One Room Challenge, Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of the One Room Challenge! Last week I shared our den and how the ORC is motivating me to get this room finished in time for the holidays. If my little sugarplums want a place to hang their stockings, then we’re going to need to get our fireplace done by Christmas!

Today I’ll show you a rough layout of the room and talk about some of the challenges I’m facing. I’ll also share a little of my design plan and as I said last week, we’ve already done a fair amount of renovation in our new home so I’m starting with a blank slate but not bare bones.

3D den design

I decided to try out, a free online room design program to create a simple layout of our den. The program itself has some limitations and I got this grand idea at about 9pm on Saturday so I didn’t have the patience to figure it out as much as I probably could. That being said, at least this gives you an idea of what I’m working with in this space.


Our house was built in 1976, which means that we have some interesting elements going on here. For one, this room is a sunken room. Where you see “Stairs,” there are just two steps leading up into the adjoining kitchen. Where it says “railing,” what looks like a wall in the picture is actually completely open to the kitchen and has a railing running from the wall to the stairway. It’s about 12 inch drop from the kitchen floor to the den floor.

Side note: A lot of houses in our neighborhood have sunken living rooms and ours happens to have TWO. We have the sunken den AND a sunken living room when you enter the house. Some of our neighbors have opted to raise the sunken rooms to be level with the rest of the house, but this also entails adjusting the height of windows, and our budget was allocated elsewhere so we avoided making structural changes that would impact the exterior as well.

The other awesome aspect of 70s design is a complete and total disregard for symmetry. My New England roots really have a hard time wrapping my brain around this, but I’m doing my best to tolerate appreciate it. The asymmetrical design is the explanation for two windows pushed to either end of the wall and not evenly spaced. It is also to blame for the (currently nonexistent) fireplace that is not remotely centered along that wall and instead hugging the sliding door.

So what’s the plan…

den design plan

Our fireplace is going to get a big time makeover and I’m so excited! After staring at a cement hole in the wall for nine months, I’m more than ready. We’re doing a slim stacked stone similar to the pic above. Our fireplace is a lot smaller so it won’t be quite as dramatic, but the smaller-sized stacked stone gives us a stone option that doesn’t look too bulky for the space.

The cabinet will sit next to the fireplace and because of its height, I’m hoping it will help relieve some of the lopsided feeling of this wall by filling the empty space more evenly than our current media cabinet. I also like that it has room for the media components but also room to display some more decorative items so your eye isn’t immediately drawn to the cable box.

I’m really liking the striped drapes to help soften the windows and bridge the space a little. I’m thinking maybe a small gallery wall between the two windows. The color looks similar to the damask-pattern on the curtains in our dining room at the other end of the living area so I’m ordering now and crossing my fingers.

The rug is a maybe, but it’s a lot more of a light gray in person so I think it might work with the striped drapes. We’ll see. Other plans are still in the works and I’m really excited to see it come together. I hope you’ll stick around to see the finished product!

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