Vanity Progress, Floor Finish Decision, and Why I’m A Quitter

Well, y’all, I’ve started yet another One Room Challenge that I’m not going to finish. And I’m not going to even try to do any more in the future. It’s just not a format that fits my work style (or the needs of my house, since I’m generally doing way more than just simple room makeovers).

On the last one, at least I gave it my best effort. This time, I’m just quitting. I’m still going to work on the rooms, obviously. But trying to get them done by some arbitrary deadline isn’t going to work. I came to this realization yesterday as I was trying to work out in my mind how to finish the flooring in the back entry, storage closet and bathroom completely while the rest of the flooring in the studio hasn’t even been installed yet.

red oak hardwood flooring installation
The floor is that color because of the troweled on wood filler.

So I got that much of the flooring installed. I installed it to that point so that I could take a picture of the finished back entry for the One Room Challenge without the last row of flooring (i.e., where the felt paper and subfloor show) being visible in the pictures.

Red oak hardwood flooring installation with full trowel wood filler - before sanding

And then I tried to figure out how to actually finish the floor. I mean, if I’m going to get pictures of a finished bathroom and back entry, then the floors needed to be totally finished — stained, chevron design on the back entry floor finished, and polyurethaned.

But that created two problems. First, I don’t want to rent the big sander twice, so that meant that I would have to sand these areas with my hand held belt sander, and then rent the big sander when I get to the studio floor. But the second problem is the finish. Do I tape off a line where I end the finish (i.e., the stain) for these back areas, and then hope that I can blend the lines together without them being visible when I do the rest of the studio floor?

I was making this so much harder on myself than it should have been, and why? Just so I could finish these back areas by some arbitrary deadline? And again, why? In some hope that I’d be selected as an official participant in the next round and get lots of free stuff for the next room? If I want free stuff, all I have to do is start doing sponsored posts NOW. But I hate sponsored posts, which is why I don’t do them. So again, why am I doing this?

Well, I’m not anymore. 🙂 I’m an ORC dropout. And I’ll do things in the correct order that they need to be done. I’ll get ALL of the flooring installed, then I’ll rent a sander and get ALL of the flooring sanded, and then I’ll stain and finish ALL of the flooring at one time.

It’ll take a little longer, but at least it’ll be done right.

And speaking of stain, I’ve decided to whitewash the floors in here. Try as I might, I just haven’t been able to get on board with a dark stained floor for these rooms. I love the dark stained floors in the rest of my house, but it just doesn’t fit the vision that I have for my studio.

So I’ve decided to go with a whitewash in the studio and back areas. I tested it out on a board here…

whitewashed red oak hardwood flooring sample

That’s more what I had in mind for my studio. Light, bright, and airy. I think it’ll look so much better with my cabinet color (the coral I have on my front door), and it will lend a more casual look to the room.

And you may have seen above that I got quite a bit done on the bathroom vanity yesterday…

bathroom vanity progress

I went with the traditional style with turned legs. I’ll have a step-by-step post soon for that…as soon as I figure out how the heck to finish it. I kind of make these things up as I go along. 😀

I decided to go for it with the traditional style, even though I knew the top section had to be taller than the ones on either of my inspiration pictures to accommodate the full-size kitchen sink. But what made me be okay with it is that it kind of reminded me of the big, tall, wide front on a farmhouse sink, which generally has inset cabinet doors underneath. We’re all used to seeing those by now, and this has a similar look to me, so I decided I’m okay with it.

But I might have changed my mind on painting it black. 🙂 I don’t want those turned legs to disappear, so I might be altering those plans. As I said, I’m making this up as I go along. 😀 At this point, the end result will be as much as surprise to me as it is to you.



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  1. I think you have made the best decision for you. Rushing to finish just means your pushing yourself to make quick decisions that your not going to like and will end up redoing the whole thing again and again.
    Just let your creative process work, however long that takes.

    1. I so agree. You are BUILDING FURNITURE, which you love to do. Why wear yourself out with the ORC deadline?? Your sanity will be intact, and you’ll get the incredible results you want. All the best to you!! Studio suite is looking great!

    2. I agree. It’s that word “arbitrary” that does it. There’s no reason to rush, rush, rush for a deadline. This is your life! Not a movie with a set time limit. I love what you’re doing. Your vanity is looking fantastic and the whitewashed floor will really brighten things up!

  2. Good for you for knowing your own mind and making decisions and staying comfortable with them. It’s not fun to run against someone else’s deadlines.

    1. I think that was a very wise decision to drop out of the one room challenge. I Love Love the whitewash idea for the floors. I was very excited about the black and white floor for the back entry. Is that still happening.?

  3. I think it is the right decision. You do a lot of work and when a lot of work has to meet a tight deadline, often the only way to do it is to cut corners and do less than perfect job.

    Please, when you do the tutorial, explain how you lined and put together the turned legs with the newly added blocks.

    Good luck with the studio and all the other rooms at the back!

    1. Good plan. No sense knocking yourself out if you are not even interested in winning the prizes. Your one rooms are really chock full of so many projects that no one else even attempts to do, so the playing field is never even. Proceed at Kristi speed which is faster than any of us can ever achieve considering the tasks you take on.

  4. We love watching YOUR progress at YOUR pace. I’m glad you’ve dropped some of that stress from your life and we’ll look forward to seeing things progress. 🙂

  5. Yay for you! A lot of people in those challenges just do a “refresh”. Not a start at ground zero thru to finish like you!,

  6. Good call. It’s a lot of pressure to finish within a deadline and do everything correctly. Now you can complete the whole floor and then move on.

  7. I am relieved for you and so glad to hear you made the decision to drop out. You are not a quitter, Kristi, so please erase that characterization from your mind. You were brought to the self-realization that deadlines don’t suit you. Ding, ding, ding. Ya got it. I think your readers will be relieved for you. At least, I am.

    It seems to me that since the process is enjoyable for you it is important to be realistic about how much you heap on yourself at any given time. Who needs self-imposed pressure? When it gets to the point of frustration, maybe a break is in order.

    The vanity looks great. And the floor choice seems wise since it will be light and airy and probably won’t show as much dust as a darker one would.

    It is fun to share this adventure with you.

    Hugs from Ecuador.

  8. Good for you! When you take on a project, it isn’t just a refresh or to have someone else do all the hard work. You have a vision that often takes time to refine and rework to get it right. And boy, does it come out beautifully when it is done, whether it takes six weeks or a year. You rock, Kristi!

    1. I’m with Elaine (and all the others) on this: you are NOT a quitter. But an arbitrary time frame just can’t possibly work with the quality and precision of the work you do! And, as someone else said, this is YOUR home, somewhere you expect to be for a long, long while! It HAS to not only be up to your (high) standards, but you have to love living it. Brava to you for doing what is right for you!!!

      Oh, and I’m partial to pickled or white-washed floors too!!!

  9. I agree with everyone that you have made the correct choice. Marching to the beat of someone else’s drummer is not you. You have to be true to you and your proven commodity. (You are amazing.) Going to LOVE your sink cabinet.
    A question: In the photo where you show your whitewashed piece of wood, is that your table saw, bench saw? What brand is it? Thanks for the info.

      1. Thank you so much for the immediate response. It looks like just what I need. And I don’t have to check its creds; you have already done it for me. I am not surprised it is a DeWalt. Love DeWalt! Thanks again!

  10. Love the whitewashed floor idea! I would not wish to see the dark turned legs ,for the vanity, disappear! Perhaps take a color from your beautiful wall and darken it for the vanity. I love you blog and I am glad you are not foing to stress your self with the ORC! This will be your sanctuary and it must be done to your perfect standards! I look forward to reading your journey!
    Sheila F.

  11. I’m breathing a sigh of relief for you! I know I get panicked when I get in a hurry on a project- not good at all. At least now you won’t be in such a time crunch that you don’t have time to blog!

  12. Don’t enter any more contests unless all of the participants are building everything from scratch like you are doing. It is not fair nor is it realistic. The vanity is looking great!

    1. I totally agree with Nadine – I doubt most of those participants would be doing the fine cabinet/furniture work from scratch like you are. And it would be nuts to do the floors at different times – makes no sense for your projects. Your timeline makes much more sense for your kind of projects than any imposed timeline/deadline in some contest. By the way, I love the whitewashed flooring – light flooring in the studio will be awesome.

  13. You could add one large or two small faux drawer fronts to the front of the vanity, that way you could use some really pretty hardware on the front.

  14. I support your decision to forego the pressure of meeting the ORC for all the reasons you and all of your other commenters posted! The bottom line is that you know what is on your plate and you need to do things the way they make sense to you. The rooms you have finished (and refinished) are lovely and what you want, done to your satisfaction. We enjoy following along and if you are struggling/stressing/unhappy, then so are we. Thanks for updating us! I’m looking forward to seeing the progress and excited for you starting to focus on the studio when you are ready! White washed floors, coral cabinets, and the wallpaper ~ Yay!!!

  15. Love it. You go gal. Supportive choices for YOU!!!!

    I think you’re going to love the washed stain floor. I saw many in recent parade of homes, several light gray, some white. What I love is the grain shows, NOT a shine plus they are clean friendly. They show dust less then high sheen or dark finishes. All your other amazing things seem to be the highlight and focus anyways, floor is a base canvas to support those creations. All the best. I wish you knew how much impetus you give to us, to me. I just launched into a major refreshening that is nearing completion, almost done. Fireplace brick to go. A wee bit chicken but I can do this. I will channel your courage, boldness, git’r dun spirit. Building confidence to a major remodel. Thanks for all your sharing.

  16. Love your decision and your progress! As everyone else has said, “why dance to somebody else”s tune when you already have your own!” I have a curiosity question, tho. Will you have any more working space on either side of your sink, or are you limited by space in the bathroom? With all the different types of projects you do, I’m guessing you will be wishing you had more room to set stuff when you are using the sink. I’m loving the bigger sink, tho; so much more efficient and easier for bigger projects. Kudos to you for deciding to must be yourself. Looking forward to seeing your finished vision!

  17. Dear Kristi, it might be that my comment yesterday confirmed your doubts about ORC or it might have come in after you decided to quit – either way I’m feeling relieved because I think that your taking part in that “challenge” is totally unfair to yourself. as you are doing everything yourself whereas the others have help a lot of the time or even only redecorate without much or any construction work whatsoever! And so I thought you were just putting yourself under unnecessary stress without your amazing work being appropriately acknowledged because of this arbitrary time frame. So, little happy dance on your behalf taking place over here in Germany 🙂 I like the progress on the vanity and am very curious abotu the result – and I simply LOVE the idea of whitewashing your floor in the studio and cannot wait for instructions on that!

  18. Good for you! 👍🏻👍🏻

    It is always gratifying to hear you speak of knowing yourself well enough to have the confidence to simply change your mind, even if it is in the middle of a previous decision. 😁

  19. Please take your time……I dread the day when your home project is finished! I love how your creative mind works. My home reflects many of those projects. Doing ORC is beneath your level of detail and quality. Okay, okay……
    Seriously, I’m enjoying the progress you make at your pace, because I can’t keep up otherwise 😉🤣. Keep those updates coming 💜

    1. You had motivation issues last challenge and used it to light your fire…which you clearly don’t have now. I wondered how you would deal with the floors. Can’t wait to see the finished outcome…you go Kristi! Love what you do!

  20. One of the inspo pix for the back entry floor had a “carpet” border around the design, so I had in my mind that you were going to create some sort of border in the pattern to separate the back entry from the rest of the studio (so that you could finish one room now and finish the rest later). BUT, I think I might have been making an assumption or two. LOL! You don’t need the pressure of the challenge, anyway, You get so much done as it is. No need for extra stress! Good luck!

  21. Hi Kristi –

    Were you planning on putting poly over the vanity once painted? If so, have you thought about using something to highlight the turns in the legs, like brass/gold rub-n-buff or a small amount of liquid gold painted in the turns? Then applying poly (or some preferable equivalent)? That might be a solution to your thought that the turnings would get lost if painted black like the rest of the vanity.

    Just an idea. Whatever you do, it is going to be fantastic and I can’t wait to see the results!!! You are awesomely talented!!!

  22. A wise woman knows when to say when! You don’t just design, you build rooms from the ground up. The ORC was not a good fit for you. You do YOU! We get to enjoy and learn about your process!

  23. Love the idea of whitewashed floors! Hope you put a matte finish on them to hide all the dust and debis that will most likely be a part of your day-to-day studio experience.

  24. Good for you! After all, you really can’t categorize this as a one room challenge when you consider that the rooms flow into each other! Even with the doors dividing the area, it’s still, to me, one continuous space. I was pondering how you could break the floor in the entry from the studio as far as installation went. And as for the vanity… I am loving it. I do think it needs to be a light color so those “gams” can stand out. I would suggest the yellow (but I don’t think you would consider that!) or the green of the doors (to pull that color in the bathroom.) I just think the green needs to tie into something else. Looking forward to the next post here!

  25. A whole lot of what is in the ORC does not look great anyway, certainly not up to your standards (or mine). And some of them hire out a lot or all of the work — they certainly are not hands on or thorough to the extent that you are. I love everything you have done so far. I tend to work it out as I go to a great degree myself. Your vanity is shaping up! What about painting it the coral of the other cabinets and using a skirt instead of doors? Love the whitewashed floor, too.

  26. You are not a quitter. You have done your entire house as well as building, sewing and upholstery. Add painting walls, art, hand made tiles on & on.

  27. Good decision, as the time crunch motivation of the ORC is not actually helpful in a space like this with the depth of work you do! You are smart to bow out when you realized it’s not a good fit – no need to stick with it out of some misguided sense of obligation. Do it the way that actually makes sense in reality!

  28. I don’t do well working on someone’s arbitrary deadline so I totally understand. I might decide to do something else entirely while working on something else. Just my way. Also, I like the whitewashed floor. Can’t wait to see.

  29. I love reading your posts and I’m glad you’ve dropped out of the ORC. I find bloggers do less tutorials during ORC (since they’re flat out just trying to meet the deadline!) but the tutorials are GOLD to me! I can’t wait to get a step by step guide to building that vanity.

  30. I am so RELIEVED you are out of the ORC! It was stressing me out! 😉 Your work is so intricate and projects so expansive, there is no way you should be confined to a deadline. Don’t hamper your creative integrity ever again. I have yet to be disappointed with any of your projects. It is worth the wait!

  31. I totally agree with your decision to skip the orc, your project is much more involved than any of the other participants I suspect.
    But, I AM SORRY there may be a lot of people who miss getting to see the wonderful finished product of your endeavors!! Can’t wait to see what you decide on.

  32. I’m so glad to hear you dropped out so that you can finish all the flooring on your own schedule. I couldn’t think of how you would completely finish only area only to have to go and finish another side at another time. Better to do it all in one fell swoop no matter how long it take. I am (im)patiently waiting to see what you do next with the vanity and the floor. 🙂

  33. Yesterday I tried to post a thought about the vanity proportions reminding you of a farmhouse sink and for some reason it didn’t go through. So I said to myself, “Kristi doesn’t need anymore input. Forget it.” And obviously you don’t! But I’m ridiculously pleased that our minds were on the same path. 🙂

  34. I do not like the concept of the ORC. It should be a longer time span so that processes can be done correctly and craftsmanship can be at a quality level. Take your time. This studio is your dream. Don’t rush the process but instead enjoy it and take your time making decisions and don’t settle because you feel the need to move on. The flooring is a big job so when you get stumped on a design idea just lay some flooring. Then when the idea hits just stop laying the floor. Plus, and I know from experience that if you try and lay all that flooring at one time, your wrists and forearms will take months to heal and it is very painful…like nothing relieves the constant ache. Chin up, take a deep breath, say screw it….I will work at the pace that I am comfortable working at and will not go any faster.

  35. The ORC is not a good fit for you at all. What you do is SO much more. I don’t see the other participants taking on what YOU DO. There is just simply no comparison. That wall ‘creation’ that you did…..others would simply try and find a wallpaper of that detail….NOT CREATE IT. The time it took you to tape it off….to do all of that detail painting…I mean OH my!!!! That is detail the other participants can only ‘dream about’….haha…. AND…for you to NOT be in it for all of the FREE STUFF…I am sure that most of the participants are ONLY in it for the free stuff. You are ONE of a KIND KRISTI….That is why we love YOU!! Stay true to YOU and who you are.

  36. I’ve come back to this article and read it three times. This is why everyone follows your blog. You’re genuine, you’re carefully precise, you have something to teach, you’re not just taking up internet space.

    You make the rules here, you outgrew that type of format years ago and they just don’t have anything to offer you. I’m convinced you’ll have your own show one of these days. If ORC wants to have someone of your caliber in their line up, they need to do some wooing and some work.

  37. Ditto to all comments, especially this last one from Chelle. I absolutely expect HGTV to contact you in the future for your own show! When that happens I’ll break down and buy cable because I wouldn’t want to miss a single episode!

  38. You tale ORC as I understand it and do most the work your self. As I read the other ORC’s post they are dealing with 1 room and use contractors they don’t get their hands dirty. Just pick out pretty stuff to put in the room. Do your own thing and love it.

  39. Kristi, I love that you “make it up as you go!” I always thought I was weird. I start a project with an idea in mind. But along the way the project talks to me so I change it on the fly. While it may take longer, the results are always exactly what I wanted in the end but may not have been what I wanted in the beginning! Thanks!