Whew! That was fun!

To get caught up on all the participants and previous weeks, click on image

To get caught up on all the participants and previous weeks, click on image

My first participation into the ORC realm was like a roller coaster ride. Remember when you were a kid and the Theme Park opened for the season and there was so much hype about the brand-new roller coaster? Everyone wanted to ride it. The few who had a chance to get on first loved it so much they were lining back up again just for the thrill of it. But no matter how much they tell you to be prepared for the first drop, you still feel your stomach in your throat. Your head whips around the corners and before it’s done, you’re either gripping on for dear life or throwing your hands up hoping to stretch out time and embrace the thrill of the screeching halt into the station.

I’m a both hands in the air kinda girl.

Enjoy the ride because it is over before it began. In fact, I’m one of those nut jobs that enjoys the anticipation of the unknown better than the actual event. I know you aren’t here to read about my roller coaster analogies and you really just want to SEE THE PICTURES already, but ya’ll…if you miss the lead up and the anticipation…you miss where the fun really happens.


For me on this ORC project, there was always something to do to move forward!  

And when a project just falls into place for you like that? It’s magical. Oh, sure there are things I wish could have been different about this space. I really, really wish that we could have skim coated those textured walls and used wallpaper instead of paint because I adore the extra interest that wallpaper adds, but oh well. Maybe when they are ready to do the next phase of the project, we can think about it. But overall, I’m happy with the results and the homeowners are seriously pleased – so in the grand scheme of things, that is all that really matters!

We started with a rough budget of $5000 to furnish this room. I like to think of this amount as a dartboard rather than a bull’s eye to account for the inevitable overages and last-minute accessories needed to fluff a space. But I intentionally did NOT over design this room. My goal was to select key, quality-built pieces that reflect my design mantra (adopted from the incomparable Sheila Bridges) to “Furnish Forward.” Invest in the best quality pieces you can afford and keep them for the long haul. For this budget and this project, found vintage and Facebook Marketplace were the ideal places to source key pieces.


The sofa is built by Rowe, a good, solid trade upholstery source that is re-upholster-able when the time comes to freshen the space. The fabric is a tough wearing performance fabric that had some surface fuzz that was easily remedied by an upholstery shaver found at JoAnns. A standard sweater shaver will do the same thing for you but take a bit longer. I also freshened the cushions with some Dacron to erase all signs of previous use. At $300, this was the piece I most worried about finding early on. Luckily, I know what to look for in well built upholstery, so score one for team ORC!

My second found piece was a 9’ x 13’ wool area rug by Karastan.  The colors were perfect! With a border edge and the apple green, teal, pinks and coral shades I knew it would anchor the conversation area. I priced this rug. This was a $5000 rug…found for $275!

I found a few accessories and an Ethan Allen Glass, brass and stainless coffee table that I replaced the glass on and a pair of $20 Asian inspired lamps that turned out to have solid brass finials! There was a fair bit of DIY on multiple pillows, painting an older dresser the client had in a back room, gilding a Facebook marketplace mirror and frames, and refinishing the tops of a pair of $75 vintage Hekman end tables. I also added after-market nails to a $179 storage bench I found at Home Goods that desperately needed something to make it more special.


But I really feel like the personality pieces of room are vintage armchairs I found for $200 and reupholstered in a geometric digitally printed velvet, was worth the splurge! With elegant legs, coil spring construction, classic lines and most importantly, a budget friendly tight back- tight seat shape, I wish these chairs could go home with me! I’m now obsessed with this fabric and walk around my house with the sample wondering where I can use it!

Now the entry area. Not a lot of available space to play with and not technically part of the challenge area, but I couldn’t very well ignore it, right? Besides that boob light was killing the mood. The church pew bench was one of the few things to stay, very sentimental for the family. I found an extremely low pile rug to clear the front door that had opening “issues” again, $75. I had a piece of street art the clients found in Paris professionally framed.

But that light fixture.


It was a piece I had been gifted from an ASID event and it was just sitting in my basement collecting dust. When I couldn’t find anything I liked for the space or for the budget? That fixture kept calling to me. The dramatic light and shadow play it throws off just makes me smile and makes me even happier to know it has a good home.

Let’s put it all together. The piano anchors the large bay window. The new bench doubles as both piano playing and extra seating when Jill entertains. The back wall balances the piano with the black storage dresser and will eventually have a cozy reading chair with ottoman to create a second seating area.  But for now, the Thibaut covered side chair and dresser hold down the far side of the room. I’m not opposed to a little breathing room in a space. Are you?


So the nitty gritty you are all waiting for. The final total number.

I spent about 35 hours of client interaction and DIY work on this project. I’m not counting the travel time to the project, because visiting my folks was the bonus there. I’m also not factoring in the amount of time it takes me to write these blogs and do #allthethings for marketing.

So, the big question here is, “Would this concept be a value for a consumer?” Let’s do the math:

My hourly rate at a flat $125 = $4375

The products cost for the room $5229.

Grand total = $9604 

For what would have been less than $10,000 (again, if I had charged for my time) my clients got a living room they now feel good about. One that they know will still be relevant and reflect their style in the coming years. Upholstered pieces they know will stand up to plenty of book club parties and family functions. A space plan they can add to in their own time and their own budget – for example – if someday they find a different piece to replace the dresser on the back wall, they know what size and function they need. Furnish Forward.

True, my fees would have been comparable to what was spent in product and you can certainly pull a project like this off on your own with time and diligence.  But here is the difference. When working with a design professional who knows their stuff, someone who can identify what is good vintage, good quality furniture you can rest assured. There’s a game plan. Confidence it all works together. That’s what I do. If you would like help with your next project, I’m here to help!


This season’s media partner is Better Homes and Gardens


Photography credit; Rodney Moore, Images by Moore

Photo editing credit; Linda Holt, Linda Holt Creative

5 Comments /Source

Richelle Plett

I have a bit of a "thing" for chairs. I love the social aspect of seating. Think about it...we have special chairs for everything! A time out chair, a potty chair, Dad's chair, mom's chair. Archie Bunker's worn out Lazy Boy. Goldilocks and the Three Bears broken chair wouldn't be the same without each character picking their own special space! Chairs are functional art. Self expression. I love them!