One Room Challenge — Week Two…Kinda Week One (Fourth Time Around this Block)

Here I am, a glutton for punishment or a smart cookie that knows that Linda (from Calling It Home) at the helm equals me a pretty room in 6 weeks.  I’ve been around this block (here I go with the lyrics again “holla back girl”) three times already and it’s always a blast!.  Those of you new to me, my name is Kate Monroe and I’m an interior designer from New Jersey (but a New Yorker at heart).  For those of you new to the One Room Challenge, it is a challenge where designers or design enthusiasts redesign one room in a six-week timeframe and document their highs and lows each week.  A huge thank you to Linda, who has managed to keep this a huge and fun foray out here on the wide world web for all to enjoy, even as she has left me high and cold in New Jersey for sunny Florida.

To be completely honest, I am currently sitting on Megans Bay in St. Thomas on Spring break with my family.  I may or may not have already indulged in a painkiller (I love my job).

I had a complete plan to e-mail myself photos to write you an amazing kick-off post to my One Room Challege (ORC), but I did not get around to it in my efforts to deplete New Jersey of it’s entire stock of sunscreen (we are Irish).  So we are going to work with what I’ve got here on my iPad, but I can promise you that this challenge is going to be awesome!  Why you ask?  Because for the last three challenges my clients have been children…my children…two of which were teens!!!  This time around, I’m the client and I was tossing around finishing up our master bedroom but then this happened:

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I have been coveting Schumacher and Celerie Kemble’s Hothouse Flowers for ages, so I finally decided to bite the bullet and order some for my family room.

BEEP   We interrupt this post to tell you the truth…at this point last Wednesday the kids were out to dinner with my folks and Kevin and I were going out for a nice dinner. But my husband patiently waited for me to finish this post and then the next morning everything after my two measly photos had not been saved. 😦

So here we are Wednesday night again, back in chilly, rainy New Jersey and this seems like ages ago:

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So back to the family room.  When we moved in 10 years ago (wow, where did that time go?), the room was a random addition with beautiful wood paneling, no air conditioning and very little heat sitting on an un-insulated crawl space.  It was completely set apart from the rest of the house with it’s own door leading to the kitchen.  Here’s are some old pictures I found. Brace yourself!

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mike's b-day 129mike's b-day 130It’s hard to see, but it’s an L-shaped room.  You used to walk in to the television on your left and the couch to your right.  If you made a right once you came in the room there was the playroom area.  This is the back room of the house and there was an inside staircase before this room in the kichen that would bring you out to the driveway.

So five years ago (wow, again) we knocked out the wall between the kitchen and family room, made the kitchen larger and the re-did the entire family room also adding french doors out the back to the patio.  We also added a small mudroom and made the bathroom smaller.

Here is how it looks now when you enter the family room off the kitchen (but kids are much bigger now!)

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My “office” is to left, after the mudroom and powder room.
IMG_2838To the right is our tv area.
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And behind the couch is a game table.

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DSC_0446The room is great and we live (I mean LIVE) in this room, so it needs more of “us” in it.  I think we are a pretty fun family so I want this to be a fun and colorful space.

The main jumping off point is the kids artwork.

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So my goals for the ORC are:

  • A new rug (I love my two combined rugs, but it gets too dirty so I need something with less white).
  • Organize my “office”.
  • New window treatments and throw pillows.
  • Update some furniture, including stuffing existing couch pillows.
  • More colorful and fun artwork!
  • Fix desk chair and new cushions on game table chairs.
  • Update lighting.
  • And, if I have time, organize mudroom.

Here are some of my inspiration photos:Tim-clarke-interior-design-portfolio-interiors-beachcoastal-traditional-great-room-living-room-family-roomsource


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my dream fabric for fam rm panels!  hothouse flowers  Cherry Hills Home of the Year  O Interior Design
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See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harrissource

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And or course my favorite from Something’s Gotta Give:
Something's Gotta Give in Architectural Dig/willow interiorssource

We got this! You can follow along here every week and more frequently on Instagram.

If you want to check out my other three ORC rooms, here they are:

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Michael’s ORC Room

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Kevin’s ORC Room

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Anna’s ORC Room

And finally, you check check out all the other marvelous things people have going on in there challenges by clicking the below images.  That’s where I’m headed right now!!

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Thanks for stopping by! – kate

Combining Two Smaller Rugs–A Match Made in Heaven

combining two rugs/willow interiors

As my kids would say…”Epic Fail” in posting this week!

So let me show you a quick project I did a couple of months ago.  I’ve been holding off because there is so much more I want to do to our family room, but life isn’t perfect and neither is my family room.

We had this old rug from our condo days, it’s perfectly fine and it fit in the family room.  So that’s where it went…but it’s always bugged me.  I envision making our family room “funner” (sure that’s a word) than the rest of the more traditional 95-year old house we live in and this guy wasn’t cutting it…

willow interiorsSidenote: I know my fiddle leaf tree is dead.  My children tell me I have a black thumb (and that’s pretty accurate). 🙂  Meet Ralph… (his container now reads R.I.P. Ralph). 😦
RIP Ralph/willow interiors

So I had been on the hunt for a large “fun” rug.  I love Madeline Weinrib’s cotton, colorul rugs, but did not want to spend the money on something my kids literally eat ice cream on every Friday for Family Movie Night.  And then there’s the Something’s Gotta Give rug that I spied:

Something's Gotta Give in Architectural Dig/willow interiors
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Y’all watch movies and freak out over the interiors, right?  That’s not weird or anything?  If not, rent this movie today or click here to see this entire beauty!  I could move in tomorrow and die happy. 🙂

So then started my obsession with dhurries (The Wikipedia gods will tell you that a dhurrie is a thick flat-woven rug or carpet used traditionally in India as floor-coverings.)

The brilliant people at Aspen Carpet Designs now sell their Beach House Striped Rug they say is inspired by the rug in that movie!!

9x12 Premium Dark/willow interiors

I was all set to order one and then walking through Home Goods. I saw these navy chevron rugs and fell in love!  But they weren’t large enough and then it hit me could I connect two…they were $50 each!!!  Worst case scenario, it was a $100 mistake…Sold!  I made sure the lines matched up right there in the store and headed home to figure it out.  I knew I wanted to tie blue and orange together because of the kids’ artwork that I had framed for the room.  I had also found a great large rustic orange tray for my ottoman so I was thinking orange.  Off to Michael’s for some orange yarn…

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Here are the quick easy steps:

combining two rugs/willow interiors

Needed: yarn, large sewing needle, duct tape, ruler, sharpie and scissor

  • Flip the rugs over (making sure they are exactly how you want it to look) and duct tape them together.
  • Using a ruler, draw two straight lines an inch apart (so a half inch off the center).
  • Make hash-tags every inch down both lines.
  • Thread the yarn onto the large needle (I doubled threaded the yarn so it would be thicker).
  • Start one end, making a knot of the bottom side of the rug and then head up using whatever design you choose (i made x’s on the top side).  Knot securely at the end.
  • Voila!

So in the end my two 5×7 cotton dhurries got me a $100 10×7 rug that I can replace once it gets too much ice cream on it.

I forgot one tip…it can take awhile to sew so I recommend pairing the job with a nice Cabernet while enjoying above mentioned Friday Family Movie Night.

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Thanks for stopping by! – kate