One Room Challenge // Kitchen Renovation Week 3

Week three, of the One Room Challenge. If you haven’t been following along, check out week 1 and week 2, or I’ll catch you up to speed real quick. I am DIY renovating my mom’s kitchen. The trick is she lives across the state, so beyond the super tight 6 week timeline, I am limiting myself to about 4, 5, if absolutely necessary long weekends.

I don’t have too much new to report since week 2, because I did not go to my mom’s last weekend. I stayed here and finished up the AMAZING banquette bench I designed and my father-in-law made. I am soooo excited to share that with you next week. But this week, I am sharing my lighting and hardware choices.

Lighting - There are three fixtures in my mom’s kitchen (see the before pictures). One above the kitchen table, one in the middle of the kitchen and one above the sink. I started with the chandelier above the table, my major source of lighting inspiration is the first photo below of Chris and Julia of Chris Loves Julia’s kitchen. I love this chandelier. I love that the straight arms feel modern, but the shades feel traditional. The only problem is that it’s not available and I couldn’t find anything similar in budget, so I want with a more traditional “modern farmhouse” fixture. You can see it below.

Second, I tackled the fixture above the kitchen. My mom had a small bronze chandelier, and I swapped it for a schoolhouse fixture with a clear bowl, which takes up much less space visually.

One of the items still left on my todo list is to convert the fixture above the sink from an inset to a pendant. I choose a simple pendant from Target, but I love how it ties the black and bronze of the other two fixtures.

One Room Challenge Light Fixture Inspiration
One Room Challenge Light Fixture Inspiration

photo: 1 / 2

One Room Challenge Lighting and hardware

Lighting: school house fixture / chandelier / pendant

Hardware: pulls / knobs

In my original design plan, I had decided on black hardware, then as I went through all my inspiration photos, I realized everything I was pinning had brass hardware, which added just the perfect amount of bling to the room. So I returned all the knobs and pulls I already purchased and went with the choices above. I definitely made the right choice. I am so thrilled with how the look.

This weekend is going to be a major week. I am hitting Ikea on the way to my mom’s to pick up accessories. Then we will install the remainder of the countertops and sink and tile the backsplash, plus about 100 other miscellaneous items. Wish me luck!


One Room Challenge // Kitchen Renovation Week 2

Week 2 of the One Room Challenge. I’ve had 10 break downs thinking it will be impossible to finish, followed by several todos checked off. In case you missed last week, I am working on my mom’s kitchen, which needed a MAJOR update.

It’s been a week. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you know that my grandma passed away last Friday. It’s strange because my dad passed away during my first One Room Challenge, I almost feel like I am cursed and I’m afraid to do another. Since I am working on my mom’s kitchen, which is over two hours away from where I live, Grandma’s passing actually allowed more time for the project. In between family time, I was a working machine and had some extra helping hands, plus it took my our minds off the sadness. The kitchen is coming along really well, and currently, I actually feel like we could pull it off.

Today I’m going to share my paint palette choices. I LOVE me a white kitchen. I have painted two kitchens white, including a rental and my last home. when I asked my mom if I could help tackle her kitchen, she was totally game, basically gave my free reign. I know her style, modern country, and I wanted to push her just a little out of her comfort zone. I automatically knew I wanted to do a palette of white and grey, but oh so many choices.

One Room Challenge Paint Color Choices

I bought a few paint samples on my first trip to Home Depot. I brought back my favorite white, Polar Bear by Behr, a beautiful warm grey I used in my bathroom, Cotton Grey by Behr, as well as an off white I’ve used, Swiss Coffee by Behr.

One Room Challenge Paint Color Choices
One Room Challenge Paint Color Choices
One Room Challenge Color Inspo

After inspiration shopping on Pinterest, I knew I wanted to do the uppers and lowers different. My initial thought was Swiss Coffee for the uppers, Cotton Grey for the lowers, and Polar Bear for the walls, but after painting a swatch on the cabinets, the Cotton Grey looked very light, and much cooler than it had when I used it before. I ended up going back to get more swatches and choosing a darker grey for the lowers. I went with a darker grey lowers, True Taupewood, which contrasts nicely against the off white uppers. My mom wasn’t loving the bright white walls, so in another twist, I put the light Cotton Grey on the walls and ceiling. The blue is for the door, I went with a color called Opera Glasses.

One Room Challenge Color Palette
One Room Challenge Progress

For hardware, I was torn, I planned on doing black or rubbed bronze, I bought all the knobs, then after more Pinterest browsing, I back tracked and went with gold tones. Mom had gold hardware before, but bad, shiny gold, I found some knobs with nice tones that add warmth and shine, without being blingy.

Here is a progress shot of how I added trim to the cabinet faces. I did a whole post on this a few years back. You can read all about the process here.

One Room Challenge Progress

You can see the painted Cotton Grey swatch on the right drawer below. It’s the same color of the panelling and walls, but looks much lighter.

One Room Challenge Progress

You can see a sliver of the section of butcher block we installed in the photo above. Here is what we’ve done so far:

  • added trim to cabinets

  • painted and reinstalled uppers

  • painted lowers

  • added trim to paneling

  • painted walls and ceiling

  • swapped out one light fixture

  • painted door

  • painted most of the trim

We still have to:

  • cut and install butcher block counter tops

  • tile backsplash

  • install sink

  • install two light fixtures

  • make and install banquet seating

  • accessorize

See all the before photos on week 1. Don’t forget to follow along on instagram and see our inspiration on Pinterest.


One Room Challenge // Kitchen Renovation Week 1

I am so excited to be participating in my second One Room Challenge. If you are not familiar, the One Room Challenge is a huge blogger challenge, currently in it’s 15th season, where 20 “headline” bloggers and hundreds of guest bloggers renovate a room in 6 weeks and document their progress on their blog and social channels. You can follow along with all the guests and bloggers here.

The first One Room Challenge I did was in spring of 2017, I turned my garage into my studio. This time, I went even bigger. I am tackling my mom’s very dated kitchen. During the last One Room Challenge I did, my dad passed away. That was a big catalyst for my family to move back across the country to Michigan to be closer to family. Since we are still in between homes, I thought helping my mom tackle her kitchen would be a great way to spend quality time with my mom. My mom is the most generous person I know, I am honored to be able to give something back to her.

My mom is planning to move out of her house, my childhood home, in the next few years. My goal is to update her current space to give her a modern traditional kitchen that will be a lovely space to spend her last months in a home she’s lived in for almost 40 years, and will also help with resale value, all for a tight budget. This mood board is my inspiration for this project. Colors will mostly be grey and white with warm wood tones and blues brought in through accessories.

Studio McGee One Room Challenge Inspiration
Modern Traditional Kitchen

The space needs A LOT of love. It was last updated around 1995, and that was also on a budget. Currently it’s a farmhouse Christmas wonderland, the cabinets are bright green and the paneling is dark red, with plaid wallpaper and a farmhouse border with actual farm animals. The counter tops and backsplash are laminate and there is a lot that doesn’t seem to function well for my mom and brother. I plan to address it all.

One Room Challenge Kitchen Before

Here’s what we are tackling:

  • adding trim, painting cabinets, changing hardware

  • updating trim (goodbye scallops)

  • butcher block counter tops

  • built in banquet seating that will also function as a dog cage

  • removing wallpaper

  • adding trim to paneling and painting walls

  • update lighting

One Room Challenge Kitchen Before
One Room Challenge Kitchen Before
One Room Challenge Kitchen Before

Click here over to my Pinterest board to see all my inspiration and sources I’m planning on using.

Dream Home 2.0 // Big Boy Room

The e-design of my dream home series continues, this time I’m sharing Ollie’s big boy room. When we left New York, our little dude was still in a crib. The crib will stay in storage when we get to our new home and Ollie will get his very own big boy bed! I have big plans to whip up this Ikea hack to give my boy the upholstered bed he’s never dreamed of. I’m feeling inspired to use a lot more pattern, and of course, a lot more color in a little boy’s room, than in the other rooms I’ve shared. I am just in love with the mud cloth wallpaper pattern in the photo below on the right, by Spoonflower, it’s in consideration once we see a space. I also love how the room on the left incorporated the pattern into the headboard. I also want to upgrade his kiddo art work (check out his nursery here) and incorporate more photography. And of course, some really fun elements like the dinosaur lamp pictured below.

Big Boy Bedroom Inspiration

photos: 1 / 2 / 3

Big Boy Bedroom e-design

Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts

I have to admit I seriously geek out over good organization. I like to spend days, weekends even, sorting, cleaning and making labels for my closets, drawers and cabinets. An organized space functions better, and something that functions better, makes your life better, thus an organized space really makes your life better. In fact, one of my favorite organizers on the list below, Shira Gill, argues that cleaning and organizing your sock drawer can change your life. No seriously, she explains herself in episode #216 of The Life Coach School Podcast. She also has a free download guide to tackle small space to change your life! I totally believe it too. I’ve been thinking about how much better my life would be if my desktop, both physical and virtual were clean, but I never take the time to put in to practice a system that would keep them both clean forever. These Instagram accounts are inspiring me to change my ways and up my organizational game. Here Container Store, take all of my money!


Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts


Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts


Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts

follow @shiragill


Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts


Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts

follow @hordlynyc


Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts


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Favorite Organizational Instagram Accounts

Interior Trends // Curved Sofas

Last week Goop launched their collaboration with CB2, and it is so dang pretty! I am especially attracted to the perfectly architectural and feminine curved sofa. It’s not the first time that Goop has brought an underground trend to the mainstream, and this time it was the curved sofa. I’ve been seeing this trend out there via high-end, modern designers, but until it wasn’t until I saw the CB2 sofa that the trend was really brought to light for me. After I took to Pinterest to find more images, my lukewarm feelings for this piece of furniture became red hot!

The curved sofa harkens back to vintage styling of the 50’s and 60’s. The Italians seemed particularly found of this shape, as well as American mid-century modern designer, Vladimir Kagan. There are many vintage options out there, but they come with a hefty price tag. There are also numerous modern versions popping up, you can shop my picks below. Whether vintage or new, velvet is the fabric of choice for this statement piece.

Curved Sofa
Curved Sofa
Trend Alert: Curved Sofa
Curved Sofa Trend

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Where to Put A TV In a Room With A Fireplace

Okay, this is a pretty specific topic, but it's definitely a interior design conundrum and it's been on my mind. As we've been house shopping, I naturally try to picture our things in each space. Every time I see a home with a fireplace my mind immediately thinks, "where will I put the TV?" I am not really a fan of the hanging the TV above the fireplace thing. I love idea of having a mantel to be styled and restyled with the season or when I buy new things. With a TV there, the styling options are drastically reduced. I also think often when hung above the fireplace, the TV is higher than optimal viewing height leaving the family and guests with kinked necks when trying to watch a program. But sometimes above the TV really is the best, or in some cases, the only option. In our old house, we didn't have a fireplace in our living room, so we put the TV on an Ikea hacked "fauxdenza" (see the DIY tutorial here), I loved that thing. But looking at new homes has me considering all the options. Here are a few of my favorite placement ideas if you are faced with this interior design conundrum.


Sometimes the best option for television placement is above the fireplace. Here are a couple examples where the design is so good, I don't even notice the black box. 

Where should I put my TV?


This would have to be my favorite option. The fireplace remains the focal point, and the placement of the TV looks completely natural and not forced at all. Plus there are plenty of surfaces to style. 


I love the way the designer laid out this living room. The main seating, the sofa is facing the television, but should the fire be on, the focal point can easily turn toward the fireplace. Additionally, the pop of blue in the fireplace mantle draws your eye away from the black box. 


My final option to solve the where to put the tv conundrum is the Samsung Frame TV. While it doesn't solve the problems I stated above about the kinked neck and the styling the mantel, but the Frame TV is super stylish and can be programed to display one of hundreds of images while idle, making the television look like a work of art instead of a black box. 

Where would you or do you hang your TV?

Dream Home 2.0 // Studio

I dream of my studio. Like create a mood board, visualize the perfect workspace kind of dream. While house shopping, after the living room, and kitchen, it's the next space I try to picture. My dream studio would be an out building, separate from the main living space, but I am more than okay with a large bedroom or converting a second living space into my work space. But, the space needs to bright for photographing flat lays and DIY tutorials, but also have plenty of wall space for shelving storage for all my supplies and goodies. This dream room has a desk with a few work spaces, as well as a meeting/project table, plus a space for a mood board wall. The color palette of course fits the rest of the house, neutral-based with pops of color that tie into the Lauren Koster Creative brand. Here is my mood board with the look and feel, as well as the virtual design. 

Dream Studio Inspiration

photos clockwise from upper left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Dream Studio


Keep up with the rest of the dream home series here