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One Room Challenge | W1: Powder Room

Hello fellow ORC designers, design enthusiasts and DIYers!

If you're new to the Whitley/Tago world, which is full of juggling design, three growing kids, tackling projects in our Victorian home while also creating incredible spaces for my own clients, you're entering organized chaos and WELCOME, I'm glad you're here!

I'm Marissa and I am an interior designer and owner of The Whitley Co. who is aware of my slight obsession with thrifting, meeting incredible people and of course, pondering all things design!

This is the place for the next 8 weeks to see our progress on our powder room with a major overhaul from top to bottom turning it into a MOODY POWDER ROOM!

(See the boring beginning below, if you must...)


So, with that, whew, I am beyond excited because this is my very first One Room Challenge and we have purchased a beautiful historic home which makes the perfect design project playground for the ORC to get tackled on a time restraint! So here we are, are you ready to get this party started?! The fall weather has us opening up windows and enjoying the latest pumpkin spiced coffee as we (my husband, Nick and me) mulled over the room we would be tackling. The only bathroom for guests and those hanging on the main floor of the house have to endure a very BASIC bathroom, AKA as a powder room and this is where we are going to go to town, so to speak! Here's a slideshow of our finishes and picks thus far...

Anyone else love a small space with zero personality of its own so you get to create a cozy, moody space instead?! Well, then you're in luck, since that is exactly what we are doing on this thing! And from the photo shoot to get some pictures of me "at work in the space" you can see that I LOVE what I do for a living - cultivating creative and meaningful spaces! Just another Wednesday around Tago Manor. Sheesh...blame it on the coffee.

The amazing kickoff for the Fall 2021 and our FIRST One Room Challenge is here and that can only mean ONE thing--Demolition has begun so we can get the powder room of our dreams! You've seen some demo on TV but in real life, demo has such a nice therapeutic quality. Getting rid of the old, in order to first deep clean and then thoughtfully build it back up better than before is such a satisfying notion! As a designer, that is the best feeling that I am able to create for my clients, and now we get to do it for ourselves!!

This week we are switching things up as we do some demo in our sunken powder room to create better flow and efficient use of the small space. Not a TON of demo had to happen but the things we changed, needed to be done desperately and made a huge impact on the feeling of the space! The layout was all wrong so we are making things right by swapping the toilet and vanity locations while updating every single surface you see. Speaking of feeling the space, I was really feeling it this morning, so I decided to take a quick little video for ya...enjoy!

During this 8-week process, we are focusing on demo of the builder grade vanity, cutting back the overextended stairs down to the bathroom level and relocating the plumbing for the vanity, wall mount faucet and toilet while pondering the door, railing addition and new sconce for above the vanity since our last TWO have been on backorder and won't make it in time for the big reveal. 'Tis life, in the design world, especially during Covid. One must roll with the punches, today and every day! Here's a better look at the existing fixtures and placement in our sunken first floor powder room. Not too much to look at, bare, beige and builder-grade in an otherwise insanely unique and historic home. WHHYYY??? Hmm, just begged to be updated for the ORC, am I right?!

Sidenote: How incredible is the Japanese Maple outside of our window in the bathroom though? Drool. Now to create a powder room to match!



Granted, our powder room isn't a huge space to renovate and, yet- I can't help but to think that every square inch needs to be done with intention, consideration and most of all, a strong aesthetic appeal since it is NOT huge. Am I wrong in my thinking here?! I love that our historic home we were fortunate enough to become stewards of in May is such a blank slate for us to make ours during the time we are given to inhabit it while honoring its age and maturity in the world. (This bathroom is about to get grown in a whole lotta ways!)


Feast your eyes on a panoramic view of our boring. beige. bathroom. This is what visitors get to use off of the landing of our stairs and boy, there's not a lot to see here. Our design needed to mirror the significant feel, character and age of our home while making it feel like a place you'd want to enter to do your business. The old laminate, rough/painted stairs leading into the bathroom (with no railing), bare window (with no privacy) and lackluster vanity, faucet and mirror were all so underwhelming. What's a gal to do with such a plain predicament of a powder room?

This design journey began in July, believe it or not, as I set out to find the perfect pieces to put back in my powder room. Being in West Virginia, we have a TON of antique and flea markets (all of which I frequent way too often!) from here to Maryland and Virginia in search of old pieces that would add special touches and visual interest to our dull space.

I found the vanity on Facebook Marketplace for next to nothing and our sweat equity is going to turn that piece into a STUNNER for the centerpiece of the wall that will also house an unlacquered wall mount faucet, sexy countertop and backsplash, two stacked and newly antiqued mirrors with added details, a gorgeous crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a single sconce on the right side of those mirrors to add another layer of lighting. A new toilet, Walnut toilet seat and brass details along with saturated paint and trim for a simple yet stylish decor will finish up this space and bring the mood to where it needs to be! Maturity at its best. Boom!

I find that finding ONE perfect piece, regardless of what that piece is, creates the tangible catalyst for the rest of the space. As I looked and ordered, things fell through due to time restraints so after many, many changes, the design concept is solid and I couldn't be more in love with how I can see it ALL coming together. My first piece acquired was the crystal chandelier, which is a vintage piece from my favorite shop, Hip & Humble in Barryville.

From there, I fell in love with the Milton & King Thistle fabric for my window treatments and how well it played off of their Hounds Tooth wallpaper (in the sage colorway), that will be adorning the ceiling. I will have an entire post about Milton & King and their sponsorship for the ORC, yes, I know, I was elated at the chance to showcase their two products and work with them!


Decor has been finding me along the way so I thought I'd pull the "feel" together for a shot with all of the tones, textures and touches that are going to set our Powder Room OFF! How good is this mix of old and new, various periods of time and styles colliding together to create a storied and interesting blend. Blended design is what I do and the finishing touches will MAKE this space, mark my words! But, the overall concept is shapin' up and damn, I'm excited!! Let's go and make this MOODY POWDER ROOM the coolest, swankiest space. Go!

The design process is one that follows the steps we walk through with our own clients including:

1| Consultation 2| Design Plan 3| Procurement 4| Demo & Construction 5| Installation

Man, thank you for following along with what will be a cool learning experience for us along with a cool way to connect with like-minded people. We have our work cut out for us but the products are ordered, boxes are getting delivered daily and I am taking it one day at a time. That's all we can do, right?! And I get to do what I love for a living while creating content that I am proud of. Take a gander at the other guest participants involved in this year's event!

For those who are as impatient as I am, here's a little peek at what we are dealing with in the design journey. I'm excited to show you the bare bones, stripped down bathroom that has a new layout and space plan in the weeks to come. See you next week and be sure to find on Instagram @thewhitleyco for some cool reels, stories and behind the scenes during the week!



Follow along as all of the participants and featured designers work on their spaces!

Follow all of the designers on the One Room Challenge!



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