ORC Week 1: The Ultimate She Shed & the Tale of 2 Schemes

Hello all! It’s time for the new One Room Challenge!

A quick introduction if you’re new to Home Glow Design and Home Glow’s Saturday Blog —

I’m a New Hampshire designer & writer. I started my business in late 2016 because I knew what I saw in the design magazines didn’t come from a big box store catalog and I wanted to let homeowners know that the totally unique and character-filled interiors they wanted weren’t stylistically out of their reach, either! I love gorgeous colors and patterns, and I’m a sucker for architecturally/historically-inspired fresh classic design.


Now, for those of you not familiar with the ONE ROOM CHALLENGE, it’s the brain-child of Linda at CALLING IT HOME. Twice a year, 20 invited designer/bloggers and a host of guest participants complete a room in 6 weeks, with a weekly blog post to update on progress. Featured designers post on Wednesday and guest bloggers post on Thursday. Hence, for the next 6 weeks, Home Glow’s Saturday Blog will post on Thursdays. If I find some spotlight inspiration for Saturdays, I’ll do a quickie short-form post for you. ?


The Ultimate She Shed —

Blacksmith Shop Turned Home Glow Design Studio

I live in an OLD, old house, 225+ years old in fact.

In addition to the main house being attached to a barn (now garage and rec space), there is a separate out building that was built in the 19th century as the local blacksmith shop, circled below.


The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design


BTW — that porch was a Victorian addition, long since gone. Here is the shop today.


The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design


In the 1960s, it served as the then-owner’s store for stamp collectors, and in the ’80s it was converted to a sleepover house for that family’s girls. It is now storage.

No heat (or at least, none new enough that we’re willing to turn on). It’s friggin’ freezing in here.

IMG_4759 IMG_0078 IMG_4760


It’s also where my Handsome Husband has worked out for the last 5 years.

Pretty depressing, huh? Even moreso when you think about how, in the winter, he comes out here in a ski coat and snow pants to lift weights — like this last winter when we had lows to -15 F.

Now the HH will have to exercise in the garage … at least it’s 20 degrees warmer.


For the last year-and-a-half, I have run my design business out of the kitchen. The setup worked well for the first 6 months, but as client work has increased, so has my stash of samples and such.

I’m embarrassed to show these pics, but you see why I need to move out.



It’s also why we’re renovating the kitchen next year! But that’s another story….


I’m really looking to honor the roots of this building as a working man cave (blacksmith, right?) and inject a feminine touch at the same time. And while I’m a huge color lover, I do want this space to have a hefty dose of white as a clean backdrop for all the colorful and patternful work that will go on there.

Some inspiration:

The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design office
via Atlanta Homes Magazine

The insanely classy Barbara Westbrook‘s office above has a bit of that rough-hewn industrial look partnered with clean white. Lots of storage baskets and shelves.


The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design Office
via House Beautiful

Windsor Smith uses hardwearing seagrass carpeting and some pops of color in her yellow conference chairs.


The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design Office
Design Sponge

And I definitely want a huge cork wall for pinning up inspiration.


Design Dilemma — A Tale of 2 Schemes

I knew that I wanted to find some sort of floral and do feminine Roman shades over those 5 windows — a super girly touch to balance all the testosterone that has been flowing through that building for the last 150 years. But therein lies my design problem, as you will see.

Green and blue is my absolute favorite color combination, and early on I fell head over heels for the below gorgeous chintz by Cowtan & Tout.

The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design Office
Longbourn by Cowtan & Tout

The fact that it is named for the home of my favorite heroine in 19th century literature, Elizabeth Bennet, seemed serendipity. So I created this design scheme:

The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design Office

But then my Pindler rep paid me a visit, and I saw this fabric.

The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design Office
Treeblossom in Blush by Pindler

It reminded me of Schumacher’s Pyne Hollyhock (which was all over the Fall 2017 ORC, btw) in Blush. And while I dearly love the blush Hollyhock, the unusual color combination of the Treeblossom — with those awesome tans and grays — steal my heart and keep the pink floral from feeling too sweet.

So I created this scheme:

The Ultimate She Shed Home Glow Design Office

So here is my quandary — do I go with:

  1. The British-Lit-Snob-Blue-Green-Floral-Girl scheme (which, honestly, uses colors more in tune with my branding), or,
  2. The Formerly-Bad***-Glam-Cowgirl-Who-Now-Wears-Pink-Flowers scheme.


Which do you like better???????


Come back next week to see which one I’ve chosen and why, and all the goodies! And don’t forget to check out all the other bloggers this week!



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39 thoughts on “ORC Week 1: The Ultimate She Shed & the Tale of 2 Schemes”

  1. Oh, Amy, they are both so beautiful, I understand your conundrum. But I’m going to throw you a curve ball–after looking at your inspiration rooms, they all are devoid of color and pattern, and for good reason. For a design office, where you will be creating color schemes for clients, you may want to keep the space plain? And save the pretty patterns for another room? Just a thought.

    If not, then go with the blush/tan/gray, it’s more neutral.

    Looking forward to seeing the transformation!

    1. Excellent points, Diana. I found other offices that had some pattern, but didn’t want to overwhelm readers with a ginormous post ;). I absolutely hear what you are saying. At the same time, I also want clients to be able to come in and see things like the quality/individualization that a designer can bring through custom window treatments, upholstery, and fabrics and color palettes they may not have thought of themselves.

      I hoping that with color mainly on the tops of the windows and just the floor (the ceiling color will only be on the double height entry area, not on the low ceiling), with the main swath of the middle — walls, trim, bookcases, tables — that it will feel *overall* like a clean backdrop….

      But we will see! Fingers crossed.

  2. My vote is for blue and green. But I’m loving this space! And your plans for it. Can’t wait.

  3. I like #1 for various reasons but most importantly I think it will be more inviting to potential clients.

  4. I am voting for #1; I love green and the connection to the outdoors through blue and green.

    1. Agreed on the connection to the outdoors! That’s one reason we live in NH, am I right??? 🙂

  5. Elizabeth Bennet, all the way. I promise you will tire of the dark before you know it. Don’t go against the gut, it is exactly wha,t you want.

  6. #2! A little fem, a little rustic, and, dare I say it, a little edgy. A great neutral, hardworking space for curating colorful ideas. Plus, a bit different from your other spaces—always nice to mix it up and stretch yourself! Love it! Good luck!

    1. I like this scheme for those reasons, too. While I’m channeling a fresh American/English in the main house, I feel this out building is an opportunity to explore a slightly different side of my own aesthetic and show clients that I can adapt to theirs. And I always love an unexpected color palette!

  7. #2 for a variety of reasons but I must say that I completely agree with Sarah’s comment. Its different from your other spaces and might be fun to mix it up again. Do you have any other options for the rug? I really love the pink and the chandelier is super fun!

    1. Hi Hannah! I do feel the tug of mixing things up a bit and showing clients a different side to my personal style. The rug is actually a very personal choice for me — in my 1790 house and in the style I’ve been decorating it, there is really no place for a hide rug. Yet I have very fond memories of being a wrangler in Colorado in a former life, a life of which I have almost no photographic evidence. It’s like a memento for me.

  8. How about a combo–but the Pindler fabric in the Antique colorway, combined with the other elements from the blue/green design. But wait, use the sparkly chandelier either way! Love that chandelier! Hahahaha, you’re going to have such fun doing this space!

    1. Hahaha. I know. I LOVE that chandelier. I tried to make it work with the Longbourn, but I’m afraid it just doesn’t. I AM having fun though 🙂

  9. Oh gosh this is a hard one!!! My first thought was definitely #1. It’s absolutely stunning, but so is #2. I love the fabrics for 1 and the light you chose for 2 is so perfect. I’m back and forth on this one!! Overall, #1.

    1. I also like the rug for #2!!! Makes me want to go into the office and hang out. Pick the one that makes you feel the most alive, happy, and inspired to work!

      1. Thanks! Apparently you and I (and maybe Sarah) are the only ones who really like the rug! I have a soft spot for it from my brief stint as a wrangler, though.

  10. #1! i love a sky blue ceiling and the light feeling it gives in what feels like an endless winter season! Both are beautiful though–like that helps you decide!!;)

    Can you please tell me the dimensions of the house? We are about to embark on a shed to pool cabana conversion so your experiment is particularly interesting! 😉

    1. Hi Pam! Glad to have you following along. Yes, it does feel endless! After having half-thawed, our pond is totally frozen again, and we are supposed to get a couple inches of snow today! Grrr….

      No help deciding, I’m afraid! However, the dimensions of the cottage are approximately 15.5′ x 11.5′ with a 7.5′ long loft.

  11. Wow, I loved reading about your house and love the project that you took on. It’s going to be wonderful. So much potential in that beautiful little structure. I’m voting for option #1, love the greens! Excited for the finale.

  12. Wow. I am obsessed with your house and “blacksmith shop”! Super jealous over here. I can’t wait to see how you take your craft room back to its roots. That first inspiration photo is amazing! I definitely went with all color in my craft room, since the hubby didn’t get a huge say 🙂 But I also love the crispness of white. Excited to see how it goes!

  13. While option 1 makes my heart sing, I feel that option 2 has a warmer feel and will be more enduring. Our NH winter lasts so long – go for #2!

    1. Excellent thoughts. Yes, definitely a need for warmth here — we had a fire last night, with all the snow! Thanks so much for your input!

  14. Now, THIS is a makeover to follow! I’m perusing fellow guest participants (it’s my first ORC), and yours caught my eye. What a charming little space to makeover, and I’m so jealous you have your own building for your business!
    My vote is for number 1 for sure (my daughter’s name is Elizabeth Bennett Holcombe).
    Can’t wait to see what you do!

  15. Some thoughts:

    1. To my mind, a “She-shed” is a personal retreat where one does not have to take anyone else’s needs/opinions into consideration. This includes spouses, guests, children, clients. A She-shed is a place of personal indulgence.

    As I understand it, you want this to be your place of business; the headquarters for Home Glow Designs. It sounds like you expect to have clients come to this space. So in my mind, this space should be geared around whatever message you want the clients to have.

    I don’t think a She-shed and a business headquarters are the same thing. You are female and a (current) office of one, but this still is not meant to be a place that is just yours. So I think if any design element doesn’t support the goals of Home Glow Designs, it shouldn’t make the cut.

    2. You seem to be feeling a personal need to express some parts of yourself that are not having a chance to come out. They clearly need some space to BE, but maybe this is not the right place for them? It sort of sounds like you feel like this is your only chance.

    3. I don’t know when you do most of your work, but lets face it, during the day, the shades will probably be up and you’ll see, maybe a foot of them? I think the synergy between the fabric and the rug is what a person will really notice. I assume the rug is going to have a lot of visual real estate–unless the work table will block most of it?

    4. That said, won’t Roman shades block a lot of the window? I know most of the light a room receives comes in through the top and your windows run right up into the loft ceiling.

    1. Thanks for the input, Mary. To me, this is *my* she-shed because my design business is my happy place (or, one of them anyway) — especially after being a stay-at-home parent for 8 years. But yes, you are right. Of course it has to be geared toward my business goals and not only what I would like for a purely personal space.

  16. They are both beautiful Amy, and I am certain either combo will be lovely. As someone who also works from a home office I totally get the mindset that you office is your special place and has to ticket a lot of boxes. For a long time I had a little desk in my office for my mini-assistants to do their homework while I worked 🙂 I love that green rug from #1 combo, as another New Englander I feel for me, that would bring joy in February. So fun to follow along with the process, thanks for opening up for input, I am looking at my own space with a new lens.

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