One Room Challenge - Week 5 - in which the heroine addresses a crisis of confidence

Creating a good work of art takes time.
It demands patience.
It can't be rushed.
There will be days, months, years even, when you look at your canvas and think all the time you've spent on it has been for nothing.
But that's just exactly when you have to keep on going.
Because the day will arrive when you realize that all those insignificant little dots were adding up to something extraordinary.

                                                                                                                                                    Lisa Borgnes Giramonti

While I certainly do not count myself as an artist per se, I do consider any room that I design a canvas of sorts.  For that matter, I consider life to be a canvas of sorts, but that is a dissertation for another day. As with many artists, I fall victim to self-doubt throughout the ebb and flow of my creative process.  This round of The One Room Challenge™ is no exception.   Here in week 5 I have to remind myself to just keep on going because it feels as though no significant progress has been made even though I have been working all week in this 5 x 11 box of a room.


If you have no earthly idea what I am talking about then get out from under your rock and read about it here.  If you are visiting for the first time, what took you so damn long?  I am re-doing my bathroom in 6 weeks as part of The One Room Challengelinking event. For a recap of weeks 1 – 4 click on the links below:

Whenever I find myself with a crisis of confidence or in a creative stale mate, I seek inspiration from kindred spirit animals.  Lisa Borgnes Giramonti is one such animal.  Although we have never spoken or even ever exchanged so much as an email, I am wildly inspired by her. I feel her, deeply.  I react viscerally to her writing, her love of literature, and her profound appreciation for detail in the art of living.  The art of living is something about which I feel quite passionate.  While I concede that we are not solving humanity's problems with good design or the One Room Challenge, specifically, the importance of art in life, which as it turns out, is nothing more than committing to something and following through wholeheartedly with your best work or intention, is as vitally important as breathing.

Committing to a challenge to re-do a room from start to finish in 6 weeks may seem easy.  It may even seem frivolous.  Let me assure you, that it is not.  When you add to that - public accountability in the social media arena, it is a downright terrifyingly defining call-to-action. Even when armed with a team of professionals ready to do your bidding, delays happen.  And I don’t have a team of professionals on hand… The deadline is precisely what makes participating in this so exciting and nerve-wracking and marriage-wrecking all wrapped into one. Even though art cannot be rushed, deadlines keep us accountable. As Ira Glass advocates, all of us who do creative work get into it because we have decent taste, or at least we think we do, and we realize that we must do a lot of work, even if it isn't that great, in order to create something extraordinarily special.  We must set deadlines for ourselves to turn out the work. Each and every time I agree to do the ORC, I know I am chasing that elusive 'special greatness' or in the parlance of connoisseurs, my master piece.  But, as Ira points out, most quit too soon. Most give up in the mediocre stages of creation, and this is what I must remind myself in the midst of each round - especially in week 5 with disparate patches of dry wall dots.  I know I am not great.  I know that my reach does not always match my vision.  But one thing I have learned from being a perfectionist, is that it is far better to try and fail with your whole heart, then to have never failed at all because you didn't try, or worse, because you only tried half-heartedly.

This ORC thing is mind boggling to my mister.  It is down right confounding to my non-design amigos.  It seems easy to my fellow arm-chair decorating enthusiasts who peruse Pinterest and tear inspiration sheets from shelter mags.  I know this first hand because I was one during the first handful of rounds. It is an entirely different thing altogether to design a room and take it from concept through to full installation – let alone do it in 6 weeks, in the public arena, on any kind of reasonable budget.  

My friend Linda from Calling it Home started this brilliant ORC a few years ago and it has since become a major phenomenon, rightfully so, trademarked, with mega watt participants, mondo reno budgets, sponsors, and editorial worthy results.  But at its core the ORC has always been about motivating and inspiring creative people to do more of their own work.  As a result, legions of creatives have rallied to the call and have done an extraordinary thing.  They have created. And continue to create their own work and put it out there, which in turn, inspires others to create.  While I stress about whether or not I will finish, or while I experience crazy pangs of anxiety about falling short, or whether or not my vision will live up to expectation, I remind myself of both the smallness and bigness of the task at hand. I am creating for creation sake, with my whole heart, so that one day, after many, many creations, I can realize that special thing.  But it is also just a damn room.

What does all this rambling esoteric mumbo jumbo mean?  It means that I need to simply get on with it, and leave the doubt behind. I will do what I set out do.  Create a room.  It may be great or it may not. I hope it happens within the allotted amount of time. At the outset in Week 1, I said this would be a simple refresh project.  Slap some paint on the walls, switch out some hardware, and fancy up a shower curtain.  Best laid plans of mice and men…

But like with many projects, scope creep has happened.  Things have evolved from the original plan... 

to this..

Instead of a simple vanity light swap, I got blinded by the light of gold petal sconces and a vintage glamazon 70s brass chrome paramour that I have been quietly stalking for no less than 2 years.  No exaggeration. 

Last week I left off hoping that we could run the electricity without incident over the weekend and I am happy to report that our marriage survived the task at hand.  The kharmic explosion of the combo fan/light, while in my best interests for a new-to-me brass light, left a huge gaping square hole in the ceiling.  We got the electrical sorted out and in the practical interest of ease, we elected to wait to put the fixtures up until after painting, given the size and shape of the fixtures. Fingers crossed our electrical wizardry is correct.

Moving electricity from an overhead vanity to sconces and replacing a torched overhead fan/light combo has resulted in the neverending  patch work story. Which leads to lots of waiting for said patches to dry.  And lots of sanding.  And lots of cleaning.  And more patching and more waiting.  And more sanding.  Rinse and repeat.  While I was up on my ladder patching holes, I came face to face with the slap shod drywall work I did 8 years ago.  It was lumpy bumpy at best.  I rushed the paint job 8 years ago and I am rectifying those mistakes this go round.  That of course means more sanding and patching.  But I have made progress, or at least more of a mess.  Case in point:

in which I thought I was done with a few simple patches

in which I realized that the walls looked like the back of my thighs

oh look, a tiny hole patch...

oh wait, many more patchy patches.  at least I have sconce wiring, right?

All of this to say that I am almost exactly where I was last year when faced with the reality of going into week 5 without paint on the walls.  My right arm has once again fallen off from fatigue and landed somewhere in Australia. Which means nothing gets installed until paint is dry.  Which really means I have no idea if my vision is any good in reality. What if I hate the paint? Hence that inevitable moment of self-doubt - that creative process of a hamster wheel that runs the gamut of euphoric best idea ever, humbling self-doubt, down to the crippling realization of minimal progress, intoxicating hope of survival, and back up to euphoric amazingness of concept realized.  Let’s hope I can claw my hamster butt up from feeling that my efforts have been futile through hopes of survival and back to euphoric amazingness.

Because current reality looks a lot like this:

Finish sanding walls to glossy smoothness
Prime ceiling and walls
Paint ceiling
Paint walls and trim
Paint beadboard
Install overhead light
Install sconces
Install towel rod
Install shower rod
Install faucet
Finish trim on curtain
Hang art
Shoot room

Shiver me patchy freakin timbers.

But I cannot leave you in an esoteric pit of despair.  On the upside, I received my JennyAndrews-Anderson painting and it is simply brilliance in art form.  A true artist.  And at 3pm today, brass sexiness arrived at my door in the form of my faucet which I ordered only 2 days ago.  Bam.  Love me some Amazon Prime.

By next week, I will have rushed to get a finished product to show you on time.  It is my hope that in the end, all of my insignificant-seeming little patch dots add up to something quite extraordinary. While I am hoping for a glamorous loo worthy of Mame Dennis or, to put a finer point on it, a masterpiece of a bathroom, I will be exceedingly satisfied that I have given this room my whole heart.  I will charge ahead inspired with a breath-of -life vitality for having produced another creation from start to finish.

Now, speaking of inspiration, go check out the other linking participants. And speaking of art in life, check out the final reveals of the 20 ORC participants next Wednesday.  True artistry indeed.


Be sure to tune in next Thursday for my cliff-hanger…

All designs, layouts, and photos by Emily Vanderputten unless otherwise noted

kisses,  mrs. V


One Room Challenge Linking Event - Week 4

Well Judas Priest we are already at Week 4 of the One Room Challenge™ link up - where rubber meets the road for most folks.  Plans get modified as set backs cause course corrections and to-do lists get slashed to the vital few that can realistically still get completed.  Once again, I find myself in week 4 with no paint on the walls.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  To catch up on weeks 1-3, click on the links below:

WEEK 1:  Plan + Space - a moody bathroom refresh
WEEK 2:  Process - where indecision reigns supreme
WEEK 3:  Progress + Setbacks - in which the heroine calls upon Mame Dennis
WEEK 4:  Lighting + Paint - Plan Revisions
WEEK 5:  Plan Revisions - Lights + Paint
WEEK 6:  Reveal

Not going to belabor the point, but I am behind.  This is going to be a short one today.  I should be discussing paint and lighting this week but I am still waiting on some prep work to cure before I can paint so I will talk about a few plan revisions instead.  

I spent this week caulking like a mo fo so that the gaps in the beadboard, trim, and crown molding, which I pointed out in week one would no longer be noticeable.  These small details will likely go unnoticed by most but they have driven me crazy for 6 years.  Small victories for workmanship.  I’ll spare you the details, but me on a ladder straddling the tub wielding a caulk gun over my head made for some pretty entertaining moments.  My fingers may or may not have been stuck to my hair when it was all said and done.

Caulking and spackle.  Burned up hull of a light.  Old paint color.  Empty loo.
And one brass knob, for those with eagle eyes.

As to lighting, this past week was full of fireworks.  That overhead boob/fan combo that I complained about last Thursday morning literally assploded on Thursday evening.  As predicted, pyrotechnics and we haven’t even tackled the sconces yet.  I cannot make this shiz up.  I flipped the switch in the middle of the night and it responded with a *poof.* Dark electrical burn marks.  Bad karma or divine providence?  I’ll let you decide.  Alls I know is that Momma V is getting a new overhead light in addition to sconces.  Bang bang.


In other news, goodies are arriving daily and I just cannot wait to get this room put together.  I keep calling it my bath-o-brass.  The brass shower rod arrived along with the components to make a lucite towel rod.  The switch plates are heavy and heavenly.  My sconces came and let me just say deee-vine.  I squealed with glee.  I have every digit crossed that nothing goes wrong with the sconce installation.  Very tight squeeze and I fear a stud in the corner might make it very tricky.  As it turns out, the green mirror I bought is too big with the sconces so I went on a mad dash today to locate a new one and find one I did.  Divine providence strikes again.  I'll save that along with the full monty on the sconces for reveal day.

When lead times prove too long, or worse, you get no response from sellers, build your own

dreams intersecting with reality

I picked up Mrs. Robinson.  She is every bit as fabulous and bitchy in person as on screen.  Turns out she is larger than life.  I planned on re-framing her but the frame in which I found her is a decent wood one so I may just paint it to save a few bones.  A pesky outlet will prevent me from hanging her at the proper height above the toilet where I had planned on hanging her.

Now she will have to go on the opposite wall, which, as it turns out, is perfect because it is a much larger expanse plus I purchased another stunner from Jenny Andrews Anderson that will take pride of place over the loo.  CAN NOT wait for it to arrive.  And yes, I just said you would have to wait until reveal week to see the full monty but I was never any good at keeping promises.  This is sort of what the situation will look like. The mirror I picked up today is similar in feel to the one below...

I need the lighting installs to go off without a hitch this wknd so that I can start painting on Monday.  Let’s have a collective moment of silence for the mister – he gets real pissy when he has to crawl up in the attic space and run electrical.  I’m guessing it has something to do with dark, cramped spaces, populated with spiders the size of Kansas.  I’m already getting the silent treatment.  Whatever.

I told him it could be worse.  The spiders could be the size of dogs with 2” fangs.  Like the new ones discovered in some tropical rain forest.  Seriously, wtf?  I won't even post a picture because when I saw it I puked in my mouth and lost feeling in my face.  effing spiders.

Check out what the other folks are up to this week.

All designs, layouts, and photos by Emily Vanderputten

kisses,  mrs. V