Hello friends. Today’s the day so many have been waiting for. It’s the kick off of the One Room Challenge Fall 2018. This is the day that twenty featured designers commit to transforming a room in six short weeks. Tomorrow, hundreds more join in on the challenge and “link up” as guest participants. For those of you joining in for the first time, the ORC was started by Linda Weinstein in 2011. Linda challenged a small group of her online blogging friends to transform a room in their home in six weeks. Well fast forward to today and the ORC is a bi-annual event with national sponsors, hundreds of participants and millions of followers. It truly has become “THE” online design event of the season. It’s a crazy wild ride and I am so thrilled to be a part of it once again as one of the twenty featured designers.

Since many of you might be new to this blog, let me do a mini introduction. I am a residential interior decorator and blogger, living just outside of Boston. I was a professional photographer for twenty five years before I decided to pursue my life long passion of interior design. Today I split my time between designing for clients, blogging about design and sharing my passion for iphone photography. I love color, pattern and art and if I could make a living by traveling the world I would sign up in a heart beat!

Now on to the challenge 

A little over five weeks ago, my husband and I moved into a new construction condo. We had downsized about eighteen months earlier and had been living in a small apartment while we searched for our new home. Our wait paid off and we lucked out with a new build condo close to Boston. When we signed the purchase and sales back in April it was just a hole in the ground. We are finally moved in but far from settled. There has been no decorating and we only recently finished emptying out a storage unit. I hate to admit it but we are still surrounded with boxes and clutter. Without the deadline of the ORC I know I would drag my feet and it would be months or longer before we had a single room that was finished. I chose to transform our master bedroom and adjoining walk in closet and master bath. I want one finished space that we can escape to and read, reflect or just sit and relax.


Master bedroom:

This is what it looked like a few weeks back during the morning of our closing. It is a nice size room and a blank slate with white walls and wood floors. This angle was taken while standing in the doorway. The room has only one window on the left side wall. The window faces South so we get beautiful, bright light all day long. To the right of the window wall is a looong featureless 18′ blank wall.

dark hardwood floors

The room is pretty sad at the moment. Actually, it’s way beyond sad, it’s downright embarrassing. No style whatsoever; just the bed, two old side tables, a random lamp and a rug thrown down simply to protect the new floors. Oh yeah, there is also a heavy box of books that have no place to go and the dog’s bed.

bedroom before makeover


Opposite the window wall is the entrance to the small master bath. That suitcase you see has not been unpacked since the move because as you will soon see, there is no place for the clothes.

ORC bedroom before makeover


Walk in closet

Our walk in closet is on the wall opposite the long 18′ wall. It was “kind of sort of” built out but it is not functioning for our needs. That bookcase like open shelving piece is taking up way too much valuable space. I think it’s for shoes but we need drawers for clothes not shelves that show off clutter

master closet before

I did my best to get our clothes in some sort of organized fashion but within a week it had degraded to this.

closet before makeover

Again, I am mortified to be revealing this is the current state of my closet but equally excited to know it will soon be transformed.

Master bathroom

Although the master bath is not 100% to my tastes, it is fine. Since we “bought” a new build condo, and didn’t “build” a new condo we had very limited choices in finishes. Since it is brand new, my husband would NOT be on board with replacing tiles or counter top so it will stay as is. Even so, I do have a few cosmetic fixes planned.

marble master bath


Since our new condo is located in a very public urban area, I knew we would need shades on the windows as soon as we moved in.  Believing I was on top of things, I ordered  “room darkening” shades several weeks before the closing. When I chose them, I didn’t know that a high powered security spotlight was facing directly into our master bedroom. The shades were no match for that bright spot light. Our first night there, the room lit up and glowed like a big white box. My resourceful husband took matters into his own hands and came up with this solution. He went into the garage and grabbed some drapery panels from our previous home that were tagged for donation.


No, hardware, just the drapery pins balancing on the window molding…classy right?? It does however solve an immediate problem and will be one of the first things I address in the bedroom.

My inspiration: Boutique Hotels 

Luckily for me, my husband is pretty easy going and defers to me when it comes to decorating decisions. Having said that though, after 35 years of marriage, I know what he likes and doesn’t. He doesn’t like anything “fussy”, glam or over the top dramatic. He likes clean lines and easy maintenance materials. The number one thing I know he dislikes are dark rooms. He likes light, bright and cheerful colors and like me, likes pattern.

When I was thinking about how I wanted our bedroom to look and feel I thought about some of the favorite places my husband and I have stayed while traveling. My best memories have been small bed and breakfasts and boutique hotels. One hotel chain that is on my bucket list is the Firmdale hotels. They are designed by Kit Kemp and I am a huge fan of hers. I love the way she mixes color and pattern while still maintaining the feeling of a cozy, comfortable space. They call her the “queen of the unexpected” and every room has a sense of that.

ORC inspiration photo 1

Her two signature design elements are statement head boards and wallpaper accent walls. I plan to have both of these elements in our master bedroom.

ORC inspiration 2

I can imagine staying in any one of these rooms all weekend long reading, relaxing and hanging out.

The main living space in our condo is contemporary. The living room, dining area and kitchen are all one big open space. There are lot’s of big windows, white walls and medium brown hardwood floors.

new build condo

I plan to keep a minimalist, contemporary vibe on the first floor but in the master bedroom I want a place to escape and feel like I am in a cozy bed and breakfast or at some fabulous boutique hotel.

My Decorating Plan:

The Bedroom:

Since the room is long and narrow with three doors there isn’t a lot of choice for furniture layout. What that 18′ wall allows me to do though is have plenty of room for our king sized bed (ironically we purchased it just months before we decided to downsize). With the bed shifted down toward the bathroom there is space for a couple chairs and two slim bookcases for a reading area.

master bedroom floor plan

Over the next six weeks this is my plan.

  1. Wallpaper that 18′ wall
  2. Create a fabulous statement head board.
  3. Have black out drapes made to fix night time light problem
  4. Find two bookcases to put across from one another in the niche by the window
  5. Get two comfortable reading chairs
  6. Source two bedside tables
  7. Find a dresser to place across from the bed (which may or may not have a TV on it)
  8. Source a large room size rug
  9. Paint the three other walls and ceiling a light neutral that coordinates with the wallpaper
  10. Source a reading floor lamp by chairs
  11. Put up crown molding
  12. Style bookcases
  13. add art work

As if that’s not enough….

Walk in closet

This came as a complete surprise to me but since I was transforming the bedroom my husband decided he wants to rip out the existing builder closet system. He plans to install a more efficient unit that will work better for our needs. He had built a beautiful closet for us in our previous home so we know the luxury of having a well organized closet. This project is on him but of course I will be there to advise.

Master bathroom:

  1. Paint white walls a warmer color
  2. Replace builder grade wall sconces
  3. Swap out vanity hardware
  4. Add artwork for some needed color

Next week I will reveal my colors and fabric choices. It’s an unexpected palette for me but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone to create something “unexpected”.

Last but not least, a huge thank you to Linda, who invited me on this journey and to Better Homes and Gardens for being this Falls media sponsor. Be sure to check out all the other participants and don’t forget tomorrow is the start of the link up participants.


Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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