Thursday, November 12, 2015


One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

 It's the end of the Fall 2015 edition of the One Room Challenge, created and hosted by Linda of Calling it Home (I made it all the way through- whew!). Over these last 6-weeks, I've shared plans, progress and lots of sneak peeks for my guest room turned in-home office space. Today, I'm happy to finally reveal the finished design in its entirety. 

One Room Challenge Black and White Interiors Gallery Wall

What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been. After starting with a relatively blank slate, I got off to a quick start and made lots of progress between Weeks 1 and 2. I painted, Dad came by to help me hang the picture ledges and build out the shelves and I finished the light fixture revamp. I also got through some of the more hands on projects like the lined 'Pyne Hollyhock' drapery panels and buffalo check upholstery on my curbside find in Weeks 3 and 4. But somewhere between Weeks 4 and 6, the project caught up with me and I found myself hung up on the final accessories and styling. As it always does, it all came together over the past weekend - just hours before I was able to get the room photographed for the reveal. 

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

In all honesty, I started working in the space before it was finished and I think that helped me make some of those final decisions I had been agonizing over. It was important to me to make sure that the space was functional as well as pretty. I also wanted to make it a true reflection of my personal style and a place that would make me feel motivated and productive each day while I worked in front of my computer. By moving in early, I was able to make sure I had lighting and a desk set up that was appropriate for the day to day grind - not just a pretty picture.

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

I utilized a series of bins and files to organize my papers, magazine collection, fabric and project supplies. In styling the room, I also looked to some of my former display pieces like the mini tagines - which I now use (and display) desk side on the back console for paper clips and pins. I also incorporated an up-cycled filing cabinet (found at a local garage sale) to help keep important documents close at hand. I painted out the once dingy cream colored cabinet in white and the sprayed the hardware in a matte black, a scheme that now blends nicely into the other furniture in the room.

One Room Challenge Black and White Home Office

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

My art collection came together pretty fluidly, from both flea market finds - like the mid-century gold horse plaque that was purchased long ago - and newly found treasures courtesy of Etsy. Some of these were even "print your own" images, purchased and downloaded for mere dollars. I used a selection of inexpensive, but well designed frames to showcase my finds and I'm really pleased with the result. To me, the gallery wall in particular and the room in general, was an exercise in designing with my heart and incorporating things that really spoke to me personally. Somehow, all of those individual elements came together into a cohesive design that was representative of my personal style. 

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

One Room Challenge Black and White Interiors Buffalo Check Chintz

As it always does, the One Room Challenge tested my DIY skills in new ways. I tackled the lined drapery panels in perhaps my favorite pattern ever - Schumacher's 'Pyne Hollyhock' - which frankly was a pretty smooth project thanks to an easy to follow blog tutorial. I also reupholstered my first chair, the most difficult part of which was breaking down the old upholstery - a testament to the quality of this old piece.

One Room Challenge

The closet demo gave way to a better utilized space, now organized to display more of my flea market finds and organize project materials. Truth be told, this area will likely evolve a bit as I fold in more supplies still hanging out in my old office space. But I've left plenty of room to organize and fill with more pretty woven bins to help conceal the chaos.

One Room Challenge Black and White Interiors Office Organization

One Room Challenge Black and White Buffalo Check Chintz

Black and White Home Office One Room Challenge

I kept my now spacious desktop simple and free of clutter. To give you a better idea of scale - that painting is a massive 40 x 40" and at least in photographs, it seems dwarfed on the wall above. Simple IKEA table tops paired with metal trestle style legs gave me more space to spread out my ongoing lists and daily planner each morning and keeps my workspace from feeling too confined.

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall Sputnik

This room gets the most glorious light throughout the day and has already been a big mood-lifter throughout my workday. 

One Room Challenge Black and White Gallery Wall

 I like to think my home will slowly be completed - one room at a time, every six months through the One Room Challenge. Setting a deadline on the internet is a big motivator to finally tackle a room like this that you know, just seemed to never really come together. It always feels good going into another season with a newly finished room - particularly one like the holiday season when the list of to-dos seems infinite. I can already feel a bit accomplished (and thankful!) walking into my new organized office space.

 A big thank you to Linda for hosting and for expanding the challenge to design enthusiasts like myself so that we might take part in all the fun. Be sure to check out reveals by all the bloggers who threw their hat in the ring this round. A big thank you to all who have supported with sweet comments here on the blog and on Instagram. I hope you will continue to follow along. Now that the challenge is over, I have a long list of design adventures still to share - floral projects and events as well as some still unrevealed renovations that have taken place here at the house. 

The 'before' and weekly progress on this room can be seen here:

Previous ORC reveals:

Guest Bath | Master Bedroom | Masculine Study 

A fresh, new look for Holtwood Hipster is currently in the works! Things may look a little sparse and formatting/fonts might seem a bit jumbled at the moment. But I'm excited to soon share a cleaner, easier to read layout that will help me better connect with all of you! Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 5, 2015


We are just a week away from next Thursday's reveal of the new in-home workspace that I've been designing for the Fall 2015 edition of the One Room Challenge. For today's update, I wanted to focus on some of the resources I've been leaning on throughout the last 5 weeks. I'm a big supporter of both small business go-getters and do-it-yourself warriors and my final design will feature the work and learnings from both. 

The gallery wall is nearly complete (I'm waiting on one more order from overseas - cross your fingers for me!). I have my selections matted, framed and put in place along the ledges Dad helped me hang in that first week. When sourcing artwork for our home, one of the first places I always look is Etsy. Where else can you access talented graphic designers, artists, photographers and vintage works all in one place? The pieces I chose are a composition of vintage and modern photography, sketch-works and hand-drawn graphics, some of which were affordably purchased as downloadable art that I took to my local copy house and printed for mere dollars. I've featured some of my selections and sources above. 

Camera Lucida is an Etsy shop devoted to vintage photography works largely focused on Americana. I chose one by depression era photographer Dorothea Lange and the works she did under the FSA capturing the harsh realities of the depression. I've always loved her work. While the irony in the image is not lost on me (these down on their luck cowboys no doubt are being taunted by the image in the billboard), I like to look at it a little differently and it will be a reminder to me in my work space that the easy road is not always the most suitable for travel. I also came upon the vintage 70's style sketches of artist Susan Brommelsiek in her Etsy shop "When I was 20". Her shop features sketches she did long ago while in art school and is well worth a look - particularly if you're looking to source tasteful nudes and anatomy studies. 

I also completed my first set of lined draperies using my beloved 'Pyne Hollyhock' from Schumacher. I was lucky enough to source the fabric from an overseas distributor as "seconds" quality for half the retail price. There is nothing to indicate anything inferior to the original in the yardage I received so I am still scratching my head at that one. I kicked around different styles - toying with idea of more formal pleating. In the end, I chose to hang them rather simply using clip rings and I'm really happy I went in this direction. I did line them and used inexpensive Ikea draperies (in the end, much cheaper and easier than if I had purchased fabric by the yard). I had never done a lined drape so I leaned on this very easy to follow tutorial put together by House of Hepworths. The tutorial shows you how to line panels using an inexpensive bed sheet. As an alternative, I opted to use Ikea Vivian panels (and flipped them upside down to leverage the 4" bound top which added weight to my panel bottom). 

I also previously shared a peek at the refurbished DIY shandy in Week 3. I had previously hacked a IKEA Maskros fixture following Jenny's lead from Little Green Notebook. It was starting to look worn and tired and quite honestly was too busy for the overall look I wanted in the new space. But I really still liked the footprint in the room and didn't want to toss it. I was lucky to find a more streamlined version by Bethany of Dwellings by Devore that translated into exactly what I was after. I disassembled the old fixture, repainted it and set about flanking it with simple catering cups (rather than the scalloped design I used previously). Like the tutorial, I opted to cut out gold circles and glue them on the inside base of the cup for a more polished look. I dug through my stash of old invitations and as luck would have it, I had some gold invites I was able to repurpose with the use of a 1" punch without any further purchase. 

One of my favorite projects from this round of the ORC is the barrel cane chair I was able to re-upholster in this black and white buffalo check pattern. I inherited the chair from my neighbor's curb and though the upholstery was in good condition, I wanted to update it with something both equal parts classic and modern. I was a little intimidated and again turned to both You Tube and online tutorials for help. One of the references I found particularly helpful was this one by Peacefully Home via Remodelholic. It helped me troubleshoot some of the tougher areas where I was not sure how to go about deconstructing and reassembling. There were certainly steps to take to ensure the chair went back together as it was intended to. It also helped that I took photos at each stage for later reference.

I'm pretty jazzed at this collision of pattern in the corner of my new office. Did you also catch the new look we gave the old aluminum frame with a little oil based black paint? 

I can't wait to show you the finished design next Thursday. Be sure to pop on back for the reveal of the full art gallery wall, closet organization system and a full look at all the details that came together in this space. In the meantime, my blogmates are sharing Week 5 progress over at Calling it Home. The last week is one of the hardest of the challenge and we can all use the support. 


Thursday, October 29, 2015


We are beyond the half way mark now in the One Room Challenge, created by Linda of Calling it Home. I am linking in as a guest participant to provide an update on the new, in-home work space I am creating for myself in what was once our unused guest suite. In Week 4, I tackled some of the bigger projects in the space - including a reupholstery project and the new art gallery wall. I also made progress on the drapery panels fashioned out of my favorite Schumacher fabric - Pyne Hollyhock. The room has taken shape and I am already busy polishing it up with some of the prettier details. 

Today, I want to take a step back however and fill you in on some of the organization and furniture components that will make this a more functional home office. 
The gallery wall has started to take shape and I can't wait to give you a better look at all of my final selections. For now, I wanted to showcase some of my favorite affordable go-to frames that will be housing my pics within the gallery. I prefer to use a pretty simple, streamlined frame for artwork within my home. Luckily, there are several sleek options that afford me that look for a reasonable price - my favorite of all being the basic Studio Decor frames found at Michaels. You can purchase these in volume for an even greater value and sub in some matting for an upgraded presentation. I used several of these within the gallery with matting and was pretty darn happy at the way each piece turned out. Ikea also has several options I love - a new one being the Knoppang frame (in black). The Gunnabo frame also has an insert that provides a sleek shadowbox effect and is worth checking out to keep things varied and interesting- particularly when grouping a set of frames together on the same wall.

I've spent some evenings this week organizing all of my supplies and vast magazine collection using these bins and files from IKEA. The TJENA magazine files were unfortunately sold out in black both online and locally, but I was able to source through an Amazon seller - albeit for double the price. However frustrating, it was well worth the extra spend once I saw the organized line up on display.

I thought I'd share some of the furniture solutions that will be at work in the space as well. I am committed to repurposing as much as possible from my previous space and I have been fortunate to use all or most of it with only a few additional investments. My Expedit bookcase will be put to use as an organizational console paired up with the Bullig and TJENA bins mentioned above. I've already created a better system to organize and store my fabric collection here - out of sight, but readily accessible for projects. I am also repurposing my old desk chair which is still in great condition and expanding and improving upon my current desk set up with an additional Linnmon table top and a couple of inexpensive sets of trestle legs from IKEA.  

Truth be told, I have always had my eye on the  Strut Desk by Bludot. But in the end, I just couldn't justify the spend. I think for my money, I was able to focus and invest on other corners within this space that made more of an impact than a fancy new desk would have anyway - at least that's the story I'm telling to myself. 

Speaking of fancy - this chair I was lucky enough to inherit from my neighbor's curb got a fresh new look with some pattern of the moment buffalo check. I tackled the destruction and recreation, complete with piping last Friday evening along with my trusty sidekicks Valentino and Chardonnay.  I can't wait to show you how it turned out. 

Next week will be special - I want to showcase a few projects I completed and resources I've leaned on during the challenge. I'll share the finished chair and draperies and will also share a better look at the artwork chosen for the room. I'm pretty anxious though - I could very well show you some of that before next week on Instagram. Are you following along?

Be sure to check out progress made by all my talented blogmates this week over at Calling it Home.

Previous Updates:


Thursday, October 22, 2015


I've been parlaying all of my learnings from previous One Room Challenge projects (Bathroom, Master Bedroom, Masculine Study) and as of Week 3, find myself still fairly organized and on track to deliver this room on schedule. I'm transforming essentially a blank slate into a very personal space for myself, so I think that alone has helped ideas form and decisions get made pretty expeditiously. 

If you are new to my little corner of the blogosphere by way of the One Room Challenge, thanks for stopping by! My name is Erin and I'm transforming our former guest suite into my very own home office work studio. I work my day job from my home desk so the final space will need to be very tidy and bright and filled with things sure to inspire me through long workdays. I am also a creative and am looking for a way to integrate my overflowing project space into my home office a little more efficiently, so I am less likely to leave my project materials all over the house. 

I shared the room I'm focusing on in Week 1 and the inspiration for my design in Week 2.

 As I close out Week 3, I already have a good base going of paint in two of my favorite colors, long loved fabrics and new shelving. You guys, I scored the deal of the century on 7 meters of Schumacher 'Hollyhock Pyne' - a pattern I've always wanted to incorporate into my home. It's a funny little departure for someone like me who gravitates toward more minimal, modern designs. But if there was ever a floral for me, this is it.  This pretty design will become new draperies to soften up all of the edgy black and white elsewhere in the room. 

Perhaps the most thrilling part of the One Room Challenge for me is the way it pushes me to problem solve and take on physical challenges for myself. I dove right in on that closet just a day after emptying it and demo'd all of the typical closet structures myself. I repaired the drywall and then set to painting out a charcoal accent feature in the otherwise white closet.  I had purchased a bunch of these brackets from IKEA, convinced at some point they would become shelves in this space. Dad came by and blew through the list of stuff I asked for his help with and suddenly we found ourselves back at Home Depot for wood so that he could build out the shelves. I was so happy he convinced me to knock these off my own punch list and even happier with the way they came out. These will eventually become part of the command center for all of my project materials. 

We also got the picture ledges put up on the opposite wall. This is the foundation for the framed gallery wall I am composing (I'll share art selections in a future post!). I've been playing with frames and matting and new artwork has been arriving over the last couple of weeks that I can't wait to share.

That very same day, we pulled the old shandy down for a little rehab. I pulled off all the old accessories, gave it a new coat of 'brass' and reworked the tentacles a bit. Next week, I'll go into what I did here in further detail. 

So that will take us into Week 4 of the One Room Challenge. Have you seen all of the spectacular work my blogmates have been putting into their spaces? Be sure to hop on over and take a look at Calling it Home

A fresh, new look for Holtwood Hipster is currently in the works! Things may look a little sparse and formatting/fonts might seem a bit jumbled at the moment. But I'm excited to soon share a cleaner, easier to read layout that will help me better connect with all of you! Stay tuned...


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A fresh, new look for Holtwood Hipster is currently in the works! Things may look a little sparse and formatting/fonts might seem a bit jumbled at the moment. But I'm excited to soon share a cleaner, easier to read layout that will help me better connect with all of you! Stay tuned...


Today I am sharing a bit about my direction for the Fall 2015 One Room Challenge. For this round, I'm making over our unused and often neglected guest suite into a new home office studio where I can both work productively for my bread and butter during the day and create by night. I'm still ironing out some of the details that will be incorporated into this new space, but I have a pretty solid grasp on the scheme and vibe I want the finished room to reflect. 

 I know what works for me and while I really admire bright, colorful eclectic designs, I always gravitate toward a more neutral - even monochrome palette in my own home. I'll be continuing on with the use of my beloved Benjamin Moore White Dove for the walls, with an out of the box accent painted out in a dark charcoal gray I have sitting around from the last One Room Challenge.  I'll soften out the edges of a mostly black and white color scheme with use of floral and buffalo checked pattern, while also warming things up a bit through a gilded statement light fixture. I'll fake out he black thumb I've been sporting of late by incorporating some digital plant-life and pull in some low maintenance, sculptural flora to breathe life into the room. 

 The lighting won't be the only statement in the room. There will be a stacked gallery wall to house a curated collection of art prints sure to inspire and motivate me through future workdays.

I try to avoid "cluttering up" a room. But a creative space is the one place I feel at liberty to display some of my very favorite things en masse - things that are a meaningful and memorable link to a past experience, an entrepreneurial dream or beloved hobby. So there will be some of that incorporated as well.

I have a growing collection of creative materials for all my little passion projects. I have a grand plan to organize myself a little better, while adding additional functionality and dimension to the room. That plan involves use of mixed colors and materials. 

Next week I'll show you how that scheme is already taking shape. I'm moving right along and already have the space painted and built - yes built! - out. I thought well ahead of this round and placed my materials orders early, so the UPS guy is arriving with daily goodies sure to keep this gal busy until the next update. 

Be sure to hop on over to Calling it Home and check out how the rest of my blogmates participating as guests of the One Room Challenge are making out in Week 2. 

photo credits:  annika von holt's home by marie murstad | apartment therapy | made llc | erin gates via the everygirl | lauren conrad's office via domaine home | sagmeisterwalsh

A fresh, new look for Holtwood Hipster is currently in the works! Things may look a little sparse and formatting/fonts might seem a bit jumbled at the moment. But I'm excited to soon share a cleaner, easier to read layout that will help me better connect with all of you! Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Life can really move by in a clip, can't it? Just six months and several posts ago I was revealing my last One Room Challenge design to you all. Now here I am again, embarking on yet another design adventure, by the end of which I will have a completely new space to work and create from each day. 

Undoubtedly by now you are all familiar with the 6-week design sprint (I'm not calling it a marathon!) known throughout the blogosphere as The One Room Challenge. Created by Linda of Calling it Home, the event centers on twenty design bloggers hand-picked to lead the charge in making over a room of their choice over the course of 6 weeks, all the whilst blogging and photographing their progress on Wednesday of each week. I'm lucky enough to get to join in on all the fun along with other design enthusiasts who share progress each Thursday.

This will be the fourth space in our home I've tackled thanks in part to all the moral support I've received from so many of you throughout previous ORC seasons. Check out previous designs completed for our guest bath, master bedroom and my husband's home office. For this round, I'll be transforming our unused and oft neglected guest suite into my own personal workspace.
Though I'll only reveal one redesign, the collateral effect of this makeover really will address two troublesome rooms. You see, I actually already have a home office I work from each day. While it was one of the first rooms I outfitted when we moved into our home 5 years ago, it has slowly morphed into a hodge podge of storage, project and shipping paraphernalia where amongst I have a desk and computer that I use for my day job. It's no longer an inspiring place to work from and it too is in need of a redesign and reorganization. The current guest room that sits adjacent to it has long played overflow - to both my current workspace, the linen closet and my growing collection of fabric and project supplies. The bottom line: because of the chaos, we have been underutilizing precious space in our house. My goal is to clean out and convert the catch-all guest room into a beautiful and productive space to both work from and create and share that final result with you on Week 6.

Why am I moving into the guest room? To be honest the room gets far better light and it is also in the center of the house and is better situated for quiet daytime work away from the street.  I also like its cozier set up. Give me an inch and I'll take a mile, I swear! I think half the battle in maintaining an organized office is not allowing too much extra space to fill up with "stuff" that really should be stored properly elsewhere. So, I'm looking forward to purging, donating and getting creative in a smaller space.

The "before" photos I'm sharing in this post were brightened up a bit for presentation. The current walls are actually a light gray and are on the target list for some brighter paint and trim. By post time, I've already disassembled the guest bed (it was a fold-away bed from Grandinroad), removed the makeshift headboard and cleared the space of the pileup of linens, gift wrap and artwork that had started to accumulate in the room.  I've also gotten into that closet (yes- doors bulging under the weight of more "stuff" behind them). I've been on a transformative purge, inspired in part by this philosophy (I'm going to Kondo the entire house!).

I'm not tossing it all however. I plan on repurposing quite a bit of what you see (and frankly may not be able to see) here. I'll be giving new life to the hacked IKEA chandelier that currently hangs in the center of the room (originally concepted by Jenny of LGN). It has fallen into disrepair and this makeover seems like the perfect opportunity to give it a more streamlined look. 

I'm excited about the design direction I've chosen and look forward to sharing it all with you in next Thursday's update. Until then, be sure to follow along on Instagram for all kinds of design shenanigans and don't forget to check out plans from the 20 design bloggers and the others taking part each Thursday.  
Until next week... 

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