Updated: Jan 15, 2021
First, I want to start by saying thank you to all you amazing folks who took the time to visit the blog, comment on the room, share on Facebook and Instagram, and just for your kind words and support.
They mean the world to me. And after running a mile a minute to get the room done in really 5 weeks to be photographed and have the blog post ready for week 6, it was a welcomed change of pace to just sit back and read the beautiful comments.
So, before I get to the juicy stuff, I wanted to talk about my why. Why have I done the ORC so many times? What do I get out of it?
Well, that's a great question.
I am a hustler at heart, and back when I was struggling in my business, I only knew how to act on whatever I was learning, and seeing what made sense for me after putting things into action.
I was busy trying to bring cash into my business and was willing to try anything the gurus were suggesting to bring business in. Back when I first discovered the ORC, blogging was the big thing, and the experts were encouraging bloggers to put out content often - like everyday to reach their audience and eventually, paying clients.
I joined several blog reciprocal groups online and I learned how the successful design bloggers were doing it well. One of the main things they would do is come together for blog hops to build their following. Blog hops are basically where a group of bloggers decide to write/post about a certain topic that their followers would love, and then they share each other's posts and encourage their readers to visit the other bloggers' posts.
The ORC was one of those blog hops I discovered in 2012 or 2013. It was still fairly new but I was drawn to the whole purpose of it. It was a way for designers who often neglect their own homes because they are so busy creating beautiful homes for their clients, create something for themselves. It was a short 6 weeks, focused on creating the same dream we create for clients everyday.
I loved that concept that Linda Weinstein, the founder of The One Room Challenge created. And although I always did my own home, I never took professional photos of my work. In fact, my first ORC was not professionally photographed.
I discovered a few things while participating in the ORC the first time:
-I discovered that I was excellent at working under pressure and on tight timelines
-I discovered the importance of professional photography
-I discovered that our clients, followers and fans actually do care about the process and not just the beautiful after compared to the sad before
-I discovered that it is an easy way for a new designer to build a portfolio - do your own house to start
-I discovered self expression and honing my personal design aesthetic. I was able to do the things in my own home that clients would not necessarily allow me to do in their home
-I discovered community, and for the first time in my career realized that it did not have to be a lonely career.
-I discovered it is fun
-I discovered how to be super creative by taking a small budget and stretching it, and still create a luxurious look
The truth is that even after doing the ORC 6 times before, it was never really a goal to be chosen as one of the featured 20 designers. I thought that it would be a bit more pressure than I could manage. But of course, it was a high honor when Better Homes and Gardens did choose me for this season. I knew I could pull it off, but this season had some variables that had me sweating a bit, and seriously doubting I could do it
I was impressed by the quality sponsors that we got to work with. I was even more impressed with their generosity, responsiveness and genuine excitement to have their products featured in our spaces.
Here are the sponsors again. I would love if you could support them and experience the same quality service and products that I got to experience. Head back to the REVEAL POST for links to each one of the sponsors that I worked with
What had me sweating
Well, in any design project there is always the potential for things to go wrong despite your best efforts. A lot depends on other people - trades people carrying out their work.
If you have followed the entire progress of the bedroom makeover, you will know that I was also renovating my master bathroom. Several weeks before the start of the ORC, I hired a contractor for my master bathroom. I was very clear that I wanted the bulk of the work - especially anything that would generate dust and debris to be completely done before the start of the ORC. He assured me that this was possible, and so I moved forward with my renovation plans. Fast forward a few weeks later and we were so off schedule that the wallpaper installation was happening while there was major work still going on in the bathroom.
In fact, this contractor screwed up so much that my master bedroom is currently wrapped in plastic and I haven't been able to sleep in there since the completion of the ORC over a week ago. It upsets me a bit to talk about it, because for the life of me I cannot comprehend how one "professional" could do this to another professional - even after explaining to them one of the main purposes of the bathroom renovation, which is a brand collaboration with a luxury brand and it will likely be featured in a national publication. He clearly did not see the importance of using this as a marketing opportunity for his business as well, and put his best subs on the project. Instead he was using his unqualified cousins to do my work because I chose not to micro-manage him.
Despite all this, my bathroom is shaping up nicely albeit slowly, and of course, I did not let it stop the completion of my master bedroom. I will just have to wait a bit longer to enjoy it.
I try to be gracious when trades people mess up, because nobody is perfect, and neither am I. I did a bit of goofing up on my bedroom as well and thank God that I work with some top notch folks who pulled out all the stops, and went above and beyond to make the room a show piece.
How did I goof up? Let me count the ways. Haha
1- You see the beautiful hair on hide desk in the photo above that was my big debut for the Veronica Solomon Style Collection? I goofed on the measurements that I sent to April and her team over at Creative Style Furniture. Instead of 45" width, I gave them 54" width, and the desk arrived the night before photography too wide for the space. It only took a text message to April, and she was on it. She sent someone to pick it up that night, and the adjusted desk was delivered by noon the next day as promised.
What a contrast between April's team and the contractor that I hired for my bathroom? April knows the importance of true partnership and collaboration, and she tops that off with excellence in customer service and quality craftsmanship
2- The Chinese calligraphy prints were actually a last minute addition. I had commissioned a series of 9 small canvases from an artist in the Dallas area. They were supposed to be abstract hieroglyphics because I really wanted to add a really graphic touch to the room to keep it from looking too formal. I was happy with them when they arrived, but once I took them to the framers, she asked me what they meant. I had no idea what they meant, and I immediately became concerned that they may be saying something offensive, and I would have no idea.
I decided to not use them, but now I did not have enough time to have him make me new ones. I still wanted that bold graphic touch, and Chinese calligraphy has always been a favorite of mine. I hopped online and found six of them on Society 6. I got them framed by Hobby Lobby with stocked frames and custom mats, and had them hung by my art installer Keith Coen of Americas Art Installer. They looked great! As usual Keith had done a great job and Hobby Lobby also did a great job.
Fortunately my seamstress, who is Chinese, came by for something unrelated and noticed that they were all hung wrong at a 90 degree angle. She insisted that they looked ridiculous and had to be redone or at least rehung. This was the day before photography! That meant that they had to be turned horizontally, which threw off the entire scale of that vignette. I would need three more to make the vignette balanced
What ensued is a mad rush to the internet to find Chinese calligraphy in 24 hours. I eventually found some options on Shutterstock and paid for the downloads. I sent them to my local printer, Alphagraphics, who printed them on a rush basis. I then rushed to Hobby Lobby got the same frame and custom mats done in under an hour. What would have taken a normal 2-4 weeks, took me only a few hours to get done. By some miracle, my art installer Keith, who is usually booked for weeks at a time, had a free couple of hours between appointments and was able to come by to help me hang them. The stars had aligned!
3- The fabulous wallpaper from Pacific Designs came in right on time in the quantity my installer told me to order. He had not seen the room in person, but was sent the exact dimensions of the room, including locations of windows and doors. He unfortunately got really busy and I had to have a different wallpaper guy, Tom Navarre, come out for a quote. He immediately noticed that there were 8 rolls less than I needed. I had to quickly order the rest, and fortunately they had they same dye lot available. Pacific Designs was able to rush me exactly what I needed to keep the install on track. Wheeew! Crisis averted
4- I am very intuitive when it comes to specifying drapery hardware. I have an airtight system I use to make sure that nothing gets missed when ordering drapery hardware. Somehow, I was in a rush to get the hardware ordered and forgot to order a corner adaptor, and instead ordered two extra finials. My installer noticed right away that the two finials in the corner would not work, and a corner adaptor was in fact needed. This was just a few days from photography. I immediately reached to Helser Brothers, who supplied all the drapery hardware for the room, to rush me a corner adaptor. We were a bit concerned that because it is a premium finish it would be delayed, but it showed up right on time and installed before photography
There is nothing like a designer determined to complete the ORC. Haha. The show must go on!
So what did the room really cost me?
Well not nearly as much as it could have. Instead I will share is an estimate of what the room would retail for if I was a consumer designing this room exactly the same way with the same items.
You may already have guessed that most of the products in the room are sponsored products. This means that they were given to me at no charge in exchange for social media and blog posts and mentions for the sponsors. I did pay for labor on most of the items installed in the room.
So let's break it down.
Please note that some costs are estimates
-The ceiling - most of the moulding was provided by Metrie. I am not sure exactly what they would retail for, but I would estimate them at $1200. the labor would retail for $2800. The paint was sponsored by Kelly Moore and I would estimate them to be around $600. The labor would retail around $2000. The ceiling total $6600
2-The lovely black grasscloth wallpaper was provided by Pacific Designs. The paper retails for around $100 per roll, I needed 18 rolls, plus the labor to float walls $500 and to hang paper $1100. The wall total $3400
3-The custom drapery - the black silk fabric and trim were provided by Fabricut/Stroheim. We used about 24 yds of each. The fabric retails for around $64/yd and the trim $68/yd. Of course you need lining and labor and installation added on. The total for drapery is around $4100, plus drapery hardware from Helser Brothers is around $800
4- The custom canopy bed - The bed by S&L Designs would retail for around $8500 and the fabric headboard would retail for around $150
5- The chest on one side of the bed retails for $3800, the custom hair on hide desk which includes the hides, labor to build and upholster desk, the nail heads, the pull from Emtek, would retail for $2800. The mirrored TV console retails for $2400, the black and gold credenza retails for $1500, the chinoiserie table retails for $800, the small acrylic side table from Lamps Plus retails for around $300
6- The custom sofa made by Creative Style Furniture would retail for around $7760 including the velvet fabric from Clark and Clark, Houles metallic bullion fringe and labor
7- The wing back chair from Scout Design Studio would retail for $1850. This includes the cost of the chair, plus Clark and Clark fabric and cost to reupholster
8- The two small ottomans from Lamps Plus retail for about $500 for both
9-The zebra rug would retail for around $1600
10- The pillows in the room from shams to accent pillows (some from Arianna Belle and some custom made by my workroom) would retail for $4000. Complete bedding not including the pillows would retail for around $2500
11- The lighting in the room - chandelier from Hudson Valley would retail for around $2856. The lamps would retail for a total of $2140. The electrical outlets and switches by adorne Collection by LeGrand would retail for roughly $600 plus electrical labor $500
12- The beautiful faux florals in the room from NDI would retail for around $2500, and the real ones about $50.
13- The art in the room would retail for around $18000 for the Hunt Slonem original from Laura Rathe Fine Art, and the Chinese calligraphy would retail for roughly $800 for the grouping. The small round poets would retail for around $500, and "Lady Gray" canvas from Minted in the closet would retail for around $350
14- The round disks on stands would retail for around $1200. The bust would retail for around $75. The books in the room would be around $1000. The ginger jar would retail for around $150, the other accessories would be around $500
15- The reupholstered desk chair by Creative Style Furniture with a Clarence House cheetah print fabric retails for around $800 (not including cost of chair)
16- The floor mirror from Varaluz and mirror above bed retail for around $1000
17- The door hardware from Emtek retails for around $400 for both
The total so far is roughly $87K plus freight, receiving, storage and delivery charges on some items, plus cost for installation on some items. Sales tax is also not included in that total.
Keep in mind that the Hunt Slonem original artwork from Laura Rathe Fine Art was borrowed and returned, but was included in the overall cost
I am very blessed to have such a luxurious space that did not cost me nearly as much as it could have, thanks to the generosity of my sponsors, and pulling in items that I have owned for a very long time.
I decided to include the costs in this post to show just what a layered space like this could cost a consumer. Of course design fee would be additional.
If a client were to ask me to recreate this exact same room, they would pay quite a bit less because I typically offer discounts on products. However, the reality is that a well layered space like this with quality, custom finishes would be in the $40-60K price range. This can be a bit shocking to clients sometimes, and why I like to have the budget conversation very early in the process to set expectations.
I am very proud of the room. It is warm, inviting, and very luxurious. The issues are well worth the results of the gorgeous space I get to call home.
I remember seeing the images from Colleen Scott come through for the first time, and my heart skipped a few beats. I was very excited with the way Colleen captured the space.
Follow me on Instagram to see what others think of the room
Also, check out the video tour of the room
So tell me, what is your favorite part of the room? I know what mine is :-)
Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!