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

Kitchen Renovation (Phase 3)

All right everyone, I know, I know, you're way overdue on a kitchen update. So, go get yourself a drink, sit back and get comfy.

If you remember, when last we chatted about the kitchen in my Phase 2 post, we had just completed all the dry wall. That seriously feels like a lifetime ago, but in reality was only 3 months or so. Since then, a considerable amount of work has been done on the kitchen.

Most notably, the new pine floors, the cabinets, the kitchen island and trim. All respectively works of art and achievement that my wonderful husband should be very proud of!

Let's start with the floors. If you recall, the existing oak hardwood in the kitchen was worse for wear. It was not original to the house, but was also installed around more recent constructed (1980s) cabinets, so when we removed these cabinets, huge gauges and holes remained.

See the gauges and holes in the old flooring?

It really was a shame to pull up that much oak, but we resolved to save the wood for future projects and moved on. Once several more layers of linoleum were removed, John had a fresh surface to work with.

In an effort to match the existing dining room hardwood, John first sourced wide plank, white pine boards and cut them to width.

Then, over the course of a weekend, John and I cut the tongue or groove into each side of the pine boards. It was a tedious, precise process but in the end saved us a lot of money!

All of the completed boards, now with tongue and groove.

Then, the tongue and grooved wood was left to properly acclimate to its new home indoors, and then installed the following weekend. In fact, it was Easter weekend. Holidays don't have that same relaxing quality much these days...

Working together, we glued and nailed each board, creating a similar pattern in board-length to the dining room floor. John couldn't wait to try out his new toy, sorry, tool.

Like a kid on Christmas morning. "I've always wanted a flooring nailer!"

Originally, John was opposed to using glue, hoping to use a more traditional method, but a good contractor friend stressed otherwise and reassured John using glue was the right move. Not only would the glue secure the boards over time, but would also alleviate floor creaking which, as we all know, is notorious in old construction.

High-fives celebrated each successfully installed run, and we pushed on with only one minor snafu. Probably celebrating a little too early (more high fives and a dance break) our pattern accidentally got out of wack causing us to scramble to pull up the glued and nailed board without damaging it. Aside from that 30 minutes of panic, all went extremely well!

After the boards were laid, we started on the decorative flat head, steel nail detail, again mirroring the dining room pattern. John sources these from the Tremont Nail Company who are known for their authentic restoration products.

To install the decorative nails, first I drilled pilot holes using a simple cardboard template. I'll admit, this was nerve wracking. Drilling "not so random" holes into a JUST perfectly laid floor seemed insane.

But once John nailed and set each one by hand, the extra effort was clearly worth while.

Then, John used a tung oil finish diluted in mineral spirits to seal the floor. We long debated trying to match the 100 year old dining room color with a new stain in the kitchen, but in the end, have opted to let the wood age naturally.

Honestly, the tung oil and mineral spirits smell like stinky feet, and has permanently ruined a few articles of clothing, but the smell dissipates a bit everyday and now I burn even more incense.

Long story short, the floor is gorgeous! I love my kitchen floor!
Protective paper is down

Once the floor was in and the oil had several days to cure, we placed a protective cover on the edges and John and our brother-in-law Joe installed the cabinets. Woot woot, thanks Joe!

Thanks for the digital level Dad, it was a life saver!

You remember, right? We purchased all the kitchen cabinets back in November, and I have since been staring at them since, dreaming of this magical day...

All of the cabinets were designed by John and I, and Dawn, our awesome cabinet consultant at Home Depot.

At the time, Home Depot was pushing American Woodmark with extra discounts if you attended information sessions so we signed up, ate complimentary doughnut holes, and got free upgrades.

All in all, the standard cabinets through American Woodmark are good quality, durable, and spot on with production time. We were very happy with the process and purchase, now, I'll just be over here paying them off till 2035 ;)

From there, John was focused on the kitchen island. From the start of designing the kitchen, we envisioned a very large island. Remember the kitchen itself is pretty big, and we wanted the island to fill the space and adequately host lots of family and friends. I don't think we anticipated as many Beer Pong/Flip Cup requests right away, but hey, we love it that everyone is excited to hang around in our kitchen.

The cabinets are IN!

We designed the island to be double sided. One side would be for food prep, with drawers and a microwave cubby below (thanks for the idea Kyle & PJ!). The opposite side would hang over 12" or so, creating a counter height seating area, with large bulk storage below.

John sources these large, rough, locally cut oak slabs from a guy named Dave. I'm not entirely sure how the bromance began, but I'm pretty sure John is looking for any excuse to pay Dave another visit, so let us know....

Once we had all the pieces laid out, we determined which natural features in the boards (curving, cupping, mill patterns, etc) worked best side by side.

The wood was then scrubbed, treated, dried and prepped.

Looking dark brown from being wet, washed and treated.

Choosing the best 4-board arrangement, John cut six of the center edges straight, and left two rough at the outside edges.

This is me "supervising"

He then joined the center edges together with dowels and glue as not to show any finishing (nails) on the surface.

Then, he applied a dark, oil based stain which will repel water, stains and will be easy to clean.

Applying the oil, stain.

This island is a beast! It took 4 guys (thanks for your help Ryan, Shawn & Vin) to move it into place.

Truth be told, its not 100% installed. Overtime the wood will dry and react to heat and humidity. So far, the over hang has started to curl a bit. We have added some temporary bracing to help the wood dry flat.

The island is a work in progress. We absolutely love the rustic look and feel, and because of that, will work with the natural reaction of the wood to see how best to make it happy in Content.

Most recently, the ceiling, floor and chair rail trim had all been installed. Similar to the master bathroom, John recreated trim to match the existing trim in the dining room.

Our friend PJ was back at it, priming, and prepping for paint. Thanks PJ! The old kitchen had faux wood "wainscoting" as a chair rail. Instead of recreating something new, we matched the existing faux paneling, and will paint it white to match the other trim. 

New trim!

I haven't shared any of the decor decisions made for the kitchen, which will follow in a separate post. Also, I haven't picked a wall color, so you're suggestions are ALWAYS welcomed!!

What do you think so far? Let me know by commenting below!