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One Room Challenge - Week One: Den/Study Design Dilemma

Just yesterday I was scrolling through Instagram watching a couple of stories from some designers I recently started following. They kept mentioning something they were participating in called the One Room Challenge. Intrigued, I looked it up and found this very cool challenge now in its 14th year for designers and home improvement folks of all levels. If you are not familiar with the ORC, it’s a six week challenge that happens twice a year in the fall and spring. Twenty designers along with a couple hundred guest participants choose a room in their home to remodel and document the process each week. As it turns out, the deadline to register for the Fall 2018 challenge was October 3rd. That was yesterday. Throwing caution to the wind and forgetting about all of the other projects we have going on, I signed up at 9:40pm (nothing like waiting until the last minute) and decided to join as a Guest Participant. Wish me luck. ;-)

Truth be told, there are a few reasons that I felt like this would be the perfect challenge for me at this particular time:

  • First, I work far better under pressure and when I’m held accountable. While I’m extremely organized and OCD at times, I always have and always will produce better when there are expectations attached from someone other than myself.

  • Secondly, I’ve been trying to resuscitate my attempt at actually writing blog posts again. I started strong two years ago but they take a lot of time that I don’t always have when I’m physically working on one of my renovation projects full-time. As I look to tweak the way I do business moving forward, my goal is to share in greater detail the work that goes into our renovations. Since this challenge requires guest participants to post a weekly post for six weeks, I’ll have some accountability to get me back on track.

  • And last but not least, I really, like really, want to finish my own house sometime this year~ish! Purchased at the end of May 2017 as a total gut job, I gradually started renovating my new home last summer. Once all of the biggies were completed (demo, structural, new electrical/plumbing/HVAC, and roof) and what I call the 'living essentials' were ready (working heat/air, floors refinished, one working bathroom, and a refrigerator) I went ahead and moved in that December. Since then I have very slowly been finishing up each room as I have time. Unfortunately, I keep making excuses for not getting the job done.

Which brings me to today, October 4, 2018. It’s time….and this type of challenge is just what I need to get me excited about completing an entire room in my home, the Den/Study. I call it that because truthfully, I'm not exactly sure what this room's function will be. Located right in the middle of the house, it originally was a bedroom that had been modified over the years to include an added closet and closing up an original closet and fireplace.

The challenge with this configuration was that you had to go through the bedroom in order to access the back porch (now a screened in porch) and to get to the only bathroom in the house (now the kitchen/dining room). Below shows each wall of this space noting what it used to be and what is is now. Now that the function of this room has changed, the flow is so much better!

As I mentioned earlier, all of the demo and reconstruction for the house has already been completed. Below are a few pictures to walk you through the transformation. First we tore out the closet addition, marked where the new door to the bathroom would be located, and enlarged the opening into the new kitchen.

Next, we installed stairs into the attic. There's a huge attic space that could easily be converted to a bedroom and bathroom in the future. So in an effort to think ahead, we had stairs installed.

From there, we uncovered the hidden closet, added a new entrance to the guest bathroom under the stairs, are reinstating the fireplace (sort of), and created new entrances to the master suite and soon-to-be screened in porch.

Which brings me to this for the One Room Challenge.....

As I type this I'm currently out of town and these are the latest pictures I have of the space (of course!). I'll be sure to add a more recent picture next week to show that all of the trim has been installed, walls primed, the floors have been refinished, and the new linen closet doors have been installed. The design dilemma is that I'm not 100% sure what the function of this room will be. It's essentially the gateway to all of the other rooms and central for entertaining. I'm envisioning a cozy den/study but other than purchasing a cool blue velvet couch, I don't really have any other design plans. This should be fun. But this much should be true....this challenge is going to take me to the finish line - hopefully - and I'm really excited to join in on the fun. Hope you'll join me for the next six weeks to see the transformation and be sure to check out all of this fall's participants in the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge!

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