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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Loiacono

One Room Challenge Week One

I had heard of The One Room Challenge Before, but I never thought of participating in it. I was always to busy with school and too busy doubting myself, listening to the voices in my head that said, "This is not for you." Now that I am Founder and Owner of my own Interior Design Company Aurora By Jacqueline, I guess I felt that tiny push that finally said to me "Do it." I never needed a reason to transform a room, I did that on my own all of my life. However, now I realized there's a community that is cheering you on while you do it. Not that I didn't have enough going on in my life with building clientele, working on furniture for my upcoming pop-up shop, volunteering as a presenter for NAMI and all my daily life struggles. Deciding to join in on The ORC wasn't something to worry me, it was in fact a positive challenge that would keep me on my toes . Besides being overwhelmed in a good way, I am more than EXCITED to participate...

The One Room Challenge is in its twentieth season folks! Can you believe it? It is held twice a year; once in the Spring and now in the Fall. It is not a competition, it is a way to join a group of like-minded individuals who love to create, inspire and cheer each other on. Each round there are 20 Featured designers who document transforming a space in just 8 weeks! The best part is, along with following these talented designers on , anyone with an instagram account or a blog are welcomed to join in as guest participants! Click on the above links to find such inspiring spaces. This year I am thrilled to be a part of something so special and I would like to share with you my ideas for our bedroom transformation.

Before I share my reasoning for transforming our bedroom, I want to ask you a question... Have you ever felt like you were destined for something greater? That your life was meant for more? I have searched deeply within myself to figure out what makes my heart truly happy, and that is creating my home around me. A reflection of the people in it and the love that resides there. Beginning a small business and connecting with such creative and wonderful people like the women entrepreneurs I have met on Instagram, have opened up my eyes to a different world where I used to solely be a voyeur within it. Now that I am actively participating in the Interior Design Community, seeing clients, selling my personal furniture collection, working long hours on my brand; I see the little girl that once loved to play house and Barbie Dolls come to life again. The reason I left teaching wasn't because I was tired of the children. I left teaching because my inner creative vibrance was not thriving.

I believe that creativity is a conduit for a healthy mind. The first place you open your eyes and look at in the morning is your bedroom. Where you lay your head should be a peaceful place that helps your body recover from your daily endeavors. The colors and textures you use touch your subconscious and help your overall mood. When my husband I moved into our apartment this past year, we wanted to get it as liveable and ready as we could before we got married in May. Moving to a new state, planning a wedding and teaching during COVID was a real struggle to say the least. The first room I wanted done was the bedroom. We painted it a beautiful deep green color called Salamander by Benjamin Moore. I had my old refurbished furniture and hand me down dresser from my old apartment and bought some gold frames and an old mirror from Homegoods to make it feel like the "Emerald City" from the Wizard of OZ. I was Dorothy and I just wanted to feel like there was no place like home.

When I asked my husband which room we should do for The One Room Challenge, he suggested our bedroom. I was confused. I thought this was the one place where I felt safe, hidden away in a dark haven of gold and green. He reminded me that I had mentioned I didn't like the decor I had on the walls and I've been wanting to change our comforter too since my dog has ripped it and peed numerous times in her sleep on it leaving stains (even though he says I am the only one who can see them).

That's why I keep a throw blanket on the bed and tons of pillows, It hides the comforter that I loved so much before, but not so much now. The wall decor has white and gold shelves along with a small light on the wall connected to a silver arm that was original to the apartment. We don't want to remove it and close it off because the room is so dark and we later had to remove the only other light source (which I will explain why later on in this post). I thought about painting that weird arm light gold too, maybe this time I will. I think it has character and know that when we have a house one day we will always joke about the weird light . The decor on the shelves are meaningful, i just feel like it's not in the right place anymore. Sometimes I feel like I gather too many pieces and then when they're altogether it seems cluttered. I also didn't like the white shelving and frames anymore. I wanted the only thing white to be the molding, door and blinds. We can't open our blinds much because our bedroom window is facing the front porch of the house where the tenant upstairs walks by. So we need bedside lamps for light. Most importantly, my husband reminded me that I wanted to redo my old mahogany dresser that was my Godmother's and the end tables I had previously refurbished that someone had thrown out and I had found. "One man's trash is another woman's treasure." The furniture was definitely becoming mismatched, but not in a good way. I also felt like I was starting to store some of my pop up shop decor bins and furniture I was selling in my bedroom and it was starting to feel like the walls were caving in. I guess I was neglecting my concerns because I had so many other things going on in my life and the ORC was something to help push me into high gear.

If you refer to my mood board at the top of this blog post, I am still sticking with the green and gold theme, but giving the room more warmth and texture. I wanted the wood furniture to be somewhat cohesive. My most precious piece of furniture to date that we added just last night to our room, really was the catalyst to the transformation. I kept saying to my husband that we needed an armoire for clothes when we were to start a family in a small, one bedroom apartment. We planned on staying here until we could save enough money to buy a home. I had already transformed our closet into an office and we needed more room for clothes. I searched for the perfect piece and 'lo and behold,' I found a gigantic antique armoire that we bought from Facebook Marketplace for forty dollars!. We had to rent a Home Depot Van to get it and had to take the doors of to get into the house. I wouldn't even bring it in until I sanded it on the porch to make it lighter wood and more primitive looking. It was heavy, chippy and had flower scrolls etched on it and I was in love. Whoever made it was a true craftsman because the doors weighed a ton. I realized I could transform all of the furniture in my room the same way and make a statement without purchasing so many new items. That's my goal as an Interior Designer, I want to show my clients that you can transform your home with very little, for example: some paint or wallpaper, and refurbishing your own furniture can make a huge impact.

After I sanded the armoire, my vision came to life. It was so big and beautiful. It reminded me of the singing armoire from Beauty and the Beast. I brushed on bleach mixed with water and wiped it off to lighten the wood and really bring out the grain. While I was sanding it, I felt like I was channeling my late father who was a carpenter. Years ago, before he passed away, I used to visit his shop for lunch and would stare at a giant Native American Statue that someone gave him that was a mix of dark and light wood carving. As I was sanding the armoire, I got a quick whiff of sawdust and it brought me back to his shop, this image in my mind. I felt like I was about to do this challenge, all my furniture projects, my business, and all these new endeavors with him watching over me. It was a good start to the Week One. I had someone on my side telling me I can do it.

The biggest problem I thought we would face, was bringing into the bedroom. With some heavy lifting, a few chips in the door frame and a quick "PIVOT!" or two, and we had it in. However, the sconce on the wall that was the main source of light in the room was blocking the armoire from being flush against the wall. My husband took off the sconce and realized that the electrical was connected to the light fixture in the hallway. This now resulted in capping off the wires for the light in our room and saying bye bye to the extra light source. I wanted to always try the "magic light trick" anyway so this was a perfect opportunity to add a boho chandelier above the bed and use the puck lights for some mood lighting. We still had the bedside lamps and the weird tiny arm light next to the tv that I am going to paint gold and do something fun with it. To add more of the wood texture. I am going to hang floating shelves and spray antique gold frames like I hung in my closet office. I searched for the perfect velvet curtains to keep the window framed and some plants for serenity and peace. My husband jokes that if he knew I was a plant person before he met me, he wouldn't have married me. But the funny part is, I don't have a green thumb! My Nonna had a beautiful garden full of roses, vines and grapes and I can barely keep bamboo alive. But the point is, I am trying my best. I have a mixture of faux and real plants in the house and I wanted to bring that vibe in the bedroom. I want it to feel like a magical forest after all. Fingers crossed it might end up that way too since I have the cabinet to Narnia in there now! I hope you follow along on this new adventure with me. The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe will be here working on it...

xoxo- Jacqueline

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