One Room Challenge - Week 1 Inspiration Board

Transforming the Great-Room . . . . . From “Pretty” to “Comfy”

April 9, 2024

The One Room Challenge – Week #1

“Way too uptight.”  This is my husbands assessment of our current Great Room situation. I can’t say I disagree. Our great room is pretty but it’s not comfy.

We’re more “come on in. . . you can put your feet up on the furniture and get comfy” kinda people. When friends and family come over we want them to feel welcome, comfortable, to want to actually stay and hang out.

This room IS pretty. It just doesn’t fit our family’s casual vibe. The room kinda makes you feel like you need to sit up straight in your chair and drink your tea with a pinky finger up. 

Our soon to be “BEFORE” photo: This is our Current Great Room

It’s been this way for 13 years. And no, we didn’t inherit the room. We actually did this to ourselves. In all fairness, I did love all the choices along the way. The rooms are lovely and well done. It’s just that over time we wished we’d made it less formal from the get go. Hindsight. 

Multiple Personalities 

This won’t be the first makeover this room has seen. We actually gave the entire home a full tilt interior facelift when we first bought it 14 years ago. 

It started out as a bit of a strange house. It had what I referred to as decorating schizophrenia. The house actually had multiple personalities. I felt compelled to rescue it. 

Classic Georgian style home. Red brick with large white columns under a Palladian portico.

Ours is a classic Georgian style home. Red brick with large white columns under a Palladian portico.

The outside of the house was, and still is classic Georgian Colonial. Red brick with traditional large white columns under a Palladian portico. At first glance I immidialaty loved the traditional, timeless appeal of the exterior. However when we stepped through the front doors. . . not so much.

Oddly, instead of classic Americana, as the exterior hinted, the interior was decorated in dark, trendy (for the time) old world styles. The minuscule amounts of trim and millwork was dark, knotty wood. The walls dark, faux “patina” paint colors. The inside was a HUGE disappointment. 

European Old World interior decor was the trend of the early 2000's.

BEFORE THE BEFORE: Old World decor was very trendy when the home was first built in the early 2000’s. Sorry for the terrible photos, they’re all I’ve got from “before” the original 2010-2011 makeover.

Hooray – this was actually excellent news! Exactly what I love, what I live for even. Fixing homes and giving them new life. Preferably the life it was actually meant to live.

I have a theory that most homes know who they are or at least who they want to be.
The mark of a good designer is to assist a home to become it’s truest self –
not force it into something it was never meant to be.

In this case pretending to be Tuscan. . . or was it French Country? When it’s clearly meant to be classic American. Thomas Jefferson would have been rolling over. . . 


De-formalizing this area of our home has been on my radar for well over 6 years. Today’s the beginning of a whole new room!

I’ve had plenty of time to mull over what the changes need to be. Transforming our space into a more comfortable, less formal aesthetic, while still also remaining true to the architecture of the house, is going to require a bit of deft finesse. 

What’s Staying – “Pretty”

The new interior bones we gave the house fourteen years ago remain classic and true. We erased all traces of Europe and the “old world.” We rejuvenated the interiors with layers upon layers of bright white millwork and trim. Sanded every wall smooth. Removed some walls. Added some walls. Added grand interior columns and arches. And I designed the glorious box beam coffered ceilings, which I still adore. 

If you look closely you will notice we did not replace any of the very expensive, solid wood cabinetry. Instead we had it all painted a smooth creamy white. Proof that paint goes a long way in transforming a space.

The same view, a very different look. Again, the bookshelves are the same, just refaced and painted. However, fourteen years ago the fireplace was a total tear out and do over. These elements will be staying in this newest makeover, but they will get some new pretty “makeup.”

This was me in my element. Our master carpenter was there so long he kinda became part of the family, had meals with us and spent all day, every day with us. He was with us for months and months on end. Before one project ended, I already had another project sketched out. The whole process made my heart sing with happiness. 

All these beautiful architectural details are classic, timeless. . . and staying.


The custom made sofas are very pretty but they're definitely not comfy. And the glass coffee table doesn't exactly say "put your feet up on me."

The custom made sofas are very pretty but they’re definitely not comfy. And the glass coffee table doesn’t exactly say “come in, put your feet up on me.”

What’s Changing – “Comfiness”

Some of the furnishings are staying, most are changing. New counter stools, new sofas, ottomans. New dining chairs, maybe the table stays, maybe it doesn’t? Definitely there will be new lighting, new wallpaper and paint. New cabinet doors. A new center island paint color. 

And color. I’m a full color girl. Give me color, lots and lots of color.

To be honest, as the room is now, it’s just too soft, too muted for my taste. So color is going to be coming in hot with this newest facelift.

One Room Challenge 2024 Inspiration Board

Above are some of the selections I’ve already made for the room. I know you aren’t seeing all the fun color I’m promising, but hang tight and watch what happens. These neutral furnishings are each getting their very own mini-makeovers too! Stay tuned over the next 7 weeks. . . you’ll see. . .

What I’m very most excited about is a fabulous new Art Feature Wall that I’ve got up my sleeve! New rugs. New fabrics for upholstery, pillows and windows. Most of all it will have an entirely new, much less stuffy vibe.

Textile selections are the first and driving force of inspiration for most of my interior projects. Watch the video for a sneak peek.

While we will remain true to the house and it’s traditional, classic look, it will be so much more fun. Full of color. Filled up with unique items that spark memories. 

It will be more us. A dynamic reflection of our personalties and our stories.

Follow along as I transform things from pretty to comfy over the next 7 weeks. To motivate myself, I’ve joined the One Room Challenge. This might help me to actually finish this project. I work best with deadlines and pressure – can anyone out there relate? 

If you love a good “Before & After” story as much as I do, you’ll want to check out all the One Room Challenge participants! Discover your favorites and follow their project progress! Link the One Room Challenge Spring 2024 Projects HERE

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