ONE ROOM CHALLENGE- The City Condo- Week 2

art -the dream is free poster

Aint that the truth?

I bought this print over the weekend because I just felt it perfectly captured the sentiment of the condo.  I KNOW that when we are done, this place is going to be fantastic,… but HOLY CRAP I have never worked harder in my life.

Welcome to week 2 of the One Room Challenge.  I have a lot to catch you up on.  (See Week 1 Here.)

demolition pictures

Demolition Baby.  It goes so fast and you think YAY I totally got this reno by the horns.  And then you get tripped up by things like crazy electrical behind the walls, water leaks, un-level floors, pealing paint and a condo that seems haunted by some ghost that really, really doesn’t want you to improve the place.  Poor Georgie... the heavy hitting part of the renovation has fallen on him.  The last owners cut every corner possible and he’s been cleaning up their mess.  I love him because he will never say NO, he can figure out how to build or solve anything and he will go to huge lengths to create something he thinks will make me happy.  But tackling this reno on top of his two full-time careers has been super duper tough and trying on us both.  There was a period of time in the late summer when I was sure this condo would break my bank account and break us at the same time.  I am extremely grateful to Linda and the awesome One Room Challenge sponsors.  They gave us the boost we needed to keep going, because otherwise, the place really may have sat like this for a while longer:

condo demo mess living area


The first major decision for us was flooring.  I knew I wanted the same material throughout, so it had to be practical enough to work in the kitchen and entry.  We both wanted to modernize the apartment and felt a dark wood floor was the way to go.  We hit up Lumber Liquidators and checked out a few laminates and engineered hardwoods.  G wanted to save $$ with the top left laminate, but I preferred the engineered wood option on the bottom left or the bamboo on the top right.  To recoup the money on the extra material and padding, we plan to set the floor ourselves.  Gulp.

flooring options

With flooring solidified, we picked paint colors.  We wanted soothing and modern, so we went for varying shades of gray. Painting took FOREVER.  Seriously, FML.  Next time I’m hiring a Pro.  Walls, trims, doors, ceilings, it’s just too much and I’ve ruined at least two pairs of yoga pants and my good pair of sneakers.  Why can’t I grasp the idea of work clothes?

paint colors

With our color scheme in place, the rest of the kitchen was a no brainer.  We removed the laminate countertop and dirty beige backsplash tile.  I got a remnant of black absolute granite for the perimeter cabients.  I figure it’s neutral and coordinates enough with the green granite island if I decide to keep it.  My only regret is that I didn’t spend a little extra to have the countertop honed.  I was trying to save money, but something things are just worth more!

Kitchen Construction Progress 1

My dad lent me our carpenter Angelo for two days.  He managed to tile the kitchen backsplash, bathroom floor, and tub walls in that short time span!  Thank goodness for Angelo.

I got a new stainless undermount sink but re-installed the old faucet.  It’s looking a little lame now, so there are plans to upgrade this fella.  Then I went to town painting the cabinet frames gray.  I thought for a moment about replacing the cabinets, but just didn’t feel it was worth it to tear them out and put up new ones,  The kitchen is mostly wall cabinets and the new ones wouldn’t have bells and whistles to make them much nicer than these.

Kitchen Construction Progress 2

What I AM splurging on is new cabinet doors.  I went for a simpler style (shaker) that will overlay the frames more than the old doors.  I rationalize I’m kinda saving here because I won’t need to paint them.  They will arrive with a nice factory finish paint job.  Really looking forward to seeing the doors up and brass hardware on the cabinets.


The bathroom has been the easiest part of the reno so far.  Probably because Angelo and our plumbers handled this part.  Thanks to Lowe’s I got a new bathtub and subway tile for the shower.  The white and gray palette is like a breath of fresh air and I swear it makes the room feel larger.  The curved tub literally does make the shower larger, so that’s nice too.

bathroom construction progress

I love the chevron pattern on the floor.  It creates just enough interest.  I thought it would have been a little boring to do linear patterns on both the walls and floor.  Just need to paint, install base trim and add accessories and this room will be done.


Wanting the architecture and decor to flow we are continuing our theme of black, white, gray and brass.  We will also be adding in wood furnishings to infuse a little extra warmth into the space.  Truth be told, I DO NOT have the whole scheme figured out yet, but I will be leaning heavily on the pieces below- furnishings we already own.

condo initial furnishings scheme- labeled

sofa / mirror / cabinet hardware / pendant light / table

Little did I know, but the ORC actually began a day in late April when I talked George into accompanying me to a furniture auction.  We knew the condo would be vacated soon and thought perhaps we would pick up a few pieces to stage the place.  Well we got into a bidding frenzy and scored the rosewood credenza and wood arm chair (a pair actually) that you see above.  If I knew then what I know now, perhaps I just would have just walked ran away.

The zebra rug (printed cowhide) was another random purchase I made earlier this year.  I thought I’d use it in my house, but it felt too busy, so I folded it up and saved it for a rainy day.   This condo is totally  affirming my belief that furniture hoarding is useful and necessary.

The sofa is my own- my longtime Martin Sofa by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.  It’s probably highly cray cray to move my only sofa from my own house to this apartment, but it makes more sense here.  Down the line I’ll buy something we like better for our own home. In the meanwhile we’ll just squat on one of the 27 chairs I own.

Sorry for the massively long post, but since we got a head start on the project, I wanted to catch you up on progress.  I’m REALLY hoping to share finished floors next week.  Wish us luck on a speedy and drama-free install.  I will feel so much better once the construction is done and I can clean up and reassess the space.


ORC PARTICIPANTS- 20 top designers/bloggers have been invited to this Challenge and will report their progress every Wednesday for the next 6 weeks.  Prepare yourself for some amazing makeovers.

See you next Week!  
Follow the 6 week Progression

  1. Pingback: ONE ROOM CHALLENGE ~ The City Condo ~ Week 6 - Design ManifestDesign Manifest

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  5. Um… you sleep? For real girl. You. Get. It. Done. This is going to be quite the makeover and I am excited to see it finished!

  6. Karena

    Naomi you are amazing beyond belief to accomplish this much so quickly. Your entire body must ache!! Love, love following along!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Palm Beach Chic!

  7. Vanessa

    I am loving this condo project! The before, during, and after photos are so fun. I don’t normally like black and white, but wow! I love it as part of the design scheme you’ve developed with the gray and brass. Love the kitchen light fixture, too! Thank you so much for sharing your progress! I can’t wait for your next update!

  8. Jana

    DAanng girl you get it DONE! I’ve only moved in our nightstands so, FAIL. Everything is looking amazing cannot wait to see more!

  9. Jamie Kowalchuk

    Looks great! What is the name of the tile that you used in the bathroom? I love it, and I love the chevron pattern you went with!

  10. GIRL! You always tackle the most insane projects! Making the rest of us look bad with our true one-room 😉 KIDDING. I’m so excited to see this total transformation!!! xo

  11. This is coming along so well! I am also taking part in the challenge, redoing my boys’ bedroom and feel so behind. I love the choices you are making for this. We putt eh wood floors down ourselves in the living area of our house last year. It was the hardest, and longest project we did. So worth it in look and savings though. I am excited to follow along with you!

  12. Holy progress update – it’s looking great! And seriously, I was saying the same thing about hiring a pro to paint next time too. I don’t know how this project was my breaking point with paint, but I want nothing to do with it past picking about colors next time!

  13. I’m missed last weeks post but just read both – Holy you are a trooper this is such a big project but you can totally do it. I love the progress in the kitchen, it already looks million times better & the bathroom floor is perfection!

  14. Wow. Props to you. This is bananas but if anyone can pull it off, it’s you!! It’s gonna be amazing.

  15. You are always busy. I don’t know when you sleep. George is amazing. Hang in there, and keep us posted.

  16. Wow, love the bathroom and your decor mood board! Can’t wait to see it all come together!!!

  17. I absolutely love how this is coming along Naomi! I am in the process of redoing my childhood home that just so happens to be rented out to tenants. I’m not sure if I will ever move back in so, like yourself, I don’t want to over-invest, but I still want the design to look great and potentially offer some resale value down the road. The kitchen is my main focus to wrap up this year and I want to keep the cabinet bases. Which by the way, probably have not been updgraded since 1946 when the home was built. Can you share where you purchased your cabinet fronts? Are they custom to fit your needs? I know Semi Handmade is great if you have Ikea but I need something I can customize dimensions on. Ideally, looking to get a simple shaker style and get them professionally painted.


    • Naomi

      Hi Yana,

      I used my cabinetmaker, Christiana Cabinetry. We are a dealer for them. I was able to totally tailor the size of each door and gave them the Ben Moore Paint color and sheen I wanted. I’m not that familiar with semi custom routes, but I’m sure google has many options. I just needed someone I could trust who could turn them around fast. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss more.

  18. I am so in awe. You are making amazing progress and making it all look easy.

    Love the timeless color palette and elements here too!


  19. tiina

    this is my favorite project by far, you and your team are so talented and I can’t wait to see all finished! I’m sending you lots of good-luck wishes from Sweden (actually from Mallorca right now)

  20. Kate

    I love what you did with the bathroom floor!

    Classic Gray is my new favorite paint color. I just did an entire bedroom in it, and it is so pretty and soothing and modern. Excellent choice!

  21. Mercedes

    Loving the bathroom and looking forward to seeing the reveal. Four weeks to go!

  22. Lydia

    You’ve gotten SO much done! You should be proud! It’s looking great! The bathroom tile is beautiful and that curved tub is super cool!

  23. You are accomplishing so much!! I am adding all the ORC participants to my blog roll to keep up with what you all are doing. This is so fun! Your condo is going to be amazing when you are done!!!


  24. Coming here always makes me feel better lol. My post is so ridiculously long so again, safety in numbers…loved reading yours! You are my hero tackling all of this and getting so much done in one week- seriously…you are the real deal. The kitchen grey looks amazing and the wallpaper in the cupboards is genius. The bathroom looks so pretty and I love the furniture plan- hello auction scores!!!! You’re amazing and this place is going to be perfect!

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