One Room Challenge, Spring 2018, Week 3: A few days late and a few dollars short (um, spent)

Week Three? How are we at Week Three already? This may be heralded as a six-week challenge, but the truth is it's more like a generous five for many of us. My room is being shot on Thursday, May 3 (a full week before the final post), and it is FAR from photo-ready. However, I did make quite a bit of progress this week. But before we dive in, have you seen the posts from weeks one and two? Hit those up first and then come back.

Week 1: We've got a plan, man

Week 2: The old, the ugly, the outdated, and the inspiration to change it all

So this week was kind of madness for me, as my boys were on April break, and we planned NOT.ONE.THING. for them to do. They're older now, so I thought it would all be fine, but I realized (yet again) that I am really terrible at trying to be a productive business owner while being at home with my kids. It just doesn't work for me. Can anyone else relate?

Anyway, the big news was that one of my favorite men on the planet -- my amazing carpenter, Bill -- came to install my plant wall.


For those who follow me on Instagram, you may remember the room that AnaVera Design and I did for the 2017 Junior League of Boston Show House last October. In it was a ten-foot living garden that we designed with my carpenter, he crafted, and then we all installed together. After completing that project, I knew I wanted one in my house, and given how spacious our dining room is, it was the perfect place. 

Each box is hung on a French cleat system, allowing it to be moved and keeping it from damaging the supporting wall. In addition, Bill built the boxes around watertight liners, in order to keep the system from leaking when I water the plants.


It doesn't look like much right now, but this is going to be a huge addition to our house. Adding something living in a space instantly changes the feel of it, and this is going to be "something living" on steroids.


There were a few other decisions I checked off the list this week, including what fabric I'll be using for the sideboard table skirt (I'll be reusing something I already own), what color I'll be repainting the white chest of drawers (the always classic and perfect Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore), and which light fixture I'll be installing above the table (huge thanks to my Visual Comfort rep, Jeff Pomeroy from Light New England, for expediting that order!). 


One decision I'm still wrestling with is whether to use our existing vintage Persian rug, or to swap it out for something more neutral. If we keep it, the rug will be a dominant element (you can see it in the pictures above) and the red/rust will totally define the palette of the room. However, if I go more neutral, it might suck all the life from the space since it's primarily white with blue and green accents. I keep going back and forth on this. Of course, finding this shot of MY EXACT RUG in Old Home Love, the book from One Room Challenge partners Andy and Candis Meredith, is NOT making my decision any easier! 


So, with less than two weeks before we shoot (oh, and five of those days I'll be traveling in CA), here's what I have left to do:

  • Fabricate and install the table skirt
  • Paint the chest of drawers
  • Purchase and lay out 20 six-inch potted plants
  • Receive and install drapes
  • Receive and install light fixture
  • Place final order for bench cushion
  • Decide on which rug to use
  • Style the space so it's fit for the pages of House Beautiful (ha! I wish!)

No biggie, right?

See you next week, same time, same place. (In the meantime, be sure to check out all the posts from the ORC Featured Designers, my fellow guest participants, and my own updates on Instagram at #projectontheflydining!)


One Room Challenge, Spring 2018, Week 2: We've got a plan, man.

So, "plan" might be stretching it a bit. 

As I mentioned last week, this whole One Room Challenge experience is really going to come down to a series of decisions made on the fly (hence my hashtag #projectontheflydining). Part of that has to do with the fact that I jumped in on this last minute, and part of that has to do with the fact that when I'm designing for my own space, that's just how it rolls. I would love to be hyper-planful like I am with my clients, but it just doesn't work for me. I am VERY Dory when it comes to picking things for my own house ("oooh! something shiny!"). There's just SO MUCH GOOD STUFF out there! The sheer selection of incredible textiles, furniture, and art is boundless -- and given that my style is fairly eclectic, it can be hard to pin down a direction. BUT, given my amazing inspiration object, and my belief in using as much of what you own as possible, I've pulled together the beginnings of a plan. 

BUT, WAIT! Did you read last week's post? If not, go here first and get all caught up.

Hey! Welcome back! So here it is...not a mood board or a formal plan, but a Pinterest board that captures the vibe I'm going for in this redesign. I hope you like it.

At the beginning of a project, I often ask my clients to describe the way they want a room to feel, so I figure I'll take a turn at that. Ready?

Warm, elegant, spacious, cozy, feminine, not too feminine, classic, thoughtful, unexpected, new, timeless.


That's a mouthful, I know.

But it's doable, and I'm on my way. In fact, I got two things accomplished since we last talked. The room has a sweet new coat of Benjamin Moore Simply White, and new drapery (using Waverly's "On Key") is in production. I don't want to give too much away on either front, but here are some sneak peeks.


For anyone who has ever painted a room white after living with a color they've come to despise, I think you can agree that the new coat changes EVERYTHING. I mean, the mere act has made me think I really don't need to go any further with this challenge; it's THAT good.

But I will, and I can't wait for you guys to see where this goes. 

Be sure to check in on all the awesome featured designers, as well as the 200+ guest contributors (like me!) over at One Room Challenge. And thanks again to Linda Weinstein for coming up with this bananas event, and House Beautiful for celebrating the resulting lunacy (and beauty). See you next week!

One Room Challenge, Spring 2018, Week 1: The ugly, the old, the outdated, and the Inspiration to change it all

Have you guys heard of the One Room Challenge (ORC)? About seven years ago, Linda Weinstein of Calling It Home started this sort of blitz-decorating challenge, calling upon readers and fellow bloggers to make over a space of their choosing in a mere six weeks. Fast forward, and it's now a design movement, sweeping across the internet every April and October with 20 featured design bloggers reimagining rooms with some sweet support from awesome sponsors, and an amazing media partner (and my favorite shelter pub of all time) -- House Beautiful! The community element is still intact, with a whole host of readers and fellow bloggers chiming in as guest participants with their updates on the ORC website and in every corner of Instagram.

I've always been intrigued by the ORC, but every time it rolls around, I've never been able to make it work. Well, NO LONGER! This year, I decided to add a tab to my to-do list and throw my hat in the ring as a guest participant. From now through mid-May, I'll be posting updates every Thursday on my project; I hope you'll follow along.

For anyone who has made over a room to completion, you know six weeks is TIGHT. Regardless of whether you're buying everything new and working with contractors, or using what you own and doing all the labor yourself, that timeline leaves no room for error. 

The best way to get it done is with a locked-and-loaded design plan, but as is typical of interior design pros when designing for themselves, that whole plan thing? Not always in the cards. Many of us have houses akin to the Shoemaker's children...the ones that had no shoes. Our houses? Well, they never seem to be done.

I hope the ORC is going to help me focus on something I've wanted to do for a long time: finish my own house. But first, let's start with the dining room.

Yes! The dining room! My house seems to be a prime gathering place for our family -- six parents (including steps), ten sibs (including partners), five nieces/nephews, and our own two kids require a decent amount of seating any time some combination of us get together. I also love a good party, and try to host a few -- small and big -- each year. All that to say that what was considered the  "dining room" when we moved in was NOT going to be big enough for our purposes. Oh, it was also ugly as sin. Ready?


This was the real estate listing shot from when we bought the house eight years ago. No, no...not the 1980s...2010! And yes, that's CARPET. Anyway, we knew pretty early on that the dining room wasn't going to work for us, size-wise, so we decided to settle into what would've been the formal living room (which we had no use for). This was it...again, 2010, people. 


Within the first couple of years of moving in, we made some drastic cosmetic improvements, including painting, pulling out the plastic window muntins, working with my amazing carpenter to craft a built-in for the space, adding lighting, and pulling together a mish-mash of furniture to make it a functional and stylish dining room.  Which brought us to this (don't mind the furniture and empty shelves, it was piled up to begin prep for the ORC)...


So this is where we are. A drastic improvement from the state of affairs in 2010, but ready for an update. After eight years, the Ben Moore Powell Buff walls are getting to me, the rug feels garish, the light fixture feels cheap (which it was, by the way), and the mish-mash of furniture feels really mish-mashy. And also, notice that gorgeous bowl to the left? This one?


This bowl is pure inspiration. This bowl needed to have a home that was worthy of housing it. This bowl RUINED me. Flat. Done. Finis.

You see, I would've been content living with my dining room as it was for a bit longer, but then I got this amazing Jill Rosenwald bowl for my birthday in January and now I'm redoing my dining room because of it.* So if you're looking for fancy inspiration pics -- how I want my dining room to look when this challenge is all over -- look no further, because it's all about this beauty.

Next week, I'll share a bit more about for how this is going to all roll out, but suffice it to say, it's not all determined, and it's not going to be smooth sailing. I will be making decisions on the fly; working with some pros, but doing a lot myself; reusing things I already own; and investing cold hard cash only in key areas, because the reality is, I don't have a big pot of money sitting around to redo this (or any) room. 

Check back every Thursday, and be sure to check in on the progress of the featured bloggers (including my friend and fellow Boston Show House designer, Kelly Rogers!) and the rest of the guest participants at the main One Room Challenge site! Also, if you want to see my progress on Instagram, follow #ProjectOnTheFlyDining. See you in a week! 

*While Jill Rosenwald is a sponsor of the ORC, it is merely a happy accident that her High Five Coper Bowl happens to be my inspiration. This is not an ad for her wares (though they're awesome), and she is not sponsoring me (this year).  (A girl's gotta have dreams, right?)

Nine Great Benches

It must have been the spring weather tease that we New Englanders were treated to yesterday, but I suddenly found myself daydreaming about drinks on the porch, dinner on the deck, and basically doing anything and everything al fresco. Our outdoor space is in dire need of a refresh this coming season, so I got ahead of the game today with a sweet little round-up of benches perfect for taking in the fresh air. Click through to see the details!

Please note, this round-up contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a tiny commission if you click through and make a purchase.