The One Room Challenge Week 1: Before

Long before I started Janery, decorating and DIY were huge passions of mine. When I wasn’t busy in the office, I was doing decor projects and blogging about them on my old blog, The Borrowed Abode.

As I became more serious about growing Janery, the blog and projects largely fell by the wayside. Add in a new baby, and it was hopeless. It’s ironic that, as I was helping more people improve their decor with my throw pillows and pet beds, the design of my own home stalled.

Now that I have a walking, talking 2-year-old, and I’m getting sleep again, my gut told me I was ready to dive back into interior design as a way to unwind.

Enter the perfect motivator: The One Room Challenge!

Every spring and fall, this huge design contest takes place over 6 weeks. There are 20 official ORC participants, all of whom are professional design bloggers. The rest of us are invited to join in as "guest participants."

For the challenge, I’m tackling a much-needed makeover of our basement. The area is largely connected, so my main focus for the ORC is the Janery Sewing Studio and my office nook. After that is complete, I’ll finish the large shared space adjacent by decorating our TV area and creating a much-needed play area for Maple.

This big project is a blend of function and aesthetic; I need to upgrade the studio to make Janery sewing more efficient, and the den will feel more more like a true family room if it’s polished and more personal.

Here are my official "before" photos of the space.  They're almost too embarrassing to share - you can tell that we just haven't made an effort with this space lately.

The Den:

This large room comprises most of our finished basement.  The space needs to function as a family room, toddler playroom, and my office. 

Janery One Room Challenge Den Before 1 1000px

Janery One Room Challenge Den Before 4 1000px

Janery One Room Challenge Den Before 2 1000px

Janery One Room Challenge Den Before 3 1000px

The Sewing Studio:

French doors at the end of the den open into the Janery sewing studio.  This space was expanded one year ago, and since then I've used it without "finishing" it as I figured out the best way to lay it out.  I forgot to get more "before" photos before I dove into the first project, but you can see a video of the space here

Janery One Room Challenge Sewing Studio Before 1000px

The Nook:

This is an odd space separated from the Den by the staircase.  This is where all of the product storage for Janery will be located after the makeover. 

Janery One Room Challenge The Nook Before

The Plan:

Create a light, bright, and functional-yet-polished space.  

1.  Remove furniture that won't contribute to final design.  Get rid of the 10-foot cabinetry I built for my old, smaller sewing studio. It's just not functional anymore.  Get rid of the random dresser that holds unused office supplies and old scrapbooks.

2.  Move furniture around.  My office corner will move to the far windows next to the doors of the sewing studio. The TV area stays put.  In corner by stairs, create "playroom".  Move rowing machine to wall opposite stairs, clearing the "nook" for Janery storage.

3. Paint the rooms, create a mural in my office corner.

4. Stain new boards for office shelves, to blend with desk.  Hang my office shelves, build sewing tables, and install all-white storage in studio.

5.  Add art, plants & accessories to make both rooms fabulous.  If there's time, build end tables for the sofa and refinish coffee table. 

The Inspiration:

I want to add some complexity to my office corner by creating a black and white mural inspired by the work of Meg Biram:

Mural by Meg Biram

Or maybe a bolder look like this one by LeClair Decor:

Mural by Leclair Decor


Then I'll reinstall stained office shelving to blend seamlessly with the desk, like this:

DIY Elfa Shelves Office by Old Brand New


In the sewing studio I need to create much larger, more functional workspaces, like this cutting table at MICHI Atelier:

Michi Atelier Workroom

With more of the light, bright vibe of this studio by Barbara Westbrook Interiors:

Sewing Workroom by Barbara Westbrook Interiors

It's a big challenge, but I think that I need the motivation of a deadline to actually make this happen.  I hope you enjoy following along on the journey!

 PS: Love design and DIY? Be sure to check out all the other participants in the One Room Challenge over at Calling It Home.

Janery's Spring One Room Challenge: