WATCH ME COAST TO THE FINISH LINE
As I coast into Week 6 of the One Room Challenge, I’ve been distracted by all of the amazing room transformations that are already posted. They are SO GOOD. I am inspired, excited, and a wee bit jealous of some of these rooms. I’m not gonna lie.
My entry, on the other hand, has been leaving me a little underwhelmed with myself. Don’t worry, I’m cutting myself a LOT of slack here, and I’m not beating myself up too much over this. Just a little beating.
That being said, I don’t know what is going on with my photos so my apologies in advance if they come out blurry, dark, or distorted on your end because I am sure they are all a little wonky. I am hoping to edit this post with better pics someday.
In case you haven’t been here before, let me give you a little background:
THE SHORT VERSION
I moved from NJ to CA. I literally moved into this house a month ago. And it’s a rental. Then end. You may skip down to the pics now if you want.
THE LONG(ish) VERSION
My husband got a job promotion two and a half years ago, which brought him to California and I stayed behind in New Jersey so that our youngest daughter could graduate from our small town that she grew up in. I sold our home and squeezed all of our stuff into a rental house in NJ for a year and half so that as soon as she was off to college, I wouldn’t have to worry about selling my home and all that goes with that. I could just pack up and move to CA to finally join my husband. And when that time finally arrived at the end of August, I got 2 of the kids settled in their dorms, packed up my stuff and I drove myself and my dog, Ozzy, across the entire country.
BTW, living the “dual coast” life sounded good in theory, but it was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Driving across the country alone was the easiest part.
ROOM FOR ALL
And as soon as I got here, I started house hunting. You can see more on that part in WEEK ONE. I have three adult daughters who are on the east coast and they all are in committed relationships. That’s a lot of people. I was not about to get a one or two bedroom condo or something, I needed a place for my kids to come HOME to, and I want them to be with me not in some hotel when they come to visit me, which better be often. Our home in NJ was always open to extended family and friends from our real home base in New England, and I hope that tradition of having a house full of company will continue out here. So I needed to find a house. A patch of grass for the dog to pee would be a bonus.
Because it costs a ridiculous amount to live in this area of California, we decided to rent instead of buy. Well, we can’t afford to buy around here, so however you want to put it, really. So here we are, renting a typical California ranch home at Silicon Valley prices. With small rooms. Odd sized windows. And no interesting architectural details.
NOW YOU’RE ALL CAUGHT UP
The owner had installed all of these custom built-ins for her kids (who are now in their 30s) and I was lucky that she was willing to have them removed so I could fit my stuff in the bedrooms, and she painted everything white. Because it’s just a rental, I could have left it basic white. Then I thought about the One Room Challenge, which was starting the week we moved in and decided to throw my hat into the ring and I just couldn’t leave it plain white.
Not sure what the heck I was thinking. I still needed to find my way around this house, let alone spend all my time working on a bedroom I won’t even be using. I mean, you know it takes at least six weeks until you remember which cabinet you put the cereal bowls, right? How was I going to get this done? I was going to get it done by impulsively throwing things in here and making it work. And voila! Just kidding. Not really kidding.
Here’s another before and after:
Although it will be mostly used by one of my girls, it will also be a guest room, so I didn’t want to decorate it with all of the kids’ old bedroom stuff. I wanted it to be different than our old house, but I wanted to include special things that will make them feel at home. Some of their childhood art that I used to have in my bedroom in NJ is now hung in here.
Our first dog, Oreo, was so very special to us and we have a lot of pictures of him. This one was his very last ride, on his way to the vet for… well, you get it.
Hold please, I need to wipe my eyes.
I was thinking that my youngest daughter, Julia, will use this room the most, and her friends from home are already scheming to come visit. I wanted to add this little sofa my husband had gotten for his tiny apartment. It folds out to make a full size bed, so I thought it could work for a bunch of college kids. I also thought having a private place to hang out away from the main living areas was important.
Look at this wall before:
Digging through boxes I found one of the pillows that NATE BERKUS gave me from when I was on his show. I probably should retire it, but I just can’t yet. You can also see how I pattern matched the fabric on the walls here, I just overlapped the seams.
The wood carved mirror I had in the powder room at my old house. I got that thing for a complete steal and I loved it, so when I sold my house I swapped the mirror for some ugly plain mirror (that actually cost me more than this one). And now it has a new life in here.
Another thing I found in a box was this little bunny that Julia loved so much when she was a baby/toddler/little girl/big girl. It doesn’t play You Are My Sunshine anymore when you push the button on the foot, but it’s still special. I swear I’m not a hoarder. Most of my friends believe me, just ask. But some things you gotta keep.
And Headless Celeste looks at home here, with some greenery from my front yard.
West coast living does have its perks, the flowers are still blooming here, and the variety of plants is amazing. I have several different kind of roses in the backyard, and it makes me so happy!
On the east coast, the kids had twin and full sized beds before but they weren’t exactly comfortable for visitors. So, even though the room is small, AND I wanted a sofa-bed in there, I also wanted a queen size bed in there to make it comfortable for company.
And this is another reason it was so hard to take good photos!
I wanted cozy, comfy, and interesting things to look at. So why not bugs? Seriously, I don’t know why I chose these, and the kids are already like, “please take those out of the room”, but the colors were cool.
Oh, and I did crafts! I used a glue gun! Again, not sure what I was thinking. Not much planning went into this but I think this faux juju hat turned out ok.
As for the decor, I wrote about not wanting this charcoal print fabric on the walls (yeah FABRIC- go read about it HERE). The bedding isn’t my favorite, and then I got Pepto pink sheets for some unexplainable reason. And like a witch, I just put it all in the pot and swirled it around and here you go.
EAST AND WEST COAST REPRESENTING
I had some of the nicest clients and friends in NJ. One gave me this the day I left.
And I found this pillow on my first shopping excursion out here. To be honest, I kinda hate these kind of wordy things, but I thought it was cute for a room dubbed PROJECT COAST TO COAST.
AND I’M OUT OF TIME!
And money. I really didn’t want to spend a lot in here. I already had most of the stuff and I shopped willy nilly for the rest of it. If you’d like a breakdown, let me know in the comments and I will write it up in the next post. Here is the stuff I bought:
- fabric for the walls
- bedding: sheets, duvet cover and pillow cases
- shelving that I used as nightstands
- a couple of throw pillows
- drapery rod
- bug prints and frames
- 2 euro sham pillows
The obvious one is time. As a professional, I would never design a client’s room the way I did, without a firm design plan and firm budget AT THE BEGINNING. I just kind of winged it over the course of the 6 weeks because I had a lot of other things going on at the same time. I have also been working on unpacking and organizing the rest of the house, wrapping up some long distance design work, and I still have to schlep the rest of the stuff from the apartment my husband was renting in San Jose to this house. And I need to stop neglecting the poor dog. No wonder he keeps getting in the way in here. He’s hoping we get back to regular walks, I’m sure!
The kids are coming for Thanksgiving so I also needed to get the other bedrooms ready, and I probably could’ve made this another three room project like I did last spring when I did the three bathrooms for the One Room Challenge Spring 2019 Project Get Clean. But I know where to draw the line folks. I can’t get decent photographs of one room, so forget about the rest! At least Nick Cage is here ready to greet them.
The other challenge was making do (and being happy) with what I have, for the most part, and getting things that were in stock and available before the deadline. I sacrificed on the wall fabric pattern and color, the bedding I REALLY wanted was going to take 8-10 weeks, and the euro shams I wanted from Spoonflower were going to take too long (hence the crazy running around to all of the HomeGoods/TJMaxx/Marshalls in Northern CA). The headboard was picked to go with the pink wall that didn’t happen, and to go under that window originally. It works, but I don’t love it. The window shutters kind of drive me nuts and I wish I could change them to woven wood shades but it’s a rental and those have to stay.
And that is the biggest challenge (not counting being apart from all my people on the east coast). Being in a rental. I can’t wallpaper, add moulding, change the wonky windows, upgrade the switches and electrical… It’s not really MY house. I’m not a fan of investing a lot of money into a place we aren’t staying for a long time in, but I do want to feel like we actually LIVE somewhere.
At the end of this challenge, this rental house is starting to feel a little more personalized, with touches of family and friends making feel more like HOME. And that was the ultimate goal of taking this challenge on.
Thank you for following along my journey for the last six weeks. It’s been a trying one. Not trying in the way like the crazy construction projects and mind-boggling makeovers that some of my ORC peers had taken on. Just mentally and physically exhausting to make all of these new adjustments, from moving to the west coast, to being an empty nester for the first time, to missing my people so much, to reuniting with my husband under one roof.
I keep going back and forth beating myself up that this room isn’t my best work, was my heart really in it, these pictures aren’t professional enough, potential new west coast or long distance clients will hate it, my landlord might freak out if she sees it… to HEY GIRL, you live in California now in a great house in a great town and who cares?! Maybe one of the parts of this whole will inspire someone to do something fun in their own house.
PROJECT COAST TO COAST, BABY.
Check out all my past weeks:
Click the image below to see all the entries:
AND HERE ARE THE TWENTY FEATURED PARTICIPANTS
At Charlotte’s House | Design Addict Mom | Erika Ward Interiors | Erin Kestenbaum | Girl & Grey | Gray Malin | Hommeboys | I Spy DIY | Jewel Marlowe | The Learner Observer | Making it Lovely | Nicole White Designs | Old Brand New | Oscar Bravo Home | Place of My Taste | The Rath Project | Room for Tuesday | SG Style | Undecorated Home | Veronica Solomon
WHAT IS THE ONE ROOM CHALLENGE?
The One Room Challenge is a bi-annual event hosted by Calling it Home showcasing 20 featured participants and many guest participants as they renovate a single room, documenting all of it over the course of six weeks. The One Room Challenge kindly shares all of the blog entries and the finished spaces at the end of the 6 weeks. Many of the entries end up being featured in places like these:
And this season, look who is the official media partner: