In my daily Pinterest-ing I noticed a few interior design photos with “One Room Challenge” noted in the title, so I looked into it. Turns out it’s a biannual design event over the course of eight weeks that’s open to guest participants. In partnership with Better Home & Gardens, it’s a community event that celebrates the process of completing a room. I’m a little late to the party, as they’re in week six. But I decided I’m all-in for it. I’m trying the One Room Challenge for my office!
Am I being a little too ambitious? I think we all know the unwavering answer to that is YES. But I’m excited for the challenge. I feel like I totally overthink my own spaces. And this one is exemplary of that! This room has so many uses for me. I use it as an office, extra shoe storage, a cardio fitness zone, a photo studio and a storage unit for over 250 items for sale on Poshmark. Yikes, right?
By the way, if this is your first time reading my blog, I just moved to a mini-farm in a new city a few hours from Tampa. This happened the same time as kicking off my new career, no less! Check out my first blog post for the full back story if you’d like to hear more.
So I hopped to it this week and created a plan for bringing this space to its full potential. After hours of going back and forth about some of the decisions, I finally had to say to myself: “What would you recommend to a client?”
It sounds crazy, but this was a game changer.
I would tell my client not to settle for a plan that they’ll have to change later. If they love something but it costs more than they wanted to spend, look at the scenario 360 degrees and decide what would truly be best. Turns out after taking every role of this office into account, that the Plan A and Plan B that were competing so hard in mind, were both not the answer. Plan C has emerged, and it’s going to take some major decluttering, streamlining and putting together new furniture. But in the end, I think it’ll be worth it.
So here’s the situation!
A lot has happened in this little office in the right direction since moving here, but I think this event is a great push to get it done. Here is where I’m at today!
Again, I’m very lucky to have this space in the house. I’ve never had an office before. But with the clutter right now I feel like I don’t even deserve it, and I know that’s not the attitude to have! I’m the type of person who can stay neat-ish if there’s a system and it looks good to me. With the mis-matched fabric storage cubes, it never felt right! And, to top it off, I can’t just order more of the ones on the left because the two shelves from IKEA have different inside cube dimensions! Ugh, you would think they, of all stores, would have this streamlined, but this was not the case. But hey, that’s what I get for buying them piecemeal.
Today, an official plan has been born to finish this project, and you get to watch it all happen, too!
Some Good News This Week!
I purchased this cute little plant from our recently reopened IKEA to get my positive Feng Shui going as I dive into finally finishing my office.
I also had some success creating a little custom foot rest from a West Elm pillow and an IKEA children’s wooden stool. Check out my Instagram stories for the full DIY on that.
My Goals for the Space
Below are the objectives I’m trying to achieve in the process of finishing the work I’ve started on this office. I hope in two weeks I can come back to this and say I’ve got it all down pat!
1. I want to have an office that feels as put together and stylish as the spaces I create for my own clients.
2. I want all of my Poshmark inventory concealed and organized. And I want my packaging products to remain easily accessible when I make sales.
3. I want to better utilize the vertical space of my office for much needed storage.
4. I want to be able to look up from my desk at my pin board hanging on the wall with inspiration images attached.
5. I want a system of organizing paper and tech pieces so that it’s not cluttering my glass desk.
6. I want my elliptical space clear and ready to use at a moment’s notice.
7. I want to create one shelf of interior design references.
8. I want everything in the office to have a place.
This feels so crazy to me to post something that I haven’t finished! I’m excited to see where I can take this space in the next two weeks. Check back on my blog next Thursday for the next progress report.
Thank you for reading and I hope you’ll wish me luck!
You guys really need to know – when we got to the mini-farm, the bathrooms were rough. The second one didn’t even have a floor as you saw in my first blog post. Renan and I are in an atypical situation since we’re renting at a discount because it was mid-renovation. Basically, we’re allowed to do whatever we want to the space, and I’m thankful! But like many renters out there, we had to make it work on a budget. And while this bathroom may not be the stuff of your “dream house” Pinterest board, the improvement is visible. So this is my magical tale of how we completed our rental bathroom makeover for under $300. I’m sharing EVERYTHING in hopes that it inspires others to make the most of their space, at any budget!
In a few senses, I’m lucky because we now have two working bathrooms. One for “boys” and the other for “girls” – which Renan and I totally love. We found a lot of supplies on property like vinyl flooring for the house, new sheets of drywall, etc. I’m also lucky to have such a handyman, “Chip Gaines” of a partner. And hey, I get a good amount of counter space to myself! The get-ready surface space is priceless, no matter how expensive your bathroom is, am I right?
So let’s take a virtual walk through the bathroom and chat about the changes made in this DIY makeover.
Change #1: Paint it All ONE Color
With my interior design work, I always stress the importance of how a space makes someone feel. Since I’m the client in this scenario, I wanted to attack the the thing that drove me the craziest first. And that was paint! Who in the heck can even live with all these crazy paint colors and water-damaged walls?
Say no to semi-gloss. I’ve never liked semi-gloss paint, so I’m not sure why I went with the Home Depot recommendation. I think a satin finish would’ve worked just fine for the bathroom. Semi-gloss has a bit of a latex texture and is sometimes harder to get even coverage, in my opinion.
Prep in one day, paint in one day. Between painting my bathroom and my office, I’ve learned this lesson officially. Use the first day to prep the room to high heaven! Carefully fill holes with a putty kit and use painter’s tape on trim pieces, fixtures, etc. Start with the putty work so you can sand it down later in the day. If you have textured drywall, you may also need a texture spray to help camouflage the repair prior to painting. On painting day, start early so you can run to a Home Depot or Lowe’s if you need more paint. This way you’ll complete the project faster and only have to clean the paint brushes, rollers, and trays once!
Change #2: Paint the Cabinets
This is where I’ll admit I’m a little braver than most people in the “GSD” department. I literally just took the same house paint to the cabinets. While I wouldn’t do the same for a client, this got the job done for me! The coverage was not great, and it may have taken three coats. It was worth it to save money and work from the same gallon of paint! Frankly anything is better than peeling, fake wood cabinets, so this was a win in my book. If you try this, take your time in prepping.
Change #3: Install Privacy Film
This blog is making me realize how much I did in just one or two weekends before I moved here! Ah, memories.
So when we bought the paint, I also had privacy film on my list for the bathroom. I liked the natural light, but having a transparent window in a bathroom was a hard no for me. Renan said “You don’t need this, we live far from neighbors.” But let me tell you, the privacy film was a savior!
Look for contact paper that is wide enough to to cover the surface + sides without a seam if you can.
Purchase a wallpaper kit to help measure, cut, and smooth out.
Be SUPER patient with it and take your time with the cuts. Especially around the sink.
When you’re done, use clear or white silicone caulking around the edges to seal down. Props to Renan for his excellent sealing work!
Change #5: Dollar Tree Linen Closet DIY
I saw this video and was instantly inspired to cover my wire shelves in the bathroom linen closet. And Do it On a Dime shared my photo on her story, which makes her extra cool in my book!
There was originally just one shelf in the linen closet, so Renan was awesome and added two more for us. Then, I used approximately one roll of contact paper and one foam core board from the Dollar Tree per shelf. I chose the light wood grain option, as you can see above. Although not totally perfect, they make me happier to look at my linen closet with no door. And they’re easier to use! Watch her tutorial video for all the steps. This is a solid half day project, NOT including time to organize your stuff.
Change #6: Purchases for Functionality
Believe it or not, my apartment bathroom was one of the projects I completed the Marie Kondo method on. (Read: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.) Even so, my hair, skincare, and makeup products bring me a lot of joy apparently! The important thing for someone like me is to have an organization system in place that works in real life. Otherwise, it’s a total clutter mess.
When we moved here, the bathroom storage situation was different, so my system from my apartment didn’t all translate. The bathroom had no drawers and minimal closed storage. This bathroom works extra hard for us since it needs to act as a storage extension for our laundry room. It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and I may continue to move some things around. But ultimately for me it takes living life in the space to decide on storage solutions.
I share this because, for me, it’s important to be mindful about how a space is used. By thinking through the functionality and organization, I didn’t need to splurge on all new things for every corner.
What I did buy was this trendy pink rolling drawer cart from Home Goods because I deeply missed having drawers! (Similar one in white on Amazon.) I also bought the oval mirror and placed in a well-lit spot for putting in my contacts and doing makeup. (Similar mirror on Amazon.) I brought in the teak-style IKEA shelf that was from my apartment closet. And basically everything else was brought over from my apartment or repurposed.
Change #7: Accessories & Styling
For whatever reason, maybe with the new, all-white canvas I created, I went pretty hard with accessories in the bathroom. It’s all a mix of stuff I had, thrift store finds, Target Opalhouse collection, and my DIY Anthropologie vase knock-off. I can see myself changing this up in the fall, but for now, the color and pattern makes me happy! And that’s the whole point right?
But Wait…There’s More!
Bathrooms are never simple, right? So the last piece is the second closet that had the water damaged wall. Thankfully, Renan has some construction background so he was capable of removing the bad drywall and replacing. We still need to paint it and put shelving in. So I decided we’re going to do a video tour on my Instagram stories in the next week or so. Be sure to follow me to see even more of this bathroom!
What a whirlwind! I hope you enjoyed this Under $300 Rental Bathroom Makeover (in my relentlessly honest style.) Are you planning to try any of these ideas in your home? Let me know in the comments below!
You can also subscribe to my blog here to see more of our rental makeover projects and watch me grow! I absolutely can’t wait until I’m writing about my own bathroom with custom tile, stone surfaces, and built-in everything. I hope you’ll be here for that day, too. ❤️
Disclaimers: a small percentage of purchases from select links will benefit me via an affiliate program. I appreciate anyone who wants to support my blog by shopping the products, but there is no obligation to buy.
All of my DIY blog content is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I share what works for me in my home, but you should consult with professionals/landlords before taking on any construction projects. My blog does not constitute interior design advice for readers. I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.
So if there’s one comment I’ve gotten a lot in response to my recent move, it’s people saying “Really? I can’t picture you on a farm!” I’m not quite sure if it’s intended as a compliment or a veiled insult, but I am definitely enjoying the change of scenery. There’s things I’m still adjusting to and new problems to solve in this new life at the mini-farm. But getting to wake up and see little animals playing outside in the morning is pretty amazing.
If this is your first time “meeting” me, I’ve recently moved from Tampa, Florida to a rural area outside of Ocala, Florida with my farrier boyfriend, Renan. You can see even more back story on my first blog post. And while I still visit Tampa for both professional and personal visits on the regular, the new home base was quite a shift for me! So I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite moments so far and along with a list of products that helped with adjusting to life on a mini-farm. I hope you enjoy!
Favorite Mini-Farm Moments So Far
1. Getting Used to Having Horses as Pets
Before moving here, I don’t think I’ve ever had a pet I couldn’t carry! Enter Hunter and Nate, our beautiful 9-year-old dark brown/black Friesian horses. With lots of training and a background in dressage, Renan was very quick to begin educating me on the ins and outs of horsemanship, so I could take part in their training.
The above photo was taken from a video of my first morning feeding and taking off their jackets by myself. I remember it was a little scary getting so close to these two green, 1200+ pound animals, but after it felt like a rush. One of those times where you think – man, if I can do that, I wonder what else I’m capable of!
Now, I’ve ridden one of them (briefly) and I help Renan with training by taking them one at a time for mile walks around the property. Hunter has become attached to me and pretty much lets me “catch” him and even puts his head down so I can put his halter over his ears. Even though he’s still pretty wild, I just love that horse so much!
Nate, is our “nosy” horse who always wants to be in the action and to find out where there’s any feed he can get into. I’ve read that Friesians are one of the sneakiest horse breeds, and that certainly holds true with Nate! A few weeks ago, Nate came back from a training session and walked around the house checking three different windows for me. Very few dull moments with Friesians apparently!
2. Piggy Cuddle Time
There’s nothing that could’ve prepared me for the amount of instantaneous love we felt for our piglets. Renan says it’s because they toyed with our emotions when they ran away in the first 24 hours. But when they came back, we would give them a bath and they would rest their little heads on our chest for hours, wrapped in towels. But the next day, they’d find another hole in the fence, and the cycle would continue!
I could write a novel-length blog just about what I’ve learned as a co-owner of eight pot-bellied pigs, but I’ll just stop here with – they’re both ridiculous and ridiculously cute. I’m totally wrapped around their little piggy fingers.
When I walk outside, it’s so funny to see all the little animal heads popping up and making their respective racket over the idea of getting a meal. But there’s two animals on this farm who are excited to see me regardless of food, and that’s Mia and Lyla.
So the #goatjogs started one day during quarantine where I decided I wanted to go for a quick jog down our half mile road. The littler goat, Lyla, escaped under the fence to come join me. And she was a great running partner since she could easily keep pace with me! Then I decided to make it a thing and invite Mia to come with us next time. They LOVED it, and I loved the added motivation to work out.
Nowadays, we keep the jogs to our own property to avoid #animaldrama (other farm people know what I’m saying.) But those two would follow me on a jog to the ends of the earth!
4. Having the Space for Creative Projects
I’m very lucky on the mini-farm to have my own office space – with a view and a door – for my first year of owning a business. But in addition, I’m really enjoying having the yard space again where I can paint and DIY to my heart’s content. It’s something I definitely missed when living in an apartment. If you’re interested in seeing some of my DIY projects, check out my Instagram.
5. That the Animals Support My Professional Development
This year, I started with a goal to read one book a month that could help me professionally in my first year of business. This was already going well, but apparently I need to get more hard copy books to read during the piggies’ siesta time. Again, I can’t handle the cuteness of the piglets at this stage.
Additionally, I’ve started to get hooked on audiobooks and podcasts for interior design and entrepreneurship. And apparently these are perfect listening for my horse walks. Maybe Hunter will be able to run a company one day, too!
Products that Help, Big Time
So, we all know farm life doesn’t only consist of Disney-like animals following me and frolicking around. You’re also frankly going to need a tetanus shot and a credit card to make this work. #Justsayin
This brings me to the products that have helped me make the city to farm life transition more doable. I’m hoping these can help others with adjusting to life on a mini-farm (or a farm-farm). As I created my list, I realized many of these products were actually gifts, which I’m so thankful for! So if you are looking for glam or practical gifts for farm girls, this is a good spot. Some of these products would make great, gender neutral housewarming gifts in general.
For Keeping My Hair in Check
When I told my hair stylist about my move, she accurately guessed that we would be on well water and recommended a water softener. While I do know the value of a good water softener, this was not an investment that was realistic to make in the move. However, this water softener shower head has saved my hair from turning crazy colors, for under $30. It comes with two filter cartridges and was relatively easy to install. I’ve been using for months and can highly recommend.
My mom bought me this dual sided silk/bamboo pillowcase for Christmas and I actually noticed a difference in my hair. It’s perfect for farm girls who blow dry their hair at night and don’t need to heat style it every day. You can find it cheaper in this black silk set option as well.
Are you sensing a theme here? Hair is important! Since I style it less and wear it in a hair tie more now, I notice more tangles. So in general, I’m using more hair mask treatments to comb through, and this one is my absolute favorite. If you’ve not tried any products from Briogeo, this mask is your gateway drug.
For Keeping Cool
Shout out to both Victoria & Amy who bought me some insulated wine tumblers for our new place. These are speakin’ my language! Renan and I love sipping our ice cold wine during our quarantine date nights or when celebrating things like my website launch. If you in general live somewhere warm and enjoy chilled beverages, you will like these!
Please don’t judge me for the love of my inflatable pool! This thing was awesome when we didn’t have any A/C for a hot minute, literally. In general, it’s nice to have on a hot day after working outside in Florida! Renan’s brother recommended a mini-blower to fill up with air and it’s a game changer for your inflatable pool dreams. Hello again, weekend pool days!
To Keep Me Safe from Sunburn
This is another great item I was gifted as part of the Costco k-beauty set from my mom. This sunscreen is the only one I know for sure doesn’t break out my skin, so of course it’s a Sephora-level price. It’s perfect for a long day outside.
This is mandatory for my #goatjogs and otherwise outdoor activities, because farmer tans happen, but farmer burns I try to avoid. Hey, if it’s good enough for Jennifer Lopez, it’s good enough for mini-farm life. 🙂
For my Mental & Physical Health
I’ve had this elliptical for years and have recommended to several friends who want to try more home workouts. I include this from a practical standpoint, because living in a rural area often means you are farther away from a gym. In my case, my gym is 30 minutes away, so this is perfect in between. If you check this link later in the year, you’ll probably find deals that are a third of the price of a Peloton (which I think would also be great for farm life.)
If you live anywhere with questionably high humidity, these Damprid bags pull water from the air to dry out your space. I’ve been using these since my college days and I find it helps a space to feel fresh and take away dampness.
Another practical device! I was very lucky to receive an older version of the Dyson Cordless Stick Vacuum as a hand-me-down from my mom. This is so handy for quickly getting farm dirt out of the house, but it can work for anyone! Fingers crossed this is the first of my growing Dyson appliance collection. 🙂
For Convenient Lighting
Outdoor solar lights are so fantastic for our Florida mini-farm life. Renan bought some motion-activated lights that he has put up all over the property, and even on the golf cart. They all work very well. He’s also bought a set of string lights like this, but not solar. I love when he plugs them in on the front porch when I’m coming home after dark. These solar string lights would definitely be an upgraded version of this!
This was one of our last upgrades to the mini-farm and I’m loving it. I went to my parents house a while back and noticed they had their Christmas trees and some lighting decorations plugged into this little remote control system. They likely found theirs at Costco and not long after complimenting it, I got a set of my own as a gift! We have some wonky electrical here, so a remote power outlet set like this helps to control lights not connected to switches.
So that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this life update and product recommendations from my experience adjusting to life on a mini-farm. Feel free to share any additional tips or recommendations in the comments below. If you find this article because you are moving to a farm, please be sure to comment so I can say hi! I hope so much that this helps make you feel happy and adjusted in your new home. 🙂
Disclaimer: a small percentage of purchases from select links will benefit me via an affiliate program. I appreciate anyone who wants to support my new blog by shopping the products, but there is no obligation to buy.