So…I’ve been holding on to a little secret, okay, a BIG secret. Actually, I don’t even think I can call it a secret, it’s more like, I just haven’t blogged about it.
We moved in July, yeah…like 10 months ago. We received orders to San Diego, California just as we were finishing up our major Virginia home remodel. It was very tough to say a temporary goodbye to our home. So much tears, sweat and blood and still so much I wanted to do to it! BUT we are very lucky that a wonderful fellow Marine Corps family is calling it home while they are stationed in Virginia. Semper Fidelis. It’s obviously taking me forever to reveal all of those rooms and I still plan on revealing them. I’ve had to overcome this massive mental block of wanting to make each blog post linear. Simply not going to happen. I wanted to clean up my website, make a logo, really fine tune my brand THEN tell you about our new chapter. I also wanted to tell the story of how we got to California and THEN tell you about the housing situation and the design process that is happening inside the military housing, BUT life.kept.happening. Babies don’t stop growing, laundry doesn’t stop accruing, and the creativity – that never stops. So in the spirit and words of Marie Foleo: I’m starting before I’m ready.
Enter the One Room Challenge. I have LOVED watching the results that come from the design processes of my fellow DIY home bloggers. I have wanted to sign up so many times, but watched Spring and Fall come and go without signing up. Record scratch…This is my year! I owe the motivation to multiple factors, but primarily I owe it to the encouragement of Hubs – “Just do it, we can totally do this. Just promise me, you’ll only do one ROOM at a time, not one HOUSE at a time.” You’ve got yourself a deal handsome, now kindly hand me my sketch book and log me into Pinterest. Also, attending Alt Summit earlier this Spring – before the COVID-19 bomb dropped – introduced me to so many AMAZING women that are out there killin’ it! Lastly, we just bought a house! Today – TODAY – we signed the closing papers! I know…it’s crazy, but stay tuned and I’ll lay out my crazy plan. I’m rollin’ hot with tons of encouragement, motivation and a whole new house to play with. Let’s do this!
So what is this challenge all about? Glad you asked! The One Room Challenge is this super energetic, inspiring and uplifting online community created to help encourage all of us to tackle one room in our home and make it reflective of those that live in it – singles, roomies, families of all shapes and sizes, four legged friends – you name it! Better Homes and Gardens – yup, you’ve heard of them and have flipped through their magazines before – they are the awesome media sponsor for the challenge. If you haven’t started following @BetterHomesandGardens or #BHGORC on Instagram yet – then stop reading right now and follow along – you won’t regret it, I promise! Okay, now focus back here. Every Wednesday, 20 featured designers will post an update and every Thursday, guest participants – like me – will post an update on their room. Normally, the challenge runs for 6 weeks, due to COVID-19, the ORC staff has extended the challenge to 8 weeks. That means, for the next 8 weeks I will be posting regularly. *Cue internal monologue: You’ve got this Ashley-Anne, you’ve totally got this!!! * Follow along and encourage others to follow along on this journey with me – and all of the other amazing designers listed on the ORC website. It’s like the most addictive eye candy ever. Again, this is exactly the push I need to jump on in and I’m super excited that you’ll be here with me, so here we go!
Our new Southern California home is nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by amazing mountain views. Couple that with the endless- summer weather of SoCal and you’ve got a serious need for an outdoor area that allows for dining and lounging. That’s exactly what you were thinking too, right?! Our new home has the PERFECT back patio space to do just that. When we toured the home, I knew I had to make the patio our al fresco dining room and include a spot where I could pretend like I was a Hollywood star lounging away in the warm California sun wearing an extra large brimmed straw hat, white framed sunglasses, red lipstick and an embroidered, silk kimono over my designer swim suit – or just a spot to sit while I watch my three crazy boys and one very giant, Giant Schnauzer go wild while I wear paint stained leggings and an old t-shirt. #letskeepitreal
Requirements for the ideal SoCal patio:
- Outdoor dining space
- Sound of trickling water
- Stylish shade
- Lounge spot
- Broad leafed plants
- Mood setting lighting
Buying a house during a pandemic is very interesting. We made our offer the week prior to everything beginning to shut down. We didn’t know what would happen with the real estate market (we still don’t), or if the seller’s would still be in a position to sell, or if we could even rent a truck when we needed it! Our offer was accepted, (this was our 5th house that we made an offer on and the only one without multiple bidders – one silverlining to the pandemic), we had to sign special document that basically said if we lost our jobs, the market tanked or the sellers backed out – the transaction could be terminated. We are lucky to both still have our jobs and even though we were hesitant, we pressed on with the deal. We had ONE walk through opportunity. ONE. I’ve swiped left and right through the MLS listing photos enough times to make an indent on my phone. The home inspection can back as near perfect as you could get it. We locked in an AMAZING rate. We’ve been on bated breath for the last 6 weeks – ohhh…I promise no pun intended – in a few days, we get the keys. Finally in a house we can call our own. Tomorrow, we get to see the house for the second time to complete our final walk through, just plan on seeing more real time photos then. Until then, here’s what we’re working with:
Our California home has a modern twist on a Spanish Colonial aesthetic. A clean, neutral palette, just waiting to be infused with color, pattern and texture. I’ve come up with this design to bring in those elements:
I’ll be sprucing up pieces of furniture I already own, building a few new elements and purchasing some elements that I’m not yet crazy enough to make by myself. Follow my Instagram stories to see how I tackle the following projects:
- Refinish my old breakfast table and chairs into an al fresco dining set.
- Address the blank concrete floor – stencil? Throw a big rug down? Stencil a big rug? TBD.
- Fun with fountains! I’ve designed a fountain that I’ll build to add color and create the trickling water sound.
- Glamorize a boring patio umbrella OR build a pergola. Both create stylish shade, one just gives a whole lot more of it. Decisions, decisions….
- Design and build an outdoor daybed that I can lay on and dream about being rich enough to have all my patio furniture designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, oh, and yes, watch the kids from.
- Create a patio garden of lush plants that bring color and movement to the space.
- Hang some Moroccan inspired lighting that gives a warm glow at night and visual interest during the day.
- Give the built in grill/serving bar a much needed makeover.
- Lastly, accessorize, accessorize, accessorize.
I have done so much prep work already knowing that during the 1st week of the challenge, I’ll be in a U-haul truck by day and knee deep in boxes by night. All of the materials have been ordered and are on their way to our new address. Some of the refinishing and sewing has already been done. A few more decisions need to be made, but I’ll have to wait until I can move about our new patio freely with measuring tape in hand.
Yes, the first week will be a bit chaotic, but you know what? In a military lifestyle, you don’t have time to waste when it comes to setting up a home. I feel the timing of the ORC couldn’t have been better! Let’s just hope those don’t turn into my famous last words…
One Room Challenge, accepted. Now don’t forget to follow along!