One Room Challenge Week 3 // Fireplace Makeover + DIY Art

We are to the half way point of the One Room Challenge. If you are unfamiliar, myself, along with dozens of other bloggers are renovating a room in 6 weeks and documenting it as we go. You can see my fellow one room challenge participants here.

I am tackling my basement. My goal is to give it a budget friendly, California cool update. You can see where I started and my plans on my Week 1 post and read how I removed the drop ceiling on Week 2. Since last week I painstakingly painted the entire open ceiling. One coat with a roller and one with a paint sprayer. I highly recommend a paint sprayer if you want to tackle a similar project. I use the Wagner 350 HVLP.

I also painted the walls and the fireplace, all Behr Polar Bear . To deck out the freshly painted fireplace I enlisted the help of my kiddo to create some original art on, pun intended, skateboard decks. I did a similar project last summer and I loved how it turned out so much that I decided to riff of it.

Kid-Friendly DIY Color Block Art


Fireplace Before
DIY Color Block Art
  1. Have your kiddo draw shapes and lines on your canvas (or skateboard).

Kid-Friendly DIY Color Block Art
Kid-Friendly DIY Color Block Art

2. He picked the color and placement and I painted the outlne of the shape, then Oliver filled in the inside.

Kid-Friendly DIY Color Block Art
Kid-Friendly DIY Color Block Art

I just love how it turned out. I should note that I chose the color palette, as to be sure I will love the combos and how it looks in the room.

Kid-Friendly DIY Color Block Art

Now that the major painting is over, I feel like I can breathe for a second.Though there is still plenty to do.

What’s left to do:

  • finish cleaning

  • assemble Ikea storage cabinet

  • paint built in shelf

  • organize toys and styling items

  • hang tv

  • hang art

  • style



One Room Challenge Week 2 // Removing The Drop Ceiling

I wish I had more pretty to show you this week, but the basement is a construction zone. Thankfully we are on the other side of demolition mountain. In case you missed week 1, I am participating in my forth One Room Challenge. I am tackling my basement, which started as a big, empty box and I am upgrading to a modern, relaxed family space. You can see my plans here. And please follow along in real time on Instagram. Because this is an awesome community event, check out all the other room transformations here.

I quickly discovered that there are some realities of trying to tackle a big DIY project as a new mom. Mainly I am attached to my baby, can’t really find a flow. I feed Monroe, set up, start painting or working and time seems to move ridiculously fast, and before I know it I have to change my clothes and feed the baby again. Normally I would put in several hours, a couple days a week while Ollie is at school, then go hard for a couple hours after bedtime and also on the weekend. But in this current season, I have been waking up early and putting in an hour while everyone is sleeping, possibly squeeze in an hour or two during a day, but way too tired to continue post bedtime. Things are moving along, just very slowly, and since my time is so limited I don’t feel like I’m able to take a day off.

How To Remove A Basement Drop Ceiling

Now that all my excuses are out of the way, he’s what I have tackled so far. I tore down the drop ceiling tiles, the insulation and the drop ceiling frame and have started painting. Since I didn’t find much info on how to remove the drop ceiling tiles and paint, it was a little bit of trial and error. The first few tiles I removed were a little trickier, but sever were removed it was much easier and smoother to remove the tiles without breaking them in to a million little pieces. Speaking of breaking into a million little pieces, I wore a mask because I didn’t know the exact content of my tiles.

Once the actual tiles were out, I moved on to removing the insulation. I should note that if I had more help, I would advise to removing the drop ceiling frame next, but the recessed lighting was being held up by ceiling tiles, so I had leave them in place until my brother could come help me out with the electrical business. If I knew exactly what I was doing I would have removed the tiles, then swap out the lights, then remove the frame, next the insulation, and finally begin painting.

In my situation, I removed the ceiling tiles, then tackled the insulation next. I did a little research on removing fiberglass insulation. There were differing opinions on the dangers, and some recommended spraying exposed fiberglass with hairspray before pulling down. I did not end up doing that, but I did wear a mask, gloves and change my clothes right after working. I carefully pulled down each piece and put it directly into a garbage bag.

How To Remove  A Basement Drop Ceiling

Next my brother helped me replace the old recessed lighting with new can LED can lights. I used the combo of LED and can below.

basement recessed lighting
recessed lighting

My brother also helped me tear down the drop ceiling frame. I have no tips on this, this was a straight up demo, ripping metal down from the ceiling. Then I had to pry the wall pieces off the wall which were attached with finishing nails. Once all the trash was cleared out, I was finally ready to start painting.

So far I have a coat primer on the ceiling. I started using my paint sprayer, which really came in handy for my sunroom makeover, but it wasn’t getting the job done. It’s heavy and clunky and was not giving me the output I wanted. So I grabbed a roller and brush. I plan to use the sprayer on the areas with pipes and wires, but the roller and brush seemed to be more effective and efficient for the moment. I am painting the ceiling and walls with Polar Bear by Behr.

What is still left to do?

  • paint walls

  • second coat on the ceiling

  • paint the fireplace

  • remove the floor covering and clean the carpet

  • create art

  • assemble Ikea furniture

  • paint built in shelving

  • organize toys

  • decorate

One Room Challenge

One Room Challenge Week 1 // Basement Plans

It’s One Room Challenge season again! This will be my third consecutive go round and forth total overhaul. Last fall I tackled my mom’s kitchen, this past spring I did our sunroom and at our old house I made over our garage. If you are not familiar with the One Room Challenge it’s an online challenge started by blogger Calling It Home and sponsored by Better Homes And Gardens, where 20 featured bloggers and dozens of others complete a room makeover in 6 weeks and document their progress on their blog and/or social. See all the other rooms here.

This time around I will be tackling my basement. It was previously a big open box with beige textured wallpaper and a drop ceiling. I choose this room because I have a four week old baby, and I thought it would be a relatively “easy” project to tackle. I haven’t even fully completed demo yet, and I’m already feeling like I bit off more than I can chew. But I will press on.

My plan is to transform the 80’s basement/storage dump into an Australian meets California casual hang zone. There will be a family space and a kid zone complete with toy storage.



Basement Before
Basement Before
Basement Before


  • remove drop ceiling

  • paint raw ceiling

  • remove wallpaper

  • paint walls

  • paint fireplace

  • create kid zone

  • storage solution for toys

  • storage solution for styling props


Lauren Koster Creative One Room Challenge Basement Plans

family space: Article / rug: RugsUSA / coffee table: Eclectic Goods / side table: Urban Outfitters / bean bag chair: Joss & Main / peace flag: Kawaiian Lion

kid zone - play table: All Modern / wood and fabric: Target / white boxes: Ikea / terazzo floor pillow: Target / rug: Coco Carpets


One Room Challenge

Modern Office Organization

The last time my office got an official “overhaul” was back in 2014, you can see the throwback here. When the trends were still very bright and cheery and my aesthetic gravitated toward Oh Joy, rather than minimal and clean. These days I’m loving white, bright and light wood tones (as evident by the rest of the house). Still with some subtle pops of color.

I have A LOT of crap to hide, so as much as I want to actually be minimal, I need storage and organization. I am planning to tackle our basement level soon, but a complete office overhaul isn’t in the cards at the moment. I will slowly start to update and improve storage solutions in my office, maybe get it up to an instagramable level soon. Below are is my inspiration and clean picks for storage and organization.

Modern Desk Accessories


Nursery Tour with Beachy Vibes

I am really excited to be sharing baby #2’s nursery with you today!! I love the way it turned out. There are some similarities to Ollie’s nursery (we kept the crib, the chair and some decor), but this little guy’s vibes seem a little more sophisticated and have a lot more neutral vibes. The room is loosely surf themed, but more than that, the calming colors of a beautiful sunset. I choose light wood tones and subdued saffron in combination with denim blues.

This room does not have overhead lighting, so I added two paper lanterns that are able to turn on with a switch, thank the lord. I honestly may have passed this house up if we couldn’t work lights on a switch. It’s my biggest pet peeve. I digress. We kept the DIY daybed I made back when we were calling this a playroom. It will work great for feeding sessions, but will also make this room double as a guest room for a while longer.

I made the wall tapestry that hangs above the crib out of a drop cloth, leather swatches and thrifted jeans. I just love how it looks in combination with this Gunn and Swain blanket.

Surf Inspired Nursery
Surf Inspired Nursery
Surf Inspired Nursery
Surf Inspired Nursery

The rocking chair is the very first thing I bought for Oliver’s nursery. I recovered it aqua fabric for his New York-themed room.

Surf Inspired Nursery
Surf Inspired Nursery

crib: Babyletto / crib sheets: Mebie Baby / dresser: wayfair / rug: RugsUSA / mobile: Urban Outfitters / sun art: society 6 / rainbow art: Rylee & Cru / DIY platform bed: tutorial via A House in The Hills / mattress: autonomous / “you are magic” print: Rylee & Cru / wooden rainbow: Etsy / rust mudcloth pillow / white mudcloth pillow / blue pillow 1: Pepper Home / blue pillow 2: Pepper Home


Budget Kitchen Refresh

I’ve been putting off sharing this post, because my kitchen isn’t exactly where I want it. I was hoping to remove the bulkhead above the sink and change out the light. Instead there is a hole in the bulkhead and a light (that I’m not even sure I love for this space) sitting in a box. But I’m here, sharing and celebrating the in between and taking a cue from some of my favorite bloggers, Chris Loves Julia, and loving my home as it is.

This kitchen refresh, completed at 5 1/2 months pregnant, 95% solo, was really meant to be just a little lipstick to marry the kitchen to the spaces I’ve already tackled - the living room and the sunroom. Eventually I would like to gut and rework the whole space to give the kitchen more square footage, but for the time being, I am happy with the progress made.

Budget Kitchen Refresh


Budget Kitchen Refresh Before
Budget Kitchen Refresh


  • painted the cabinets using Valspar Cabinet Enamel in Origami White by Sherman WIlliams

  • switched out the hardware

  • removed cabinets on either side of the sink

  • added open shelving

  • painted backsplash - Ultra White by Sherman Williams

  • painted walls - Polar Bear by Behr

Budget Kitchen Refresh
Budget Kitchen Refresh
Budget Kitchen Refresh

I am no stranger to painting kitchen cabinets, this is my fourth, yes fourth go round, including a budget rental makeover, our last house, and my mom’s kitchen for the One Room Challenge. This time around it went very smoothly. I cleaned them really well with TSP, then gave a light sanding. Next I primed with Valspar bonding primer and rolled on the Cabinet Enamel in Origami White.

For the back splash I also used the bonding primer directly on the tile. Then I used a semi-gloss gloss paint in Ultra White on top. It’s only been two months, but it’s holding up really well.

Floating shelves - Target / hardware - Amazon / bowls - World Market / plates - World Market / pottery plates - World Market /


Light Wood Dresser Round-Up

Over here on the hunt for the perfect light wood dresser for the baby room. I thought I had found it in the Morris Dresser from Urban Outfitters. It’s the perfect size for a changing pad, modern lines, light wood color and the price is right. It was the first piece I pulled the trigger on for the nursery and it arrived broken. I also ended up thinking the color was more yellow than I liked, so I decided to return and restart my search. This wood tone is definitely trending, but it is not out there in a big way, especially in real wood furniture. You see this tone a lot in cheap MDF furniture. The tone compliments neutral color palettes not only for nurseries, but I could absolutely see it in a California modern guest or even master. For the room I’m working on, I haven’t made any official decision, but I am leaning toward the Nash from West Elm.



Modern Front Porch Updates

I have a lot, and I mean a lot of projects that I want to tackle on our exterior. At almost 30 weeks pregnant, I am running out of steam, especially for big jobs like staining our two story wrap around deck. This summer is all about the little things. I started with our front porch. There are still things I want to do here, don’t look too close at the stairs. But I removed the dated corbels, added some modern elements and pops of black to update this grey, 80’s porch. There will always be more to do, but loving the direction things are headed.

Modern Front Porch Decor


Front Porch Before
Modern Front Porch Decor
Modern Front Porch Decor