One Room Challenge: Week Five

If you’re new around here, two years ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house. Make sure to catch up on our One Room Challenge™ progress from past weeks (week one, week two, week three, week four).

This past week was another massive week for progress.

In the bedroom, we painted the trim, hung a new door, installed new electrical outlets and replaced our recessed lights. We also sanded down the vintage nightstands and prepared them for paint.

In the closet, we hung new doors and finished the window bench. We also completed our hack of the IKEA Pax closet system, which included lots of stunning Metrie trim, adding wallpaper to the back of the units, and lots of woodworking to create custom drawer fronts and the illusion of a custom built in closet. We also primed and painted the entire room.

Not only that, lots of great items arrived for the space that are going to really help transform the rooms.

Let’s dive in.

The Bedroom

Painted the room

After nearly a dozen different sample pots, I finally narrowed down the colour to Benjamin Moore Smoke. What I love about this colour is that it has enough gray in it not to be overwhelming, but also enough depth and pigment to still feel interesting. We ended up going with the Pearl finish, which is similar to Satin, primarily because the Regal Select paint was on sale. Since it’s trimwork, I opted for some sheen to highlight the dimension inherent to applied trim on the walls, and with the paint going on the doors and windows, having some sheen leads to greater durability. I couldn’t be happier with the finish.

We painted the trimwork using a spray gun and it turned out awesome. When we had the wallpaper installers come by for quotes, they were shocked that we had sprayed the room ourselves because the finish looked so professional. Lots of you had questions on how and why we use a spray gun for painting, and we’ve learned a lot about spraying, so look out for a detailed post after next week’s reveal.


We also ordered a window grille insert for the old window that we left in the space, so that it would match the profile of the new window, for a seamless look. I primed and painted these, and installed them over the original window, and it looks totally cohesive now. This is one of those items that’s all in the details, but adds up to a more complete space.


Painted the door

I hand-painted the door to the bedroom, where the outside of the door was painted black and the interior was painted Benjamin Moore Smoke to match the rest of the trim on the interior of the room. As we’ve been tackling each room in our house, we’ve been painting the doors that face into the hallway in Benjamin Moore Black Onyx. For this, I tried out the Handy Paint Pail (gifted by Handy), and was amazed at how many of the small issues it solved when painting with a brush. The best part is the magnet on the inside that secures your brush and keeps it from sitting in your paint when not in use, especially when switching between the brush and mini-roller to paint the door.



Installed new recessed lights

When we moved into the house two years ago, we replaced all the super ugly and dated recessed lights with retrofit LED lights, but this meant there was a huge white ring around each of the lights. Since we were already doing so much work to the room, I asked Cory to patch the ceiling and install smaller, more modern recessed LED lights. Though I’m never going to love recessed lights, the tiny modern ones are way less offensive than the huge ones we previously had. I’ll be honest, as a photographer, I spend a lot of time selectively cropping spaces and retouching images to remove recessed lighting from the shot, so having less obtrusive recessed lights makes me infinitely happier.

The Closet

Hacked the IKEA Pax

From the very start I had a vision of what I wanted my closet cabinetry to look like, and it was very custom. At first, I was convinced that in order to get the look, I’d have to build everything from scratch, but Cory told me that was insane, since we’ve never even built one cabinet, let alone 6+ of them and many drawers. So, I did some research into budget friendly closet systems and the IKEA Pax came up over and over again. I found a handful of tutorials that took the Pax closet to about 60% of what I wanted it to look like, and we improvised on the rest (aka adding drawers fronts to create the look of inset drawers, recessed lighting, and soon to be custom cabinet doors).

I’m going to write up a whole post on just the cabinetry next month, since I received DMs on Instagram from so many of you asking for the details, but for now, here are some pretty photos.

One item that totally capped off the cabinetry was adding the Metrie baseboards and crown moulding, which together help to achieve that built in look that feels especially custom and original.




Finished the Window Bench

Last week, we built the shell of the window bench, and this week we finished it up by cutting out holes with perforated metal screens for the radiator heat to escape, a panel moulding detail using Metrie trim, and a top for the bench. I had been worried that the shape of the bench seat would be awkward, but it looks totally natural and intentional. We have plans to sew a cushion for the top of the bench (time pending), and have received this fabulous pillow from SWD Studios to cap off the bench.


Primed and Painted Everything

Once everything was installed in the closet, we primed the entire space – we first rolled a special shellac-based primer on the Ikea units that allow it to be paintable (the internet universally agrees that this is the primer to use). This primer was awful to use (thin and drippy, high in fumes), but was a critical step. We then went over the window and all other wood by spraying on our normal preferred primer (Kilz Premium).

We then masked off the ceiling and sprayed an inky blue-green all over everything. You’re probably going to hate me for this, but I’m going to hold off on sharing a photo until next week, because it was SO transformative. Well, I’ll share this single sneak peek of the view from the bedroom into the closet…


To say I’m obsessed with the moodiness of the closet is an understatement.

So, what do we have left to do?

The wallpaper installation is happening today for both rooms. We are SO excited to see how it changes the space, and can’t wait for the transformation. In the bedroom, we’re using this brand-new Vern Yip wallcovering for Trend Fabrics, a Fabricut brand, that I’m obsessed with. And in the closet, we have this hand-painted striped wallpaper going up on the ceiling.

We have to hang all our gorgeous Hudson Valley Lighting lights. This chandelier is going in the bedroom, and two of these great flushmounts are going up in the closet.

We also need to hang our window treatments, build a bedframe, install the drawer fronts in the closet (we’ve been letting the paint cure), install our gorgeous Emtek hardware (door knobs and drawer pulls), build and paint two sets of cabinet doors for the concealed Pax units, paint the nightstands, hang our art pieces from Minted, plus furnish and style the room.

And we only have 6 days to accomplish it all. Wish us luck!

Check out progress from my fellow One Room Challenge™ featured designers below!

At Home with Ashley | Brepurposed | Dabito | The English Room | Erin Kestenbaum

Harlow & Thistle | House of Brinson | J & J Design | Kelly Golightly | Linda Holt

Megan Bachmann | Michelle Gage | Mimosa Lane | Murphy Deesign | Vestige Home

Old Home Love | SG Style | Shay Geyer | Sita Montgomery | SMP Living

Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens | TM by ORC


Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens | TM by ORC

ORC fall 2018 Small

9 thoughts on “One Room Challenge: Week Five

  1. You’ve accomplished so much. I appreciate reading about the details- which are things I wouldn’t consider. Looking forward to the reveal!

  2. Wow, I’m impressed! Did you provide details on how you built the headboard? That’s one project I NEED to tackle in 2019.

Leave a Reply