Interiors Inspiration One Room Challenge

One Room Challenge Week 3: Curtains + Rugs

October 17, 2018

Large nightstand, modern mushroom lamp

[ nightstand | lamp ]

Welcome to week 3 of the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge! If you’re not familiar, every spring and fall, 20 featured designers selected by the ORC team participate in a 6-week challenge to decorate one room. The event is hosted by Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home and Better Homes and Gardens. In addition to the featured designers, hundreds of other folks with blogs (and Instagram this season!) join in on the challenge as Guest Participants <— that’s me.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is my second One Room Challenge (last season I made over our guest room). I am glad you’re here!

Week 3 is a weird week where things have been ordered, others have not, many decisions have been made, yet others have not. I’m trying to think through each decision, to share with you what I learn along the way, and that’s just what this week’s update is: an exercise in overthinking in curtain and rug form.

I can’t remember just when it happened, but I’ve fallen in love with a certain kind of curtain. I was seeing these beautifully styled curtains, deeply compressed, tidy but just slightly untidy. And then I found myself scrolling through Pinterest, seeing those perfect curtains and holding my laptop mere inches from my face saying out loud “what is that pleat?!”

Euro Pleat Curtain Inspiration

Emily Henderson Living Room Euro Pleat Curtain Inspiration

[ source: Style by Emily Henderson ]

Amber Interiors Euro Pleat Curtains

[ source: Amber Interiors ]

Amber Interiors Living Room Euro Pleat Curtains

[ source: Amber Interiors ]

Tailored but lived-in. Modern but traditional. Just a dang dream.

That perfect pleat is called a Euro Pleat or Top Tack. And it is being underserved in the DIY internet. If you google DIY euro pleat you’re going to be bummed when you find a youtube video titled “how we create euro pleat drapes” and you’ll just find a poorly edited, eternally long video of a woman pointing at euro pleats but never telling you how they’re made.

How to DIY a Euro Pleat

I know a lot of what I’m seeing are custom panels. I’ve splurged on the furniture in my room and don’t have room in my budget for custom curtains so I’m DIYing this. My plan is to double up on regular panels so I can get that rich volume and add that sweet euro pleat held up by curtain rings with clips. Magic. The best resource I found is a helpful PDF from Rowley Company on how to sew Euro Pleat Drapes. It has detailed info on how to create two and three finger euro pleats and helped me get a close visual on exactly how the pleats are … pleated. Plus, now I know exactly how much fabric should comprise my pleats (about 6 inches) and how much space there should be between pleats (about 4 inches.)

IKEA LENDA curtains light beige

For my curtains, I’m using curtain panels from IKEA – my favorite budget source for long curtains. I grabbed the LENDA panels in light beige (which I pronounce in my head like someone yelling LIIIIIINNNHDDAH!) which are also a favorite of Young House Love who recently wrote about making cheap curtains look more polished. They are so affordable at $24.99 for a set of 2 but just need some help to look polished. They are improved ten-fold by removal of the top tabs and a proper hemming. Pleating will remove a lot of the width of the curtains so I’ll be doubling up – there will be 2 panels on each side of each window, sewn together to make one wide panel. And if that’s not enough, I’ll add more until the curtain rods fall out of the walls.

Let’s Talk About Rug(s)

The clock is ticking on a rug decision. My hangup has been choosing the right number of rugs in the right sizes. Do we go for one rug or two? And what size? Is it ok to have a rug that is narrower than the total footprint of the bed+nightstands?

I was pretty set on doing a 2 rug layout in my initial plan, but a very nice commenter said, hey, why not 1 big rug? And at first, I thought, “impossible!” I didn’t want to cover the original footprint of the fireplace and I didn’t think I’d be able to find a rug in the right giant size. But I’ve realized that the footprint doesn’t matter, it’s flush with the rest of the floor and finished the same, so if a rug overlaps it, who cares? And heck, big rugs exist. I think?

Long Large Bedroom Rug Layouts

I’ve been thinking this through in the best way I know how: messing with my SketchUp layouts. The big pink rectangles are rug placeholders.

Option 1 solves some my anxiety around having the nightstands grounded by a rug, but it is a tight fit. The 9′ x 12′ rug just hits the edges of ends of the nightstands. The 2 rugs in this plan help to create different zones (a sleeping zone and a dressing/staring into the fire alone zone) and lets me properly ground the big furniture elements, but seems choppy.

Option 2 means that the width of the rug doesn’t extend to match the edges of the nightstands AND means that they don’t stand on the rug at all. The dresser lands mostly on a rug but entirely. Despite these drawbacks, I think it seems like the better solution. Finding the right 11′ x 14′ rug that costs less than a car is going to be its own challenge.

Which option do you prefer? Would the ungrounded nightstands drive you nuts? Would the 2 rug situation make you itchy?

Things that are done:

  • Nightstands are here
  • Bed is in transit
  • Curtains are here
  • Curtain rods + rings are here
  • Electric fireplace has arrived
  • Fireplace surround plans have been tidied up
  • DIY gallery grid frames and mats have been ordered

The still-to-do list:

  • Rug(s)!
  • Mattress
  • Bedding
  • Lamps
  • Hem + pleat curtains
  • Hang curtain rods
  • Photo prints for gallery grid
  • Tile decision + order
  • Begin work on fireplace surround (eek)
  • Other art?
  • New dresser
  • Selling/hoarding existing bedroom furniture
  • End of bed bench?

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant


Interiors Inspiration One Room Challenge

One Room Challenge Week 2: The Fireplace Plan

October 10, 2018

corgi on a bed

Welcome to week 2 of the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge! If you’re not familiar, every spring and fall, 20 featured designers selected by the ORC team participate in a 6-week challenge to decorate one room. The event is hosted by Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home and Better Homes and Gardens. In addition to the featured designers, hundreds of other folks with blogs (and Instagram this season!) join in on the challenge as Guest Participants <— that’s me.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is my second One Room Challenge (last season I made over our guest room). I am glad you’re here!

For this season’s challenge, I am making over our master bedroom. Sometimes I like to think of the One Room Challenge as the Great British Bake Off of interior design blogging and if you’re following me down that path, I’m about to talk about what I like to think of as my “showstopper.” In last week’s master bedroom plan post, I talked about my overall vision for the room and the most important, most labor-intensive DIY part: building an electric fireplace surround. But where did that idea come from?

On my list of “one-day house hopes” (we all have one of the those locked up in our brains, right?) is a bedroom fireplace. So many of the Victorian homes I drool over have them along with some of my favorite Tudor and Craftsman homes. Our bedroom actually used to have one – the brick chimney and firebox have been plastered over and the surround removed, but the footprint is still visible – and I figured that was the end of the story. It seemed completely impossible to me to restore the old fireplace, to dig out the firebox and make sure the chimney was safe for use. And so, that was the end of it.

DIY Fireplace Inspiration

That was until I saw some of my favorite home bloggers adding electric fireplaces to their homes.
Nicole Cole vestige home fireplace surround electric insert

[ Vestige Home via Instagram ]

Nicole built this beautiful surround with a modern take on a traditional fireplace style.

modern DIY recessed electric fireplace

[ Chris Loves Julia ]

Julia and Chris Marcum built a recessed modern marble surround fireplace with the most beautiful view into their stunning new master bath. Be sure to read their excellent post on how to DIY a built-in electric fireplace.

Classic Fireplace Surround Inspiration

Michelle Smith interview on Rip & Tan

[ from the home of Michelle Smith via Rip & Tan ]

Once the internet gave me the courage to build something similar,  I had to think: what do I want this thing to look like? How can I make it appropriate to our house with its Tudor-ish and Craftsman-ish and Colonial-ish style? My dream is a beautiful stone surround with an arch in the middle like the one pictured above. But as I do not know how to make a single thing out of stone, I figured maybe I’d better try to capture similar design elements with wood and tile.

Fireplace Design Building Plans

This is what I’d like the view of the fireplace to look like when all is said and done. It would be nice to have 2 chairs or a small chaise or sofa near the fireplace but honestly, we don’t need more furniture to trip over on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

Sketchup Fireplace PlansMaster bedroom fireplace framing view

Here’s a look at the back of the surround. The plan is to build some framing to both hold up the electric insert and to support the surround. A piece of cement board will be secured to the framing and then tiled. Next, the framing and tile combo will be secured inside the surround. Last, the electric insert is slid in from the front of the surround.

The electric fireplace insert vents through the front and doesn’t need extra venting or clearance in the back beyond its actual depth. I’ll just need to make room to pass the cord outside of the surround so I can plug it into the wall.

fireplace surround deconstructed diagram

Here’s how the 3 main components look on their own.


I love the aged crackle on the tile in our blush bathroom and want something similar for the new fireplace. I want to add a little bit of color and age with the tile and have ordered a few samples.

Tile Options from TileBar

Which would you choose? Tundra, Arctic Blue, or Deep Emerald? There are some obvious color differences in the examples above pulled from the TileBar website but they are all beautiful in person. I am leaning strongly toward the Arctic Blue!

Master Bedroom Makeover Checklist

So how’s it going with the rest of the One Room Challenge?

  • Order bed
  • Order nightstands
  • Make complex plans for the fireplace surround and run them by Dad
  • Order electric fireplace insert
  • Order tile
  • Build fireplace
  • Buy curtains
  • Pick curtain rods
  • Choose and order rug
  • Pick and order a mattress
  • Order prints and frames for photo gallery grid
  • Other art
  • Find new dresser for Andy
  • Get king size bedding

The fireplace project isn’t a weekend or even a week-long project but instead will come together over the course of the challenge. My dad and I have talked through the plans and are ready to get started, but since we live about an hour and a half apart, this will be an extra tricky build. I’ll keep you updated but will probably save the fireplace reveal for the whole room reveal! So stay tuned.

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Before and After One Room Challenge The Scenery House

One Room Challenge Week 1: The Master Bedroom Plan

October 3, 2018

mid century nightstand casement windows master bedroom

It’s the first week of the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge! If you’re not familiar, every spring and fall, 20 featured designers selected by the ORC team participate in a 6-week challenge to decorate one room. The event is hosted by Linda Weinstein of Calling it Home and Better Homes and Gardens. In addition to the featured designers, hundreds of other folks with blogs (and Instagram this season!) join in on the challenge as Guest Participants <— that’s me.

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is my second One Room Challenge (last season I made over our guest room). I am glad you’re here!

We loved our guest room makeover so much that we decided it was time for our master bedroom to get the ORC treatment. What I love most about the One Room Challenge is the community and accountability. I have the support of my fellow participants and the pressure to actually finish a project – which is not always my strong suit.

Our bedroom is large (about 19′ x 13′) for the age and size of our house, with two closets and an ensuite bathroom. I’ve really only photographed small corners and vignettes in this room because overall, it feels a bit empty and unfinished. Let’s take a look at what it looked like when we first saw it in the listing photos and where we are now.

Canopy bed listing photo

[photo from real estate listing]

The walls were painted a purple-mauve-gray and there was a chair rail around the room. The canopy bed and very low hung curtains make the ceiling look so low. I hope you’re counting because there are FIVE rugs in here. And not one is anchored by a dang thing.

small rugs everywhere listing photo

[photo from real estate listing]

And while you’re counting, see 2 more rugs in the bathroom. The floors in this room were in bad shape, probably the worst in the whole house which is probably the reason for all the rugs.

Ok, so what does it look like now? After having the floors refinished, we went functionally sparse and a little minimal in the space, using furniture from our much smaller apartment bedroom. As soon as we moved in I removed the chair rail and after a few months, painted the walls my favorite white – Simply White by Benjamin Moore. We swapped out the chandelier for a much simpler fixture by Cedar and Moss and put up our favorite IKEA SKOGSKLOVER shades (more about our roller shares here). And that’s about it.

White wall master bedroom mid century

We placed our bed in front of the windows to make the space feel open with lots of room on both sides. So much room, we could totally (and will totally!) fit a king size bed here PLUS bigger night stands.

White wall master bedroom leaded glass windowsdark shag rug white walls mid century dresser

My 3 drawer dresser (part of an amazing Kent Coffey Tableau set I scored for less than $200 at a thrift store many moons ago) is placed in front of what used to be a fireplace. The brick chimney has been plastered over and sits directly above the fireplace in our living room. I have always wanted a fireplace in my bedroom – there’s just something so classic and cozy about such a thing – so I decided why not just add one? So I will! And I’ve got plans! More on how we’re going to add a fireplace surround with an electric insert to this room in the coming weeks!

white master bedroom louvered closet

This side of the room (opposite the windows) has Andy’s closet and the door to the ensuite bathroom. I replaced the pulls on the closet doors but did not give them the fresh coat of paint they deserve.

master bedroom closets

To the left of Andy’s closet is the door to my walk-in closet. And I know, I know, that small floating rug! It used to be our living room rug in our apartment and then was in the record area in our living room until we replaced it. It landed up here because we had nowhere else to put it and Penelope (our corgi) really appreciates rugs.

white walls mid century dresser kent coffey tableau

This is Andy’s dresser which is part of the Kent Coffey Tableau set I mentioned earlier. It’s in great shape but Andy’s wishlist for our room includes a 6 drawer dresser with smooth, soft-close drawers.

blank white wall master bedroom

What a nice big blank wall. And what’s that blob at the top? That’s where a vent for the old AC system used to. We started ripping out the old unit, vents, and ductwork over a month ago and haven’t finished skim coating and painting all the patched holes. My plan for this wall is to create a tidy gallery grid of Andy’s photographs.

Master Bedroom Design Ideas

modern traditional neutral master bedroom

[ flush mount fixture | black frames | print | curtains | lampnightstands | bed | quilt | basket | rug | pillow ]

My design starting point was that beautiful white oak spindle bed from Rejuvenation. I’ve had my eye on it since I first saw the walnut version in Emily Henderson’s Bedroom. It’s just gorgeous. It’s definitely a splurge item but when I looked around for other options I just couldn’t find anything I loved as much.

I really want to find an 8×10 rug that has a modern traditional look with some blush, blue, and gray tones – the one in the mood board sold out before I could get it! The shag rugs under our bed (what we have now is actually 2 IKEA rugs side-by-side pretending to be 1 single rug, so secret’s out: we have 3 rugs in our bedroom) are super cozy to walk on but very difficult to clean. Even our Dyson has trouble with these shag rugs and now that we have a Roomba, we want a lower pile rug that is Roomba-friendly.

Master Bedroom Layout

master bedroom layout skechup

To-do List

  • Pick and order furniture
  • Select the perfect king-size mattress in a box
  • Buy king-size bedding and pillows
  • Curate gallery grid from Andy’s travel photography
  • Art!
  • Design and build fireplace surround
  • Get curtains (and maybe figure out the elusive euro pleat)
  • Find the perfect large and slightly less large rug combo
  • Finish patching old vent hole and touch up paint
  • Shop for a new dresser for Andy
  • Transfer my clothes from the 3 drawer dresser into the built-in dresser in my closet

Does that sound like enough? Wooow. Well, here goes.

Remember to follow along and see what the Featured Designers and Guest Participants are up to!

One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Hey heads up: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

DIY One Room Challenge

How to Make Your Own Canvas Float Frame

June 25, 2018

This post contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links, I will be compensated.

DIY Oak Canvas Float Frame

For my One Room Challenge Guest Room Project Reveal (check out all of my One Room Challenge Posts here), I showed off my 3 DIY paintings mounted in handmade oak frames. I completed my paintings to solve the challenge of filling one large bank wall and wanted my DIY abstract art to really shine so worked with my dad to build custom canvas float frames. Float frames are different from regular frames meant for canvas because they are made to be just a little bit bigger than the canvas itself. While a regular canvas frame would hug tight against the canvas, a float frame has an intentional gap all the way around to make the canvas look like it’s floating inside the frame.

Before I get into the how-to of it all, lemme show you what one of these frames looks like IRL.Alternate view of oak float frame

Side view of oak float frame

Oak Float Frame Detail

Oak Canvas Frame

How to Make a Wooden Canvas Float Frame

I’m going to walk you step by step through the process of making your own float frame for canvas art. Heads up – there are power tools involved. We don’t have a table saw or miter saw of our own yet, so I visited my dad who lives a couple hours away to help me hustle on this project for the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge.

What You’ll Need

The Plan

How to Make a Canvas Float Frame

How to Make a Canvas Float Frame

My first step, as with most projects, was to draw up a plan in SketchUp. I wanted to figure out the best way to assemble the frames so that the edges were a clean, solid plank and that the back was tidy. It also helps me to draw things out to check on proportions so I could be sure the wood frame wouldn’t look too thick against the canvas.

My frames are made to fit 24×30″ canvases – I picked mine up at Jo Ann’s. I decided I wanted a 1/4″ gap between the canvas and the frame and for the canvas to be recessed 1/8″ from the front edge of the frame.

If you want to make the same frame as I did for a 24×30″ canvas, here are the dimensions:

Frame Side

  • 2 pieces cut to 2″ wide x 31 1/8″ long x 1/2″ deep
  • 2 pieces cut to 2″ wide x 25 1/2″ long x 1/2″ deep

Frame Back

  • 2 pieces cut to 2″ wide x 30 1/8″ long x 1/2″ deep
  • 2 pieces cut to 2″ wide x 24 1/2″ long x 1/2″ deep

Picking the Wood

Up until my dad and I made it to Home Depot, I wasn’t sure if I’d be going with oak or pine for the frame. Poplar is a good, inexpensive option but has a lot of green in it so it’s a good choice if you’re planning on painting it. I knew I didn’t want to paint my frames and I didn’t really want to stain them either – once I set eyes on the oak, I knew it was the way to go.

How to pick straight wood planks

When you pick your wood, try to find the truest wood planks you can. You want wood that won’t lie to you (does this count as a pun?) but more than that, you want the straightest wood you can buy. How do you tell if a plank is straight? Hold the plank up with one end close to your face and look straight down the wood – you’ll be able to spot curves in the wood pretty easily. See above for the proper form as demonstrated by my dad.

Organizing wood planks

My dad and I looked at every board in the little cubby hole and sorted them into “these are good,” “these might work,” and “these are bad” stacks.

How to Remove Stickers from Wood

Removing stickers from wood with hairdryer

How to remove sticker residue from wood with rubbing alcohol

Once we got back to my parents’ house with all our supplies, I started removing the barcode stickers from the wood. They left behind a lot of sticky residue and I tried a few different methods to remove it. A hairdryer helped to loosen the main sticker from the wood but wasn’t super helpful for what was left behind. I tried pulling the sticker residue off with duct tape, but that wasn’t super effective either. Then I tried rubbing alcohol on a rag and it worked wonders without staining or discoloring the wood – if you try this, you should probably test the alcohol on a scrap piece of work first to double check that it won’t discolor your wood. In most cases, I could still sort of see where the sticker had been but was mostly concerned with removing the sticky bits.

Rip That Wood

Ripping wood on a table saw

My plans called for wood at a different width than what we found at the store so my dad trimmed both the length and width of the planks on his table saw.

Another piece of advice from my dad, Joe: trim wood at both ends to shorten it instead of just taking from one end. Wood sold in planks like this is often thinner at the ends because of how it’s planed.

Organize Your Wood

Grouping oak planks by grain

I noticed that the grain of the oak differed from plank to plank but I wanted all pieces on each frame to work together. I organized the wood by grain type (tighter, looser) and then gathered them in groups of 4 for each of the 3 frames.

Marking the best edges of the oak planks

I also used small pieces of painters tape to mark the best sides of each piece of the wood to be used as the outside and front edges of the frame.

Make Miter Cuts

Cutting frame pieces with a miter saw

Miter cut pieces of wood for framing

Then it was time for those miter cuts. The pieces for the sides received cuts along their thing edge while the back pieces were cut along their wide edge. Miter cuts make for a really beautiful, profesh looking corner.

Glue the Frame Corners

Applying wood glue to miter cuts

Building frame using corner clamps

Starting first with the oak pieces for the sides of the frame, we put glue on the ends and clamped them together using the corner clamps.

Secure Corners with a Nail Gun

Using a nail gun to secure frame corners

Detail of nail holes at bottom of frame

We used a nail gun to secure the corners. The nails went in at the top and bottom of the frame rather than the sides so they’d be less visible. You can also use v nails and a joiner to join your corners at the back of the frame.

We added more nails than is necessary if you allow for proper dry time on your wood glue. I needed to get my frames finished in one day before loading them into my car and driving home. If you can allow for at least 24 hours of dry time, you won’t have to rely on nails as much.

Fit in the Frame Backing

Fitting the frame back pieces

Fine tuning the fit of the back pieces

Once the outside frame was complete, we removed it from the clamps and started fitting in the back pieces. As you can see in this picture, we needed to cut a little bit more off to get a perfect fit. Make sure to work on a flat surface so you can push the back pieces the whole way down into the frame to create a level back for your frame.

Glue the Corners of the Frame Backing

Gluing back pieces of float frame

Once the pieces were fine-tuned to fit together tightly, we ran a bead of wood glue along the miter cut and the long edge that fits inside the frame.

Detail of glued back corner of frame

Here’s a look at the freshly glued back of the frame.

Fill Nail Holes and Sand

Filling Nail Holes with wood filler

If you use a nail gun, you’ll want to fill those nail holes. I picked up golden oak wood filler that matched my frame perfectly. For small holes, you can just squeeze wood filler out into the hole or onto your finger and smooth it out. Let it dry, see if it shrinks (it probably will) then refill if needed and let dry fully. Once the wood filler is dry, use a fine grit sandpaper to sand down high spots.

Stain and Seal the Frame

If you want to stain your frame, now’s the time to do it. If you like the natural look of the wood you use, you should seal the wood with a water-based varnish. You can use the brush-on type or spray, sanding with fine grit sandpaper between coats. Adding a non-yellowing, acrylic coating will protect your frame from moisture and make it easier to clean.

How to Mount a Canvas into a Canvas Float Frame

Using shims to place canvas in frame with equal spacing

Andy picked up 1/4″ thick pieces of wood to use as shims to make sure the canvas was 1/4″ away from the edge all the way around.

Putting in screws

Use flat head screws to secure the canvas to the frame so that you don’t have a screw head sticking out and scratching your wall. We ended up using 6 screws to secure the canvas to the frame because while the frames were squared up and flat, the canvases weren’t. Securing the canvas at multiple points to the frame straightened out the canvas.

Adding Picture Wire to the Wooden Canvas Float Frame 

Back of oak float frame with hanging hardware Detail of float frame hanging hardware

We hung the picture wire on the inside edge of the frame backing pieces. This way, nothing is sticking out on the back of the frame to scratch the walls or add a weird gap between the frame and wall.

Wowowow. My paintings look so good in their new frames. This can be a great weekend project if you have access to a table saw, miter saw, and nail gun. There are no special order materials here – I picked everything up at Home Depot. I love the effect the float mount gives and I’m so proud that I could design and build these with my dad. I’ll take any excuse to spend a whole day with him. Is this a project you think you could tackle?

DIY Canvas Float Frame

Food + Beverage Shopping

Weekends are for Coffee with Breville’s Precision Brewer Glass

June 8, 2018

This post is in partnership with Breville who gifted me the Precision Brewer Glass. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, if you make a purchase after clicking one of my links, I will be compensated.

Breville Precision Brewer Glass in Moody Coffee Nook

There’s something special about the ritual of making coffee. Even before I actually LIKED coffee, I loved the sound of it brewing away and the smell of the beans. Every morning when I hear Andy grind fresh beans for our coffee, I get a good feeling about the day head. And on weekends, it means we sit together in front of our tv, watching The Office and sipping on our coffee and smoothies. To me, that is everything.

I was so excited to partner with Breville for their release of their new Precision Brewer Glass because I love coffee but also because the Breville brand has been a staple in our kitchen – we use our compact Breville Smart Oven all the time and gifted my parents the fancy Smart Oven Pro Convection model. Andy typically makes coffee via Aeropress, but that is an intense practice which I have not attempted. This clever little brewer pays attention to temperature (something I’ve learned is important to making a good cup of coffee) and has special modes to make exactly the coffee you’re craving. You can even program in your own temperature, bloom time, and flow rate.

Breville Precision Brewer Brewing Modes Screen

This new brewer has 6 modes: Fast, Gold, Strong, Over Ice, My Brew, and Cold Brew. The Fast mode makes up to 12 cups in less than 7 minutes which is perfect for when we’ve got and the Gold mode is certified by the Specialty Coffee Association. Strong mode will automatically brew you a strong cup of coffee. Over Ice (my favorite!) brews up to 4 cups of a more highly concentrated coffee to be chilled and poured over ice. The stronger concentration takes into account how ice cubes melt into your brew and dilute it. And if you like a cold cup of coffee, you’ll be into the Cold Brew mode steeps coffee for 10-16 hours.

Fresh Iced Coffee

Set up of the machine was pretty painless and just required washing all the non-electronic components, setting the water hardness (test strip included) and running the brewer to flush through water for a full clean.

Spring and Summer are prime iced coffee time for me so I couldn’t wait to try the Over Ice mode first. It brewed 4 cups of concentrated coffee which I let rest to room temperature and then popped in the fridge for a few hours. I recommend brewing up a pot of Over Ice coffee after your morning coffee so that it’ll be chilled by the time you’re ready for that afternoon boost.

Iced Coffee With Cream

I don’t take sugar in my iced coffee but I loooove some coconut or almond milk in there. My favorite addition is So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk.

Ice Coffee Plain or with Cream

Andy likes his iced coffee plain, pure, and no fun. 8 scoops of freshly ground beans (we use this Bodem burr grinder because freshly ground beans are super important) made 4 normal sized cups of coffee or 2 large glasses.

I’ve had quite a week and am delighted to be rolling into the weekend ready for 2 days of Netflix binging fueled by bottomless iced coffee. Are you in for iced coffee season? How do you take your iced coffee?

Interiors Inspiration One Room Challenge

My One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Reveal Favorites

May 25, 2018

[Image from my One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Guest Bedroom Reveal]

Two weeks ago, the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge featured designers and guest participants (including me!) revealed their room transformations. I was so floored by everyone’s reveals – they are so gorgeous – and am so happy to be part of such a talented design community. The guest participants who will participate as featured designers next season were just announced, (congratulations to Nicole of Vestige Home and Erin Kestenbaum!) but I wanted to share with you some of my favorite reveals in case you missed them!

Guest Participant Reveals

Serene Green Nursery with Custom Day Bed | Vestige Home

Nicole of Vestige Home made the most serene nursery I’ve ever seen complete with a custom daybed. The two-tone walls are so subtly sweet and I am in love with the handmade ship mobile. Photographed by Rebecca McAlpin. Nicole was selected from the guest participants to be a featured designer next season!

Brass Hex Trellis with Velvet Channel Tufted Headboard Guest Room | Deuce Cities Hen House

Allison of Deuce Cities Hen House built a custom blue velvet tufted bed, brass trellis, AND her own sconces to transform her guest bedroom. She restored her windows and doors and gave them a fresh coat of black paint. She cleverly problem solved her way around a 10×10′ room with a radiator and large windows to make a tailored and bright space.

Glass door shower with marble tile, skirted toilet

Erin Kestenbaum put together the most stunning marble tile master bathroom. That shower is so incredible – that pencil tile! And I’ve never seen such a handsome toilet, it works so beautifully with the trim work and looks plain regal! Congrats also to Erin for being selected to be a featured designer next season! So well earned!

Jest Cafe - Spring 2018 One Room Challenge Reveal

Mila of Jest Cafe’s kitchen and dining room transformation is a colorful, bold oasis. She paired an unconventional cabinet color with a stunning hand-painted mural and boho-inspired accents to make a coral and pink dream.

Colorful living room with 80s modern accents and tiger wallpaper.

Another colorful transformation comes from Jewel of Jeweled Interiors who did a rental-friendly (!) living room makeover. This woman cannot be stopped. She reupholstered a sofa in terrazzo-print velvet and added fringe. She painted those armchairs. Just such incredible, bold work.

coastal bedroom with ikea pax hack closet

Sarah Gunn made over her master bedroom with a coastal vibe and majorly upgraded IKEA PAX wardrobes with light blue paint. Such a beautifully finished space with thoughtful details! And you know I love all IKEA hacks/upgrades.

bedroom with burl wood nightstands and modern lamps

I am extremely into this modern and playful makeover from Goldalamode. I have never been a fan of purple in decor, or fashion, or anything but DANG. I love those light purple walls and blush/dusty pink accents. And those vintage burl + brass nightstands! This room takes the best trends from the 80s and makes them current and fresh.

Bedroom with Nursery Corner Pink Curtains

Cathy and Garrett of The Grit and Polish created a space for their youngest daughter to grow into in their historic farmhouse. They found this charming canned bed on Craigslist for $0 and did their whole room for less than $500. It is feminine, charming, and cozy and you have to see the wallpapered crib nook!

Traditional Breakfast Room with Glass Door Cabinets

My traditional heart looooves this breakfast nook from Jess at Domicle37. She replaced the tile backsplash with clay subway tile that looks completely classic and totally made me think her house was way older than the 1950s! She also covered the countertops in concrete, adding warmth and texture. The vintage dining set is the perfect touch against the painted cabinets.

Vintage Accents in a Cozy Bedroom | Dream Green DIY

Carrie of Dream Green DIY added a DIY faux wood paneling accent wall, vintage furniture, and neutral accents to her master bedroom. The result is a cozy space that feels collected and suits her brick ranch home so well.

Featured Designer Reveals

Gray board and batten bedroom | The Gold Hive

Ashley K Goldman of The Gold Hive pulled off not just a One Room Challenge, but a one and a half room challenge. She redid her master bedroom, DIYing her board and batten to make a traditional and calming space. She also added a new door leading to her backyard and added new patio furniture.

Natasha Habermann ORC Livingroom Makeover

Natasha Habermann made over her living room and foyer for the Spring challenge. Her reveal photos and home look straight out of a profesh magazine and my traditional-home loving heard ate them up. There’s so much to talk about in her space but I am so into the molding she added to her walls from Metrie. It looks totally original to her gorgeous home.

So much inspiration! See all of the One Room Challenge Spring 2018 guest participants’ reveals here.

DIY One Room Challenge The Scenery House

One Room Challenge Week 6: Guest Bedroom Reveal!

May 9, 2018

Green guest room with bright bedding

It’s finally here! Today I’m sharing the reveal of our guest bedroom which got a fantastic makeover for the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge. This was my time first participating in the challenge and it was crazy but so satisfying. If you’re not familiar, the One Room Challenge is hosted by Calling it Home in partnership with House Beautiful and Home Love Network and is a 6 week challenge to makeover one room in your home. The challenge takes place twice a year in the spring and fall and is led by 20 featured designers. In addition to the 20 featured designers, the challenge is open to anyone with a blog who wants to challenge-along as a participant. That’s me! And over 200 other guest participants. 

If you’ve hopped over to this post from the ORC website – welcome! I’m Emily, this is my blog, and I’m working on undecorating the 1929 tudor-ish home I share with my husband, Andy, and our corgi, Penelope. This is where I should describe my style so I guess I’d say it’s something along the lines of traditional-modern which doesn’t sound like a real thing. I am glad you’re here.

For my first challenge, I decided to tackle our guest bedroom. Though I’m very used to taking on big projects to transform rooms in my house (check out my blush bathroom, my board and batten powder room, or my kitchen facelift) this was my first time sticking to a firm timeline and sharing my progress week by week. If you’re just joining in and want to see my posts for each week, check out week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, and week 5!) 

For a refresher, let’s look at where it all started.

The Guest Bedroom Before

Listing Photo for Boys Room

This is what our guest bedroom looked like in the listing photos. The walls were bright green and the ceiling was a pale blue. There was even a glow-in-the-dark space light on the ceiling.


And here is the room after we moved in.


In June of last year, we decided it was time to get rid of that bright green and bring in something much moodier. 

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Before

Here it is all painted and ready for its first One Room Challenge transformation. That deep moody green – Behr’s Black Evergreen – provides a great canvas and so much potential. You’ll recognize those scallop hem roller shades from the listing photo and I really can’t believe we held onto them for as long as we did. The room was definitely functioning fine as a guest room, but it could be so much better.

We decided to keep the bed frame and headboard (IKEA’s discontinued REDALEN) and the microdot rug we bought a few years ago from West Elm.

The Reveal


I struggled with what to do with the long wall in the guest bedroom that serves as the main path through the room. I didn’t want to narrow that path by adding bookshelves but I was hesitant to add a gallery wall. And then I saw the Hovey sisters home tour and knew I needed to paint something myself for this space. I used my beloved iPad to sketch up some abstract art ideas, playing with colorways and moving shapes around for the right composition. I picked up 3 24×30” canvases and some budget paint at Jo Anns and got to work. If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories (and if you aren’t, c’mon, look at what you’re missing out on) I struggled with painting things that didn’t somehow look like faces. My first painting looked very much like a face and in a very confident move to make the face go away, I totally made it look like a clown face. I still see faces in all of these. And a pickle enjoying the ocean. But I think that’s just how abstract art is. I love the paintings, I really enjoyed making them, and am so proud to have some of my own original art hanging in our home. 

I priced out canvas float frames and realized they weren’t in my budget and also weren’t going to ship in time for the reveal, so DIY it was. I sketched up plans in SketchUp, planning out the depth of the frames, the amount of space for the float, and how they’d be assembled and sent everything over to my dad. We spent a whole day together picking out materials – oak boards for the outside and pine for the backing – and raced to get them all done that same day. Many people requested a full tutorial for this so don’t worry, I’ll be sharing one soon once I’ve recovered from this sprint!

At the last minute (as of the night before and morning of my reveal photoshoot) I decided to whip up this brass kinetic sculpture (aka mobile) from a The Crafters Box I’ve been hoarding. It’s perfect. I was so unsure about what to do with this corner and I’m so glad this idea came to me just in time.

The Window Treatments

I wanted to solve for two different filtering and blocking situations in this room. I like to have a simple sheer roller blind to diffuse light and add privacy, the SKOGKSLOVER shades from IKEA fit our windows perfectly and we have them on nearly every window in our home. We added these but also wanted something with more opacity to block our exterior house lights that might bother guests. Picking the right blackout shades was something I struggled with (and mumbled endlessly about on my insta stories and polled everyone endlessly about) but it wasn’t until I had all the options in the room that I could make a choice. These pom pom curtains from PB Teen were a longstanding favorite of everyone following along but they were too much of an off white to go with the rug and white bedding. I went with the light green SANELA curtains from IKEA and they’re perfect. I didn’t like the grommet top they came with and they needed a good hem to be the right length for our windows, so I hemmed them and gave them a pinch pleat top using IKEA’s pleating tape and curtain hooks.

Because we’re dealing with baseboard heaters (my nemesis) I wanted to be mindful of the proper clearance between the heater and the long curtain. This meant I had to find a curtain rod and bracket set that stuck out from my wall far enough. I ended up with the 1.25” brass set from CB2. I wish the pole were thinner, the deeper brackets only come with this size. For what it’s worth, if you’re shopping for gorgeous brass curtain rods and don’t have the same constraints as me, this set from Crate and Barrel is really lovely – I have a set in my house that I still need to return.


Originally, I hoped to come across the perfect vintage dresser for this room as I typically don’t think a room is really finished without at least one vintage, antique, or heirloom item. But when I saw this dresser I couldn’t get over it. I continued to search for the right vintage piece but when one didn’t turn up, I wasn’t sad to head to IKEA to pick up the BJÖRKSNÄS dresser. The light wood and leather pulls add modern contrast against the dark walls. 

I added a bench – another gem from IKEA, the STOCKHOLM coffee table – which will be great for guests to put luggage on. Definitely an upgrade from traditional luggage racks. Can there be too much rattan?

And that mirror. So perfect. It bounces light and makes the dresser a great get-ready station for guests.

The blanket ladder is a great solution for storing extra blankets out in the open so your guests don’t have to tell you they’re cold in your freezing house. Or they can hang bath towels on it to dry if they aren’t keen on hanging them in a shared bathroom. I guess I just assume all guests are as fussy as me.

If you’ve ever tried shopping for wooden nightstands of a particular size and look, you know they come dear. I was excited to spot this set (available at Allmodern and Amazon) which was just about the look I wanted and had USB charging tastefully built in AND came in at around $100 each. Previously, we had extension cords run up behind our vintage end tables acting as nightstands so guests could charge their devices. NOT THE LOOK. 

Overall I’m happy with these nightstands but needed to upgrade the pulls with a set of 3″ hex handles with backplates from CB2 to make them look classier. The quality of the wood isn’t bad for the price point but they are a redder hue than I had hoped.

I LOVE the nightstand lamps. I’ve never had a set of matching nightstands let alone matching lamps and I feel like I have really made it now. The lamps have a modern/midcentury shape and a fantastic texture.

The Linens

I knew I wanted to add the casual look and soft touch of a linen duvet cover going into this but wasn’t at all sure which to pick. I heard great things about the linen duvet set from H&M Home, as well as IKEA’s option. I ended up going with the Belgian Flax Linen Duvet from West Elm and it is lovely. The color is a brighter white and totally works with the other linens in the space. 

At the end of the bed I added a grid print throw from Target. It did make me ask myself how many grid patterns are too many grid patterns (we’ve got the leaded glass windows, the rug, the rattan headboard, the rattan bench…) and I’ve concluded that THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST. 

I’m something of a minimalist when it comes to throw pillows (my husband will tell you this is a false statement) so I like the look of stacked bed pillows with a big lumbar body pillow in front. When I lost my sense of time, I thought I might sew one myself and even went shopping for the right fabric. When I came to my senses and realized time is something that was no longer on my side, I ended decided to order a giant pillow cover from Jenny Komeda’s Juniper Studio. The blush color linen is soft and there’s nothing like pink with the deep green of the walls. The cream corner tassels are such a nice touch. I used this body pillow insert which fit the pillow cover perfectly.

I have to say that this giant pillow was even more giant than I thought and I decided to break it up a little by adding a rust velvet throw pillow from West Elm. I also layered a pom pom throw on there as a tribute to the pom pom curtains that weren’t meant to be. <3

The sheets on the bed are some of my beloved Target sheets that I’ve had forever. They wash so well and don’t wrinkle AND they have little tags on the fitted sheet that tells you which end is the bottom and which is the side!

The wallhanging is one of my favorite Etsy finds from RUGbyGUR.

Gimme those side by sides

What a whirlwind. But like, the good kind. It was so much fun to do this challenge along with all the other guest participants – I made so many new friends! I am thankful for this whole project because it encouraged me to problem solve, stretch my brain, and bring out some of my old skills – I PAINTED again! I found my sewing machine in the attic and classed up those curtains. I crafted that mobile! And I have a new guest room that makes me smile and is now the nicest room in the whole house.


One Room Challenge Guest Participant

Be sure to check out the STUNNING reveals from the featured participants and I can’t wait to see all the guest reveals!


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