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!

RENOVATION REVEAL: Content Master Bathroom

Taking a look back, and realize I never gave you a full look at the before and after of our Master Bathroom. So, here is the entire run down including all the before and after shots, which I know you all enjoy so much!

And, UPDATE: You can now see this before + after featured on Apartment Therapy!

For basic necessity, the master bathroom was the first space that needed to be tackled FAST in order for us to move into Content. 


Our main priorities in the master bath were to:

  • open the room up

  • bring back some historic, architectural interest

  • and add interest and a modern touch with a bold accent.

First, we removed the existing Jacuzzi tub that was taking up nearly half the floor space.

With a ton more square footage to work with, we created a full walk-in shower:

With such a large space, we decided to construct a wall to separate and enclose the toilet. Not only did this add privacy, but allowed us to add necessary storage as a built-in.

Privacy wall for toilet & added storage

Privacy wall for toilet

To bring back the historic, and architectural detail that this old home deserves, we added an cast iron, claw foot tub that I found on Craigslist and refinished in a matte black. I kept the feet original because I loved the nostalgia the old paint colors invoke. 

John wanted to create interest and detail in the master bath, and did so by joining the double windows with a decorative trim which acts as a picture frame for the claw foot as well.

Then, we chose a deep, dramatic blue paint color for the walls to highlight the freshly painted trim, exposed ceiling beams and original, oak hardwood floors.

Ready for the glamour, after shots? Enjoy!


Now you can get this look through our Shop Our Home page here.


WALL PAINT: Van Deusen by Benjamin Moore

TRIM PAINT: Advanced White by Benjamin Moore

CLAW FOOT TUB: Vintage from Craigslist

VANITY: John's custom design made from walnut. Content Woodworking


SCONES: French, vintage, Ebay

RUG: World Market which is currently unavailable but a similar is here.



WALL SHELF: John's custom design made from walnut. Content Woodworking


CHAIR: Vintage

TOWELS: Crate and Barrel (teal)

DIY: Industrial Curtain Rods

Happy Spring everyone! I want to share a fun, DIY project that we did for the master bedroom; our industrial inspired curtain rods. I've seen a few different versions on Pinterest, but wanted to put our own spin on this trend.

Not only can you tackle this project in one-day, you can do it without breaking the bank!

DIY Industrial Curtain Rods

Time: 1.5 hours of prep, 30 minutes for install

Cost: $30 per curtain rod, with (2) mounts

Skill Level: Basic tools, comfortable on a ladder

The need for this project became pretty apparent when I started shopping for a curtain rod that would span our four, street facing windows. Holy hat! Extra long curtain rods are expensive! And since we moved in this past weekend (YAHH!), we had to figure out a quick solution.

I reasoned with spending a little more on the curtains themselves because they had to be lined (not too sheer or see through) and 84" long, but I couldn't wrap my head around spending hundreds on hardware.

Step 1:

Check out inspiration online (Pinterest, duh) or in person if you can. There is absolutely no sense in doing all this work and not being totally stoked on the finished product.

I'm a very visual person, so I visited our friends Stephanie + Mike who recently installed similar black pipe curtain rods throughout their entire house, and they look awesome, so I had some pretty solid inspiration! I consulted with Mike, and I'll share his tips as we go.

Step 2:

Determine how long of a curtain rod you want. Will the rod cover one window, two or span the length of several, like mine?

Sketch a quick design plan.

Make a quick sketch of the window. Measure the width of your window(s) including the trim around the window. Then measure again. Then wait a bit, think it through and measure again. 

Half kidding, but a practical tip. Because the rod itself will not be cut by you (at home), and you cannot re-cut it due to personal error (unless you want to spend more money), your detailed measurements and drawing will be a helpful reference when you need it most.

Here's where you have to do a little, forward design prepping. You need to make two decisions:

1. How far beyond the window trim would you like the end of the rod or curtain to extend? For me, I decided on a simple 2" on each ends = 4" total. If you want the curtain to have a lot of extra room on the outer edge of the window when open, make sure you compensate for more.

Now add those extra inches to the overall width measurement and this will account for a decorative overhang on the ends.

2. How far out from the wall does the curtain need to hang to clear the window sill and trim? Here again, 2 inches was enough.

Step 3:

Purchase and cut. Assuming you do not own a pipe cutting machine, you will need to seek professional assistance. With measurements in hand, head to your favorite home improvement store.

I do not recommend going on a Saturday at 11:00am, because every weekend warrior/ DIYer will also be there. Try to go before 9am or at an off-peak hour like dinner time.

Depending on how many curtain rods you're making, the pipe cutting process can take awhile to complete, and you'll stand there feeling dumb/helpless, so bring your best attitude and a coffee.

Step 4:

OK, so your at Home Depot (Lowe's / local hardware store). Head to the plumbing aisle, and look for a large machine in the middle of the aisle that looks like this.

Pipe cutting machine.

This is a pipe cutting machine. Find an Associate (AKA your new BFF, or in my case, Frank) and tell Frank you need some pipes cut to length. Frank may assume that you are installing or replacing a natural gas line, to which you can mention your intentions with his pipes (assuming he has a sense of humor) are "decorative." In my case, I got a laugh. Work on your delivery.

At this time, look at the shelves above the Associate and you'll notice two types of pipes. Galvanized steel (silver) or black steel. Determine which one best works with your style/decor, and tell the Associate, "I need

1/2 inch






threaded on both ends


These pipes come in many different diameters, but 1/2 inch is plenty thick/strong to handle fabric curtains.

My new BFF, Frank.

Hand your new bestie your beautifully, chicken scratch drawing and review the measurements together. (Remind yourself that you are not his first DIYer and you're way more sophisticated than the man he just spent 45 minutes helping make a PVC table - true story.)

From the drawing, the Associate will understand how much pipe is necessary for the full job, and will measure and cut a long (likely 10 foot) piece to your desired dimensions. Each 10 foot pipe is about $15-$20.

Similarly, have the Associate cut a zinc threaded rod into 2 inch sections. You will need (1) 2 inch section per mount. If you're only making (1) curtain rod, you'll have a bunch left over, but I'm sure you'll find something crafty to do with it.

Now stand back and watch your BFF in action!

Step 4:

Aside from the pipe, you will need some additional hardware for installation. Because we decided to use galvanized pipe, we matched the hardware with galvanized fittings. At Home Depot the fittings are color coded, so for this project, we were looking for 1/2 inch (pink coded) fittings.

Which ever metal you choose, feel free to mix and match the finish, just 

make sure you buy 1/2 inch fittings


Here is what you will need to replicate our curtain rods. This list is per curtain rod (direct links are provided for purchase through Amazon):

Top: Split ring pipe hanger. Bottom: 3/8  inch zinc threaded rod cut into 2" sections

3/8 ceiling plate, used her as a wall plate.

1/2 inch galvanized iron cap

Step 5:

With your purchases in hand, wave Frank goodbye and tell him if this project doesn't kill you, you hope to see him soon. To which Frank will promptly take his coffee break and pray that blogs like this don't get "repinned" too often.

Back at the ranch, start by laying out all of your purchases. If you haven't noticed by now, steel pipes and pipe cutting is accompanied by lots of grease and oil. This grease and oil will stain your pretty new curtains, so here's a good tip from my friend Mike:

Make sure you clean the hell out of them with a strong degreaser or household cleaner like 409. Any product made for cleaning kitchen grease will help. Make sure to get in all the threads really well.

Make sure you degrease ALL of the parts and hardware really well.

Step 6:

Gather your tools for installation:

  • Ladder

  • Measuring tape

  • Level

  • Pencil

  • Painters/ non-stick tape (as opposed to writing on the wall, painters tape is an easier way than marking up the wall)

  • Drill

  • Phillips-head Screw driver

  • Stud finder

Step 7:

Decide on your curtain before installation. Start by manually test hanging the curtain on the rod and holding the rod up to your desired height and ensure it falls correctly. A friend is helpful here! Man, where's Frank when you need him. Depending on your curtain's length, determine where you would like the rod to live.

Here's my tip. Don't over complicate this. Simply eye ball the location of where you want the wall mount to be and determine the approximate location above the trim.

Take a look below. I wanted the curtain to be much higher, so I measured up from the corner of the trim 5 inches and over 2 inches. Mark this center spot with an "x". This center spot will be the middle of the wall plate's center opening and directly in line with the threaded rod.

Holding up the wall plate to the wall, center your "x" on the middle opening, and use your level on the side of the plate to ensure the plate is vertically straight. Once straight, use your pencil to trace the top and bottom openings onto the wall.

Top opening: Screw

Middle: Threaded rod

Bottom: Screw

Repeat this above process on both sides of the window.

Step 8:

Now that you have the location of the wall plates marked, you will need to determine how lucky you are and if there is a wall stud to mount the plate to. You can determine this with an electric stud finder. ** If you're my husband, you've placed the stud finder on your chest and are now beeping loudly.

If there is no stud, a dry wall anchor will be necessary.

Step 9:

If there is a stud, drill a pilot hole through the top and bottom circle marks you just made and secure the plate to the wall with the wood screws.

Thread the 2 inch rod piece into the center opening and add the split ring hanger to the threaded rod end. Be sure not to over thread, as the pipe will need to fit in the open space between.

Wall plate secured with screws, center threaded rod screwed in.

Be sure not to over thread the split ring, and leave plenty of room for the 1/2 inch pipe to pass through.

Repeat this step on each side.

Step 10:

If the curtain rod is long, find your friend again. With the pipe dressed with your curtain, loosen the split ring, place the pipe in between and tighten the outer ring screw making a secure closure on both sides.

Finally, thread on the end caps for a finished, industrial look.

All in, each curtain rod with (2) matching mounts cost approximetly $30 and 30 minutes of installation.

I will admit John was my project buddy and helped guided me through this process but I feel completely confident, having only done this once, that you could easily follow these steps & do it too!