One Room Challenge – Week Two

HI, I'm Olaf and I'm in BAD Design JAIL!
HI, I’m Olaf and I’m in BAD Design JAIL!

Thanks for stopping back by to see my progress on this One Room Challenge Journey. To take a step back and see the overall plan link back here. As you can see by the photo above, the banister is not where it used to be!  I was so incredibly happy to discover that we did not have to keep the banister. We have a single step down less than 8”so no banister is required per IBC Building Code. 🙂

So my first week of the challenge really consisted of mostly my Sunday.  As my Saturday was spent visiting with these guys!  I know insert the AWWWWWW….. I seriously want a bunny, but really I just want to look at them and say aren’t they cute.  I do believe that our Husky and Westie would not be keen on the bunny.  Well not keen as a playmate anyways!


And these two…. because after all it is FALL, my most favorite time of year.  What is Fall without a little trip to the pumpkin patch/corn maze/giant slide/giant pale of hay/petting zoo in Southern Maryland.  It is nothing, nothing I say!





I have to say, I am still riding on a Designer’s HIGH  from Sunday when I took the chance and unscrewed the banister. This was either going to be very good or very bad. My home was built in 1996 by a track builder. As a side note, the preceding comments are no way trying to offend/discredit any track builders as there are good ones and bad ones, like anything else in life. It has been my experience that they are typically most concerned with the bottom line and unfortunately that may or may not be carried out with the best craftsmanship. In my case we have run into both while doing various renovations on our home. I was really worried that the hardwoods under the banister would be unstained . I was ELATED to find out that they just took the easy way and screwed it into the finished floor. Please keep in mind that my husband has been against this from day one…. “don’t fix what isn’t broken” is his motto. Silly man, doesn’t he know he married a designer?  A sad little fact, I owned more power tools than he did when we first got married. Last father’s day I purchased him his first power drill. (Mainly b/c mine needed to be replaced)


Simply used a pair of pliers and a Phillips Head Screwdriver.
Simply used a pair of pliers and a Phillips Head Screwdriver.

So removing the banister was a lot easier than I thought. I just pried off the wooden top caps to discover a basic screw. I opted for the good old fashioned Phillips head. My deal with the hubs is worst case scenario; we just put it back if the job turned into something larger than we wanted to tackle. I wanted to be sure to try and keep all of the original screws, just in case.

A little Elbow grease.... and
A little Elbow grease…. and

It took me all of about twenty minutes to unscrew each of the 16 screws by hand. With the help of my trusty two year old assistant putting them into our standard “storage of random parts” zip lock, and then the muscle of my husband and myself, we lifted up the banister and discovered this…

Banister after 4 Banister BEfore 3

Sweet glorious finished hardwoods, with tiny little screw holes. I am not going to lie, songs were sung. It was as if doves were released and fireworks went off. Ok, that may be a bit overboard, but I was ELATED!!! Thank heavens, because even though I told the hubs that I would put it back if the job was too big.  I simply knew that was not an option. I am if anything very headstrong and once I put my mind to something, it will happen. I like to think of that as positive thinking, my husband has other words for it.
So this is probably hands down the largest change that I will make for my One Room Challenge, the rest will be mostly fluff, with a minor toe dip in electrical. I have to say, I hope this high doesn’t end, like EVER. Every time I walk into the room, it just makes me smile. It feels so much larger and actually opens up new layouts for my dining room as well. Who knows this may turn into a mini make-over furniture shift for the dining room.
I did make other progress this week, got my Lulie Wallace prints in and actually didn’t have to buy frames. I had purchased these handsome simple gold frames with single matte from Michaels’ about eight months ago on super clearance (like $4 or something crazy). So I was able to get them mounted pretty quickly. If I haven’t already admitted this here you go. Hello, my name is Emily and I hoard fabric, picture frames, and toddler girl clothing. Regardless, I think they look great. I do love a simple black frame, but I didn’t want to take away from the whimsy and the colors in the print. Max, the Westie agree’s, two paws up Lulie!

ARtwork Framed

My last update is a little bit of a surprise. Sunday, after I completed the de-construction of the banister, Nick to our daughter out to shop. He does this at least once a weekend, so that I can have at least an hour of sanity and recharging. I was so excited from the high, that I had a little impromptu dance party in the living room/dining room. It was pretty epic. In the middle the dance party for one, I got a text with this image.

Nick and I don't usually agree on décor for our home... So I was really surprised to get this text.
Nick and I don’t usually agree on décor for our home… So I was really surprised to get this text.

I should problably go back a step. Last week, I began my search for pocketbook friendly lighting. My original design had a pair of Gold Ibis lights that are seriously to die for. But their cost was just a bit more than I wanted to bear for this project ($472 each). So, I have been searching for something that I could buy or retro-fit into something that would give me a similar touch of drama and add the desired light I need.  I found these at a local Home Goods last week, in the kids section.

Original Lamp Find edit

The scale seemed good, but the color was off. The plan was to faux finish/spray the bases gold. I was coming around to the pale pink shades. I don’t typically like a colored shade, but I felt like, I could live with it. That was until Nick sent me the image above.

I know it’s not this guy…


I couldn’t beat the price. They are a perfect scale, classic with a little drama and I really have to say, I am digging the black shade. It’s not as bright of a gold as the original and of course doesn’t have a giant bird holding a crystal ball in it’s hand, sitting on a square of Lucite, but I will survive.

Also, I received the coffee table I ordered from Ballard Designs, but I will have to fill you guys in on what I decide next week. Let’s just say, I am still trying to figure that one out. I wasn’t super keen about the color/finish that it turned out to be. It really is hard to order things online through a catalog (hint, hint, hint, Ballard Designs need to open in a storefront in the DC metro area, preferably one in Northern VA, near Alexandria!) I may be refinishing the top to get the look I want. Should be simple enough right?

So to recap my progress thus far… Here is what I have accomplished of the master to do list…

1. Remove horrible and ugly dated banister and patch the (hopeful) hardwoods beneath. Please lord, let the hardwoods be in good shape and please let me not have to keep it for building code reasons. This right here was the “You’re going to do what?” comment…
2. Center seating area on the fireplace. This has bothered me from day one. With the banister in place, it really limits you on where you can place furniture. Until now the couch has been on the banister wall and we have a bowling alley down the middle.
3. Create a secondary focal wall, so that no matter where you sit in the room, you have a pretty view. Have I mentioned that I have and OCD tendency for perfect symmetry?
4. Purchase & Frame new artwork prints from the amazing Charleston artist Lulie Wallace. Seriously you need to check out her floral and her new tabletop series. She also has textiles and lunchboxes!
5. Purchase lighting. I really don’t understand why builders don’t put overhead lighting in homes. Let’s face it, cost. So, I am going to attempt to source some super cool lighting that I can use on top of an existing buffet. Then the piece de resistance… ceiling swag for the seating area. I am going to have to get really creative since hubbie is keeping me on a very tight budget for this.
6. Purchase a coffee table. Quite frankly it’s embarrassing that I haven’t had one. Or what is worse that we have been using my daughters play table as our coffee table.  So while I have purchased the table, I wasn’t really happy with the finish, so off to Home Depot I go to pick out a new stain!
7. Keep an area for my daughter to have her play table and chairs. This will also involve the use of creative storage solutions (i.e. baskets galore) to hide those fabulous brain stimulating, make your kid smart, bright and obnoxious toys!
8. Make throw pillows. I collect fabric and I’ve found some major winners on While I do know how to sew, it is not something I enjoy. Mostly because to do it right, it requires taking up lots of space and making a MESS! I may attempt to get my mom to help me on this one, since she is coming for a visit in two weeks.
9. Drink some wine. I figure this will more than likely be a vital part of this challenge. Did I mention I have a two year old and a full time job.  I figured I would leave this one not completely crossed off, we are only on week two after all!
10. Source and or make new MAUVE drapery panels. Still having a hard time typing that MAUVE… Accessorize, style and find a photographer to capture some really amazing shots of the completed project.

Banister – check, artwork – check, order table – check, drink wine – check, check, check! I’ve got a busy week planned this upcoming week. It’s my birthday week, Saturday, October 11th to be exact! YAY Libra’s!  Yes I know, it explains a lot. My Mom is coming for a visit. Hopefully, she will help out in the sewing projects and the shopping projects. Whomever said shopping with a two year old is fun, has never been shopping with a two year old. I imagine it is very similar to shopping with the Tasmanian Devil.  Don’t get me wrong, I adore my daughter, she is sassy and cute, but very unpredictable. I can attempt to plan the perfect pre/post nap shopping trip with snacks and everything I can imagine to distract her; but until the moment you step through the threshold of the store, you never know what you are going to get.

I’ve enjoyed seeing all the updates from the One Room Challenge Participants please go check them out here!

ORC-Participant Fall 2014

I look forward to following allow with all the fellow Linking Participants updates.
Check us out here!

Thank you for all for your kind words of support both on the blog and Instagram!

xo, Emily


Published by epinteriordesigns

Interior Designer

10 thoughts on “One Room Challenge – Week Two

  1. oh my gosh, we have one of those awful and unnecessary banisters going from our kitchen down to our sunken living room…lame. Ours has tile installed around it though so no removal for me yet. Love your progress and can’t wait to follow along.


  2. Omg…those bunnies are the cutest!! How could you leave without taking one home!? Love the lamps! Can’t wait to see how the room looks without the banister. Good luck this next week 🙂


  3. I love your writing style – you are too funny and I can so relate to your comments about your “positive” attitude! 🙂 Congratulations on a successful removal of the banister! This space will be amazing and I can’t wait to follow your progress!
    Shelia @ House of Highlands


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