The One Room Challenge

I first heard of the One Room Challenge over a year ago when several of my designer friends were participating. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, The One Room Challenge was started by Linda of the popular blog Calling it Home. Twice a year she asks twenty top design bloggers to make over a room of their choice in six short weeks (well actually five because week six is the reveal).

Anyone with a blog is also welcome to link up to the One Room Challenge and take part in the fun. Next Wednesday Oct 7th is the start date for the twenty chosen designers and each Wednesday they will blog and chronicle their room progress until the big reveal November 11th. Starting Thursday the 8th, everyone else who is participating in the link up does the same. It seems fun as well as potentially stressful but at the end of six weeks the reward is a newly decorated room.

Now truth be told,  I have been planning to make over our family room for over four years now and it still hasn’t happened. Lot’s of reasons why but mainly because I am busy with client work so my own home takes a back seat.  Also, I have a common affliction that many designers have when it comes to decorating their own home, called “analysis paralysis”.  There are so many colors and styles I like that I find it challenging to make a decision.

Well fast forward and I get a life changing diagnosis of breast cancer. I end up spending the majority of the Summer laying on a 25+ year old uncomfortable sofa recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy, staring at a mostly empty room. Depressing to say the least.

Why was the room empty you wonder? Well over a year ago we gave almost all our family room furniture to my son when he moved into his Boston apartment. The furniture was dated, no longer our style and I thought if I gave everything away it would prompt me to get moving on redoing the room. Well it still hasn’t happened and the furniture that is in the family room are basement relics that are soon to be donated or ditched. Embarrassing for sure but hey, it’s life.

SO, I have decided to participate in the One Room Challenge link up. I’m going public with my makeover so there is no turning back. In order to get my family room completed in six weeks decisions need to be made and fast! Everyone will be watching (OMG and judging??) so it is intimidating but also the kick in the butt I need to finally decorate this depressing sad room.

So I hope you follow along all the featured designers starting Wednesday the 7th and all the link up participants, like myself, the follow day Thursday the 8th.

I know it’s Friday and and since Friday is usually reserved for Friday’s Photo, here it is, my One Room Challenge makeover inspiration.

ORC inspiration

One Room Challenge color inspiration: green, cream and taupe

I also have a large collection of blue and white china that I somehow have to incorporate into the room design.  be sure to check back next Thursday to see my plan.

Have a great weekend everyone and hopefully we will not be hit by Hurricane Joaquin.

Fridays Photo: Trends in tiles

As popular as plain subways tiles have been and still are, the latest trend in tiles are statement tiles. Tiles that are bold in pattern and color and scream “look at me” are super hot right now. The choices are almost limitless and although they won’t last the test of time (remember the accent tiles of the 90’s?) they sure are fun.

Ann Sacks tiles

Boston Design Center: Linda Holt Photo

Since being diagnosed with cancer and going through chemo, I have a whole new attitude about “safe” and timeless when it comes to decorating. Life is short, go for the statement tiles!

What do you think? Too much? or would you go for it?

Friday’s Photo: Chemo is done!

Today’s Friday photo expresses how I feel as I had my very last round of Chemo this past Wednesday. I know I have 6-8 rough days ahead but who cares…chemo is done!!!!!

Grand canyon trek Summer 2014

Grand canyon trek Summer 2014

After a few weeks to recover from chemo I will start seven weeks of daily radiation. Other than the long daily drive for a ten minute treatment, I am not anticipating the side effects to be nearly as challenging as chemo. Upwards and onward toward perfect health.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday’s Photo: Adding interest to a white kitchen

A few months ago while at the Boston Design Center I passed the Christopher Peacock kitchen showroom. They had just finished redoing the cabinet display in the front window and this is what I noticed.

Christopher Peacock Kitchen showroom

Christopher Peacock Kitchen showroom

No matter what you think about white kitchens, they are classic and never go out of style. To keep a white kitchen from looking boring or sterile (a complaint I hear often) think about incorporating a few design elements like Peacock did.

1. Add a back splash with some personality. I’m not saying go crazy with busy or bossy tiles but a subtle pattern in neutral tones adds interest without overwhelming.

2. Add a statement sink. The dark gray soap stone farmers sink relates to the gray tiles and breaks up the long expanse of white on white cabinets and counter top. The wood detail on the bottom matches the wood lined open shelving.

3. Break up a wall of white cabinetry with open shelving or glass fronts. Peacock used walnut wood to add some warmth against the high gloss white cabinets.

4. Bring in some natural elements. I love plants or herbs in the kitchen and although the topiaries in this kitchen are obviously fake it gives you the general idea.

5. Add color with accessories. Since this is a cabinet showroom they most likely didn’t want anything too colorful to distract from what they sell. In your own kitchen think about adding color with pottery, colorful glassware or even colorful small appliances.

These tips will keep your white kitchen from looking anything but boring.

Have a great weekend everyone. I finish up with my last chemo treatment next week so I am very excited to put that part of treatment behind me.




Friday’s Photo: New Hampshire hidden beauty

Today’s Friday Photo is a throw back to our July 4th vacation just before I started chemotherapy. Nature has always been my grounding force and this glorious mountain lake was deep in the mountains and reached after about an hour of hiking. It was a perfect glorious day and a sight too pretty not to share.

Mountain lake

Mountain lake

Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy these last few weeks of Summer.

Friday’s Photo: Best colors for a windowless room

Most people believe they should paint the walls in a dark or windowless room a light color. It seems counter intuitive but just the opposite is true. If there is no natural light, such as in a basement, the best way to treat the walls is to paint them a rich dark color. Without natural light, walls that are painted a light color will simply look lifeless and dingy.

“A light color will never come to life in a dark room but a rich, deep color can make a dim, somber space feel warm and luminous – even though it receives no natural light.” Donald Kaufman


The secret to keep the room from looking like a cave is to use plenty of light or bright colors in the rest of the space. Light furniture, a light carpet, bright artwork and most important, lots and lots of artificial light. Table lamps, floor lamps, and ceiling lights are absolutely essential in a dark windowless room.


Friday’s Photo: Is this art?

There is a video that recently went viral showing Joshua Bell, a world class violinist playing in the NYC subway system. Bell is one of the most celebrated and gifted musicians of our time but because he was out of context people just walked by as he played and gave little notice.

Years ago I walked into a modern art show at a Boston gallery. There was a drill and a tool belt laying on the floor in the corner. I looked at it for the longest time trying to decide if it was part of the exhibit of just left there temporarily by a worker. It really didn’t matter, the point is, art can be and is absolutely everywhere. We don’t have to be at a museum or art gallery to “see” art.

rusty mailboxWMI know everyone is in agreement that nature is the most amazing art of all but what about simple everyday objects? What if my neighbor’s rusting mail box is the most spectacular work of art the world has never seen? Look at the colors, the textures and the complexity of layers. To me it is a masterpiece…what do you think?  Is it art?


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