Hi, hey, hello! It’s Week Two of the One Room Challenge! Last week, I shared with you alllllll of the before photos of my space, and the little progress we had made since we moved in. This week, I wanted to share with you my design plans for the space, the paint colors I plan to use, a new floor plan for the space, and a bit of progress that we’ve made so far (and by progress, I really mean a giant ordeal with one of the key pieces of my design that shall henceforth be referred to as “The Great Fireplace Saga of 2016”). But before I tell you all about the fireplace drama (which really is a #firstworldproblem if I’ve ever heard one), I want to share with you my design plans for the space:
I am really a neutral girl at heart (although my past ORCs might say otherwise), so I really wanted to embrace the texture and juxtaposition of materials in this space. I wanted to skirt the line between feminine and edgy, masculine and soft, modern and super traditional. The vintage mural, marble fireplace, windsor dining chairs, and skirted sofa appeal to my traditionalism-loving heart, which speaks to me more and more every day. The modern light fixture and coffee table lines are a true modern style, in the 1960s sense, and the masculine leather chairs will be balanced out with feminine Parisian-style molding on the walls.
I am thrilled to be using Farrow & Ball paint for this challenge, so I wanted to share with you the color palette that I’ve landed on:
The built-ins are going goth and will get a good coating of “Railings”. It’s partly an attempt to cover up the stepped nature of the built-ins (seen here), and partly to balance out the black marble fireplace on the other side of the room. Using a dark color on one wall or ceiling can also trick the eye, giving the illusion that the space is much wider or taller than it is- necessary in my 750 sq. ft. apartment. I always describe a night sky to clients who are hesitant about going too dark in a space- the deep color of the sky makes it appear endless. So, that’s what I’m hoping will happen to the built-in wall! For the trim, I chose “Strong White” to contrast with the walls. As for “Cinder Rose“? Well, if you remember my pink ceiling in my last apartment, you can probably guess where I’m headed with that one!
For the floorplan, I wanted to flip it from how it was staged when we first walked through the apartment. Floating the sofa in front of the built-ins will help trick that line into appearing more straight, and it gives us a focal wall for the new (old) fireplace and TV. You can also see how the space will be joined with the dining table and how I am carving out space for an entry table as well. It’s tight, but it flows really well and I am able to incorporate all of the pieces that I would want in a living/ dining/ entry space.
Now, on to The Great Fireplace Saga of 2016. I have been craving a fireplace every since we moved to DC, but it can be pretty uncommon to find one in a one bedroom apartment. I didn’t even want a working fireplace, necessarily, I just really wanted a large focal piece that spoke to my truest inner design style. I really wanted a black marble fireplace, but all of my searches ended in frustrated “Watch this Item” clicks on eBay, just in case one of those $4,000 fireplaces sold for less. I settled on the idea of a white one, but still struggled finding one that didn’t cost more than our mortgage. Then one day, as I was going my daily keyword search on Craigslist on my phone in the car, I found this:
Yes, you read that right: $50. YOU GUYS. I gasped so loudly when I read it that Nick pulled the car over because he thought something catastrophic had happened. I called immediately, and we were out there the next day.
Unfortunately, the few tools that Nick and I brought with us were horribly insufficient for removing the fireplace from the wall (and itself). For starters, it’s gigantic- almost 5 feet tall and 63 inches wide- and weighs more than 500 pounds. So, I had to bring my contractor crew out to the house the next day to have them take it apart and haul it away for me. But even they had difficulty removing it- it was glued to the floor and itself, and was made up of 14 different pieces. The only casualties of the removal were the mantel and the hearth sections- arguably the two most important- but they were fairly clean breaks and we were able to use an epoxy to glue them back together.
Here’s a video of my amazing contractor and his assistant trying to rip the hearth off of the floor
Even though I had to pay them $300 to remove it, I still consider it the steal of a lifetime. We brought it home and leaned all of the pieces against the wall while we figured out placement to begin assembling it again.
In order to fit it snug against the wall, we were going to have to cut out the baseboards and slide it up so that it would be flush. What we discovered, however, is that this wall is concrete. Ah, the joys of old buildings! We basically had to hack at the wall with a Dremel tool until we could rip off the baseboard to make it flush.
As we were cutting the baseboard, we realized that it was the original wood from when the building was built in the 1920s- a really pretty red oak. I felt a little bad for cutting it, but I figure that it was for a good reason!
The third and final (knock on marble) issue that we had with the fireplace was completely our own doing. In order to reassemble the fireplace, each piece had to be built on top of the previous piece, kind of like Lincoln Logs. So, so we had to measure to make sure that we were putting the leg in the correct place so that the whole thing would be centered when we were done. The name of the game was place a piece, glue with heavy duty construction adhesive, wait for it to dry, add the next piece, glue it to the first piece, wait for it to dry, and so on. We wanted to make absolutely sure that it was dry and sturdy because the marble is so heavy, and we didn’t want it to collapse under its own weight. So, we assembled and glued the first leg of the fireplace, which took a few days to complete.
But as we began to add the cross pieces after this leg was installed, we realized that we had somehow miscalculated and placed it too far over towards the center- making the entire thing off by about 4 inches and putting the opposite leg on the floor. So, we had to rip it all back apart and start from scratch, which, unlike Lincoln Logs, is pretty difficult. It was at this point that I began to drink heavy pours of rosé from a plastic cup #classyandbasic
We finally got it right and were able to put the entire piece together, over the course of a week.
As the perfect ending and before we added the last piece to The Great Fireplace Saga of 2016, we decided to add a little memento commemorating the first place we’ve owned in DC and also because we never would have gotten away with this in a rental apartment.
You probably also noticed that I began taping off where the wall molding from Metrie was going to go- I had enough time waiting for the fireplace to dry! So, we were able to get most of it cut and ready to be installed this week, and I’ll hopefully be able to share more in Week Three!
That’s all, folks! Make sure to follow along on Snapchat (scsmith012) and Instagram for behind the scenes as I pull this space together. A big thanks to Linda for hosting this lovely gig! Make sure to check out the other 19 designer’s spaces today, and come back tomorrow to see the hundreds of others who link up!