One Room Challenge Spring 2018 – Week One!

The Interior DIYer - One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Week One!

I am very excited and a bit nervous today to share that I’ll be participating in the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge as a guest participant! It’s something I’ve followed year after year and I’m excited to finally be participating this year. For anyone who found me here thanks to the ORC, hello! I’m Alex and I’ll be redesigning the dining room in our rented apartment here in Ottawa over the next six weeks as part of the Spring 2018 ORC.

We’ve been living in our Lower Town apartment in Ottawa for six months which has given me plenty of time to think of design ideas and decide on what I’d really like to do with our dining room. To give you an idea of what I’ll be working with, here is our dining room as it is right now …

The Interior DIYer - One Room Challenge Spring 2018 Week One

It’s the brightest room in our apartment and also where Cora and I spend most of our day. It’s the biggest room and I did think about maybe tackling a smaller room for my first ORC, but we spend so much time here as a family that it made the most sense to update it first. We’ll also have guests staying with us over the next few months so it’ll be a [more] welcoming space for them.

I’m hoping to source as many secondhand pieces as I can for this challenge. I will be getting some brand new pieces, but I’ll be putting a lot of thought into each piece before buying it. So starting from the top down, here’s an outline of what I’m planning on doing to our dining room! …

Change the lighting
I luckily already have a secondhand chandelier ready for our dining room. It’s very similar to our living room chandelier but bigger. I’ve been patiently waiting for the day when we can take down the track lighting in here as this cluster does absolutely nothing for this room.

Paint the ceiling
It’s not as intrusive as you might think, but it’s time for peachy ceiling to go. I have leftover ceiling paint from updating our living room so I’ll use up the remainder of that.

Paint the walls greige
It’s taken me a while to come to terms with it, but I’m a big fan of greige [grey + beige]. I like neutral walls but I’m not very comfortable with stark white or cold greys, and greige is just the right mix of neutral and warm I’m looking for this room.

Burgundy focal wall
There’s an opportunity to make one of our hall walls [seen below] a focal wall as part of my dining room update. It’s a dark area so I’ll be embracing it and painting the wall burgundy with the leftover paint from our living room.

Contact paper dining table
We inherited the dining table from the previous tenants in our apartment. It truly is a beautiful table, but it’s seen better days; the legs are scratched and painted different colours and the top is dotted with spilled red nail polish, coffee stains [that I can’t remove] and has a finish I’m not in love with [the knots are too dark for my liking and I’m not keen on the pattern]. So instead of buying a new table, I’ll be painting the legs and covering the top with faux marble contact paper [like what I did with our coffee table].

New seating
We bought our dining chairs secondhand and they have not held up well. Along with my persistent hip problems, I can’t sit in them for very long without immediately regretting it. And they’re falling apart. The chairs, that is. And my hips too I guess. So I’m on the lookout for well made chairs with a bit of a modern design, or possibly two chairs and a bench? I’m still open to options.

Large vintage mirror
Just wait until you see the beauty of a mirror I found on Kijiji. Once the walls are painted I have the tall task of safely securing it to one of the walls without bringing the entire building down.

Paint the dining hutch
I found this beautiful hutch on Kijiji for just $30 a few months ago. The wood finish is terrible so I have no hesitation painting it with Fusion Mineral Paint‘s shade of Coal Black and distressing the finish a little to make it a little less perfect.

I have so many more details and ideas to add to the space, but for now I threw together the below to give you an idea of how I’m hoping our dining room to feel. I’ve been hoarding little thrifted treasures for this project for what seems like forever, so I really can’t wait for all my ideas take shape! I’m still in the excited stage and waiting for the WTF were you thinking trying to do this in 6 weeks with a toddler underfoot? stage to set in. Give me a day or two and I’ll be panicking.

Check out the full list of Guest Participants here! I should have stayed up and added my link when the link-up went live, but I slept through my alarm ūüėÖ #MomProblems

Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek Four – Week Five – Week Six

Secondhand Kijiji chandelier

Our Lower Town apartment is full of track lighting. The living room, hallway, dining room, Cora’s bedroom and the kitchen all have track lighting. I’m not shaming track lighting entirely; it does have a place but I don’t think its place is the main light source of any room. As you can see in the picture below, this was what the main lighting in our living room was up until this week. A giant strip of track lighting that was haphazardly aimed at the TV, the door to our front porch, and three random areas on the floor. It wasn’t great and depending on where you sat, you’d either get a face full of light or it would be so dark at night that you couldn’t see what you were doing.

I know I could just reposition the lights to suit specific areas, but overall as a room, having track lighting in this way was not working. So I took to Kijiji to find a new [to us] light.

I searched for “chandeliers” for a few weeks [you’d be amazed at what some people’s definition of a chandelier is] and finally came across this beauty. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but the combination of gold finish, size, fancy shape and warm acrylic ‘crystals’ were exactly what I was looking for! It was advertised as $70 which sounds like a lot of money, but when you consider modern looking pendant lights I found elsewhere online were going for upwards of $120 on sale, for us, this was a total bargain. It was full of character and just what I was looking for. It also came with all the original light bulbs [two of which I’ve removed because we just don’t need 6 light bulbs. I’m hoping to get more energy efficient bulbs soon].

I took all the crystals off, washed and dried them and Handyman Dave came over last week to hang it and do all the electrical gobbledegook [something I’m terrified of and won’t do].

I patched over the holes and repainted along where the track was [it was this colour underneath] and the room immediately felt so much more welcoming. The living room feels cosy at night and with the dimmer switch, the chandelier looks about four different levels of fancy.

I could have bought a new chandelier but I knew that if I waited long enough, a perfect light would come along on Kijiji and not only at a better price, but secondhand too. Yes, I will be buying some new lights for certain rooms in our apartment but I knew a modern light wouldn’t look as good in our living room.

Secondhand Schoenhut baby grand piano

As I was searching¬†Kijiji¬†for a storage bench for our hallway last week, one of the ads to show up in my search was this tiny toddler grand piano [and subsequent tiny toddler grand piano ‘bench’, which is how it showed up in my search]. I had to have it … for Cora. I showed Robert its picture and within 15 minutes I was arranging to collect it from the seller.

It was advertised for $40 on Kijiji as some of the legs on the bench were wobbily and the seller explained they were unable to fix it for years. Challenge accepted. I took the piano as is and 5 minutes after bringing it home I fixed both wobbily legs [I wrapped the screws on each leg with a bit of masking tape and screwed them back into the bench. The screw and socket (?) seal had just become loose over the years]. I leaned back and allowed the smugness to wash over me and I bathed in it for several minutes.

I’ve tried finding this ‘Schylling’ piano online but the closest thing I’ve found was this Schoenhut Baby Grand Piano online from Target¬†[I can audibly hear Canadian’s weeping] for $169.38. It’s a surprisingly solid piano made entirely of wood – no cheapy plastic parts.

It has the sweetest little chime sound to it and Cora is already a huge fan. Unlike our poor neighbours. If you’d like to see our new-to-us baby grand piano in action, check it out in my saved stories on Instagram under ‘Thrifted’ [only viewable via the app]. It’s amazing and perfect and I can’t wait to put it in Cora’s room once it gets more organised.

Do you have a favourite secondhand piece you found recently for a sweet deal? That’s my favourite thing about finding excellent things secondhand; how much cheaper they are than brand new and I feel almost no guilt when buying them.