One Room Challenge Week 3 – Paint & Progress

It’s the third week of the One Room Challenge from Calling It Home, and I’m making good strides updating my 9 year old daughter’s bedroom. We chose a fun shade of aqua paint for the walls. I ordered curtains and bedding. (Fingers crossed that both work well.) I’m on the hunt for wall decor and considering some DIY options. The big task going forward is finding the right setup for the closet.

Paint Color

I shared the before pictures of my daughter’s room in week one, and you can see a sneak peek of the two paint samples we picked for the wall color. I swear the two colors really looked different on paper, but on the walls you can see they are pretty much identical. Once my daughter made the not-very-difficult decision, I got right to work.

During this round of the One Room Challenge, I'm updating my daughter's bedroom with a slightly more grown-up design.

The paint color is Clear Aqua from Behr. It was just a little brighter than I expected once the walls were finished, but my daughter loves it. Also despite the single-coat guarantee on the paint can, because the pink was so bold, it took two full coats. What a difference!

A fun aqua paint color makes a real difference in this girl's bedroom update.

The existing bedding actually goes pretty well with the new paint color, but as I said in my week one post, my daughter wants the room to feel a little more grown up. We’re both really excited to get rid of the pink curtains.

Window Treatments

I’ve been searching all over for light colored blackout drapes. I finally found these geometric print panels at that are gray on white instead of white on gray. My only concern is that the bedding arrived and the print is pretty busy. I’m a little nervous that the patterns won’t work well together.

Light colored geometric print blackout curtains.

We’re working on the closet this week so I’m hopeful that I’ll have more of a progress report soon. I’ve been researching DIY options, as well as professional installation.


Paint Walls

Find window treatment

Buy bedding

Plan & install closet system

Wall decor/art

Find bookcase

Be sure to check out the other ORC guest participants here!

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One Room Challenge Week 2 – Girl’s Bedroom Design

One Room Challenge girl's bedroom redesign.

It’s the second week of the One Room Challenge. I’m working on an updated girl’s bedroom design for my nine year old daughter.

My goal is a slightly more grown up style infused with plenty of fun because I don’t want her growing up too fast! I’m also planning some new storage systems to help keep her room organized.

You can check out all the before pictures in this post.

Ideas to update a girl's bedroom.

The existing furniture is working well for the most part. As far as the bed, dresser and desk go, we’re in good shape.

She currently has two small Ikea shelving units that store books and toys. I’d like to exchange these for a larger unit for her books and incorporate toy storage into the closet system.

I’m on the hunt for new bedding and window treatments. I’ve been on the lookout for wall decor too. The to-do list is long, but apart from the closet and painting the walls, it’s not too labor-intensive.


Fun inspiration for a girl's bedroom design.

Hobby Lobby

Project to-do list

Paint Walls

Find window treatment

Buy bedding

Plan & install closet system

Wall decor/art

Find bookcase

Be sure to take a look at some of the other ORC guest participants here!

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Patio Plans

January marked two years since we moved into our house! I can’t believe it’s already been that long. We had a lot of work done before we moved in, and one of the areas that we focused on was our back yard. The yard was fine, but felt very compact without a lot of open space. We gutted the yard apart from three trees and started from scratch. One of our goals is to finish the patio area so it’s fully functional by this summer.

Our yard has been updated quite a bit and now we're focusing on the patio.

Looking into the yard from the kitchen door, you can see how little open grass there was. The retaining walls were a good 7-8 feet from the fence line and even more in some places. This raised wooden deck had seen better days. Although the tree with the circular bench was pretty, with two young kids, our priority was to have an open space where we can run and play.

Our yard has been updated quite a bit and now we're focusing on the patio.

This is the best picture I could find that looks from the yard back to the house. We liked the large patio area, but both the wooden deck and concrete had a lot of wear and tear. Fortunately we had a friend who helped us get a good deal on pavers and stone. We ripped all of this out and pushed the retaining walls way back to allow for more open grassy space.

Our yard has been updated quite a bit and now we're focusing on the patio.

We replaced the chain link fence along the back with a wooden fence since we face a dog park. The wooden fence provides a lot more privacy. It’s crazy to look at these photos and see how much our little ficus trees have grown, and how much the ground cover has filled in above the retaining wall.

Our yard has been updated quite a bit and now we're focusing on the patio.

The retaining wall follows a slope towards this side of the yard and bows out so we could keep the tree in the corner, the only one that actually changes color! You can see how much more open everything is now that we cleared out a lot of the overgrown beds and foliage.

Our yard has been updated quite a bit and now we're focusing on the patio.

The only picture I could find facing the house is from when it was being painted, but you can see the way we leveled out the patio and added stairs to accommodate the entrance to the kitchen. The door on the right opens into our den, which you can see here.

So what’s next?? We feel pretty good about the landscaping as it stands now. We added a little seating area in front of the door on the right with a love seat, two club chairs, and a coffee table. I’d love to show you, but we have all our outdoor furniture covered to protect it from the monsoon season we’ve been having here in southern California the past couple months. I’d like to replace our dining set with a slightly larger arrangement that can fit at least six people. We’re also looking into building some sort of pergola over the seating area.

I would love a scaled-down version of Rachel’s covered seating area at Maison de Pax. We would do wooden posts instead of stone columns, and a smaller size overall.

Beautiful yard inspiration.

I’ll be posting more as we move forward on this project. I’m excited to finish up this space so we can do a lot more outdoor entertaining this summer!

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One Room Challenge Week Five – The Living Room

I can’t believe it’s week five of the One Room Challenge with Calling It Home! I’m making good progress, but I’m going to have to bust a serious move in the next week. Considering I’m posting about week five a day late, there’s a good chance I won’t be at 100% by next Thursday, but it’s looking good anyway. This week I tackled the biggest DIY project – taking basic Ikea shelving and creating the illusion of a built-in bookcase.

Take a basic Billy bookcase from Ikea and turn it into a DIY built-in bookcase.

How to fake the look of built-in bookcases

The standard Billy is very basic in terms of design, and I want a little more visual appeal. I assembled three of the short Billy bookcases from Ikea. Then I bumped the center bookcase forward 3 inches to create the effect of built-in bookcases. Using 3/4″ MDF, I added topped all three bookcases to disguise the gap behind the bumped-out bookcase. The MDF was 11 1/2″ deep on the two end bookcases. The center piece was 14 1/4″ since the trim adds about 1/2″ to the overall depth.

Transform basic Ikea bookcases into built-ins.

Finally, I added trim to the front, following this general plan from I Heart Organizing. I used a miter box to cut trim pieces from some leftover chair rail that we had. Then I nailed everything on with a hammer and sunk the nails with a nail-set.

Transform basic Ikea bookcases into built-ins.

I caulked all the nooks and crannies, and painted the MDF and trim with a bright white to match the bookcases. This project would be easier with a nail gun and power saw, but I’m proud that I was able to do it without power tools. My arms are tired but I’m so happy every time I look at our new “built in” bookcase.

Transform basic Ikea bookcases into built-ins.

Here’s a list of projects that needed to be tackled to complete this room. I’ve crossed off everything that’s done so far.

Hang new curtains

New sofa & chair

Built-in bookcase project

Game/project table with benches

Console table behind sofa

Style bookcases

Hang art

Dresser or console on empty wall

Paint & stain railings

Throw pillows for sofa & chair


Good luck to all the other challenge participants in this final week!

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One Room Challenge Week One – The Living Room

I’m a little hesitant to even publish this post because then the (self-induced) pressure is officially on. It’s time for another One Room Challenge from Linda at Calling It Home, and I’m half excited/half terrified to join in. During the last ORC in the fall, I worked on our den, which you can see here. The fireplace redesign was the most significant part of that project and it didn’t get finished until after the challenge was over, but you can see the lovely results here.

living room progress

So why am I nervous about participating? Because this time around, the room I want to tackle is our living room. It’s the first room you see when you walk into our house, and it’s pretty much empty. We’ve lived here for over a year and it’s still unfurnished! Our old house only had one living area so we use that furniture in our den. We’ve been trying to decide how we want to use the front room because the last thing we need is a “formal” living room that hardly gets any use.

In case you’re wondering how we can possibly stand having this room empty all this time, I will say that it has really come in handy for a few parties and large family gatherings during the holidays.

Before Pix (during our walkthrough with the realtor):

living room before

One thing I love is how much more spacious this room feels with the hardwood floors. The carpet wasn’t in bad shape, but with a dog and two young children, the light color was really impractical for our family. Plus it’s a lot easier to replace your flooring when the house is empty!

living room before

That shelving unit on the far end was a DIY that had seen better days so we ripped it out. I think that area might is prime for some updated shelving or storage. Looking back at these pictures, I remember how busy this room felt. It’s not because there’s so much stuff, but because there are so many different styles going on. One of my goals in our home is to make it feel cohesive, especially now that the floor plan is more open.

living room before

The living room connects to the dining room, which leads into the kitchen. You can check out our full kitchen reveal here. We turned the wall between the kitchen and dining room into a pony wall. I’m sure you’ll be sad to know we replaced that chandelier over the dining table, which my daughter said looked like an upside-down wedding cake. The nice folks who bought the old dishwasher were pretty excited when I told them they could have it for free.

living room before

Here’s the view facing toward the front entrance and the stairs to the second floor. The kitchen is through that entrance on the right. We had our builders remove the old double doors to the kitchen and expand the entry to let in more light and expose part of the stairway. It’s made a huge difference and it’s one of the best decisions we made (Thanks, Mom, for the suggestion!)

I have some big ideas for this space, which I’ll share next Thursday!

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