Fall 2020 One Room Challenge: Week 1


I say it like this because it felt like a little bit of a surprise even to myself. So, yeah, I’m signed up for the One Room Challenge!

For those of you who are unaware of what the One Room Challenge, it is a six-week endeavor taken on by pro and amateur designers and creators alike. During the six weeks, each participant is stacked with the challenge to complete a room start to finish. Some use the help of professionals, and some DIY the entire thing. It’s a fun, community-focused challenge and I’m excited to see everyone’s designs. Check this link to view the other participant’s designs.

My friend Teri of T. Moore Home is credited with all of my desire to join the ORC this time around. She signed up for it, casually mentioned it, and it inspired me to sign up too. I’ve never done this (or any challenge like it) in my entire life. The whole thing felt very overwhelming to me in the past. Which is weird, because at this moment we’re living through a global pandemic, I’m planning a coffee shop buildout, and it’s about to be the holidays. But, hey, c’est la vie!

The Room I’m Tackling Is…

The room I’ve decided to tackle is our home office. Ah, yes, the home office; the room that Pinterest users go absolutely batshit bonkers over. I regularly get thousands of pins on my office mural posts alone. I get it — it’s a little weird, a lot colorful, and it’s energizing. But it’s had its day in the sun and I’m ready to part ways with it.

In many ways, enrolling my office into the ORCverse feels like a good way to have a glow-up of sorts. When we moved into this house, we were in our early twenties and we were in the beginning stages of starting a business. We were saving to renovate the kitchen first, and even though we DIY’ed everything, it still took a pretty penny to do it correctly. By prioritizing the kitchen, the rest of the rooms in the house fell by the wayside and were left with budget renovations and minor cosmetic updates where and when we could afford them.

I’m not knocking on a budget reno at all — in fact, all of our renovations, including our recent guest bedroom glow-up, have been budget renovations. This office is still going to be a pretty budget-friendly renovation! The difference here is mainly that going forward, we have the means and the skills to buy or build the things that we actually want instead of what makes the most budgetary sense. Instead of settling with just painting a wall, I can build an entire built-in desk and shelving system. I can build out a closet made to last instead of buying cheap shelving to hold our things. I can buy a rug that I actually want, instead of one that fit into our strict spending parameters. Now that I’m typing it, I should’ve just saved for these things to begin with. But coulda, shoulda, woulda, ya know?

Preliminary Plans + Inspiration For The Office

My plan for the office is modern, simplistic, and touches of vintage. The colors will be neutral with pops of intentional colors, patterns, and textures.

The built-ins will be more modern but accented with vintage touches. The light fixture is vintage-inspired, but with a sleek modern brass base. I won’t be including a mural (I don’t think), but this room will not be boring. I promise you.

I’ve already begun building three base cabinets for the built-in desk. I’m constructing them using white birch plywood, and they’re coming along great. I was incredibly intimidated to start on them but I’ve chilled out a little now that I’ve gotten the ball rolling.

I used this tutorial to build the boxes but modified the plans to have pocket hole joinery. I want to add a butcher block countertop and whitewash it, and will likely add a coat of matte polyurethane to the top for durability. I plan to do a slab front on the doors and drawers of the base cabinet and open shelving on top, like these cabinets from Semihandmade. A slab front is the type of cabinet front where it is quite minimal. They’re the same size as the openings (give or take a fraction of an inch or so, to allow for it to open and close).

This particular style appeals to me for two main reasons.

One: simplicity! I’m the one building these babies, remember? So they’ve gotta be manageable and easy for this first-time cabinet-builder. I don’t imagine a shaker-style cabinet would be too difficult, but I want this room to maintain a modern-feeling edge instead of a more traditional one.

The second reason why I love this style should come as no surprise to anyone who’s followed me for any length of time: your girl loves clean lines and shapes. I live for a solid geometric look. I might even get hardware like the pulls pictured in the above photo, but have yet to officially decide on anything like that. One step at a time.

As for color scheme and planning, I initially wanted to paint the cabinets and shelves an electric blue color, but have since changed my plans to leave the cabinets as a bare white birch. I will add a coat of matte polyurethane to the fronts to make them look velvety-smooth, and maybe a coat of whitewash to keep the light, ashy look.


I’ve also officially decided on a lighting fixture. Our ceilings are 8 ft tall, so not enough room for a semi-flushmount or chandelier or pendant sadly, therefore leaving us with limited options. The current ceiling fixture is a flush mount triple-light number with exposed Edison bulbs. LED or not, I’m sadly just not a fan of the color Edison bulbs give off — it’s so much warmer than either Jake or I like (for what its worth, we’re both fans of 2700 Kelvin in indoor settings). So off it goes, and it will be replaced with the Edie Prismatic Flushmount fixture from West Elm, pictured below. It’s beautiful and both vintage inspired with modern touches.

Mixing Vintage Details + Modern Styling

Speaking of vintage with modern, something else that’s sparking my imagination and inspiring me is an old electric typewriter that my grandma lovingly gifted to me earlier this year. It was hers when she worked as an office secretary back in the 1950s.

My grandma has this knack for knowing which things are going to wind up being swoon-worthy in the future, like old records, record players, furniture, and this typewriter. It’s blue and ivory, and it came in its original ivory shell case. It’s heavy, but it’s incredibly charming.

The power cord on it has seen better days, so I hope to learn how to re-wire it and include it in the final reveal in working order.

I’m not a mood board girl (they just take too much time), but if you’d like to see a brain dump of sorts and the likely next-best-thing: follow along with my Fall ORC 2020 Pinterest board!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.