Wednesday, May 9, 2018

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 - Final Reveal



It's reveal day! This is like Christmas morning for the One Room Challenge, and I'm so excited to share my space with you! Just in case you are new to this little blog of mine, I'll introduce myself; my name is Nancy and I'm a long-time design blogger (since 2010) based in Vancouver. I started my blog to chronicle my home renovations and it has become a passion that I simply couldn't see my life without.

It has truly been a grueling 6 weeks; I'm now 4.5 months pregnant and managing a toddler, working 5 days a week teaching biology at a local college. Throw in a massive and short-timeline project to the already-crazy-mix and it was at times a recipe for disaster. My husband may have repeatedly announced that he passionately hates painting and will never take on such a task again ... but on completion I promise he turned around and asked what other rooms of the house I thought we could tackle next :)

To start off, I have to say a huge thank you to Linda of Calling It Home (she created this amazing challenge!), thank you to House Beautiful for sponsoring, & thank you to all the amazing partners that helped us beautify the space. I count myself pretty darn blessed to have been part of this ORC. Now, I'll let the "before" & "after" photos speak for themselves, and I will reference sources throughout as well as a complete list at the bottom of this post. All photography of the "after" space was taken by the lovely and wonderfully talented Tracey Ayton - honored every time I have the chance to work with her! if you are a designer located in the Greater Vancouver area you will want to get familiar with her stunning work as soon as possible. Thank me later. 

Here's our humble beginnings, the real estate photos from 2 years ago when we purchased:
And then what it looked like exactly 6 weeks ago - we had painted the walls white, changed flooring, smoothed the textured ceilings, and that was about it:


And now (drum roll please), the same corner of this room a short six weeks later:


What do you think? A big difference from the starting point, right? I think it's proof you can take any box of four walls and make it your own, always try to see past the things you may think you cannot change! There are probably many people who would have seen the space below and said, 'no way, I'm not paying top-dollar for a house like this!' Just for reference, every room was stuck in 1989.


Stroheim - grasscloth wallpaper, Tonic Living - roman shade, Bellacor - ticking stripe rug, Emtek - cabinetry hardware, Dynasty Kitchen - cabinetry, Gray Malin - artwork above desk, Couture Lamps - bookends, Jungmin Ko - portrait of my son

Over onto the wall before our handsome little vintage bed went in:


And a satisfying after:

Lamps Plus - plug in wall sconce, Arianna Belle - Les Touches pillow

Plain Jane doors and trim before:


Metrie - crown, baseboard & door casing painted BM Symphony Blue, Bellacor - ticking stripe rug, Stroheim - grasscloth wallpaper, Emtek - closet egg cabinet knobs

I'd have to say the first thing that speaks to me when I walk into this room is the Stroheim grasscloth wallpaper in Asana Natural colorway; the warmth and texture that it brings to this space is perfection. Combined with the cool blue of the cabinetry it creates a lovely contrast of shiny vs rough, dark vs light, smooth vs textured. This pairing creates so much interest! The flat roman shade was custom made to my specifications by Tonic Living, and the navy tape trim is the perfect detail. One of the true keepsakes of the room has to be this personalized portrait of my son, which was amazingly done without the artist Jungmin Ko ever even meeting him in person! 


And oh, those plug-in sconces from Lamps Plus, the fact that they are incredibly gorgeous, traditional, and easy to install and I didn't have to call the electrician makes me so so happy. Because they are triple pivot they swing out a generous 18.5 inches meaning they easily hover over the bed but then can tuck out of the way when not in use. I've decided I literally need these in every room of the house.


We actually re-used the Craigslist campaign dresser and Anewall artwork from Marcus' nursery, combined with the Couture Lamps Melrose table lamp and the new ticking stripe rug from Bellacor, these items are getting a new lease on life:



Couture Lamps - table lamp, Jill Rosenwald - planter pot

This handmade-to-order large planter pot from Jill Rosenwald is like the icing on the cake, and the gorgeous floral arrangement by Floralista helps show that off. It's so beautiful, and it's these subtle touches that make a room special. You can select your color for every one of her stunning ceramic pieces - for me, this will be a true keepsake in this stunning Veranda pattern in delft blue:


PopOColor - Plaisirs de la Chine pillow, Windows by Melissa - red ticking stripe window seat, Jill Rosenwald - planter pot

I'm really happy with how our cabinetry turned out, and I hope it ends up being useful storage and seating for Marcus into his teen years. So that we wouldn't lose any usable space, Dynasty Kitchen allowed me to create a custom side-shelf facing inwards for display and books. Oh, and there are my Craigslist Britannica encyclopedias! Who knows, maybe he'll actually crack them open one day - see what 1989 was all about (literally found a set from the year this house was built)! I'm really happy with our color choice of BM Symphony Blue paired with the classic Emtek egg cabinet knobs in solid brass French antique finish that will be safe and easy to grab with no sharp metal corners for our little guy:



You can see above and below that the Arianna Belle Les Touches pillows in blue were customized with the perfect pop of red piping & repeated on the bed and window seat:

Emtek egg cabinet knob in the classic French antique finish

And oh my, that perfect pop with the Gray Malin artwork over the desk nook! Red Balloon II couldn't have fit better into our design plans, it brings out the whimsy in the space with that elephant and stack of blue suitcases:


The accessories often make the design, don't they? I found tiny little red-matted antique frames for over the bed on Etsy and I used loads of Marcus' colorful books to style the bookshelves with these gorgeous coral bookends from Couture Lamps:


Oh, and let's not forget the most important detail of ALL, the new inhabitant of the room approves!


He's tested out every corner & got some practice jumping on the bed. And that's what's most important right?


A huge sigh of relief! And a big thank you to the generous ORC sponsors who helped provide key décor elements. Here's a full list of items that went into the space:

Red Balloon II Artwork, Gray Malin | Asana Natural grasscloth, Stroheim | Symphony Blue, Benjamin Moore | Triple pivot swing-arm plug-in lamps, Lamps Plus | Vintage bed, Campaign dresser, & Encyclopedia set, Craigslist finds | Ticking Stripe Rug, Bellacor | Coral bookends, Couture Lamps | Les Touches pillows, Arianna Belle | Melrose table lamp, Couture Lamps | Veranda planter pot, Jill Rosenwald | Floral arrangement, Floralista | Egg cabinet knob, Emtek | Roman blind, Tonic Living | Personalized portrait, Jungmin Ko Art Studio | Window seat cushion, Windows by Melissa | Plaisirs de la Chine pillow, PopOColor | Bamboo chair, Ballard Designs | Artwork above dresser, Anewall |Tricycle, Tassel, & Artwork above bed, vintage finds | Linen x-bench, One King's Lane | Clock and large basket, HomeSense |

Thank you so much for following along, cheering me on through your messages here and on social media, I truly mean it when I say I feel blessed to be part of such a supportive & enthusiastic creative community. It enriches my life daily, so thank you to all of YOU! (And if you are just catching up you can view posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 for the whole process).

I am so excited to check out the other 19 spaces today, it's been a pleasure to follow along with them and an honor to be part of this talented Spring 2018 line-up:



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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 - Week 5



Despite the fact that I don't have many new things to show you this week, and there really haven't been many changes to the room, I somehow have to have the entire space installed and ready for photography in 3 days. THREE days. Above you can see some of the handsome details going into the space, including the amazing portrait of my son by Vancouver-based artist Jungmin Ko (which I am dying over!), the fantastic Les Touches pillows from Arianna Belle, and a sneak peek at a brand new print from Gray Malin. I'm adding some vintage elements to the mix for good measure, including artwork (not pictured here) and that vintage furniture tassel sent straight from Italy!

Les Touches and Plaisirs de la Chine make a handsome pair

We have had the Stroheim wallpaper installed and the built-in cabinetry finished and showcases our Emtek egg cabinet knobs, the room is cleaned and ready for furnishings (sorry for the crummy iPhone photo!):


In the next three days (including today, that is) we will need to complete the following:

- Pick up the last shipments from our mailbox, some arriving as late as Thursday. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that everything will arrive on time!
- Set up the Bellacor rug, vintage bed, & dresser, and then hang the art and Lamps Plus sconces once everything else is in place
- Hang the roman shade from Tonic Living
- Steam the textiles and start the styling!

Here's another look at the rug that we will be picking up in the next day or two:


This is it! Please come visit me here next week at this time to see the final reveal! And follow along with all other 19 designers of the ORC to see a whole lot of fantastic before & afters.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 - Week 4



Dare I say that week 4 means we are in the home stretch? Eek! That's a scary thought - but considering we have to have photography done before the week 6 reveal, it really means time is ticking. I'm starting to feel like I'm on one of those cheesy HGTV shows that make everything seem panicky to reach the deadline but it's honestly truth! Our big accomplishment yesterday and today is that the built-in is being installed as we speak:


Dynasty Kitchen is doing a fantastic job for us (and on such a tight timeline!), the trim and details on these units & that perfect little side shelf are making the details come together so beautifully. These photos don't do any of it justice as they are literally covered in dust and unfinished, but it's going to make the final reveal images that much more stunning.


I am loving more and more how the Stroheim grasscloth is looking with the navy blue against it, it totally warms up the space. Similar to this photo I found below and in fact Tonic Living is creating a gorgeous roman shade with navy banding much like this:


And oh the lighting!! This perfect bed-side swing arm lamp from Lamps Plus is the stuff design dreams are made of - it's traditional and chic and it's PLUG in - I don't have to call the electrician!

In addition to this we will layer the lighting with a table lamp from Couture Lamps, and we've got some other fab accessories for those navy built-in shelves like the pile of Britannica's I bought off Craigslist ($33 for 33 volumes!) and the coral bookends:


More to come soon! Peek over at my Instastories when you have a chance and I'll be sure to show you the built-in when it's complete. Then it's time to set up the rug, bed, and artwork!! Be sure to hop by to see all the fabulous designs of the other 19 ORC designers. And thank you for your comments and for taking this journey with me :)


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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 - Week 3



Ummm, I'm not sure that I'm loving how quickly I seem to be having to create my weekly posts here ... the One Room Challenge is flying by and we've got a lot left on our plates to say the least!

What have we been up to since last week? Well at least I can say we made a few decent strides:



  • room is officially completely emptied of everything
  • sanding and painting the trim is DONE! (door and closets still need blue paint)
  • wallpaper is INSTALLED!
  • built-in cabinetry is booked to be installed later this month
  • all decor items have been ordered and many have begun to arrive


  • Here is some  photographic evidence of all of the above 'to-do's' from the last week in action:


    Poor hubby went hard-core on painting that lovely inky blue trim, it takes MANY coats to get that kind of deep jewel-toned color. I helped with the taping, I swear :)


    Our glorious Stroheim grasscloth wallpaper from Fabricut arrived and it's even better in person. I always knew I was drawn to texture, but this is literally like a slice of heaven! Hot off the press, we just had it installed yesterday! If you are ever unsure if this whole 6 week challenge is real .... everything you see is being done in real-time and nothing was prepared or completed prior to the 6 weeks. I think we deserve gold medals at the end, bonus points if you're also pregnant ;)


    Yesterday's wallpaper install helper #1 (little Marky getting excited about his new room), and helper #2 (furry friend Yoki if you can spot her)!


    The combination of the navy on the Metrie trim and grasscloth is even better than I imagined it would be. Paint still is getting some touch-ups, but look at that glossy finish against the rough natural fibers!



    I've also switched things up a bit with the plans for our bed, I ended up finding a vintage 1930's bed with spindle posts that I fell in love with. And every room needs something old with soul right?


    With a few tweaks to the moodboard, here's a reminder of what's happening with the decor of the space (now with the addition of the 1930's spindle bed and the BM Symphony Blue color):

    Artwork, Gray Malin | Asana Natural grasscloth, Stroheim | Symphony Blue, Benjamin Moore | Pair of Swing-arm lamps, Lamps Plus | Vintage bed, Craigslist find | Ticking Stripe Rug, Bellacor | Coral bookends, Couture Lamps | Les Touches pillow, Arianna Belle | Table lamp, Couture Lamps | Veranda planter pot, Jill Rosendwald | Egg cabinet knob, Emtek | Roman blinds, Tonic Living

    Now that we have much of the framework of the room, I'll focus on all of the gorgeous decorative goodies next week! And as always, don't forget that if you love watching makeovers in real time, you can visit the other fantastic designers on this challenge.

    Eek! We are officially half way through, wish me luck!

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    Wednesday, April 11, 2018

    One Room Challenge Spring 2018 - Week 2


    Ashley Whittaker, photography by Thomas Loof

    It's week 2 of 6! I'm feeling decently high levels of anxiety to be honest ... not much has physically happened in the space yet BUT we have got all of our planning/ordering complete. So I've got less than 4 weeks to make it all happen, considering that photography has to happen several days before the official reveal day. Eek!

    Come visit me on instagram all throughout the week and I will show you the current state of the room as it stands and all the goodies that are arriving in the mail, so far:

    • we have taken out the bed and shelf, and have almost completely emptied the space of everything (gotta put that IKEA shelf on Craigslist next!)
    • sanding and painting the trim is about to begin in the next couple of days
    • wallpaper install is booked for early next week
    • built-in cabinetry has been planned and install is booked for later this month
    So a brief reminder of what this space looked like when we purchased the house:



    And in it's current state minus the furniture/junk, it's a totally blank canvas. So looking at this particular wall, I wanted to use today's post to explain my plans for the built-ins! I really wanted this room to be a space that grows up with little Marcus and gives him storage and workspace. And every kid wants a window seat right? So here's the plan:


    Looking at the image of the space above, and the drawing below, from left to right we are planning a desktop, a unit with open display shelves on top and cupboards on the bottom for hidden storage, and then a window seat all the way to the right side of the wall. We are so excited to have hired a five-star local family-owned Canadian company called Dynasty Kitchen to put this plan into action for us, as they make all of their products in-house and allowed us to select our own paint color for the unit (sketch below provided by Dynasty Kitchen).
    Our transitional-style Metrie crown will be brought to wrap all the way on the front of the built-in, and everything will be painted in a luscious Benjamin Moore Symphony Blue (yep, I already changed my mind from last week's paint color selection).

    Oh and the hardware! We can't forget about the hardware :) These Emtek egg cabinet knobs in French Antique finish are going to be the perfect finishing touch, I LOVE navy with warm brass tones. 


    And then of course I get to do the fun part like zhushing with fabrics, art, books (I bought a 33-volume set of Britannica encyclopedias off Craigslist this week - $33 and in mint condition), and a lovely roman shade from Tonic Living (my moodboard from last week in case you missed):


    Artwork, Gray Malin | Asana Natural grasscloth, Stroheim | Gentleman's Gray, Benjamin Moore | Swing-arm lamps, Lamps Plus | Navy Linen twin bed, Bellacor | Ticking Stripe Rug, Bellacor | Coral bookends, Couture Lamps | Les Touches pillow, Arianna Belle | Table lamp, Couture Lamps | Veranda planter pot, Jill Rosendwald | Egg cabinet knob, Emtek | Roman blinds, Tonic Living

    And I think I'm going to let the cat out of the bag and show you my plans for a pop of color against the navy blue and natural grasscloth wallcovering, I got this sneak peek from the talented Arianna Belle yesterday of a combo she designed to help me make that color pop stand out:


    Yes! Red will be scattered throughout and used in several fabric combos. It's going to be so yummy. I'll leave you with some of the inspiration photos I have been collecting for these built-ins:

    Andrew J. Howard, photography by Helen Norman

    Andrew J. Howard, photography by David Land

    Nick Olsen, photography by Pieter Estersohn

    This next one I saved because I liked the idea of the desk surface and cabinet on the shelf having one flush counter, which we are going to do:

    Andrew J. Howard, photography by Christopher Shane

    And this last one gives you a lovely idea of the navy painted-out trim against the grasscloth wallcovering, similar to the gorgeous Stroheim Asana Natural we have selected. So handsome!

    Sara Gilbane, photography by Francesco Lagnese

    Thank you for all of your lovely comments and suggestions on last weeks post, I read and am definitely considering the advice in each comment you guys left for me! Please hop back to see the continued choices and progress we make by next week, and please visit the other 19 talented folk on this 6 week journey with me:


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