Hello! And welcome back for week four of the One Room Challenge, wherein I treat yo selves to a six week long dear diary of how my kitchen and adjoining study will be completely renovated, hopefully with all brain cells intact. Thank yous are due to our lovely host Linda of Calling it Home, and to our media sponsor House Beautiful for helping to make this happen. Catch up on previous weeks HERE.

You know that movie A Perfect Storm, where they are steering a tiny boat up a ginormous wave, and daring said huge wall of water to capsize their puny glued together stick shelter? I think that sums up week four. This ain't my first ORC rodeo and I knew week four would be hard, but it's still a bit shocking once you're climbing up that wave.

erin williamson design | one room challenge

Nevertheless, it is not a complete downward spiral towards a whirlpool of despair. A platform for the banquette I mentioned last week is built, and the important pieces have been dropped off to the upholsterer (bless you, VMC upholstery for rushing this through!!!). Bellacor is generously supplying the most fantastic Legrand switches and outlets, which you can see me testing against paint swatches. More about that later...

erin williamson design | one room challenge

Most joyously we have some base cabinets and counters and a sink! I am feeling pretty stressed that we don't have more cabinetry at this point, but the construction industry in Austin is crazy and everyone just has to wait patiently... Except I am on a tight deadline and I'm tired of living with a fridge in my living room and I'm teetering on toxic levels of deli meat build up. 

erin williamson design | one room challenge

Still, A SINK! AND COUNTERS! Ahhh it's so beautiful I could cry... I think I am crying. So, the counters are gorgeoussss Caesarstone Fresh Concrete. It's so pretty and matte and indestructible, which is great because wine. The sink is Kohler's Deerfield smart divide in the sexiest custom color called Dune. I could not love it more with the counters! We went with a low divide because I tend to have a dirty and clean side of the sink, and never the twain shall meet. But this is still low enough to wash big pots and pans.

Now if they could just hook this baby up to running water I think I'd crest that wave.

erin williamson design | one room challenge

A little Caesarstone waterfall (sea metaphors paying off) counter action at the end of the cabinet run. Oh yeah we did. Also the cans are in (apparently I need to straighten them, ahem) and that faint circle drawn on the ceiling represents future speaker homes. We plan to party in here... once the paper is gone, and we have electricity and running water and a refrigerator. Gah, we have a long way to go!

You are probably wondering what I plan for the backsplash. The answer to that is nothing. Behold:

lauren liess kitchen

This is Lauren Liess' beautiful kitchen and she has zero backsplash. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I read somewhere that she keeps a can of touch up paint under the sink for smudge repair, and I'm going to try it. I don't need anything behind my deep corner sink, and there isn't really a way to gracefully end a splash between the corner windows and the tall window. Plus there is already a lot of tile happening with the floors. I have a Plan B to deal with this if I hate it after six months, so don't worry about me too much.

erin williamson design | sanders gibbs

Speaking of paint, I am wrestling hard with the paint demon. The notorious Sanders P. Gibbs (SPG) came to help me. Am I painting this crazy room pink??? I am not a white wall person, but I want something airy and architectural. This is tough... I really love my dark moody walls but not in here.

erin williamson design | one room challenge

And speaking of dark moody walls, my little helpers transformed the new study space into a cozy corner. Primer first! Here's a sneak peek:

erin williamson design | benjamin moore dragons breath

I love dark paint and I cannot lie. The color is Benjamin Moore Dragon's Breath, and it's kind of a greenish charcoal that looks muy fantastico with brass. Ps, this torchiere has been MVP during the renovation since we have zero electric in the kitchen and can only bring lighting in via extension cord. It's covered in plaster but is still the most glamorous work light ever.

erin williamson design |  the shade store

And finally, let's leave on a high note with my Shade Store order for fabby grown up window treatments. We use The Shade Store for our design projects often, so I was over the moon to find they are sponsoring this round of the ORC. I choose this ultra sheer fabric for relaxed romans at the corner window and minimalist ripple fold drapes at the tall window, paired with a roller shade for privacy. Can't let the neighbors see us dancing at night.

flack studio bathroom

Well, that's gorgeous. Maybe I should do the bathroom next? Just gotta get over that wave first. Bathroom by the fabulous Flack Studio.

Until next week, my friends. And please do see what progress the other designers have made this week!

Centsational Girl | Chris Loves Julia | Christine Dovey | Dwell With Dignity | The English Room

Glitter Guide | House of Brinson | House Updated  | J+J Design Group | Lark & Linen | Abby Manchesky

Nesting Place | Old Brand New | Old Home Love | The Pink Pagoda | Rambling Renovators

Erica Reitman | Sketch 42 | Suburban B’s | Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH



Welcome back for Week Three of the One Room Challenge, wherein I chronicle the renovation of our kitchen and adjoining study over the course of six weeks. Many thanks to our host Linda of Calling it Home and to our sponsor House Beautiful for putting my feet to the fire, because we all know this would not be happening otherwise. Catch up on previous weeks HERE.

Well, well. Here we are at the halfway point, and bleep is getting real. It was all fun and games when we still had a sink, but those days are gone. We trucked through a super long week, so grab the popcorn while I regale you with scintillating tales of gypsum and epoxy.

erin williamson design | one room challenge

This picture might be too pretty for the ugly reality of the situation, which is that running water is the essence of modern civilization. We acclimated quickly to no oven, and I think we could have easily moved over to barbecue after the range top went, but no sink is the pits. This gives me a new level of wonder and respect for communities where obtaining clean water on a daily basis is a struggle. And we have a powder room around the corner... let's just say I am incredibly grateful to live in a place where this is not the norm and I don't ever want to take my sink for granted again.

Meanwhile, I can say I'm excited about what's happening over on this wall:

erin williamson design |one room challenge

No, not the stainless behemoth I can't wait to relocate to the garage (it's going to fit, right???). If you read my post last week you know I was hemming and hawing about wrapping a banquette around the corner and in front of the window. Once we enclosed the old entry we found ourselves with a long void, so we decided to run a custom banquette across the new back wall. Our aging table and chairs are filling out the space just to triple check clearance. Forget measuring twice, measure 50 times before you spend those dolla bills on custom upholstery.

erin williamson design | one room challenge

Here's the view from the living room side, where I am thinking the old teal shelves might find a new home. I'm pleased that running the banquette along the back wall will allow more light in from the window. BUT... when we decided to run the banquette across the wall edge to edge I realized we had to enclose the right side of the wall opening in a bit more to allow for plenty of seating depth. This meant adding more drywall, texture, re centering overhead lights, etc. It was all for the best, as now the opening is centered on the window, but my point is every change order unleashes a world of hurt on the most wonderful framing crew in the world. Thanks guys for never making me feel like a jerk. I sincerely appreciate it!

Here's the plan for the banquette, drawn by my super fabulous right hand woman Lindsay:

erin williamson design | one room challenge

No one wants to sit on an 18" deep piece of plywood, so build it out fat and cushy if you have the space.

I think this is going to be tres awesome, especially with ultra swanky fabrics from Fabricut, who is generously sponsoring us:

erin williamson design | fabricut

Behold a sampling of some inspiration fabrics. I am SO EXCITED about this! Have you seen the fabulous 20 ft long wall of raw silk drapery from Fabricut we used at Project Mid Mod?

erin williamson design
erin williamson design | project mid mod

Heaven. I'm a big fan of their products.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, gaining the banquette wall means losing my wallpaper in the entry. I am going to be 100% honest when I say I don't think I'm going to be able to pull the trigger on new wallpaper before the challenge time clock hits doomsday, hahaha I mean REVEAL DAY.

erin williamson | one room challenge

Zoinks. This whole entry needs a makeover, including new glass in the doors. I loved my Neisha Crosland paper but three walls are damaged and I'd pretty much have to start from scratch at this point. I'm not sure what to do, so I will probably do nothing right now. And somehow the Victorian backdrop has to get into our bedroom. It might have to teleport.

erin williamson design | one room challenge

In the interest of my sanity let's focus on decisions I have made, including wood stain from Rubio Monocoat (thanks for the tip, Lewis Trimble!). On the left is Cashmere Brown and on the right is Intense Gray. I chose the one on the right, and it's almost like a watery toner you apply before the final coat of sealer -- in our case Waterlox. Walnut can be kind of psychedelic and this masks some of the craziness while letting the grain show through.

erin williamson design | annie selke

If you are following along on my instagram, you know that the floors are in! Unfortunately all I have are grainy nighttime photos because as soon as the guys grouted they covered them with paper. So... I haven't even really seen them in daylight yet. Cue hysteria. I did have time to test drive this awesome rug from Annie Selke that I had been planning on, and I'm not sure the scale is going to work. I LOVE THIS RUG. It's so soft and I'm all about the checker pattern. I am crying tears of sadness because my heart and mind are not aligned. Get straight, Sybil!

If your brain is faster than mine, you have realized that floors going in means everything that was in the room must come out...

erin williamson design | one room challenge

That was my desk. Send in the jaws of life. At least the beer is closer... because the fridge is in the freaking living room. You can only use the toaster or the microwave, because using both at the same time blows a fuse. I have to laugh or I might pound my face into the wall.

And so, dear readers, let us all leave with this moment of zen. The adjacent kid zone needs a complete redesign, including paint, seating, desk, and lighting... unless you enjoy being impaled by a precariously low Superman's fortress of solitude chandelier. Nevertheless, it is blissfully empty and ready for wood flooring. Yep, this room is getting wood since it's lower traffic and I want it to feel cozytown USA. It also flows better with the floorplan, and it is much easier to continue flooring horizontally than to patch it running vertically.


Here's the floorplan as it stands now. All the fun details will be revealed in weeks to come... Right now I hear five gallons of primer calling my name. YAY.

Feel free to come over and help, but before you bring me pizza and pats on the back check the other 19 designers for progress on their projects!


Centsational Girl | Chris Loves Julia | Christine Dovey | Dwell With Dignity | The English Room

Glitter Guide | House of Brinson | House Updated | J+J Design Group | Lark & Linen | Abby Manchesky

Nesting Place | Old Brand New | Old Home Love | The Pink Pagoda | Rambling Renovators

Erica Reitman | Sketch 42 | Suburban B’s | Erin Williamson  Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH



Welcome back for week the second of the One Room Challenge, the quest sponsored by Calling it Home and House Beautiful to chronicle a room redo in six short weeks. If you missed last week, click HERE to read all about my plans to renovate our kitchen and adjoining kid zone.

It is absolute chaos up in here... When this began, guys just started moving all our furniture into Everest sized mountains in random areas of the living room. Then they broke out the sledgehammers and ripped almost everything out. They are FAST. Kind of too fast, like I wasn't really prepared fast. Like stuff is still piled up in corners everywhere.


This is so embarrassing. I mean... help. All of our food is stacked on old shelving from the teal room, and apparently we eat A LOT of hatch chile sauce and condiments. Kid stuff has settled into plastic drifts around the perimeters. There is a desk, two giant chairs, and pilesssss of art wedged in our master bedroom.


But we aren't letting it get us down. Now that the wall is gone we're honestly using the kitchen more than ever. And with the help of Knob Creek, we don't even mind the drywall special spice in our meals. We are down to the necessities and we are PUMPED about everything that's happening.

erin williamson design | orc

Hooray! There was no roof in the soffit so we can raise the entire ceiling. Electrical is happening and ducts are rerouted.

Of course, it can't be all fun and games (HAHAHAHAHA). We had to make some of those very difficult decisions that I alluded to last week. First, the wood flooring in the living area just can't go into the kitchen. It's pretty, but when we bought it 5-6 years ago there weren't many choices for what is now very a popular natural matte finish on engineered white oak. Long story short, it's extremely soft and it dents really easily. I love the way it looks, but I think this is going to be a super high traffic space that demands durability and I'm having a hard time spending more money on something that needs to be babied. So... drumroll, please:

erin williamson design | one room challenge

I'm going with this chevron tile by 41zero42. I really surprised myself with this one. I was thinking stone, but my budget said no thanks -- at least not for the lighter stones in interesting sizes and shapes I was searching for. Luckily my super rep Jenny at Stone Source found this beauty for me at a better price point. It's porcelain but it has tons of variation, which I love. We actually used this in a different color and pattern at our fancy lakehouse job and it turned out ultra swank (reveal coming soon!), plus it will withstand the boys' trucks and legos with panache. 

erin williamson | ORC

Ditching the prefinished wood flooring meant I could have my wood cabinets, which anyone who has read this blog for years will know I am very excited about. The irony of ripping out wood cabinets and beige tile and replacing it with wood cabinets and beige tile is not lost on me. It's classic....... right???

I'm going for a two tone euro vibe, with slab front wood lowers, wood casing around the floor to ceiling cabs, and paint grade shaker fronts on the floor to ceiling cabinets. We ended up increasing the width of the hutch to 72" and reducing the depth so that both upper and lowers are 18." It looks more furniture like, and I  think it will be useful for storage and serving space. We decided not to build in the microwave, so we're just going to tuck a small one inside the upper cabinets.

joseph dirand kitchen

I'm totally stealing inspiration from Joseph Dirand's gorgeous kitchen. I love how simple yet complex the elements are. It manages to be elegant and accessible, and I fingers-and-toes-crossed hope that's where I'm headed. Did you know those base cabinets are BRONZE? I briefly considered selling a kidney to finagle some of that goodness, but decided to go with quartersawn walnut instead. Hopefully I will get the same overall effect and retain both kidneys. Score!

erin williamson | one room challenge

Before we ever moved any walls I consulted with an architect. I had an 85% clear vision of what I wanted, but since we are slicing and dicing walls left and right and the space had many constraints, I decided to get a professional head check. Francisco Arredondo of North Arrow Studio and I have worked together before, and I value his opinion. When he walked through, we agreed about pretty much everything except for the opening at the foyer... he said close it up. I kind of freaked out and told our lovely contractor Carl Dixon to give me some time with everything open before I made a life decision.

erin williamson " one room challenge

Francisco was right. This picture frankly looks terrible and makes me seem like a crazy person, but it felt like swiss cheese with all the openings in here. And I really don't like the idea of looking straight into my messy kitchen directly off the front door. We live here -- it's not a museum. So I had to think about how best to direct traffic in a way that creates a journey from public to private. The dining side of this room will be visible from the living area, and the kitchen (aka dirty sink) side will be more connected to the kid/den area. That feels right to me.

So now we have way more room for a banquette, which is great. But do I run it across the whole wall?

Decisions, decisions. Tune in next week to see what happens, and also we have to catch up on the kid zone progress. Don't forget to send moral support! And please check out what the 19 other wonderful designers are up to:

Centsational Girl | Chris Loves Julia | Christine Dovey | Dwell With Dignity | The English Room

Glitter Guide | House of Brinson | House Updated  | J+J Design Group | Lark & Linen | Abby Manchesky

Nesting Place | Old Brand New | Old Home Love | The Pink Pagoda | Rambling Renovators

Erica Reitman | Sketch 42 | Suburban B’s | Media Partner House Beautiful | TM by CIH