One Room Challenge – Fall 2023

Week One: The Master Bedroom & the Military-Wife Mindset

Let’s start off with a little about the One Room Challenge, or ORC as I’ll lovingly be referring to it for the next 8 weeks.

The One Room Challenge (ORC) was started by design blogger Linda Weinstein of Calling It Home blog several years ago. It was a way for her & a group of fellow bloggers to focus on decorating a room in their homes over a six week period. Each week they blog about the progress and the pitfalls, & on week number 6, they all celebrate their beautiful finished rooms. It grew from there into a nationally (& even internationally) recognized event within the industry every Spring and Fall.

Hundreds of guest participants from all over the world also makeover rooms, & it is quite an amazing media extravaganza within the industry with Apartment Therapy being the official media partner of the ORC. To date, hundreds of rooms have been made over thanks to the ORC.

My ultimate goal would be to one day be selected as one of 20 designers who are featured with national brand sponsors, but for now I finally have the time, the space & the following to take on this project. For those of you with indecision fatigue or who seem unable to bring a room from start to finish, have no fear, you’re in good company here.

As a designer, I often lament about the “Cobblers’ children have no shoes” – as rooms in our home are constantly evolving (which is normal & what I want), but the U.S. Navy moves & rental homes add in a unique element, then toss in the constant thought of “… But I know there’s something more perfect for this space out there…” because I am inundated, daily, with beautiful images & objects for home.
(See below, my constantly evolving virtual hoarding AKA Inspo Board)

So I’m using the Fall 2023 ORC as an opportunity to focus on our Master Bedroom with the “Military Wife” mindset that what I create in this room must be functional to move from home to home, to weather a move without damage, & simultaneously be a “complete” design here in WA. but not so complete, that I can’t add to it over time either in our Jacksonville, FL home or any other abode we’ll find ourselves in for the next few (8.5) years until Mr. Z retires.

Important note for full disclosure, the challenge is 8 weeks in total, not including time spent planning, preparing, ordering beforehand, finding a new workroom here in WA. I actually began planning out everything I would need back in June (and here we are, Week One on September 27th).

But I digress. Our Master Bedroom has been the bane of my existence since our marriage began three blissful years ago. Being a man of classic taste, Mr. Z came into our relationship with a dark wood furniture set from Haverty’s. While it is solid wood, it lacked a lot of pizazz. So from the get-go I knew this would be a slow process of getting Mr. Z to acquiesce from changing a “Perfectly good set of matching furniture” to “Hello, my wife is a designer who has a vision for this space that I trust.” (I know there are plenty of wives and girlfriends out there laughing & agreeing with me, so here’s to solidarity, sisters!)

So here’s what it looks like now (prepare to be underwhelmed):

A few things to note, the clapboard walls are permanent to this home, therefore no paint, artwork, bed cornice or wallpaper can happen here. The king pillow shams were appliqued back in Jacksonville when we first got the diamond matelass√© coverlet and shams. The euro shams were my jumping off point to bringing in some color, but I hadn’t yet found my typical ‘inspirational’ fabric print.

Brown, brown, more brown.

An antique gate leg table from Mr. Z’s grandparents made its way into our bay window area in our WA. home & the drapes were leftover inexpensive ones from our Jacksonville, FL home when we first moved in. Not a lot of color. And then, Mr. Z came home from work one day and said “Our room is really drab, can you add some color in here?” and those were the magical words I had been waiting (planning?) on.
I launched into telling him my plan was to use our Master Bedroom for this fall’s ORC & here we are.

A sneak peek into the bits & pieces that will bring this room from drab to fab:

  • Pulling in colors from the rest of our home into our room, while keeping it more restful
  • Plenty of variety in textures (rugs, drapes, bedding, upholstery)
  • Original art
  • Upgrade the “furniture set” mirror & dresser combo with an antique Sirocco mirror
  • Deconstruct the “furniture set” bed and nightstands look with color and upholstery
  • Lighten the bay window with sumptuous curtains and trim
  • Timeless details
  • A dash of ‘whimsy’ to complete the Fresh Traditional style

Design Concept:

Punch List of Items to be Completed by Week 8:

  • Custom upholstered headboard with slipcovers that can be easily removed for military moves
  • Custom coordinating bed skirt with extra drop to cover the tricky wide platform ledge, again needs to be easily removed for moves
  • Professionally painted nightstands, add glass topper. Triple-seal clear coat for durability (military moves).
  • Upgrade lamps
  • Upgrade all furniture hardware
  • Custom bolster pillow on bed
  • Recover cane chair seats and add custom pillows
  • Professionally painted cane chairs, finish with triple-seal clear coat for durability
  • Source original artwork for gallery wall
  • Source gallery wall frames and mats
  • Source “retail ready” curtains at a price point that won’t hurt if they don’t fit in our next home
  • Add trim to curtains
  • Source finishing accessories for nightstands, dresser & gate leg table
  • Add faux greenery in plants, stems or small indoor tree
  • Source duvet cover for end of bed

Items to be added in our more permanent home will include a semi-flush mount chandelier, wainscoting, freshly painted walls, framed wallpaper panels on either side and above the bed or a bed cornice.

Among the next 8 weeks, I’ll also be hosting Mr. Z’s parents, my parents, host our monthly book club meeting, start working here in WA with 3 local clients, & continue working with my clients in Tampa, Orlando & Pensacola!

I’m so excited you’re here & I hope you’ll check back each Wednesday as we link-up our blog posts with the One Room Challenge Week 1 Updates & share updates to our Master Bedroom!
I also can’t wait to see what some of my favorite ORC designer-friends will be up to this fall.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook!


Brittany “Bee” Zimmerman

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