer, but it was in preparation for my Master Bedroom for this fall’s ORC. Looking forward to watching you transform yours as well. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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