2014 Fall One Room Challenge || Final Week

Thank you for coming to see my completed entrance hall. I redesigned our very tired and lifeless entry for The One Room Challenge. You can catch up and see "before" shots here.  It's been so much fun working with this space, and I'm thrilled with the results.  How exciting to get to share it with you today!

Above and below is the view from the front door.

These are the beyond breathtaking panels that Christina Baker painted for the entry.  I'm not sure if from the photos you can get a true understanding of the impact these panels create.  In person they're even more beautiful, and I'm wanting to spend lots of time on the settee enjoying the view. Christina was absolutely lovely to work with. Besides these to-die-for paintings I get to enjoy everyday, it was fantastic getting to know and work with her. Her work is available at Gregg Irby Fine Art, and also can be seen on her site.

And, here is the spectacular lantern Coleen Rider, of Coleen and Company, custom designed for my entry. As of today, it's available on her site.  I'm still pinching myself that this even happened. Coleen's spontaneity in taking this on was impressive, and I'm grateful she did!   I gave her the dimensions of the entry, and she created a drop dead gorgeous piece that's the perfect scale for the space.  This new lantern has elevated my entry so very much. Could it possibly be more perfect for me?  

All of the Coleen and Company lighting is handmade by metal artisans in Los Angeles, and this image shows the handmade quality.  Can you believe those bells?! 

Another piece that adds much to the entry is this semi-antique Persian Kerman rug I found on eBay. Purchasing a rug on eBay was a tad bit stressful, but I'm so happy I took the chance.  The colors and size are a perfect fit.  

I love the addition of this settee.  You can see the before and after here. Decorators Best helped me with the Stroheim Velvet Strie which is unbelievable.  It's the prettiest blue velvet I've seen.  Again and Again's lacquering and upholstery job is exquisite.  

This image is from my dining room looking through the entry into the living room.  I asked Laura Row to create the two peony watercolors you see at the base of the stairs.  What I love is that they're botanicals, but the crop makes them more graphic and interesting. Basically, they're a fresh update to a classic look I've always loved.  And peonies.  That, too.

Didn't she do an amazing job?  The colors flow seamlessly with Christina's paintings, and provide the perfect foil to the abstract panels.  

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I found the settee at a local consignment store and had it lacquered and reupholstered.  The sconce is one of a pair my mother loaned me.  I'm happy to have it in my possession for the time being.  

The landing looked empty, and it was easy to find just the thing. You can never go wrong with a ginger jar, can you?

I like at least one green plant in every room.  If you look through the entry into the family room, you'll see another.  This one warms and softens the space. 

The look and feel of our entry is now entirely different.  It makes me so happy to walk through this space, and the other members of the family love it as well.  This was the 6th ORC in which I've participated, and it was by far the hardest.  You can't tell by looking, but much more time, thought, and effort went into this one. If you have any experience, you know that "less" is often times harder to pull off than "more."  This was my first experience with this level of "less," and I learned so much through the process. Now that the entry is finished, I wish I'd done it a long time ago. Thank goodness Linda, of Calling it Home, created this One Room Challenge event. If it weren't for the fun of ORC, I doubt if I'd be motivated to find the time to change anything around our house!

I very much appreciate everyone who worked with me on this project.  Their links are below.


There are so many seriously amazing rooms that you don't want to miss.  Be sure to go visit these talented ORC participants:

                Abby M. Interiors             

Trademarked by Calling it Home

With these, and the One Room Challenge Linking Participants that will be up tomorrow at Calling it Home, I'll be at my computer for days.  So many newly designed rooms to visit -- FUN!

Photography by Jason Kindig

2014 Fall One Room Challenge || Week Five

Thank you for visiting Week Five of my One Room Challenge!  To catch up, go here.

One of the most exciting aspects of my entry is the custom pagoda lantern that Coleen Rider of Coleen & Company has designed for me.  I know you're dying to get a glimpse of where this is going, and below you can see Coleen's sketch.  

Isn't her design FANTASTIC?!!  Do you have any idea how excited I am about this?  It's hanging in my house this very minute, and I couldn't possibly love it more.  Coleen nailed it.  This lantern is spectacular!  Not only is the design spot on for my entry, the scale is perfect.  I gave her the dimensions of the space, and she created a fixture that fits the room flawlessly.  I'm sure that my space constraints weren't the easiest.  My ceilings aren't terribly high, and, in addition to the dimensions of the space, Coleen had to consider my husband's height. Avoiding bloodshed is always best, so I gave her the measurement from the top of his head to the ceiling.  He can safely walk under the lantern with an inch to spare. Coleen has been a delight to work with, and I'm so grateful that she took this on. Below are her very interesting answers to several questions I asked about her work and her process.

Taking on designing a custom pagoda lantern for my One Room Challenge entrance hall project was quite adventurous.  I wish I could claim the idea as my own, but instead I imagined using The Audrey for my space.  What gave you this fun, spontaneous idea?

You had written a post about the lantern in your entry being too small and asked for readers' suggestions on what to replace it with.  Some of your readers mentioned Coleen & Company as an option.  When I read the comments, I just knew I could make you the perfect pagoda lantern in a more impressive size for your beautiful entry.  I've always wanted a pagoda lantern in the line and thought who better to design one for than the The Pink Pagoda?  

How did you become involved with lighting design?

My lighting business really came from my love of design.  I used to have an antique / vintage store and also a design business, and I designed my first piece - The Tole Tent Lantern in 2007.  I've always loved vintage lighting, and at that time there really weren't many painted fixtures with personality on the market.  I became smitten with the whole process, and have really never looked back.  In 2015 we will be introducing some breathtaking new designs.

After our communication, I was so impressed to receive an incredible design sketch from you in what I believe was less than a week.  Could you share your design process?

I like to incorporate classic design elements and then add some unexpected flair to a piece.  Because I already had a healthy pagoda obsession, I knew the elements I wanted to include.  I did think the lantern should have a certain amount of stateliness to it along with the frivolity to be able to hold it's own in your home's traditional entry.  It's sketch after sketch until I have what I want.

How did working within the confines of the One Room Challenge time frame effect the process of a completely new design?  

As you know, a couple of weeks in I got nervous and thought we might not be able to complete it in your time frame.  We always go through a few prototypes for a new design before we decide on the final version.  We have many new designs in the works, and I just put this one at the front of the line to make sure we could fulfill our commitment to you.  I was very inspired by your lovely scheme, and think the ORC challenge in general is just brilliant. With inspiration anything is possible!

This new pagoda lantern will be a new fixture available at Coleen and Company.  Will it be available in custom sizes?  In what colors would you like to see it painted?  

Yes!  I'm so excited to be adding the Pagoda Lantern to the line.  All of our pieces are available in any custom size and finish.  We're working on a five foot Paloma Lantern right now!

I would love to see it in pale colors - icy blue, lilac, lettuce green with ivory.  I would also love to see it with nickel plated hardware.  As with all of our designs, my clients are the ones who come up with color combinations I had never thought of.  

Thank you, Coleen!  I've gotten so many comments, emails, and Instagram messages about this.  The anticipation to see photos of your pagoda lantern is extremely high.  I can't wait to share them next week!

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This is my 6th ORC (Thank you, Linda, for 6 finished rooms!), and every time I participate, I'm working up until the very  last minute and taking photos the day before the reveal.  I'm a serial procrastinator, and that's par for the course around here. This time, however, I'm already finished. An unprecedented occurrence worthy of celebration.  Instead of believing I've turned a corner, I'm going to credit this happenstance to the fact that the entry's aesthetics are spare.  Below is my checklist.  I'm so relieved to have everything on the list checked already.  I'm also very excited to share my newly designed entrance hall with you next week.

Be sure to visit all of these amazingly talented ladies:

2014 Fall One Room Challenge || Week Four

Thank you for visiting my Week Four of the One Room Challenge! To catch up on what the ORC is, and my first three weeks, go here. I'm redesigning my entrance hall, and above is a close up from the rug I found for the space.

I adore Persian rugs.  Of all of the different types of Persians, my favorite are Kerman rugs (also spelled Kirman).  The colors and patterns used in Kermans are lovely.  The one above is in my living room, and is 12x17.5.  What I needed for the entry was 5x8.  I learned an interesting lesson about shopping for Persian rugs.  I found out that there's a different level of motivation to help one find a size similar to my living room rug than one the size of my entry. I ended up finding exactly what I needed on eBay, THANK GOODNESS.  I can't imagine one I'd like better, and the size is as though it was made for this spot. And, eBay prices are usually better than in the rug showrooms around here.  I think I held my breath until it arrived and I saw that it looked just like the photos and was in great condition.  WHEW.  It went straight to Oriental Rug Cleaning Co.  (for the Dallas/Fort Worth readers), which I like very much.

Here's a view of it all,

And here's a view that shows how perfectly it fits the space.

Albertina, from Mimosa Lane, told me about RUGPADUSA. She'd gotten a rug pad from there and had been very happy with it, so I tried out this one.  You can see it in my image above.  It has two different sides.  The bottom side grips the floor perfectly, and the top side holds the rug in place.  I received it yesterday, and so far, I'm very pleased.  The rug hasn't moved a bit, and it's in a spot with plenty of traffic.  

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Here are the three empty frames leaning against the wall where they'll be hung.  From one end to the other, they take up 72 inches. Basically, these paintings will be the largest most visible element in the room.  I knew right away that I wanted Christina Baker to paint these panels.  I absolutely love the feeling her paintings convey.  I also knew that she'd interpret the colors I'd need beautifully, and she absolutely did.  I've seen photos, and I cannot even believe I'm going to have such a breathtaking wall.  In fact, I'm supposed to receive them today!  CAN NOT WAIT to see them in person.

This process is so interesting for everyone that I asked Christina to answer a few questions:

1. In looking through your portfolio, you seem to have some favorite palettes.  Was the one you used for this project a departure from the colors you typically use?  Was it a palette you felt comfortable using?

This color palette was slightly different for me and I highly enjoyed working with it. I was able to work with primarily pinks instead of corals with additional hints of blues instead of teals.

2.  Do you create the composition in a sketch before you start, or is it more of an intuitive process in which you just jump in and start painting?

I've never done a sketch before hand as I prefer to just dive in and paint intuitively. I usually have an idea in mind, though when painting abstracts it constantly changes. Each new additional layer, shape, and color dictates the next move. I'm generally able to capture a basic idea knowing there will always be unplanned elements and happy accidents.

3.  How was working on a commission for the One Room Challenge different from a typical commission project?

The main difference was the inclusive interaction and communication that transpired over the past few weeks. We seemed to always be on the same page as if we could read one another's thoughts and would celebrate each additional idea. It was obvious to me very early on there was a deeper passion behind your design. I really got a sense that this entire project was inspired for the sole purpose of creating a beautiful room for living. 

Here's a close-up of Christina working on one of the panels.  She shared with me how she creates custom color for her work, and it's fascinating.  I asked her if she'd share more information about that on her blog, and she was so lovely to put together some interesting and helpful information along with more incredible images.  Go here to see her post.

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This is the paint color Railings from Farrow and Ball.  It's the color that my Coleen & Company custom designed pagoda lantern will be.  It was so very hard to decide on a color.  I finally decided I couldn't go wrong with black. The contrast against the white walls will be crisp and striking.  However, I wanted a soft black or a very dark gray that would read black.  Coleen suggested Railings, and I thought it would be the perfect choice.  It'll have gold leaf trim, which will work beautifully with the frames in the entry. Below is Coleen's fantastic Tole Tent Lantern in black.  My lantern will be very different, and a bit lighter in color, but this gives you an idea. 

There will be more on the lantern next week.  Coleen will be sharing some interesting "behind the scenes" information with us. Also, Coleen sent me a photo of the lantern on Saturday, and I'm still jumping around the house with joy and excitement.  It really couldn't be more perfect for me or for the space.  What a talented lady -- I can't wait to hear more about her and this process!  Oh, and guess what else is supposed to arrive at my house today? Yes! The lantern!  Can you imagine the excitement level over here?

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Laura Row, who has painted some amazing blue and white watercolors for The Pink Pagoda, has created these peony watercolors for the base of my stairs.  These are 16x20, so they have quite an impact.  I so much like how graphic and bold they are.  I'm loving how they're beautiful florals, but also more interesting than a traditional botanical.  And, the color!  In person, it's even better!  I can't help but have that peony bud be my very favorite part of both.  

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Dallas readers, pay attention here.  This is information you'll want to write down and keep in a safe place.  Shawn Burgess, of whom you can read about here, installed this either antique or vintage wall sconce last week on the wall by the settee.  It turned out to be more complicated than was expected, but Shawn was up for the job.  I was so impressed, that I hired him to come install the Coleen and Company lantern.  That will happen Friday morning.  Saturday morning, I have someone coming to hang all of the art. Can you guess where I'll spend the rest of the weekend?

Be sure not to miss these busy ladies and their fantastic projects:

2014 Fall One Room Challenge Week Three

I'm happy you're here to see my One Room Challenge Week Three progress! If you missed Weeks 1 and 2, go here.  The ORC is a room redesign event shared over six weekly posts created and organized by Linda from Calling it Home.  

Here's my entrance hall pre-ORC.  As you can see, it needed some life.  It was meh (lackluster, uninspiring or unexceptional).  Below is the settee I shared last week that will be placed in the entry. I found it at a local consignment store summer before last and have been hoarding it.  It had to be lacquered and reupholstered. The fabrics with asterisks were contenders.

I also considered this Charlotte Moss fabric, but decided a solid should happen.

Every other fabric was forgotten when I saw this Stroheim Velvet Strie in Sky. The gorgeousness doesn't come completely through in photos -- you have to see it in person.  It's really just luscious.

I saw it in a Stroheim fabric book and took a phone photo of the back information side so I wouldn't forget.  

Stroheim is a "to the trade" fabric, and I don't have a relationship with the Dallas fabric showrooms.  I'd been hearing positive things about DecoratorsBest and decided to give them a call.  I'm so glad I did.  They were lovely to work with, and my blue velvet arrived several days later.  

Below is the settee "before"

And, here's the "after."
I was so excited about the lines of this settee and the beautiful velvet. I wanted someone amazing to do the lacquer and upholstery for me, and knew that it needed to happen at Again and Again.  If you're in Dallas, you most likely know about Leslie Pritchard and Again and Again.  They are known for doing precisley this type of job, and doing it beautifully.  They're also known for having an incredible collection of mid-century furniture and accessories filling their 12,000 square foot space.

And, here's the settee placed generally where it will stay.  I couldn't be happier with its transformation. Next week, I'll have an update on the lantern and the paintings. I'll also have news to share on the rug I found and the wall sconce that will be installed this week.  Lots and lots going on!  

Be sure to see how these lovely ladies have progressed this week:

                 Abby M. Interiors             

Trademarked by Calling it Home

Also, don't miss all of the One Room Challenge Linking Participants at Calling it Home tomorrow.  There are 90 some odd bloggers over there on Thursdays doing amazing things you don't want to miss.

2014 Fall One Room Challenge || Week Two

Thank you for visiting my Week Two of The One Room Challenge!  If you missed Week One, go here.  I'm redesigning my entrance hall, so it makes sense to start with the exterior. This is an illustration of our house painted by Laura Row. The walk up is clearly classic.  My strong but inexperienced opinion is that what you see as you walk up to the house should be in keeping with what you're greeted with upon entering. Basically, I believe in flow. 

To describe the style I prefer, I'd use the words classic, fresh, tailored, and understated.  That's what I'm wanting in the entry. What I have now isn't fresh. In fact, it feels stuffy.  It's what just happened when we moved in seven years ago and placed here what fit from the previous house. 

Here's the before.

This is what our entry looks like this week.  I'm so happy with the white paint. Seeing it empty like this helps me see the possibilities.

The sideboard that protruded into the walkway and made me feel claustrophobic has been moved to the dining room (another room on my redesign list).  The china cabinet that was in this spot is now in the living room.

Now that the sideboard is gone, I have a large blank wall to fill.  If you follow Christina Baker or me on Instagram, you'll already know how HUGELY EXCITED I am that she's creating art for my room. 

I purchased three of these Chinese frames years ago at an estate sale for $25 each.  I had no idea what I'd do with them, but I knew they'd come in handy someday.  They will fit perfectly on the blank wall in my entry, and I knew as soon as I had the idea to use them there that I wanted Christina to paint the panels that these would frame.  I've been grateful to get to know Christina over the past year.  She and I share a love of color, art, interior design and specific TV series.  We discovered the mutual TV taste one day on Sherry Hart's Instagram.  Isn't that fun?

Christina's painting is elegant and ethereal.  I knew that her tasteful, subtle work would be perfect for the space, and I'm very appreciative that she took on this commission.  I cannot wait to see these hanging. Below are a couple of her newest paintings.

Do you see why I'm beside myself with happiness?  I'm going to want to gaze upon these constantly. Christina is sharing her process and some sneak peeks on her blog. Run over there to see more about my future wall of beauty : )

And if my wall of Christina Baker art weren't exciting enough, I'm going to share the news about the lantern.  Prepare yourselves for astonishment. Below is a close up of my perfectly adequate, much too smal lantern.  I posted here, last spring, about wanting a replacement, and I asked for readers' suggestions.  

Several advised that I look into Coleen & Company, and I fell for The Audrey pendant shown in Suellen Gregory's dining room below.  Everything Coleen has designed is incredible, but obviously, the Chinoiserie elements made the decision for me.

I reached out to Coleen to inquire about sizes and colors and mentioned my project.  Well.  Coleen is very adventurous.  Imagine me, getting the email from her asking if I'd be interested in her custom designing a pagoda lantern for my entry inspired by my logo?  After reading her email between four and five times, I replied back with a huge, "YES!!"

Of course, I spent some time picking apart my logo wondering which elements she'd use. I've since seen sketches and pictures as it has evolved.  In fact, a week or so after our communication, she sent a sketch that absolutely thrilled me.  This is going to be incredible.  

I asked you this last week.

It's going on this settee, along with some lacquer. It will be across from the paintings and give me a spot on which to sit as I enjoy them endlessly. Care to guess what color lacquer?

Now, go see what these talented ladies are doing!

                Abby M. Interiors             

Trademarked by Calling it Home

Fall 2014 One Room Challenge || Week One

It's that time of year again!  I'm very excited to begin the One Room Challenge, which is the bi-annual event created and organized by Linda from Calling it Home.  All of the bloggers participating will redesign a room over six weekly posts.  I'm choosing my entry, which is very intimidating for me. I started to do my entry for ORC a year ago, but was overwhelmed and did my daughter's bedroom instead.  Designing a formal room makes me a little nervous.  When we moved into this house seven years ago, I didn't purchase one new thing for the entrance hall.  I used things that had worked in our last house. They didn't work here nearly as well.

So, here's one view of my entry.  Three questions are most likely foremost in your mind.   1)  Why's that opening not cased? Answer: We have no idea why casing wasn't put on this opening.  There are eight doors/openings that lead off of the entry, and all of them are cased but this one.  2) Why does a large piece of furniture protrude into the path of one's walk to the family room? Answer: Because when we moved I was exhausted from packing/moving and my brain wasn't functioning.  3)  Why did you put a hall runner there? Answer:  See answer for #2.

This lantern came with the house, and it looks itsy bitsy here. It's one of the things that has bothered me about our entrance hall for years.  What I'm replacing it with is so exciting I can't even believe it.  More to come on that soon. The thing that has annoyed me most in this room is the sideboard.  I love the piece itself, but it's placement makes me feel claustrophobic. It's going to be removed from the entry and something WONDERFUL will go on this wall. If you follow me on Instagram you might have an idea : )

The rug at the front door was borrowed.  It's too dark and too small for the space, so that's something else that will change.  Oh, and I'm dating myself here, but do the three doors remind you at all of Let's Make a Deal?  The front door is in the middle with a coat closet on either side.  That's something else about which I'm not particularly crazy.

I don't have any inspiration photos.  I wish I did, but I can't find any that are similar to what's in my imagination.  Just know that I want to take this stuffy, stale, lifeless room and make it feel FRESH AND LIGHT.  As is, it doesn't feel like me.  Expect big changes!

Thank you for being here.  I'd love to hear any thoughts or suggestions.  You know I'm not an experienced interior designer. I'm just an enthusiast, and I'm in some pretty impressive company. I can use all of the help I can get!

     Be sure not to miss these amazing participants!

                        Abby M. Interiors             

Trademarked by Calling it Home