ORC: One Room Challenge Week One

We are the Bailey Family!

My name is Anna.  My Husband Nathanael, and our four children live in Northern Minnesota, running our small business, Bailey Builds.  In the past 4 ½ years, we have grown our repurposed wood art business to include our workshop, our “Bailey Builds and Friends” storefront, The “Maker’s Loft” airbnb, and our upcoming event space, “The Maker’s Gallery.”  We feel so blessed to be able to work together as a family, doing what we love!  As our children get older, we love that they can be a part of our team!  We decided that the “One Room Challenge” is a great opportunity for our family to tackle a home renovation project as a team!

The One Room Challenge is a bi-annual event, sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens, and is currently in it’s seventeenth season.  Each season, 20 prominent designers across the country are selected to be featured, as they design their own spaces.  Every Wednesday, the designers document their progress, and share professional designer tips about process, design elements, and products they are choosing for their space, through six weekly posts.  Anyone is welcome to join along, reimagining their own spaces, while documenting their process through instagram and/or blog, and linking it up with the One Room Challenge.  It’s a great way to gather design inspiration and encouragement, as you join a large community of participants.  There have been over 3,800 room transformations so far, with many being recognized and featured by Better Homes and Gardens, and the One Room Challenge Community.

For our One Room Challenge, we are taking three small rooms and transforming them into one large, combined laundry and mudroom.  This space will be the workhorse area of our home, accommodating the needs of our active and busy family.  We will have work stations for our laundry needs, bike maintenance, dog care, and the organization of kid stuff.  We hope to create an efficient area that can transform the messy jobs into an intuitive and user friendly space, while seamlessly fitting into the feel of our home as a whole.

Through our design choices, we’d like to bring this space back to the best of its mid-century roots.  With our home being built originally as a 1970’s split level home, we’d like to work with these original elements, while incorporating a modern and streamlined twist that marries form with function.  At its foundation will be a simple color and pattern scheme, with added design elements including splashes of color, mixed wood tones, an accent wall, and an open floating staircase, all grounded by concrete floors.

For week one, our first job was to demo the existing space, opening up three smaller rooms into one large space.  The original layout was a smaller laundry room, directly off the attached garage.  This space then entered another room that led to the enclosed split staircase up to the main level of our home.  Next to the staircase, was an enclosed pantry and storage area.  With our kids on the demo crew, we worked to disconnect any electrical elements in these interior walls, and take down the walls.  As we opened up the space, we brainstormed other structural and mechanical elements that would need modification and replacement, such as electric and plumbing changes for the rearrangement of our laundry area.  During the demo of walls, we worked to open up the staircase, creating a larger, more open visual space.

You can follow along with our process more closely through our Vlog on Youtube, as the whole family works, laughs, dances, and even sings together, to get the job done!


Day five of our laundry room renovation started with another family plan meeting, graced (or cursed!) with some complementary gaseous expressions from Lincoln.  Our faithful shop dogs and family members, Oakley and Albert, were present as well, of course! Albert is our lazy, laid back fellow, and Oakley is our crazy and athletic guy.  -They fit their breeds to a T, as Albert is our big Newfie, and Oakley is our Aussiedoodle, which is a cross between the Australian Shepherd and Standard Poodle.  

Our plan of attack for day five was to have Isaac continue to cut the holes in the ceiling for our lights, and have the rest of the gang run some electrical, hang some sheetrock, and do some mudding and taping.  While Lincoln and Sam filled in the seams and nails with mud on the door we walled in, Lia learned to rock the rasp! I’m so proud of how our kids are learning to use these tools with skill! They are truly awesome!

We had a hole to patch up at the top of our staircase, entering our living room.  But before we did, our sweet Lia decided to write a letter to whomever may open up the wall someday in the future.  She gave a little synopsis of the times we are living in, with the quarantine due to Covid-19 and other things. You’ll have to check out her note on our Youtube channel!

We ended the work day by heading out for a family hike on our neighborhood trail, where Oakley and Albert could take a frosty swim in the creek.  They had so much fun! …And Isaac and Nathanael shared some classic, corny puns over a Minnesota Twins puzzle! …had to be there! -Which you can by heading to the Bailey Builds vlog on Youtube!


Day 4 on our Laundry Room Renovation started with a team task meeting!  The girl team, my daughter Lia and I, planned to hone in on some of the design elements for the space.  The boys’ job was to continue to work on the structural elements of the walls that still needed to be completed.  It was also important to me to get outside! Fresh air was calling me!

We put our youngest son Sam in charge of framing up the closet.  He has got the wall building thing down! Besides their other job duties, our son’s Isaac and Lincoln had to go on yet another dog chase after our mischievous giant Albert!

Our daughter Lia and I spent some time designing our dual purpose space for cleaning both dogs and bikes!  Our kids are big into mountain biking. We wanted a space that could accommodate the maintenance of our bikes as well.  In our design decisions, we want to create a space that can be both modern and striking, yet be suitable for dirty messes, but clean up well afterwards.  -We are up for the challenge!

As Sam and Nathanael worked to cut drywall for the closed in door space, Nathanael played a gory prank on the camera!  You’ll have to see it for yourself on our Vlog on YouTube! It made my stomach turn!!

And, as I promised myself, we ended our day with a nice walk!  Progress is being made! I can’t wait to see it starting to come to life!  Check out the adventure on our YouTube channel, with bonus material of Isaac singing a song dedicated to the school lunch ladies!


Day three of our laundry room renovation started with some Pizza and a Pep talk!  Our first job was to rip out the panelling on the walls we are keeping. We also needed to fill in a section of the keeper wall where a door once was.  Our son Sam does a fantastic job with building, so we put him in charge of closing in the old door opening.  

Nathanael and I are not always major planners.  We don’t have the design completely worked out before-hand.  -That’s not how we roll. Instead, we kinda just figure it out as we go along.  This works for us most of the time! Sometimes… we need to pause to figure out important components.  This was the situation on day 3. We realized that I needed to commit to a laundry sink in order to know what our wall dimensions should be.  -Wayfair to the rescue! Thank goodness for online shopping during our Stay at Home order! As we continued to figure out our dimensions, we realized our doggy washing station would need to be relocated to a different spot.  -Good thing we enjoy the challenge of meeting obstacles as they come. We got this!

And of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without Albert going a-wall!  Twice!! Newfies have both brawn and beauty! It’s not that we didn’t leash him… -He literally pulled the corkscrew tie-out stake right out of the ground!  Another “chase Albert game” on our hands! This time Lia’s friend who lives across the street came to the rescue! What a turkey! Good thing he’s just so darn sweet!

Our overall progress was slower today.  -But I would have to say, the best part of the day was the dancing!  My family cracks me up! We all get inspired by music and our bodies just have to follow suit!  -You’d have to be there…. Wait! You can! Check out the real deal on our Vlog on Youtube, and you can also enjoy the treat of Nathanael’s famous puns!


Nothing like a little wall ping-pong to get us jazzed up for day two of our laundry room renovation!  The room off of our laundry area is our workout room, which will also be part of the overall revamp in our lower level.  All cleared out, it makes for a mean ping-pong competition, not to mention skateboard riding, dance room!  

But now it’s down to the nitty gritty!  We love popcorn!! …BUT, not on our ceiling!  The popcorn texture has got to go! This is a messy job, perfect for our awesome mess makers!  -And messy it was, not to mention super slippery! Watering down the ceiling truly worked like a charm!  Give it a good soak, let it sit a moment, and it scrapes right off with a putty knife! -Who knew that would work so slick!  Turns out that Albert also loved the process, especially when he got a shot of the water sprayer! Our big Al loves water!

A messy job meant a messy floor that took some time to clean up!  But our troop was on it! -Good job kids!


Demo Day started by rallying the troop!  No school and no distance learning set in place meant that we needed to keep our kids motivated!  -So up off the couch! Put the video game controller down! It’s demo Day! … The MAGIC WORD was DEMO!  Knowing we were gonna “break stuff” was a great motivator!

We “passed the torch” to our kids, and let them tear down the walls of our current laundry room to create a more spacious area for our efficient work stations… which caused a real spark!!  (You’ll have to watch our vlog to know what I’m talking about!).  

Our Laundry Renovation also gives us the opportunity to tackle some other projects in its path, like huge holes already in walls that, of course, we are Not tearing down… ironically made by the demo crew!  

Our house is a late 70’s split level style home.  One way we chose to create a more open feel, was to tear down the wall that separated the staircase.  As the kids broke down that wall, I knew I was going to love it! Lia thought it would look even better if we added a slide to the stairs… um, we’ll see!

And the day wouldn’t be complete without our master escape artist giving the boys a run for their money!  Albert, Albert, Albert!!! He has gotten into the bad habit of finding a way out when no one’s looking! Don’t be fooled by his docile demeanor… he can be a dickens!

The kids were real troopers!  Make sure to check out the Demo Day Vlog on YouTube!