One Room Challenge Week Two | Living Room Design Plan

It’s week two of the One Room Challenge, and while it hasn’t been the most productive week, I’m starting to see some direction for the living room. You can take a look at all the lovely before pictures of this room here. One thing that our home lacks is a dedicated playroom.

We debated using what we refer to as the den for the kids’ play area, but it’s a natural gathering area during get-togethers because it connects to the kitchen. Some people can be up in the kitchen area, while others can be on the couch, and yet, we can all be part of the same conversation if we want.

The kids obviously hang out there as well, but over the past year it felt like the toys were starting to take over. We realized that it would be nice to have a play area where the kids are still nearby.

The living room is the best spot for a play area. We’ll stick to a grownup aesthetic because it’s part of our main living area. Before I go into a few of the details that make this room a challenge to design, let me share the truly amazing layout  80s fiasco that I created on the free design planning site,

living room plan

Let’s just all agree to pretend that the furniture in this room reflects choices I would actually make! is limited in many ways. I didn’t waste time on the particulars, and since I don’t have photoshop, this and imagination are all that we’re left with.


Apart from the size  of the windows, the measurements are accurate. We really do have a fairly large corner window with another feature window 15 inches away. And of course, this living room is a sunken room so it’s two steps down from the entry (on the right in this view) and the dining room (to the left.) doesn’t have an option for railings without stairs so you just have to imagine them instead of walls as noted above. You can see one railing in the picture below, as well as our bizarre window configuration.

living room progress

Living Room Design Plan

My plan divides this large room into zones for better function. There’s room for a table where we can play games, build legos or do crafts. The other zone needs a tv so the kids can play video games or watch a movie. There’s also plenty of storage.

Despite its challenges, this room has lots of possibilities and I’m looking forward to it becoming a functional space for us to enjoy. Stay tuned for more progress!

{Linking to Calling It HomeThoughts of Home, The Inspiration Gallery, Weekend Retreat}  

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Our Kitchen

renovated kitchen

Happy Monday! Today I’m sharing something I’ve been meaning to post about for way too long… our kitchen!

We renovated the kitchen in our old house in 2012, which you can read about here. When we first looked at our new house with the realtor, we realized the layout of the kitchen was very similar to the old house before the renovation (small, cramped and awkward) and there was no way I wanted to move into a new house and have the same old kitchen minus all the updates!

Since we had recently been through the other kitchen renovation, we already had a good idea of some of the changes we wanted to make. I also took the opportunity to learn from a few mistakes we made when we renovated the other kitchen (e.g. don’t forget to plan a spot for a trash can!) There wouldn’t be any fun in creating a carbon copy of our other kitchen, so we also went with some different design styles along the way like Shaker style cabinetry instead of traditional.

kitchen before

This is how the kitchen looked when we toured the house.

kitchen demo

Goodbye walls, floors… everything really.

And now…

new kitchen

The new kitchen is oriented differently than the old kitchen so we were able to implement a lot more storage in this one. We had the cabinets above the refrigerator built extra deep so that it gives the appearance of a counter-depth fridge without actually sacrificing the full-sized option. Because they’re so deep, those cabinets fit the really big items like my turkey roasting pan. We were also able to raise the ceilings, which not only opened up the space but gave us more height for the cabinets.

new kitchen

We have a large island situated between the main kitchen area and the den, providing even more storage. There are two of these beautiful pendant lights hanging above the island and if you took a peek at the updated kitchen in our old house, they probably look familiar. What can I say? I love them! No sense reinventing the wheel right?!

new kitchen

We stuck with the white cabinets and stainless steel appliances because they really brighten up the space. I also chose a basic subway tile backsplash again, but opted for a light gray grout instead of light tan this time because it coordinates better with the countertops.

new kitchen

While this was by no means a DIY renovation, we did all the design ourselves, as well as the legwork to find the right materials and workmen for each facet of the job. If there’s one tip I would give someone interested in acting as the general contractor on a full kitchen overhaul, it’s to make as many decisions as you can ahead of time. You’ll need to make choices about everything from faucet placement to the types of switch plates you want for the electrical outlets. As much fun as it is to make the big decisions, the nitty gritty details are just as important to the overall look of your kitchen and honestly, it can get really tedious. Choosing materials and purchasing as much as possible before the job starts will really make it easier during the construction process. Making purchases ahead of time also helps you avoid having the construction stalled as you wait for an appliance that didn’t show up on time. I guess, technically that’s two tips!

We’ve been living in our new home for over a year now and I still love this kitchen!


Wall color – Misty Moonstone by Glidden

Refrigerator – Samsung 36″ French Door

Double oven gas range – Maytag 30″ Freestanding Double-Oven Gas Range

Sink – Whitehaus Single Bowl Apron Front Sink

Faucet – Moen Lindley Single-Handle Pull-Down Sprayer Kitchen Faucet

Range Hood – Golden Vantage 36″ Island-Mount Range Hood

Drawer/Cabinet Handles – Brushed Satin Nickel Dual Mount Cup Pull

Satin Nickel Spoon Foot Cabinet Pull

Pendant Lights – Murray Feiss Brushed Steel Parker Place 2-light Pendant 

Tile – 3×6 Subway Tile from Home Depot

Cookie Recipe Print – Jones Design Company


{Linking to The Creative Gallery, DIY Sunday Showcase, Tutorials & Tips, The 36th Avenue, The Inspiration Gallery, Weekend Retreat Link Party}


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Stone Fireplace Update

stone fireplace

I didn’t intend to take a five week break from blogging, but the holiday season really got away from me this year! In November, I shared a partial den reveal after I participated in the One Room Challenge. Due to scheduling issues with our contractor, the fireplace update wasn’t finished at the end of the challenge. Today I’m excited to share our brand new fireplace and mantel!

We moved into our new home in January, 2015 and have been staring at this beautiful concrete hole in the wall ever since. Pretty huh?

fireplace demo

We finally formed a game plan for the fireplace and got the contractor lined up. I was so excited to get this project finished in time for Christmas!


old fireplace

Well here she is now in all her updated glory!


fireplace redo

I could not be happier with how well it turned out! We literally finished painting the mantel just in time for a holiday party at our house. I’m loving the stacked stone and the frame around the TV. It helps anchor the TV and really makes the space feel finished. The new media cabinet fills the space next to the fireplace so much better than our old one.

We took a dated and unattractive fireplace and turned it into a modern focal point for our family room.

You can see the rest of the den and our new work station here. You can see the fireplace in my fall home tour here.

{Linking to The Creative Gallery, Work It Wednesday}

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One Room Challenge Week 6 | Updated Den Reveal

One Room Challenge | Den Reveal | Living Room Inspiration

Here we are at the final week of the One Room Challenge, and I’m sad to say that I can’t share the full reveal of our den quite yet. Due to delays with the contractor, our fireplace redesign isn’t done. BUT… I’m still showing the part of the den that is finished! As a bonus I’m sharing another part of the room that I didn’t include in my original plans for the ORC!

When we bought our house, the den included a bar area. Though my husband lobbied hard to keep it, the bar was very outdated. It’s not a space that we need at this phase of life. I mean, the kitchen is a whopping ten steps away.

Once our kids are off to college, we can revisit the idea of a wet bar. For now it’s much more useful as a family command center and work station for the kids.

I didn’t show this area in my plans for the ORC because the construction was already finished and the decor and organization really just needed some fine tuning. But since I’m left without my big exciting fireplace to reveal, I’ll give you the finished work station as a consolation prize.

First, check out the other side of the den first. You can peek at week one where I showed the before pix of this room. Week two I shared a basic layout of the room and my plans to update the room. Week three and four were very slow in the progress department but I did share the cute throw pillow I ordered from Society6. In week five, I gave a sneak peek of our new drapes and talked about how I saved both money and natural light by making some adjustments.

Now to the fun part! Time for some before and after photos!

The Den Before

Here’s the view from our initial walkthrough of the house…

den before pic

And after we replaced the floors, repainted, and took out the old fan and light fixtures…

den before pic

And here it is now (at least part of it)

One Room Challenge | Den Reveal

den reveal B

That feels a little anticlimactic so here’s the lovely bar during our first tour of the house…

bar area before

The door leads to the garage and just to its right is the powder room. You can see the first phase of that transformation here. The bar was so outdated. As part of the area where we spend the most time as a family, it made sense to turn this nook into a child-friendly, functional space.

our new workstation

One Room Challenge | How we turned an outdated bar area into a functional work station.

work station reveal 1

I can’t wait to have the fireplace finished so I can share a full reveal. Until then thanks for stopping by to check it out! Be sure to stop by Calling It Home to see all the other fantastic rooms that were part of the challenge.

UPDATE: Check out our amazing fireplace transformation here.

{Linking to Calling It Home, Just a Girl & Her Blog}

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One Room Challenge Week Five | Budget Curtain Hack

Oh man. I can’t believe that we’re already at week five of the One Room Challenge. That means that next week is supposed to be the big reveal. I say “supposed to” because if this room is finished on time it will be a minor miracle.

If you’re here for the first time, let’s do a little recap. Linda from Calling It Home organizes the ORC, in which the goal is to completely make over one room in six weeks. The first week was all about showing the before pictures (and the way befores when we did our first walkthrough of our new home.)

The next week, I shared the basic layout of our den and a little about my plan of attack for fixing it up. Week three was a very brief update as progress had stalled a bit. And week four was… umm… a slow week.

In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have taken on this challenge if I had remembered that week three and four would coincide with our school’s two week fall break. Kids at home 24/7 doesn’t allow as much time for productivity around the house.

We also had a little setback with the contractors coming to work on the fireplace. I’m still hopeful that it will be mostly done by next week, but it’s going to be a photo finish.

Den Progress

This past week was all about curtains. Because we have an open plan living area that includes our den, kitchen, and dining room, I wanted the curtains in the den to coordinate with what I have in the dining room since you can see both at the same time.

I found these striped Nautica drapes on The colors are very similar to the dining room curtains but the patterns are totally different.

striped curtains

I really like the drapery rods we used in the dining room, but I couldn’t find the same ones. I did find some that were a similar size in a silver finish. Because the curtains in the dining room span a corner, we had a few extra end pieces. I spray painted the rods and the hardware and mounted them above each window.

drapery rods

Another issue with the windows is that they are set far apart and each window hugs the corner pretty closely, as you can sort of see in the pic above.

Having two full drapery panels on each window was blocking a lot of the window itself and cutting down on the natural light in the room. You can see in the before picture below how little space exists between the corner and the window frame.

den before pic

If you follow me on Instagram, you got a sneak peek of my budget curtain hack. I cut each 52″ wide drapery panel in half. After finishing the raw edges, I hung the two halves on each window and bam! Problem solved.

The windows still have curtains, but they aren’t blocking the windows themselves anymore. I’m very happy (and relieved) with how they turned out. Also because I cut each curtain in half, I only needed one set so I saved some money.

den curtain preview

You can also see a peek of my new Craftberry Bush throw pillow from Society6. I love it!

Okay lots of work to do before this room is complete. Wish me luck!

{Linking to Calling It Home, Think & Make Thursday}

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