One Room Challenge – Week 2 – Design is just the beginning

Portland, Oregon’s interior designer, Angela Todd is part of the Fall One Room Challenge, sponsored by Better Homes & Gardens.  In only 6 weeks participants are challenged to makeover a space.  Angela chose to makeover the entry of her 1916 Foursquare in Southeast Portland, Oregon.   She is known for fearless pattern blending and bold color palettes.  The big reveal will be posted here and via Instagram November 7th through the 10th.  Follow Angela here on Instagram and if you need to catch up, here are quick links:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4  | Week 5 | Week 6

It has been a fantastic and productive week overall.  There have been issues, but I expected a few.  One problem I didn’t expect; yesterday our server stopped working.  We have redundant backup, but what a snafu.  A new drive is being purchased as we speak.  I am so lucky it is a quiet week.  I haven’t had a quiet week in at least 9 months, so I am very thankful this happened when it did.

I am sliding in late at night tonight journaling my progress through week 2 of the @oneroomchallenge.  For the blog record and to avoid confusion, I will show the reveal results between November 7th through the 10th.

At this point in my career I have worked under some tough, tight deadlines. I have learned to think about the whole project from the beginning.  What do I want to do, and what do I want to accomplish.  To accomplish these goals what and who do I need on my team?  I have learned that the longer I wait to schedule the trades the less likely they can accommodate me. So after I got my mind around this interior design project in my home with a tight timeline –  I called the my tradespeople first to tentatively (or firmly) schedule their time.  Secondly, when I selected items for the space, the first thing I checked was stock, where the item was shipping from, and estimated transit time.  In my experience, doing these things for all interior design projects, can significantly mitigate future problems and keep personal (and client) upsets at bay.

Less time = less options always.  My personal goal last week was to schedule all the trades and determine the remaining design components as soon as possible. Design sometimes is like peeling an onion.  There are details that need determined as the project gets underway, that you may not have seen as part of your initial scope.  For me on this project a few things have come up like adding a contrast welt to the entry bench seat because there wasn’t enough fabric available for the welt, or adding crown moulding to the space to create a solution for a wallpaper that isn’t wall vault friendly. (More on that below.)  I also find when one things pops up it often means you have to redo work you already completed, and you also have to notify several parties to update them on the change.  This week, I made nearly all the design decisions, and I contacted many suppliers and tradespeople – yet the schedule for some components is still coming into view.

Now back to my One Room Challenge update… Here are the decisions/orders I made this week:

  • Wallpaper
  • Chandelier
  • Bench Seat
  • Pillows

Wait.  I am annoyed that reads like it was simple and easy!  Let’s take a second look at what these decisions and orders entailed:

  • Wallpaper
    • The biggest design impact in my One Room Challenge will be the wallpaper. My first phone call was to Chuck Ricks from Wallpaper Pro.  He gave me his next open schedule dates to install the paper: November 5th through the 7th.  He only had three days available before the challenge is over!   My 1916 walls need a skim coat to smooth out the walls along with a primer on day 1 & 2 to prepare for the paper, and the third day is literally the last day of the challenge.  I am thanking my stars I called him a week ago.
      • I am very loyal to Chuck, but with his knowledge and blessing, I did call other installers to see if someone had an opening sooner.  Three calls and Chuck is the only one with an opening in my timeframe.
      • Mishaps happen with wallpaper.  Defects, imperfections.  It all makes me nervous.  Chuck asked me to lay out all the paper when it arrives to check for defects. (He usually does this for me, but I am shipping it to my place.)  Why? We won’t have time to reorder if I wait until the day we install.
      • Chuck came to house and fine measured the entry, and gave me the amount of double rolls I needed.
    • I changed my mind on the original paper Chuck measured for, and he had to come back out and re-measure.  (He insisted and of course I knew it was for the best.)  Why did I change my mind?  Let’s just say I had a moment of weakness after looking at so many wallpapers, and I was considering using this fantastic paper.  I just couldn’t.  You see, I had already specified this paper in another color way for a fantastic client in Laurelhurst for her Powder Bathroom in a Portland English Tudor, and we are currently under construction with this wallpaper in the design plan.  It would have been rude to use it, and she wouldn’t have liked me after this!  And furthermore you would have noticed I used the same paper in a different colorway in my portfolio and lost respect for me too!  Side note: I love it when clients hire me that also love bold color and pattern like I do.  I always find when I want to keep a design for me it is because I have done my best work.  My girlfriend in the Los Angeles area Shannon Ggem of Ggem Design Co. also participating in the One Room Challenge, had to give me a pep talk so I had more strength to look at more wallpaper!  At that point I would guess I looked at over 300 papers!
    • I have been casually getting to know a company in Portland on Instagram called Manolo Walls.  After visiting my usual wallpaper resources in Portland to no avail, I called Nellie, the owner, and was pleasantly surprised she had so many options – so much knowledge – and wow.  Her color eye is impressive.  I say that being one of those freakish color people that can memorize a color and recall it with accuracy a number of years later.  If you need wallpaper in Portland, she is a must meet.  And I should tell you her website doesn’t even scratch the surface of what she has!
    • Since my baseboards and trim in my foursquare entry aren’t in great condition in some areas after 103 years of life, I asked a finish carpenter/remodeler to repair and recondition them for me.  Honestly, I could skip this step and do a little post production work in the photos for the challenge and you would never know – but this work needs done! The time to do it is now before the paper is installed.  Otherwise any future work on the woodwork stands to ruin the wallpaper.
      • A dependable finish carpenter/remodeler who I have never had an issue with, rescheduled, then pushed me off a day for another client (it was my client, so that is an occupational hazard), and then another day due to a personal family matter.  He assures me this work is something he will do for me within the designated time frame.  But for me, the clock is ticking loudly. I am still nervous due to the unknown, but I am giving him space for a few days due to our good history.
    • The orientation at the top of the wallpaper is a vine orchid and so the paper isn’t ideal for sloped walls.  See the detail below on my stairs and wall. This area needed a solution, since the wallpaper comes in a scene of three straight panels with the vine starting at the top of the paper. Our solution?  We will be installing a small crown moulding around the room that will continue a horizontal crown line in this odd area.  Otherwise the paper wouldn’t match in this section.  This was a hard decision to make for me, but it is the only way,  I love crown and trim work, but I am so hesitant to make decisions that don’t give this house I love her glory.  I believe this detail will look odd without wallpaper, but will look correct once the paper is installed.  This is another job for the finish carpenter.59201266115 Bca62bb1 576e 4614 9c03 35682e9016ef
    • I am super excited about my wallpaper I found at Manolo Walls.  It is from Osborne & Little.  Go ahead be a little jealous!
  • Trailing Orchids wallpaper
  • Chandelier
    • A fixture from Visual Comfort I have been eyeballing for my entry for some time is backordered.  No go.  I had to deal with that design trauma and move on.
    • My second choice from Currey and Company was also backordered.  So I did what any respectable designer would do.  I gave it to that doll of a client I mentioned earlier in Laurelhurst for her living room.  She has more timeline than I do, so there again she gets my favorite things!
    • Though there are many chandeliers in the marketplace, my entry will only accommodate a 30″ or less fixture for standing clearance. So the search was arduous in the style and vibe I want.  I needed something that worked with my vintage sconces, one that had the right vibe of the wallpaper, and a chandelier that felt right with the bones of the vintage house.
    • I will have the finish carpenter/remodeler hang this chandelier.  You don’t need a licensed electrician to replace a light as long as the junction box doesn’t need moved or modified.  Just a licensed contractor will do in this case.
    • Finally!  I chose this fantastic Currey light fixture and ordered it Sunday.  By Tuesday I got an order confirmation and it is on the way!  I realize agates are a bit in trend, but isn’t it glorious?


  • Bench Seat
    • I had some fantastic draperies made for my neighboring living room and the remnants (extra fabric) were just returned to me by my workroom.   At first I was going to create window treatments with this remnant for the One Room Challenge.  Then I realized the size was too narrow in depth for the windows, but it was just enough length to do the 8′ bench seat top and bottom.  Score!  It wasn’t enough to do the welt however.  I checked to get more of the fabric for the welt and it is backordered.  After painfully considering options including no welt, I picked a contrast velvet welt for the bench seat.
      • I have to order the contrast welt fabric tomorrow.
    • My upholsterer Juan came over today and picked up the fabric for the bench and did a fine measure.  He will order a cushion for me to size.  He took the remnant with me.  I will ship the contrast welt directly to him from the manufacturer.  Easy enough.
    • Here is the fabric under my pillows so I could pretend it was already installed!
  • Designer Fabrics Decorate
  • Pillows
    • Okay, these were easy.  Long before I had even considered being part of the One Room Challenge, I ordered these pillows last April at High Point Market in North Carolina.  The ochre geometric is from Massoud Furniture.  The pink velvet stria stripe fabric is from Ambella Home and matches my sofa in the living room.  The Chinese embroidered silk pillow is from Kravet via GJ&Baker welted and finished by Ambella Home.

Here are some things still outstanding to select and order:

  • Door & Window treatment
    • I picked the fabric last night.  You wouldn’t believe all I looked at, so I won’t bother telling you.
    • I need to fine measure the windows.
    • Once I measure – literally a 5 minute process of concentrating with a measuring tape, pen and piece of paper – I  need to figure out the amount of fabric I need with the pattern repeat.  I like windows, but the details are tedious to me. I just want to wave a magic wand and have them done!
    • I will have to order by tomorrow.  I may have to rush the fabric.  I have a call into the rep.  I am expecting 7-10 days is standard.  Then they have to be made and that can take two weeks, plus shipping.  No bueno.  Actually, I think I will rush everything.
  • Stair Runner
    • I drove all the way out to Contract Furnishing Mart, CFM in Tigard from the east side of Portland.  I was disappointed in their current selection of patterned and interesting wool rugs.  They used to have a great selection as I recall.  I was directed to a small area with polypropylene rugs that could accommodate my timeline and I just couldn’t do it.  I am not a fan of synthetic rugs.  Wool rugs have a wonderful sustainable story, are naturally stain resistant, actually clean the air you breathe, and look so much better!
    • I drove to Kush Rugs for another client project and while I was there looked at a Nepalese wool rug on sale at Kush Rugs that I could bind down to a runner.  It was unbelievably fantastic and I was a little relieved that it didn’t work when I got the sample into my entry.  Nepalese wool is the very best and you pay for it!
    • I called Rayburts to understand their lead time and schedule for hand binding. Though I have no rug selected at the moment, as I mentioned it is best to rally the team early.  They will be able to do the work for me late this month.  Matt at Rayburts also noted though he could cut and hand bind an area rug, it would be so much easier to wrap and hand bind the carpet if I selected from a broadloom carpet.  So I started looking at more broadloom wool options.
      • Over the course of the next two days I contacted three companies with broadloom products, sent my images, noted my design direction, told them the timeline, and I have three carpets in the running. One I saw this morning, and two I am awaiting samples to arrive.
      • To accurately check stock of all three, I measured the stairs.  Each of the rolls are different lengths so I had to estimate this three times on graph paper. I overestimated what I needed so when the installer confirms at fine measure we have enough quantity reserved.
      • I feel it is always best to have the person doing the installation (rug, tile, fabric) to be the one that estimates the amount of goods they need.  I called and left him a message with the stair rug installer to tentatively schedule an installation before November 7th.  I am waiting for a call back and hopeful he will come over and double check the estimate of yardages I came up with based on the length of the roll and pattern repeat.  I need this before I order the broadloom carpet. It is likely at this point the runner will install a day or maybe two before the final deadline.
    • After checking the lead time of the carpets, I realized I also needed to check estimated transit time.  I called back to get that answered x3.  I wouldn’t want to have the hand binding or the installer scheduled with no carpet.
    • Oh and one more call to Rayburts to ask them if they are supplying the rug pad.
    • The original fir wood stairs aren’t in good shape, nor is the “cream” painted riser of the stairs. I would like the finish carpenter/handyman to help me get these ready for stair installation, but at this point I might be staining, caulking and painting the stairs this weekend or next week after work each day.
    • Here is one of the three runners in the running:
      Leopard Wool Carpet - Portland
  • Crown molding profile
    • A trip to McCoy Millwork is in order, or I might have the finish carpenter mimic the profile of my picture railing in other areas of the house – or perhaps we will mill something.  I feel like I have a little time for this decision.

Oh and I still need to schedule a photographer. Geez this is going fast!  The work at this point will transition into a lot of project management, ensuring the timeline and implementation lines up. I anticipate there will be some snafus.  I will overcome!  I always do. At the end when I style the space and do the big reveal I will become an interior designer again!

Last, let’s recap why I am doing the One Room Challenge for anyone reading this that perhaps wants to be a part of helping me reach my goals:

  1. I have been anxious to begin filming remodeling and furnishing transformations in my 1916 Foursquare home.  I have found myself “too busy” to start week after week though I have a fabulous videographer.   I saw the One Room Challenge as a reason to start. More on that video to follow.
  2. I would like more followers on Instagram.  For me it is so my vendors and brand partners recognize me as someone of influence in the design industry.  It opens up opportunities.  You can follow me here on Instagram
  3. I am always looking for opportunities for online or print media exposure.  It would tickle me pink to have this project published.

Here is how all the textiles are laying out minus the runner carpet and window treatment.

Feel free to check out others participating here too!  There are some amazing designers in the lineup.


One Room challenge design


One Room Challenge Portland oregon

Angela Todd Studios For Custom Furnishings

Angela Todd

Owner & Principal Designer

Angela is the principal designer at her boutique interior design firm in Portland, Oregon. She is known for creating memorable backdrops that tell the story of fascinating and intricate lives.

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