One Room Challenge Fall 2019: Project Fresh Start Reveal!!

before and after condo decorating

Today’s the day! It’s finally time for my One Room Challenge Fall 2019 Reveal, or Project Fresh Start. A year and three months of living in our new downsized condo and it is finally decorated. I know you don’t want to read a lot of text and want to get straight to the photos…and I have a lot of them to share. However, I do want to thank Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home blog for dreaming up this six week challenge and Better Homes and Gardens for being the media sponsor. Without this challenge I think we would most likely still be living in an undecorated home.

 BEFORE Photos To refresh your memory

Quick back story: My husband and I downsized in 2017. We lived for a year in a small apartment while searching for a condo close to Boston. We moved in fifteen months ago and did very little while I figured out how we wanted to use the space. For this One Room Challenge, I decorated the dining nook, sitting area and kitchen.

Dining nook BEFORE

 Dining nook: Plastic office table, outside patio chairs, builder basic chandelier (hung WAY to high).

Living room Before

Old random mismatched furniture and no rug. Two very healthy plants though!

Living room before

Kitchen Before:

No backsplash, no personality, and structural changes were off limits.

Kitchen BEFORE

Lack of storage:

The clutter of items on the floor speaks for itself. We also had two random counter height stools that were too short for the bar height counter.

 Condo before decorating

Floor Plan

Our condo has a VERY challenging floor plan. The first floor living space is only 19′ x 19′. There is a kitchen, a small sitting area to the right, and a dining nook off the hallway. To complicate things even more, the room is chopped up by a traffic path way that must be kept open to the backdoor.

 Floor plan ORC Fall 2019

 AFTER Photos

First a couple photos of each area and then lots of detail shots will follow. All photos except for some of the detail shots are by interior photographer Emily O’Brien Photography

 Dining Nook AFTER

Dining nook

I absolutely love our little dining nook now. It has lot’s of personality which it desperately needed since it is really nothing more than a niche in the hallway across from the kitchen. For the dining table, I asked Stacey of Dunes and Duchess to color match the table base to the back splash tiles in the kitchen. I chose a walnut stained top to relate to the floor. When the table was delivered I couldn’t stop looking at it. It blew me away and was even more beautiful than I had imagined.


The statement making chandelier is from sponsor Currey and Company.  Again, I wanted something with a wow factor because the space itself is not very remarkable. The chairs are Mally Skok for Dowel Furniture. I first saw these chairs last Spring at High Point Market and instantly fell in love with them. Mally’s Botswana tree fabric on the seats and pillows are a perfect companion with the table.

 The bench is from Article and I found a gold and white check fabric (discontinued) from Duralee to have it reupholstered in. I like how the bench now relates to the chandelier.

 And the ART!! Remember I told you that Annie Damphousse of Housse Studio offered to paint me some custom artwork for the nook? She brought over about ten different pieces for me to choose from. I stood there and with every single one she held up, I said, “I love it”. It was so hard to choose but check out the three I finally settled on. I think they are absolutely perfect. Annie also custom designed all the table linens and the two dish towels in the kitchen.



 white cabinets green backsplash tiles


The new green crackle tiles in the color Basil from Fireclay has freshened up the previous boring all white kitchen. I chose to go with a traditional subway tile shape in a 3″ x 9″ size and stack them for a more updated look. It’s a little hard to tell by the photo but since the tiles are hand made, they have a wide variation in tone. I wasn’t sure I was going to like that but now it’s my favorite part of the kitchen. My beautiful new hardware is the Freestone brushed satin knobs from Emtek. The pulls are the Trail brushed satin also from Emtek. Dish Towels: Annie Damphousse, Housse-Studio. Rug: Dash and Albert Indoor Outdoor


modern condo sitting area

 Our previously sad sitting area is now a joy to be in. Two custom designed low back swivel chairs accommodate both TV watching and conversation toward the bench on the opposite wall. The wing Chair is from Highland House and the buffett is from  Woodbridge Furniture. I wanted something other than art work on that far wall because I didn’t want it to  compete with the art on the TV. A living moss wall from Tree Masters (to the trade only) brings in a bit of nature and also carries the green of the back splash tiles and table base to the sitting area side of the room. The fresh moss smells amazing and will supposedly last five to ten years with simply an occasional spritzing of water. A Peacock Blue pillow adds a pop of color to the animal print chair and is from my favorite pillow vendor Arianna Belle. Boston potter Jill Rosenwald created the gold and white vase on the coffee table.

 The custom 8′ round rug is from Sylvie and Mira.

 Black and white custom graphic rug

 The TV art

The TV is one of the new Samsung art TVs. I uploaded a photo that I took last Spring while at the top of the Vessel in NYC.

 The vessel NYC

 Above is the original image. I made it into a black and white and boosted the contrast so that it would relate better to both the rug and the back of the swivel chairs.

 The vessel NYC

 The best part about the TV is that I can change out the artwork for something new whenever I feel like it. I have no affiliation with Samsung and this is not a sponsored post. I just really love this art feature when having the TV over the fireplace is the only option.


Swivel chairs facing bench

modern condo white walls black and white swivel chairs

 From sponsor Currey and Company are the bench and the black and white table lamp. The two wooden masks are from Umasqu Studio. I discovered this new art source a couple weeks ago while at High Point Market. I was looking for something with a presence for that wall and I wanted something I could hang high on the wall to balance the built-in pantry. It was down to the wire if the artwork would make it into the room because it was delivered to the wrong address. After knocking on many doors and taping notes to neighboring homes I finally located the package.

 Swivel chairs facing TV

modern condo white walls

 As already mentioned, the chairs can face any direction which has already proven to be very useful


custom painted pantry

 My beautiful pantry! It took a full year for this storage space to become a reality and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. I gave a lot of thought to the design and my cabinet maker, Mike Gendron of MLG WoodWorking did a stellar job of building it. From the very beginning I knew I didn’t want the pantry to look like the kitchen cabinets. My thought was to design something different but not so different that it would dominate the room.

 With the help of master decorative painter Pauline Curtiss of Patina Design, we came up with these soft organic water color like stripes. They are gold with just a hint of green. I chose the slim brushed satin Edge Pulls from Emtek to support the stripes but not be the focal point.

 Open walkway

Since we have to keep the walkway to the back door clear, it is the perfect spot for Mr. T. Never’s bed. He loves it there and spends a good part of the day looking out onto the back yard. He’s always on alert hoping for a squirrel or bunny to come into view. The rectangular carpet is also from Sylvie and Mira.I chose a pattern to compliment the round rug using the same colors plus gold and blue.

 And now for some alternate views and vignettes.

All table linens by Annie Damphousse, Housse Studio. The holidays are fast approaching and I think some of Annie’s custom linens would make the perfect gift.

I paired her colorful linens with black flatware so that they would really pop. The black and white polka dot napkin rings I have owned forever.


Pillows and chair seat fabric Mally Skok designs

You can get a better view of the variation of the tiles in this shot. The green outlet covers were a lucky online find but they are actually from Home Depot. The original white ones were much too distracting.

Hardware: Emtek

Dish Towels: Annie Damphousse, Housse-Studio.

Pendant Lighting: Regina Andrews. Bar Stools Tronk Design. Besides decorative painting, Patina Designs makes pottery. The plates and napkins on the bar are from her and here is a better look at her pottery.

When my son was little he was obsessed with bugs. The framed walking stick on the buffet has been with us for about 25 years. The dog snake was a Birthday gift from my husband when we were dating.

The moss living wall is from Tree masters


Pillow: Arianna Belle. Coral knobs on buffet, Anthropologie. Lamp and accessories, existing. Drink table: Ballard Designs

Coffee table: Charleston Forge. Rug: Sylvie and Mira custom

The side table that I ordered for the challenge has still not arrived. This glass West Elm one is a temporary substitute borrowed from my studio. The gold iron bench and table lamp are both from Currey and Company. Rug: Sylvie and Mira, custom. Wooden masks: Umasqu Studio. Pillows custom.

No room for bookcases so I stacked some of my design books on the floor and perched some of my favorite accessories on top. The lady’s head painting is by Pamela Copeman Art.

Wing Chair: Highland House. Pillow: Arianna Belle

The new pantry counter is now our coffee station.This frees up a lot of kitchen counter space.The art work is by Laurie Leavitt. I’ve known Laurie since I was five years old. We grew up across the street from one another and I own several pieces of her art. This one of the pears has always been one of my favorites and I am so happy it has a place of honor in my home.

Below is a close up of the decorative stripes to give you a better view.

Now to enjoy the finished space.

So there you have it, my One Room Challenge was a full year in the “thinking about it stage”. Then five weeks of mostly awaiting around for furniture to be delivered, followed by another week of lost packages, and set backs. In the end though, as always, things worked out.

I am grateful to so many people who helped me complete this challenge but I want to give a special shout out to my friend Gail. She was my sounding board for weeks (months) as I made my way through this challenge.

Lastly, a thank you to my very patient husband who lived for a year in a very sparsely decorated home while I thought about how I wanted our new little home to look and feel. He also hung the pendant lighting and massive chandelier, switched out all the kitchen hardware and installed all the green light switch outlets and plates.

There are so many great reveals to check out between the featured designers and the guest designers. Now that I’m done, I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. Lot’s and lot’s of reading!