ORC Spring 2020.png

If you are new to my blog, Welcome! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by I’m Jana Donohoe, an interior designer in Fayetteville, North Carolina, mom of 3 busy kiddos and Peloton addict! I’m making over my walk out basement into a proper home gym and an inspiring basement patio area for this challenge.

Not Familiar with the One Room Challenge

The One Room Challenge is a bi-annual event where interior designers, bloggers and design enthusiasts participate in transforming a space of their choice and blog about it every week for 6 short weeks, but this ORC we have been given 8 weeks due to the unprecedented times we are facing. I will be sharing my progress every Thursday for the next 8 weeks. So be sure to watch for those weekly updates. 

Catch up on week one, two and three.

We are half way there but no where near half way done! This is week four of our eight week challenge and I am feeling a little defeated, a lot tired and a little panicked.

Rain is the killer of outdoor projects

The weather has it’s own mind and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Had I know how much it was going to rain during the last couple weeks I would have thought better about adding this whole outdoor project to my One Room Challenge. Remind me why the home gym wasn’t enough? (Sigh)

This last weekend (Memorial Weekend) was full of some serious back breaking DIY-ing. This is the only thing getting me thru this hard yard work. My kids gave it to me for Mother’s Day!

We had to bust out some long working days because we have lost so much time from the rain. Here I am Sunday trying to work in the rain and get the dirt perfectly level for our new deck. I was determined to get this done until it started to thunder and lighting. I thought better of the situation……I didn’t want to get struck by lighting, so I called it a day, without getting everything perfectly level. (insert crying here).


Finally progress

Memorial day for the win! After some trial and error on the process and system of how the deck was going to be laid. The hubs and I finally got our rhythm down and zipped thru to finish our 12’ x 23’ new deck.

Here’s how we did it.

After the ground was leveled out (boy was that a job!) We laid out landscape fabric first, so no weeds come up thru the deck. Then we laid out all the pressure treated wood joists that the decking run across to screw to, every 12’“ on center, we made sure to square and level everything up. This is important so, you don’t end up with a wonky deck. After that was all set we were ready to start putting the decking on. We selected Trex decking composite which is a finished no maintenance material. The hubs pre drilled all the holes for the screws and I screwed all the boards down to the joists. This process was a huge time saver for us. (disclaimer: I am no expert in deck building, so do your own homework)

And Voila! Here it is.

…… and it’s raining again. We finished just in time.


If you know how to measure, level and screw something together YOU CAN BUILD a ground level deck. Here’s the basics besides pressure treated wood to build a deck.

Ground Level deck basics.png

More deck news.

In order for us to prepare for the upper deck waterproofing. We had to take off all the old deck material, which was half rotten anyway. After the waterproofing it will get the same Trex decking as below. During this process I had my carpenters fix and secure some areas of the deck I always felt uneasy about. So despite having a completely torn up deck I feel at ease going forward with putting everything in place. This was definitely a job for the professionals. When structural integrity is at play, leave that job to the pro’s.

I am hoping the waterproofing material will be in this weekend, so I can talk further about that in next weeks post.


Here is where we are at now. Still a lot of check marks to go!

Basement Patio Checklist

  • Level ground for deck and retaining wall✔

  • Install new french doors to gym ✔

  • Build retaining wall – Working on it- We have to adjust it to meet up to deck

  • Build ground level deck with Trex ✔

  • Install recessed lights in deck ceiling

  • Install Deck Ceiling system

  • Build storage under deck

  • Pressure Wash

  • Paint deck posts, storage slats, railings and door

  • Build New Swing set for kiddos

  • Refinish existing outdoor sofa frame

  • Reupholster existing outdoor sofa with sunbrella

  • Buy new outdoor lounge chairs ✔

  • Plant new bushes and flowers in ground and pots

  • Install solar lights

Home Gym Update

I don’t have anything major to report this week here. I have been waiting for the plumbers to move some pipes before any of the framing could happen. They finally finished that today, so we are ready to frame up closets and the ceiling. I’m hoping I will have a lot more to report here in the coming weeks.

My mural arrived this week, all the way from the UK. I am so excited, I can’t wait to get it up!


Wondering where the yellow came in? The road in the mural has just a smidgen of yellow. I thought it might be fun to jazz up the gym and play off the blues walls with its complimentary color.

Y’all picking a yellow is a huge step for me. I have literally hated the color since I was pregnant with my son 7 years ago. Let’s chalk that up to hormones and maybe over usage in the early 2000’s. Anyway, I am coming back around to it. Don’t ask me to paint any walls yellow anytime soon though. Baby steps.

So here is what I am thinking. I need to paint my stairs in the gym, white does not seem practical for us and I think will drive me crazy cleaning them. Black is just a bit too dark for what I am looking for. So that got me thinking yellow, a fun, bright color that has the ability to energize. Perfect for a gym. Which is probably why a lot of gyms actually use yellow. Of course to make sure I wasn’t entirely crazy I took to the google to search for yellow stairs and confirm my brilliant idea! 💡

How fun are these? My inspiration first and foremost always comes from nature. I am 100% obsessed with lemon trees. 2nd – How fun are these stairs?

Image credit: Bruce Hemming (right)  Peckham, London SE15 (Left)

Image credit: Bruce Hemming (right) Peckham, London SE15 (Left)

Basement Gym Checklist

  • Demo Old floor and carpet on stairs ✔

  • Re-do plumbing line ✔

  • Frame out new closet under stairs and around duct work

  • Add insulation in ceiling for added noise barrier and heat/cooling

  • Run New electrical for lights

  • Sheet Rock and mud Ceiling

  • Install new LVP floors

  • Paint ceiling, walls, trim and stairs

  • Order and install artwork

  • Order New workout rug/mat ✔

  • Order wall mural ✔

  • Install Wall Mural

Thank you for sticking with me during this SLOW process, although steps in the right direction. If you’d like please subscribe to my blog to follow along and watch for my weekly progress posts in your inbox. Be sure to follow along on Instagram and my instagram stories for behind the scenes sneak peeks and shenanigans.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my posts and leave me your comments. I appreciate it!


Fayetteville, North Carolina

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Comments (17)
  • Leslie Carothers
    | 28 May 2020

    Jana — I can’t even imagine doing all you are doing…and how tough it is to do all of that in the rain, too. I hope you have dryer weather ahead over these next 4 weeks as you finish this up. And, I am a yellow lover.. and just love the idea for the yellow stairs. ZING!

    And can we talk about lemon aromatherapy? So invigorating!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 28 May 2020

      Thank you Leslie! Normally I don’t mind some rain and my little veggie garden is thriving because of it. So there is good, it’s just tough getting things built in rain. I just need a few more days of great weather to get everything together.
      I’m so glad you like the yellow, a Zing for sure! lol.

  • Amie Druehl
    | 28 May 2020

    Oh I love your cheery inspiration! That would wake me up for a workout much better than my dingy basement:) The rain has been terrible here as well. Good luck on getting that outdoor space done! Gotta really kill it on good weather days!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 30 May 2020

      Thank you Amie, Yes I am patiently waiting for the clear weather and will be running outside to get as much done as possible. I wish I had plants in the ground already because they would love this rain.

  • Ilse Benard
    | 28 May 2020

    Wow what a big job! You are amazing to do so much of this yourselves!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 30 May 2020

      Ha! Thank you Ilse. Some days I feel really stupid for trying to tackle all this.

  • Debbe Daley
    | 29 May 2020

    Jana, what a project! Looking great, sorry for all the rain though. That’s frustrating for sure!

  • Janet Lorusso
    | 29 May 2020

    Haha, I had a similar feeling about yellow many years ago – not sure why, but I’ve come around to appreciating it now…I even own a yellow sofa! I LOVE the idea of the yellow stairs! And I’m so sorry for your uncooperative weather. A little rain is fine, I’m totally okay with God watering my plants, I just wish it would only rain overnight!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 30 May 2020

      It’s very strange I woke up one day when I was pregnant with my son and literally could not stand to look at yellow. Some weird hormones I guess that lasted 7 years. lol

  • Sheri Bruneau
    | 29 May 2020

    I’m a lover of the color yellow so it makes me happy to see you incorporate it into your design.

    I can not wait to see how this all turns out. It’s going to be amazing!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 30 May 2020

      Thank you Sheri! I am really trying to push forward. I am very excited for the yellow. I think a fun element for the gym.

  • Libbie@alifeunfolding
    | 30 May 2020

    This is going to be so worth all the hard work! Love the cheery yellow inspiration.

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 30 May 2020

      Thank you Libbie! Yes it will be worth it, just got to get thru the next few weeks. 🙂

  • shannon Ggem
    | 1 June 2020

    Wowwww! That yellow! I ended up going yellow on my Paddle House, too. There’s something in the air, I think. It’s coming! Just thinking about it is actions!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 3 June 2020

      That is too funny, about the yellow! I’m pretty excited to get it painted. Can’t wait to see your update on the Paddle House. 💛

  • It’s been so fun following along on this space !

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 3 June 2020

      Thank you Jenna! A lot of hard work done, I am ready to start making things beautiful again. 🙂

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