Thursday, October 26, 2017


Slow, but notable progress was made against my One Room Challenge living room design in Week 4. With art selections and other purchases that might otherwise delay an on-time finish finally completed, attention has been almost exclusively paid to the large wall of windows over the last few days. But before I talk about this aspect of my design plan, I want to share a bit about the work we did several months back to upgrade the windows. 

I should preface this part of my post by saying that the windows in this house were one of the things that attracted me to it in the first place. Plentiful and expansive, they allow a lot of light into the house - something my husband and I both prioritized while house hunting. Living in the house, we've been challenged with that same bright light that also brings with it a lot of afternoon heat which slowly worked to fade furniture and raise our electric bill. Furthermore, all the windows in the house were gray metal which did not provide a polished look within the interior.  We also painstakingly removed a reflective tint on the windows that had helped to filter the light, but looked ugly and dated. 

While we haven't yet made an investment in steel case windows, both paint and trim have gone a long way to lift the finish around our original, single pane 1960s windows.  That gray metal was painted out black using an oil based Rustoleum, which has held up very well to everyday use by the way. That allowed us to get the look of a steel case window while we save for the real thing.

As part of the One Room Challenge, my goal is to complete the design with woven roman shades to replace our current vinyl pull down shades and drapery. This past week, shades were delivered and mounted just outside each frame. A black metal wrap around curtain rod was hung high in preparation for ivory linen curtains which will be draped on each side of the frame.

I'm also giving you a sneak peek at the rug, which was unrolled so I could measure out and cut the padding I purchased to give our flat kilim a plusher appearance. 

Man, I love this rug. Tino, don't get any ideas. 

So while this week's update may not be especially exciting, progress made will undoubtedly make a big impact in my final finished design.

One thing to note - the reveal date for the guest edition of the One Room Challenge has been extended by one week. It's been a rough couple of months for some participants with fire, floods and other natural disasters. The additional week allows for a bit of catch up for those affected. So the new reveal date has now been set for Thursday, November 16. So mark your calendars - for over 200 inspiring before and after room reveals to be unleashed onto the interwebs. You can check out progress reports from all over at Calling it Home.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Beach Photography Prints

 I can hardly believe that we're smack dab in the middle of the 6-Week One Room Challenge and here I am still revealing snippets of my design plan. Perhaps I want to suspend the element of surprise just a wee bit longer or maybe I am still in the midst of decisions and purchases. Could be a bit of both. But I feel the room really starting to take shape and I'm not yet feeling too anxious or nervous about that hard deadline on November 8 (ask me in again Week 4...). 

If I had to pick a theme for this past week's work, it was all about art. I stripped the old DIY framed art off the walls this past weekend, expecting to commence with a lot of wall repair. Somewhere down the line I had adhered those hex mirrors from Ikea all over that wall and I guess I forgot that the ensuing repairs had already been completed. So happy surprise there. 

I've been researching art options for quite sometime now, archiving those that I really liked and what I found as it came time to make some purchase decisions - the tone of the art in a singular shop was really drawing me in. I was concerned that purchasing from one artist would appear that I did not put a lot of thought into art decisions, but the bottom line is that when you know, you just know.  I got buy off from the hubs (which was a miracle because we're rarely on the same page with artwork) and set to taping the room off to get a better idea for scale.

We have some really big walls in this space and I've been challenged with sizing the art correctly against them. The one over the couch is 15' long and in this room's previous iteration, we had hung a 72" photograph under plexiglass above the couch. But here, I'm looking to break up the space a bit with three separate works and feel like the smaller scale above the couch will work out well. By taping it off, I got a better sense of how it will play out, knowing the frames may buy me a little more visual real estate. Do you do this too? 

California Casual Living Room
While new artwork is in the cards for this makeover, a full furniture overhaul is not. The final design will work in a few new pieces, but will put to use pieces we've sort of been collecting with the idea that one day it would all come together. The couch and coffee table will remain (that's our couch, but similar table to ours shown here). I scored a crazy deal on a pair of contemporary metal side tables earlier this year, but the jury is still out on whether both will reside in this room (I have just the place for the extra table if needed). The counter-height director's chairs were also scored during a Memorial Day sale, so they are already in place within the adjacent dining area, as is the molecular lighting fixture. So what about recent purchases? That rug. Oh lawdy - that rug... I ordered it from Istanbul from an international seller on Etsy a week ahead of the ORC kick off date, thinking it would take forever to arrive. Little did I know I'd be unwrapping it a mere 3 nights after I placed the order. It's everything and fingers crossed when it all comes together that it will be the tie that binds in my design.

Next week's update - we'll talk windows and possibly a little DIY action I have planned if I can make that happen over the coming weekend. My husband thinks I'm a little nuts with this idea that I've floated, but then I reminded him how many of my nutty little experiments are still living with us in our home.

You know, my family always asks what I get out of this - what is the prize if I "win" and always give me a funny little look when I tell them that there really is not competition per se except that I am giving myself this challenge to complete a design in 6 weeks.  I feel like the tight timeline, personal budget and to be frank -internet audience - push me to do things I might not otherwise try if I didn't feel that little added pressure. Some things I'm really proud of have come out of past seasons and I'm hoping to pull the same off this Fall.

Want to be inspired? You should really check out the other guest participants challenging themselves this season. There are 200 of them all linking up alongside me at Calling it Home

Catch up on Week 1 and Week 2 Here


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week 2 // Fall One Room Challenge: California Casual Living Room

Vanessa Alexander

Today we round the corner into Week 2 of the One Room Challenge, a biannual room makeover event hosted by Linda of Calling it Home.  Last week, I shared a look at the evolution of my living room - my focus for this challenge - and how it has slowly morphed through renovation and decor trends over the last 7 years.   This week, I am checking in with you to share more about my direction and the design influences for the California Casual design I will reveal on November 9. 

We've lived in our home while we've renovated and over time, focused sporadically on each room as budget has allowed. Two recent changes - a new floor and our recent kitchen remodel - have both helped solidify our design plan and created an easier, open feeling flow from room to room.  As I work to complete a more finished look with our adjacent living room and adjoined dining area, its important to me to not only create something complimentary to other rooms in the house, but continue with something that is aesthetically aligned with aspects that are important to my husband and I in our private living space.  In the end, what will our living room reflect about us and how will we live in it?

Design Influences

California Casual is a style that has recently come into better focus through the widely published work of local California designers. But I feel like its been evolving for quite some time. I can think back to places I frequented as a kid in the 80's and remember hints of what it has now become embedded into those early furnishings.  Nostalgia aside, what has drawn me most to this style are the airy rooms, earthy, muted tones, clean lines and soft textiles - all things that are comfortable and soothing for two people who spend most of their time saddled in front of a computer or navigating their way through LA traffic all day.

Amber Lewis

Laura Singleton

Surf Shack - Photo by Brittany Ambridge

Design Goals

Our design goals for this space are well defined and will continue to unify the rooms throughout the house. We will transition away from trendy accessories (many still packed away from when we put the floor in this past Spring) and work toward something modern, but a little more timeless.  

In next Thursday's update, I will share work in progress and a first look at some of the materials that will be brought into the room ahead of the final reveal. In the meantime, catch sneak peeks on Instagram (@HoltwoodHipster) and be sure to check out progress by the other guest participants on Calling it Home.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Week 1 // Fall 2017 One Room Challenge: A California Casual Living Room

Today marks the start of another round of the One Room Challenge, a biannual room makeover event hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. As I've done many times before, I am throwing my hat into the ring to makeover a space in my own home and will blog about my progress over the next 6 weeks. Each Thursday, I'll share an update here on the blog and I will link up with other guest participants sharing their own progress report. I'm certainly no newbie to this event and all the work that goes with it - last round I even redesigned our Modern Farmhouse Kitchen. For the Fall 2017 One Room Challenge, I'm completing the design of our Living Room/Adjacent Dining Area. To get a better idea of the design scheme throughout our home, you can see other rooms I've completed for the One Room Challenge linked up in the sidebar.

For now, let's take a closer look at the focus for this challenge.

In full transparency, you can see that our redesign has been underway for some time. We've been slowly renovating and remodeling our 1967 rancher here in Orange County, California for the last 7 years. I would have liked to have come right out the gate of our purchase with a full remodel done the right way. But as first time buyers looking at original 1960's everything, it took some time to find financial footing to back our plan. In the end, time was on our side because our plan has evolved quite a bit while living in our home these last years. After laying some of the groundwork, today we're finally feeling sure of our direction.
We gutted the room immediately upon purchase and started with a clean slate. Lighting, paneling and paint went a long way for a long time. We almost didn't want to clutter up the space with furnishings because after living for 9 years in a cramped beach area back house,  it felt so, so good to finally have these big empty rooms to call our own. We picked a glossy dark floor in haste and it would be nearly 7 years until we realized that it was the root of our mistake. In the process, we threw some good money after bad, redecorating and trying to brighten up a room darkened by the heavy contrast of the flooring we chose. It also took some time to find the tone of our home. Home trends and the romantic idea of owning a midcentury rancher with a pool sent us traveling down a decor path that leaned too desert glam for our everyday tastes. What resulted was a lack of cohesiveness in all the mass produced, hollywood regency-meets-boho accessories that had started to accumulate.

We recently brought in a more muted white oak floor that was a game changer for us. The path was clear and even more defined as we wrapped up the remodel on our kitchen for the Spring 2017 One Room Challenge. There is now a greater synergy from room to room as you walk our halls and ultimately there is a greater vision for what we want one of the most lived in spaces of our home to reflect about us.

In next Thursday's post, I'll share the game plan with you.

Want to be inspired? Check out the other guest participants in the One Room Challenge over on Calling it Home.

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