ORC Week 3 — Half-Way Mark? Are You Freakin Kidding Me?

Hello folks! Crazy week here and we interrupt the craziness to bring you a brief peek at what I was able to accomplish this week…paint (yes, that’s it, deal).

In my defense, this is a one woman army and I abhor prepping to paint.  Like seriously despise it.  I should have probably hired this out, but I’m trying to accomplish Michael’s room on a limited budget and I like spending money on the ‘pretties’.  But this room, like Anna’s, is wood-paneled.

(Side story warning: We were adding our master a couple of years ago and had to close up a window in Michael’s room and I came home one day to see that the contractor had taken off a couple of the wood panels and underneath was rooster kitchen wallpaper!!!  In a second floor bedroom!  What the what?  I kid you not!  I’m always amazed by old homes and wish the walls could talk.  Do you know any interesting stories about your home?)

So the wood paneling needed tons of spackling and that was a pain so I also hit the store up for some caulk and also caulked where the paneling meets the ceiling.  Then in addition to cutting in all the edges I needed to paint each groove of the paneling because it’s a pain when the roller doesn’t reach them well enough.

Here’s what I mean:

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If you are following along on Instagram, you got a peak into my brain when I thought maybe I should paint the doors and window in the room black.

Well, It is now my favorite part of the room!!  High gloss black!  This wasn’t the easiest walk in the park as these doors have a gazillion layers of paint of them, but I love them and more importantly so does Michael!

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The closet door has the original hardware that just needed a good scrubbing.  The main doorknob has been replaced with a dud…hopefully I will fix that in time…  Look at the high gloss!  The doors are dry in these pictures.

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I still need to paint the window trim in BM White Dove.

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I really dislike the carpet and I tore up Anna’s for her One Room Challenge but I don’t think I can pull it off this time.  Boys spend a lot of time on the floor and the wood floor beneath is not in great shape.  So that will have to wait until he’s a little older…


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Love me some glossy black doors…I might have to do this elsewhere in my house.

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So then there’s the random sconce at the entrance to Michael’s room…the only hardwired light in the room!  He has lived with this flowery, fluted beauty for years, but I can’t seem to find an old-school one that has the switch right on it.  I tried an edison-style light bulb and I think it looks cool, but it too soft a light.  I have ideas for different task lighting around the room, but is a 12-year old boy going to go around and turn them on when he needs them…and is he going to turn them off??  I might need to get him The Clapper.

So let’s recap…we are half-way through and I’ve painted. :)  I have ordered a couple of things and I have to finish measuring for my industrial desk/shelf tomorrow.  I will have more for you next week!

Here are links if you missed my inspiration (week 1) and my plan (week 2).

And don’t forget to check out all of these talented people who have done more than paint…HERE and HERE.

Thanks for stopping by! – kate

ORC Week 2 (Translation = Kate finally has a plan…now needs to act!)

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Hello all.  Want to see everything I’ve accomplished this week for Michael’s room?  Well, you’d have to get in my brain, because all I’ve got to show you are some plans that I need to start acting on pronto!  If you missed week 1, you can check it out HERE.
Here some components that I have decided on:
  • Paint choice is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (HC-172).
  • I am planning of building an industrial pipe bookshelf and desk (wish me luck!).
  • Hanging industrial cage lights in the “guitar corner”.
  • Artwork will include rock album covers and a cool vintage game fish map that I found years ago (it needs a lot of work to get it up on the wall).
  • I found that metal, wood and leather chest in Marshalls the other day and I’m hoping to use that as his nightstand.
  • If you are following along on Instagram, you saw I also found some scarves and shawls that I’m hoping to turn into soft pillows.
  • I’m trying to narrow down the perfect colors for plaid bedding.
So basically, I need to stay awake for the next 4 weeks if I have any hope in hell of getting this room up and running for Michael.
If you want to see people that actually have their act together check out all these amazing designers/bloggers HERE and HERE.
Thanks for stopping by! – kate

Let’s Get This ORC Party Started!

I probably should have thought this out better.  This is probably going to cost me thousands in therapy bills down the road.  Did I really complete two One Room Challenges for my other children and leave my middle child for last?   I should have thought this one through better.

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Kevin’s Room

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Anna’s Room

But here’s my chance to redeem myself!  Do you know what today is?  It’s the one year anniversary of me entering the world of interior design and blogging. I can’t believe it’s been a year…thank you so much for all of your encouragement!  It’s also the kick-off of my third One Room Challenge!!  Thank you so much for thinking this brain child up, Linda.  Over the next five Wednesdays (it started yesterday) 20 designers/bloggers will be completing a room and showing us the good, the bad, the ugly and finally the amazing.  Then every Thursday there is a link up party were we can see a ton of talent.  I am hoping to link up on Thursdays and hopefully I will be able to show you how I took Michael’s old “pirate” room and changed it into a teen room every boy would want to hang out in (no girls allowed).

So here’s my client:

willow interiorsMichael is a great kid, but is going to be a tough client.  He hates change…not good.  But he hates his current room…good (that sounds bad).  This is not going to be a themed room because this kid has way too many interests.  He loves football, baseball, skiing, music, guitar, singing, acting and fishing.  Okay.  So what I’m thinking is I will stick with his two main loves music and fishing.  We are just going with a feeling here…are you with me?  So it’s going to be “A little bit country (fishing) and a little bit rock’n’roll (music)”.

Here are some ugly before photos of what we are working with and then I will leave you with some pretty inspiration photos and then I’ve got to go and get to work for my man!

It’s all coming back to me now.  Michael’s room was the first room we did when we moved here (I’ll have to remember that for the therapy sessions).  And I’ve got proof:

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Then his younger brother moved in and we got bunk beds.  After that we added on our master, Michael lost a window but his brother moved out.

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And now his present day tween room has hints of the past, his sister’s old desk I was trying out (was thinking maybe I could paint it…not going to work), an old bookshelf around from our original nursery that has spent time in everyone’s rooms and his electric guitar stuff…

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The only things staying are his Pottery Barn Kids bed and dresser.  I’m guessing he wants his fish hooks gone. :)

So here’s some inspiration for a little bit country and a little bit rock’n’roll:

A boy's room full of character and interest/willow interiorsArchitectural Digest

Michael Angus/House&Home

BM Rockport Graysource

teenage boy   gray walls and art/willow interiorsElle Decor

Jeanne Oliver

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Maple Leaves & Sycamore Trees


wool blanket/willow interiorsBarrie Benson/Domino

traditional kids by Shannon Malone  love the lights!source

 There you have it folks.  I swear I can do something other than kids’ rooms.  Maybe after this I’ll even finish our master…

Go HERE and HERE to check out all the unbelievable talent the ORC has cooked up this year.  Wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by! – kate





Let the Games Begin

Good Morning!!!  I am so excited! It feels like Christmas!  First up, I am over at Beth’s DesignPOST Interiors dishing on some changes in my home and life.  And while you’re there, check out her amazing home. Thank you so much for having me Beth!

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And secondly, do you know what time it is????  It’s Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge time!!!  (I’m a little excited!)

I get so much inspiration from these amazing designers, bloggers, kindred spirits.  Check it out and watch along as they transform a room in 6 weeks!  And tomorrow starts the link up party!  I participated in both last year (you can check those out HERE and HERE) and we’ll see tomorrow if I can get my act together and jump in.  That is if I don’t spend all day reading today’s participants!  See you tomorrow and thanks again Beth!

- kate

PS  If you follow me on Instagram, you saw we had a little visitor in our town for a couple of hours yesterday.  A 300-pound black bear decided to climb a couple of trees right across from our elementary school and evade capture for 6 hours!  It made for an interesting day, especially at 3 when they still hadn’t caught him and they couldn’t let the kids leave the school.  I happened to be at the library volunteering, so I was with my younger one and fielding texts from my middle-schoolers who were stuck in as well and watching it unfold on the news.  All is well and Yogi has been moved back with his people. Hopefully he’ll stay there and go to sleep for a couple of months.  But, what an exciting day in our hood. :)

Bear Tranquilized After Eluding Capture For Hours In Ridgewood, NJ



Staging a Victorian–Waking Sleeping Beauty

Today I wanted to show you a really cool house I recently got to stage in Tenafly, New Jersey.  My friend asked me for some help staging his childhood home and we got to work.  Here are some before and after’s and a couple of tips for preparing your house for sale.

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Isn’t she purty!!!???  Have I mentioned that I love old houses? :)  A clean landscaping job and welcome porch and entrance is important for a good first impression.

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Welcome to the foyer…look at the amazing original woodwork!  We freshened that up and put down gorgeous hardwood floors.  My friend found that amazing custom door for a steal and we kept our paint choices neutral and light.

Check out this huge living room.

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Losing a lot of the furniture and showing off the floors and original plaster ceiling helps to show just how big this room is!  I loved hearing stories about the parties that took place in this room through the years!  Another tip is in addition to making sure your house is sparkling clean, make sure the windows are spotless as well.

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The original dining room had, over time, switched to a sitting room and we brought it back to it’s glory with it’s restored fireplace.  Mirrors add light to any room.

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This was one of my favorite rooms to transform.  This was what my clients called a walk-through room that was later made into the dining room.  Check out the 80’s wall of mirrors on the left.  We used existing furniture and our amazing carpenter made a built-in half wall to hold a television and, voila, we have a family room.  Another tip, do you have dated window treatments?  Tear those babies down and let the sunlight in.

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Let’s head upstairs and look at that amazing woodwork with gleaming fresh paint.  Here’s a look at some of the bedrooms.

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This room had nice floors, but the interesting and soothing sky light-boxes on the right side of the room had to go.  We put some lights up top instead and set this up with two twin beds as a sunny girls’ room.

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The rest of the bedrooms got a facelift by losing the dated wallpaper and putting down quality carpet.

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The master definitely looks more spacious with fresh paint, carpet, open windows and simple bedding.

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And we didn’t forget to have fun up in the attic. :)

To see more of this gorgeous house check it out HERE and let me know when you move in…I’ll help you make it your own.

Thanks for stopping by!  – kate


All photo’s by Willow Interiors and Sotheby’s Tenafly.

For more info on this house, please call:
Susan Zabinksi
Phone: ­1 201.417.6371­
Phone: ­1 201.568.5668­


It’s Friday and I’ve Got Men on the Brain

Checking in with a quick happy Friday and a recap of what’s on my mind this week…men.  LOL!  Let me explain.

I just watched Derek Jeter clinch the final win of his career at home.  The Yankees have a very special place in my heart and so does Jeter.  I went to Fordham University in ‘da Bronx’ and I remember those years and my years as recent graduate going to many games.  Back in the day, my man was Paulie (Paul O’Neill) and Derek’s rookie year was 1995, the year I graduated.  I remember always thinking he was ‘fine’, but as the years went on and I was working in Public Relations I marveled at whoever his interview coach was…he always said the right ‘we are a team’ message.  Now, like any other celebrity, we don’t really know what they are really like, but I think it does say something that over 20 years (crap, have I been out of college that long??) he has been consistently a great role model and hard worker on and off the field.  It’s pretty hard to find someone who will say a bad thing about him.  As we were watching the pre-game, the announcers (Michael Kay…Go Rams!) said something about him never embarrassing the organization and my husband said, “Why is that such a big deal?  You not supposed embarrass your employer?”  I think it’s so true and sad that there are not more role models like Derek Jeter in the sports world.  Not to say that every other sports figure isn’t a good role model for our children…but hell, we could definitely use more.  To say I was a sobbing mess at the end of the game was an understatement, but when he hugged his parents…I went into the ugly cry.  Props go to them…well done!

Derek Jeter/willow interiorssource

The other man on my mind is also from my college days.  I’m not sure what I did in a previous life to deserve this person and I think I’m a pretty good judge of character, but we were just babies…  How could I have known that this guy:


would become this man?




I have no idea why I lucked out, but I will be forever grateful for my best friend.  It hasn’t been perfect, but boy do we laugh A LOT (and isn’t that what it’s all about?)

So Happy 16th Wedding Anniversary a day early Kevin.  I adore you!

- kate




Table or Island? #537 on the First World Problems List

Scrolling through Facebook today I was reminded of a design favorite of mine:

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If you were renovating, would you ever consider a large table instead of an island?  I love this look!  It has a very European feel.  Here are some of my favorites.

Beautiful Kitchens: Contrasting Cabinetssource

Wendi Young-lookalike kitchenWendi Young Design

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone

Bill Litchfield Designs


fabulous mixsource


Tim BarberTim Barber Ltd.

Open cabinetssource


white cabinets and black subway tile  benches and trellis table  black trim windows and doorssource

cool lightsource

white kitchen, marble counters, dark wood, lantern and tons of windows!source

table as islandsource

These were all in my Kitchen folder on Pinterest, so I guess I like this look.  Thanks for the reminder Traditional Home!  What do you think?

- kate