Welcome Design Aficionados, Upholstery Lovers, and Thrift Store Junkies!

I’m thrilled beyond belief to be a guest designer for the One Room Challenge this year! Or what I lovingly refer to as (hashtag) #ORC

“What exactly is the One Room Challenge?”

It’s brilliant…that’s what it is! Originally started in 2011 by Linda Weinstein who thought it would be fun and motivating to gather a few of her blogging friends together and create a challenge to complete a room in their own home in just 6 weeks! Because blogging is such a great way to share not only beautiful pictures, but also document the process of design, this event has exploded into a huge online extravaganza of design ideas that you, too can implement in your home! You can follow along all the participants HERE

This year the industry media partner is

This whole challenge kinda makes me feel like the county beauty queen showing up at a Miss America pageant. I’m totally outta my league here, but I’m going to do my best to bring you ideas that you can easily implement in your own home and on a real life budget!

So…without further adieu, let me share my ONE ROOM CHALLENGE with you!

Enter my friends and clients, Troy and Jill. They have a beautiful home and like most of us, their budget is spent on things like groceries, unexpected home repairs, and life in general. They would love to have a home that is as warm and welcoming as they are, but honestly? Spending tens of thousands of dollars to furnish it just doesn’t make financial sense. And now with a new grandbaby (Waverly is just the snuggliest thing EVER!) They prefer to spend their dollars supporting their only daughter and spoiling that little pumpkin. And can you blame them?

Troy and Jill. Aren’t they just soooo cute?

Troy and Jill. Aren’t they just soooo cute?

Sure, they COULD go out and buy new, cheap filler furniture just to take up space on the floor, but Troy knows better. He wants something that is going to last longer than the payment on it. A sofa that won’t sag when he sits on it in a few years.  But mainly? He wants his wife to be happy and that just melts my heart. (Awww!) Oh. And not too many pillows.

Jill wants color, yellows, pinks and greens. She wants the living room to be brighter and livelier. Whimsical and fashionable, but not too far out of her Midwestern traditional comfort zone. She loves a mix of colors, patterns, and textures. She dreams of a home with a “designer touch” that integrates all the things she sees in glossy magazines but hasn’t been able to achieve on her own. Won’t her book club be impressed?

Now here comes the real trick and the entire premise of my challenge.


Spoiler alert. You buy used. Stand back. I’m a professional.

Before I lose too many of you with an “EWWW” response, please. Just bear with me. I invite you to suspend judgment and follow us on this 6-week journey. See if any of these ideas are implementable into your lifestyle.

Now comes your next logical question. How does someone know what is worth buying used/vintage and what isn’t? And how did YOU become an expert on used/vintage? Well, new friends please allow me a quick introduction. 

Hi, I’m Richelle and I’m a residential designer and new blogger (still learning the tricks of that trade!) in the Kansas City area. I owned an upholstery workroom and design studio and I’ve seen some stuff. The good. The bad. And the downright dirty! I am a HUGE thrift store, garage sale, and estate sale fan. The thrill of the hunt makes me genuinely giddy. I also teach designers, decorators and design aficionados the tips and tricks of working with an upholstery workroom to revision their vintage treasures and how to source great custom upholstery, check it out here HAUS & HOME UPHOLSTERY ACADEMY

You can find me on Facebook or Instagram

Here’s the first secret I’m going to share with you.

Since so many Baby Boomers are downsizing, and may even be keepers of THEIR parents’ estates, all that great furniture and housewares must go somewhere! Who better than someone, like me (and maybe soon you?) to recognize the quality construction of furnishings made before the Regan Era, when everything quickly became manufactured to be “disposable?”

This challenge for this #ORC is to keep the budget to a real life $5000 to furnish the entire living room!  FYI -This isn’t contest requirement, its a real life thing for most people. My solution is to use primarily vintage or pre-loved well-constructed pieces. Here is the fine print, my services are pro-bono for this event because I’m hoping to use it as a shameless plug for my awesome design and vintage sourcing services!  

For that $5000 budget, I’ll be sourcing a sofa, multiple chairs, area rug, drapes, lighting, coffee and end tables, plus décor items to finish the space.  I plan to use a drapery workroom, an upholstery studio and a professional painter for my trades and I’m having some sentimental art pieces reframed to elevate their presence in the space.

While I always integrate at least one piece of vintage furniture into my design client’s projects, I’m not going to lie, this project is going to really push the envelope of my skills given the quick, 6-week project completion window and super tight budget!

Here are a few photos of the living room “before”

There are only a few sentimental things staying. The baby grand piano, the Grandfather clock, a pair of chairs Jill got from her church, and the bench in the Foyer. Because the space is open, I will be completing both the Living room and the Foyer area. The “boob” light is outta here!

Follow along with me over the next 6-weeks as the project unfolds and let me know what you think!

In the meantime, if you want to jump start your own pre-loved furniture adventure, let me offer a few quick tips:

1.  Measure your space and have a space plan in hand before you get going! Knowing that your wall needs a specific size piece will really help edit the options.

2. Look for quality construction. Once well made, always well made.  Avoid anything MDF

3. Be prepared to pay a little more than “yard sale” pricing for the good stuff. Put it into perspective, a used classic walnut hutch might be several hundred dollars, but a new one will be several THOUSAND!

Here’s a little  TEASER  of what’s to come!

Here’s a little TEASER of what’s to come!

 Watch next week for more info about buying great vintage/used furniture and what my room plan and design solution is for the space! If you want to be one of the first to know,

Better Homes and Gardens will be judging the entries and the winning TWO Designers will be featured in the Spring One Room Challenge and may gain sponsorship with these great design resources.