One Room Challenge Spring 2022 – Week One!

I’m reintroducing myself to blogging this year by jumping in the deep end with the One Room Challenge this spring! It’s been two years since I last partook in the ORC. My body has forgotten the panic and stress just in time to reintroduce myself to it again. Hi, my name is Alex and I’m a glutton for punishment. While my last ORC was very demanding, this year it won’t be nearly as overwhelming so I’m feeling much more confident.

This year I’ll be updating our home office and I cannot wait to start [SPOILER: I already started. But only really boring stuff, so you’re not missing out on much].

Our home office was one of the rooms that made us fall in love with this house. It’s a crooked little dormered space with lots of character, a ghost window, and access to the kitchen via a set of servants stairs. It’s so sweet and unique, as you’ll see from my ‘before’ photos of our office below …

Our sweet 17.5 year-old cat Juniper is no longer with us, but I love that she came back for a visit in these photos from 2019. She loved keeping me company while I WFH.

To give you an idea of the scale of this room, that’s our old dining room table which I dragged upstairs to use as a desk. The room is the perfect size for a home office for two. I think in the distant past this room was considered a 4th bedroom, but it can’t be considered one in today’s standards.

As you can see in the photo above, you can see the top of both staircases from our office. The banister in the office is original, but is basic, border-lining crudely made [and is uncomfortably low], so I won’t be heartbroken to change it. I’ll be replacing the banister with the same style as our main staircase for consistency. This is something I envision to be a pain in the ass and will be the worst part of the makeover.

The room has a bit of a ‘T’ shape floorplan. Behind that door [seen above] is our upstairs bathroom. In the space below the proper window in our office [vs. the ghost window] is where the main part of the office desk space will be, and will loop back in an ‘L’ shape along the back wall.

And lastly, the view up the servants stairs into the office from our kitchen – another total dreamboat view that made us fall in love with the house.

This is going to be a far less demanding makeover than my last ORC, and because of that I am so excited. The room needs to be prepped A LOT before any paint can go on the walls [and ceiling] as both were never properly finished; you can see the old seams along the edges of each piece of plasterboard. You can see some of the patching / skim coating I’ve done already above to smooth out the walls. I feel this will be the most tedious part of the project, and I’m happy to say I’ve finished most of it already. All will be revealed next week!

– Skim coat / patch ceiling
– Skim coat / patch walls
– Paint ceiling
– Paint walls
– Replace / upgrade banister at top of servants stairs
– Update and reinstall handrail [with prettier hardware?]
– Repaint stairs [not super necessary, but I might as well]
– Install desk system
– Update secondhand tufted office chair
– Source chandelier / remove the boob light
– Source storage cabinet[s] for office items
– Possibly source and hang curtains [not sure though for either window]
– Decorate / hang artwork / overkill the space

There are going to be so many great projects this year, so if you have a chance, check out all the Guest Participants here. It’s going to be a good one.

Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek FourWeek Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Seven!

The deadline is fast approaching as we near the One Room Challenge final week[s]. Next week is Week Eight and while it is the final week, from that date we have 7 days to submit out ORCs. It’s something I’ve agonized over as the weeks have progressed; will I be finished for Week Eight? What steps do I have to skip so I’m finished on time? NBD, I’m just the only person still at the drywall stage!

I know in the grand scheme of things the ORC is not something I should be loosing sleep over. But have you even been sucked into something that completely took over your mind and to people on the outside, you look to be totally over reacting? That’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m so far into this project that I can’t see out of it. Any time I express my anxiety, I feel silly. But at the same time, this is a big project for me! I mean huge. It’s the first renovation I’ve ever taken on and I’ve done 97% of the work by myself [thank you to Robert for helping me drywall the ceiling even when you threw your back out].

This week I finished installing the fiddly bits of drywall and applied and sanded one layer of mud and tape [so far]. Despite how awkward using a mud trowel, I slowly got the hang of it. My feeble wrists and office-zombie-arms however, are not made for such agility atop a step ladder attempting to mud a ceiling. I took my time and last night sanded the whole room – which has been probably the messiest step so far outside of demolishing the room in the second week.

I decided to keep the original chimney piece in the ceiling. You actually won’t see it once I’ve put the shelving units on either side of the window, but it was something quirky I wanted to keep.

I also picked up / received a few very exciting pieces this week! We first collected a fireplace mantel that I’ve had my eye on for weeks. Unfortunately the person I bought it from was probably a conspiracy theorist and a flat-earther as they were super awkward [they actually ran away from us when we arrived to curb-side pick up and spied on us from around the corner of his house].

A far less creepy addition to our front room is these absolutely gorgeous sconces a friend of mine Alicia, who spur-of-the-moment bought these a year ago in a thrift store and the moment she saw them, knew I’d love them [emotions]. Alicia offered to send them to me in time to include in my ORC and they could not be more perfect.

I feel a bit more relaxed and confident in my decision to give myself a few more days for my ORC deadline. I know it’s the right decision [again, for anyone outside of the ORC bubble, this will all seem dramatic] because I’m back to looking forward to work on our front room vs. my recent and constant dose of resentment. I want to have a beautifully finished room. I want to enjoy the process. I know I’ll be upset next Thursday when everyone else is sharing their final rooms, but I’ll just have to deal with that myself.

As usual, you can see all the Week Seven Guest Participants progress here!

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week Four – Week FiveWeek Six
Week SevenWeek Eight

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Six!

Did you know drywall dust makes for an excellent dry shampoo substitute? I know this because I could liken the feel of my hair to that of a 5,000 year old mammoth that was recently released from the permafrost thanks to the constant dusting of drywall gently showering me over the past few days.

I’ve got a lot done since Week Five of my One Room Challenge, but if you missed last weeks post and are also wondering why it looks like I haven’t done much, it’s because I had to rip everything out and start over.

Once I finished insulating the stud walls I built for the exterior walls and also insulated within the ceiling between the joists, I got onto adding the vapor barrier. Vapor barriers have to be installed using acoustical sealant and a staple gun. Acoustical sealant is very similar to the black tar that killed the dinosaurs housed in a caulking gun. It has the potential to get absolutely everywhere. I luckily was very tidy when applying it to the stud wall, however, when I was working in a tight corner I managed to get it all over my bare shoulder and five days later it’s still there.

Once the vapor barrier was installed everywhere securely, I moved on to prepping the room to install drywall to the ceiling. I first had to remove all the nails from the ceiling slats that were still there from the lath and plaster, as well as hammer the slats back into the ceiling joists. They had separated from the joists slightly due to the immense weight of four layers of ceiling that was on them for 30+ years [as seen below]. Trust me, these things are very secure so I was confident with leaving them for applying drywall to the ceiling [after I hammered them back in, of course].

I was absolutely terrified when it came to installing the drywall to the ceiling. I had watched many YouTube tutorials but I was very aware that I was not as strong nor as used to hoisting a massive piece of drywall over my head as said construction workers on YouTube. I can confidently say I had a panic attack as Robert and I added the first piece. It couldn’t help that I kept wobbling “I’m so sorry!” the longer it took me to drill the first few key drywall screws, while trying to help balance a huge piece of drywall over me and on top of a stepladder. It was awful.

SPOILER ALERT: we did the whole ceiling and I became much more confident with handling drywall.

It’s a finicky room and there’s barely a right angle in the whole room [old house charm], so there are gaps here and there in the drywall, but it’s nothing a bit of mud and filler can’t fix.

I also got a very exciting delivery for our front room. It’s possibly the only piece I’ve ordered brand new for my ORC and it’s the rug which will take up a huge amount of the floor space. Here’s a sneak peek …

I am incredibly pro-secondhand, but I feel weird thinking about secondhand rugs so I was very comfortable with ordering a new rug for our front room. Our rug arrived yesterday and I cannot wait to see it in the front room. I love vintage over-dyed rugs and this faux vintage one is a perfect mix of traditional design but also a little bit witchy and vampiric.

As usual, you can see all the Week Six Guest Participants progress here and all the incredible work everyone else has been doing! Looking at everyone’s progress makes me very nervous for getting everything done in the next two weeks* because I am the only one still at the drywall stage. Welp.

YouTube videos that helped immensely this week:
How to install a vapour barrier, via House Improvements
How to insulate [and vapour barrier] ceiling joists, via House Improvements
How to install drywall, via Home RenoVision DIY

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week Four – Week Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight

*We don’t all have to be finished and submit our final room design during Week Eight of this spring’s ORC and have from June 25th – July 2nd to submit our final rooms, but still. I can’t help but have June 25th as my deadline. I like to put myself under unnecessary pressure.