ONE ROOM CHALLENGE (Week One): Annex Guest Room Makeover

Twice a year, in October and April, Linda from Calling It Home and House Beautiful hosts a One Room Challenge. Over the course of 6 weeks, 20 select designers and bloggers tackle renovating or redecorating a specific room, and share their progress with weekly blog posts. 

When the April 2017 list of selected designers was announces, I was so inspired by how many of the participants are blogs and designers I admire. I knew I wanted to participate too!

The One Room Challenge encourages Guest Participants, so I'm joining the fun, sharing the magic of an Annex Guest Room makeover we have yet to tackle.

What's even more exciting, is this is a linked event, which means that all the Guest Participants will share a common link and you'll be able to easily surf through a ton of room transformations. You'll find that link at the bottom of this post!

Warning: The following "before" images are scary!

I often share this 'before' image with people who don't know the state in which we acquired Content.

I suppose this Annex Guest Room image was taken during the bank's repossession of the property prior to foreclosure.

Luckily, when we closed on Content in October 2014, the trash and junk had been cleaned out.

But, it always amazes me that just 5 short months after this picture was take, two knuckle heads (John + I) showed up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, and jumped feet first into the biggest renovation project of our lives.

Even though we've done a lot since 2014 (i.e. the blood, sweat and tears chronicled throughout this blog), nowadays the Annex Guest Room has mostly been used as storage.

Here's John and my Dad, likely discussing how I'm a closet hoarder of second-hand furniture. 

Over the coldest winter months, I did spend a few days replacing all of the window weight mechanics so all the windows now properly function.

Overall, the Annex Guest Room has awesome bones, just like the rest of the house. This space features a brick fireplace (which needs a mantel), exposed beam ceiling and four original, double pane windows.

The original wide, hardwood pine floors are still in this room. And the space has beautiful ceiling and baseboard molding too!

The overall goal of this makeover is to clean up the walls and ceilings with fresh paint, and create a "disappearing" guest room. Huh?

Stay with me... We refer to this as the Annex because it attaches to Guest Suite #1 and the Great Room. We think this would be the perfect space to provide friends and family, traveling together, with additional accommodations.

But we want to reserve the ability to remove the beds should the space be needed for a special event, in conjunction with the Great Room.

So far, I have a vintage camp theme in mind. I think this will lend itself well to the "disappearing" beds, as well as to a lounge setting.

I have a bunch of ideas floating around, and can't wait to see this fun, quirky makeover come to life.

Be sure to follow along with our progress and comment below with your thoughts!


You can connect to all the One Room Challenge Guest Participant week 1 updates here! #oneroomchallenge

2016 Holiday House Tour of Content.

As some of you may remember, last year's Christmas decor-spectacular was brought to you by the lovely Monica Mangin of East Coast Creative and Lowe's.

We were the recipients of a Holiday Makeover, and Monica and her team came to Content. in October (just days after Halloween) and decked our halls with a ton of Christmas cheer. You can check out Monica's recap of the Makeover here.

Well, this year, it's up to me. Thankfully, all the decor used in the Makeover was ours to keep for years to come. The Makeover was just in the Great Room, so I wanted to spread the cheer out a bit throughout the house and add my own spin.

Content. has 10 fireplaces. One day I hope to decorate them all completely different, with their own theme, but 2016 was not that year...

This year, our theme was "don't spend any money + use what you have". We added greens and garland to accent the mantels, and I reused my favorite mix-and-match brass candle sticks with simple white candle sticks.

My favorite Makeover keepsake, these blackboard Nutcrackers!

The Great Room is a pretty large space, so we used both of the artificial Christmas trees again, which are prelite and a dream to put up and take down.

I'm not sentimental about having a real tree. I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to them, in fact, and with all the foot traffic Content. sees, let things to clean up (ie needles) is preferred. 

We did quite a bit of personalization this year, adding this cherished ornament to the tree which was a gift to us from our friend Lin.

Lin is not only super thoughtful, she's also REALLY creative. For a whole year, she held onto this stamp which she received and saved from our wedding invitations and collected these tiny pine cones from the camp where we were married.

She made this beautiful ornament and it was a house warming gift when we moved into Content. and we couldn't love it more.

A little holiday cheer was added to Guest Room 1. The large green accent wall was begging for some holiday inspiration.

What, doesn't every room need a full sized toboggan? I certainly think so...

Never one to eliminate chairs from a room (I love guests!) I simply moved these loungers, displaced by the tree, closer to the front door. Luckily, we have two front doors, so blocking one wasn't a problem at all.

This little spot is now the perfect nook for reading Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I wanted the holiday decor to be minimalist. These simple window wreaths and ribbon are subtle but beautiful and just the right amount of holiday without being over the top.

The dining room got some handmade love. The wreath on this fireplace was made by me during a second annual wreath making day with my favorite girlfriends.

My girl Veronica captured this pic and said it best:

Here's my attempt at displaying all of the beautiful Christmas cards we receive each year. I created this "Christmas Past and Present" banner using a free printable I found online.

I picked a few cards from Christmas past to display along with the new cards we received this year.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas! From Content. we hope your season is Merry + Bright!

Master Bedroom Renovation (Phase 1)

In an effort to sustain our home renovating energy and enthusiasm, (and not go instantly insane) we have been focusing on projects within Content that will immediately benefit John and I. For instance, completing the master bedroom and en suite bathroom. Like every floor plan we've encountered within this house, thus far, the layout of the master bedroom is challenging.

It's weird though, sometimes I forget just how absurd of a property Content. really is. So often, John and I are busy micro managing projects, making sure we're making forward progress, that the big picture of the house gets lost. It's only when a new visitor or contractor stops by that we're reminded just how different Content. actually is. Our favorite question, "What is this place?"

The real BIG picture!

During a recent visit with our friends Veronica & Shawn, we pointed out that one of the two fireplaces (yes, two in the same room) located on opposing ends of the master bedroom would soon be concealed in the new walk-in closet and only used as an architectural detail. Veronica's reaction was priceless, "Two fireplaces in the same room? Now you're just showing off." Not on purpose of course, but yes, this house has charming quirks and a zillion stories to tell and we're having a blast figuring them all out.

Likely, Content's rooms were once half the size, and each of the bedroom fireplaces were originally in separate rooms. These small rooms are rumored to once have been used by ladies-of-the-night and gentleman callers (more to come on that in later posts). The house is also rumored to have been a horse stable, but either way, I guess a fireplace and a small private room work for both enterprises.

But now, as the newest owners, we are left puzzled and dumbfounded by how to layout the simplest of room elements, like our bed. And because the house was vacant for over 2 years, we can't even copy the prior owners attempts.

Take a look at the original layout of the master bedroom and some of the odd elements we have to quickly address:
  • Two fireplaces
  • Railroad style layout connecting kitchen, master and bathroom
  • One full wall of windows
  • Two exterior (courtyard) access doors
  • Window in closet

Before: Master Bedroom
This is the MLS listing photo of the bedroom before we even owned the house.

See, I'm not exaggerating! The layout is perplexing to say the least, and not in a fun "oh lets stretch our design creativity" kinda way....

Architect, what's that? We just hand draw our plans.
You should see what we submitted to the town for our permits. Ha!

The result of all this master planning (i.e. doodles on a cocktail napkin) was the construction of a mid-room partition that will serve as our headboard and the main wall of our closet. This new addition will nicely position our bed within the room, facing the fireplace. Ohh, how romantical!? 

Before: Master Bedroom
Old closet is out exposing two exterior courtyard doors. The door on the left will be covered up.

Partition wall (view facing bathroom)

Partition wall (view facing kitchen)

As I've said before, we are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by talented tradesman that willingly volunteer their time and energy to help us with Content. And in the case of the master bedroom and bathroom, John's father Dave was our saving grace.

Dave traveled from John's home town in Bristol, Connecticut for the weekend to help run all the rough electrical and install recess lighting. Thanks Dave, we couldn't have done it without you!

John, and his father Dave.

That's Phase 1 of the Master. More to come soon!