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

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Anna’s Teenage No Pattern Aqua Room — Finally!

Yippee!!!  It’s done…kinda.  Thanks for your patience.  The artwork is coming but it was on my computer that needed an emergency new hard-drive.  When my computer started acting up last week, I called my computer guy.  Steve Holder (Fix My PC2), who we found over 7 years ago in the church bulletin, is not only quite versed in technology but he’s a really nice guy.  He told me that I needed to shut my computer down immediately because the hard-drive was failing!  Then he had it fixed with a new hard-drive in a couple of days.  So if your are local and need computer help give Steve a call!

So art is coming, as well as an improved closet, a built-in bookcase and huge bulletin board.

Here’s reminder of what we started with:

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And here’s where we are at:

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I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking and I’ll point some of my favorite parts.

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When you make a right after entering her room here’s what we see.  Anna has quite a collection of nail polish so I decided to display them and get some color in the room (because there’s not enough color with those walls?).  I intended to replace the ugly original sconce, but then was leery about pulling such an old relic off the wall.  In the end I decided to gold leaf it and steal some crystals from the chandelier.  I’ve never gold leafed anything before.  It was fun and now I want to gold leaf everything.  I love the way Grandma Monroe’s jewelry chest came out painted in glossy white.

Then you move around to two windows with Anna’s new vanity in between.  Well, new to her.  I found this beauty on Facebook for $200 and painted it glossy white.  I decided to add a surprise pop of pink and pretty lined drawers inside.  Anna loves keeping her stuff organized and we mixed and matched pretty containers, old and new to keep all her pretties in line.

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anna vanity/willow interiors

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The little bust holding some of Anna’s bracelets is one of my favorite vintage finds.  The lamp got a make over with some gold leafing and I sprayed the inside of the shade gold and painted the outside pink and glued on some navy pompoms.  The mirrored vanity tray holding Anna’s Taylor Swift perfume collection was my mom’s!

This corner is where I am having a handyman stop by next week and build in an Ikea bookcase so that Anna will have more room for her books and snowglobes.

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Then we get to my other favorite part…the bed!  If you recall, there was a window jammed in this corner and it always bothered me because this is where Anna wanted her bed.  So I came up with a plan to make a canopy to hide the window (relax, she’s got two others).

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I take a sewing class, so my instructor helped me hatch a plan and here is the end result.  I bought white panels from Country Curtains and a white bed-skirt from Kohl’s and attached navy grosgrain ribbon.  The chandelier was her old white one that we sprayed gold and one of Anna’s favorite items is the furry rug from Home Decorators.  We also pulled up her old carpet.  I found the pink wire table and elephant at HomeGoods.  The elephant was originally green and I sprayed him pink.  It wasn’t right so I sprayed him white and then played around with some blue and white paint.  I love how he turned out!

I wanted to try and make an upholstered headboard.  In the end I made a quickie one that I attached to her original headboard and actually got the monogram done at the embroidery t-shirt kiosk in the mall!  We tried many different bed covers and no-pattern-girl shot them all down.  I was walking through an estate sale and saw this vintage white coverlet with raised chenille polka dots on it.  It was spotless and they sold it to me for $5!!!  I bleached it and Anna loved it.  While it is plain the texture adds something to give it interest.  I had to find one pillow with all of our three colors to tie everything together and found this at Verdi Blu, a colorful store in Glen Rock, NJ.  The pillow in the foreground was actually a pillow I made years ago when Anna first said she wanted a turquoise room.  I made it out of a robe I bought her while visiting Chinatown in San Francisco.  Once Anna decided on a turquoise this was a little too blue.  I don’t care… it’s staying in the room..deal with it. 🙂

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anna's elephant/willow interiors

So in the end, Anna and I are still speaking and we both love the room.  We’ve reused and reinvented and worked within a tight budget, but I don’t think it looks it.  I will be giving more details and updates as we add artwork and stuff.  I am completely dying to check out everyone else’s rooms in the One Room Challenge!  It has been so fun meeting other design addicts and can’t wait for the next one in the fall.  What room will I do next?  I think I’m going to get to Micheal’s room this summer.  He’s the middle child and now that I’ve done Anna’s and Kevin’s room he’s definitely going to need therapy as an adult. 🙂

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Thanks so much for stopping by! – kate

Anna’s Teen Room — Final ORC Sneak Peak

Okay, I know today is the day, but I’m typing this on my iPad and need to take proper photos in the morning and download them on to my new hard-drive (that needed to be installed today on my less than two year old Dell).

So here’s a sneak peak…I promise more is coming and I am dying to check out everyone else’s rooms over on Calling It Home.

Peace out!
– kate

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