Family Room – One Room Challenge Week 8: The Reveal

If you are new to my blog, welcome! I’m Sanda Stojakovic and I’m the author of My Design Playbook. A year ago my husband and I bought a 1970 Colonial house that needed many updates but we were so excited about this purchase that we knew we could turn this house into our home. Ever since we started on this journey to modernize our house I realized that we really enjoy this type of work and it quickly turned into something we love doing together. Follow along as we renovate our family room over the next few weeks for the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge and mark your calendar for the final reveal which now has been extended to July 5th!

Fall 2019 ORC can be found here.

If you missed previous weeks they can be found here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, 5 and 6, 7.

It’s reveal week!

It’s always hard to decide when you are truly done. In fact, is a room ever truly done? This year the One Room Challenge was especially challenge due to Covid-19 and majority of the stores being closed and items being very slow to restock online. Just a few days ago, I received the rug I ordered which caused a delay in photography and essentially the reveal day being postponed. After all, how do you take pictures of a room without a statement rug? You don’t. You patiently wait and prey for it arrive. Since acquiring furniture and home decor pieces has been particularly challenge I developed a habit of checking facebook market place every couple of hours a day convincing people who are selling something I want, that they should sell it to me instead of someone else who is practically at their door. I would call my newfound skills ‘kind persuasion’. I think this skill is going to be helpful in future ORC challenges when Martha from a suburb close to mine has the exact frame and painting I so desperately need.

Before I delve into what the new updated room likes now after 8 hard weeks of work, I would like to show you a few before of where we started, how the room as evolved and finally what it is at the current state.


The pictures above give a nice view of what we had to work with. The fireplace was a complete eyesore. When you walked into the room, that is first thing you saw and it was not a pretty site. I have no idea how a fireplace could look so burned but it does. I’m surprised we bought the house after seeing the fireplace. I think many people would have said “see ya later, not for me”.

The first updates we made is tiling the fireplace with marble tile over the brick. Yes, you can do that, without taking the brick off. I took a bunch of research but it was well worth our time. We also replaced the hearth with a marble remnant that was able to find at a local marble store and I was able to convince my husband to surround the mantle with traditional trim work.

After updating the fireplace it was only natural to update the honeyoak floors and the yellow wall. So we stained the floors dark and painted the walls Graytint by Benjamin Moore. It’s a very clean, light gray with no warm undertones. Since the family room gets a lot of light through the french doors, the color looks white with a hint of the gray most of the time.


While the room became more presentable it got quickly overtake by my kids.

Since we have formal living room, I didn’t mind at first but then I began to realize the we spend the majority of out time here and all of our guest gravitate towards this room so I really wanted to continue the updates.


Since I have been seeing toys for so long in this room, I really wanted to change the room from being viewed as a play room to a room that has elegant sophistication with no hint of toddler life. To accomplish that, I leaned towards contemporary design, with lots of modern abstract paintings, and touches of traditional design sprinkled into the mix.

Key Goals:

Add architectural interest to boring walls by installing trim work. While trim work is very traditional it does add that element of sophistication that this room so desperately needed.

Paint trim the same color as walls to have that monochromatic cohesive appearance.

Get rid of all toys. Period.

Ensure the design is functional for the whole family. While I would have loved to get rid of the sectional couch I knew deep down it needed to stay because everyone in the family loves it. We already have the nice and fancy chesterfield sofas in the formal living room that nobody sits on.

Lastly, the room needs to be interesting. I want eclectic art, and statue busts to fill the space and to be a talking point when guest come over.

Ok, ready to see what I have come up with?


My favorite part of the room is the wall trim. I’m mostly proud of because I cut all the pieces myself and learned to install it as well. Installing crown moulding was never my plan because I was afraid it would cut my eight foot walls and make them appear even shorter but after a bunch of research I quickly realized that if I kept the face of the crown moulding 3-4 inched in width and painted it the same as the wall it would only enhance the room and boy did it. I spend a couple of weeks without crown moulding and the room always felt like it was not finished.

When I started this project, my first thought was I want a french design aesthetic. You know the baroque mirror, the wall moulding and the effortless lived in feel. Finding a mirror that would fit my fireplace proved to be very difficult. Majority of baroque mirrors are built to have a height of over 40 inches. I only have 39.50 inches from the mantel to the ceiling which resulted in majority of the mirror not fitting over my fireplace. I was really disappointed when the popular Anthropology Primrose mirror was a half inch too big. Luckily I found this beauty that was out of stock for a while but back in stock within a couple of weeks. I don’t think I could have found a better fitting mirror.

Another decor pieces I spent a lot of hours browsing for is these sconces. I had my mind made up that I wanted the sconces to have a black shade instead of white. Turns out black shade sconces are ten times more expensive so I decided to paint a pair of antique shades I found at the thrift store and the rest is history.


I just love art. What do I love more than art, modern art in ornate frames. The paradox brings the new and old world together and all available to be added to your walls. All the artwork you see I have custom framed myself, another little skill I learned during this project. A step by step tutorial for framing art can be found here.

In design there are few things that will bring me out of my comfort zone, choosing Art tends to be one of them. When I find a piece I like, my first thought is, would my husband disapprove or think it’s weird, if the answer is ‘yes’ then I found a winner. Altered vintage portraits does all the above, and is one of my favorite pieces in the gallery wall.

I never thought I would be creating a gallery wall but after I chose the abstract black circles (left), I could not find something similar to it in order to be able to add two big pieces of artwork next to each other. So the only solution was gallery wall and I’m beyond happy that it worked out better than I could have imagined.

That’s it! Thank you very much for following along while I transform our family room for the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge. A very big thank you to Linda Weinstein for not only organizing this bi-annually event but also for cheering us all on each week. Huge thank you to the media partner Better Homes and Gardens for sponsoring this wonderful even. This is my second time participating and what bring me back each time is the creative process of transforming a room and the community of new friends I meet each time. If you are curious about the One Room Challenge or are considering joining the next one, you can find more information here.

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