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Guess what time it is? It’s ORC time! The ONE ROOM CHALLENGE has officially started for the spring 2020 season. I’m always very excited for this challenge but this round I think I am probably the most excited I have ever been for a number of reasons!

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 and mom of 3 busy kiddos.

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. 

The next 8 weeks is most likely going to be full of so many unknowns and I’m sure many ups and downs. But I know we are all in this together and the ORC community is always so supportive of one another. A HUGE thank you to Linda, from Calling it Home, who organizes this event twice a year. I can’t even imagine what it takes to put this event together.

If you’ve been following me on social channels I have been dropping hints and not so subtle hints for weeks now on what room(s) I plan on working on. So here it is officially….. I’ll be working on my


This is by far the biggest project I have ever tackled for the ORC. We get two spaces in one shot. It seems that the only way to get anything really done around here is to have the added pressure of a deadline and the internet world watching us. lol. It’s all good, I got stamina!

This will be lucky makeover #7 for me. I feel like I am a pretty seasoned ORC veteran at this point. Here are a few completed project pictures below!

You can check out my foyer makeover here, my dining room makeover here, my old beach house here and my daughters bedroom here.

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Moving on from the pretty pictures.

Let’s commence the start of this project with some good ‘ol ugly before pictures.

The Basement

Our partial basement has been used a number of ways over the years. It’s been a gym and still is, a gym and playroom, a gym and office, and most recently a gym and storage for junk. We plan of using the space as a gym ONLY this round with some added storage.

This makeover was sparked when I bought my Peloton bike and I refused to put it down in the basement, because its dingy, uninspiring and it was full of junk. So the bike has been living in my bedroom which is not ideal either! It’s time for my precious bike to have a proper home. If you personally know me, y’all know how obsessed I am with my Peloton. So, of course some of you are not surprised by this decision to do a gym makeover.

The last few months have given me the opportunity to clean out and sell a lot of stuff down here. Plus, it gave me a little extra cash to apply to this makeover or buy the Peloton tread. 😉


There you have it, the wonderful before pictures. As you can see, some challenges lie ahead. I’s not a huge space but we still have plenty of room to get in some decent workouts.


And now the lovely outdoor disaster …I mean space.

At some point in our old houses life, we think that the basement used to be a garage. Last year when we had our driveway redone at the side of the house, we made the decision to take out the concrete that ran down and around the back to our basement. We never ever parked down here, so it really was severing no purpose for us.

We thought it would be better utilized as a bigger, grassier backyard for our kids to play in. Well, 18 months later and we have yet to do anything with the space. Look, you can still see remnants of the old concrete that they never hauled away.

……I actually take that back, we did relocate a HUGE AC/Heating unit to the side of the house. So we did do something, that was an expensive something too!

When I decided to do the gym as my ORC project I wanted a pretty, functional, inspirational place to workout. Then I looked outside. I can NOT workout and look at this view everyday and feel good and energized. It stresses me out! Quite the opposite of what exercise should be doing, right?

So the outdoor patio dreaming began! They really do operate as one continuous space, don’t you think?

Bring on the pretty view!

Game Plan

I’ll be breaking up my project into two phases. The first phase is going to be focused on getting the outside completed first. We’ve decided to break it up for a number of reasons.

  1. Stay focused and organized

  2. The weather is getting hotter everyday

  3. This allows our state time to phase back in workers. The inside will require trade contractors

  4. Our kids, more then ever need an outdoor space to play

  5. Get the dirty work done first so it’s not tracked inside the basement.

My husband and I are both self employed, so right now it financially makes sense for us to do as much work on our own as possible. We will be DIYing everything outside.

Phase Two – Probably around week three or four we will focus on the basement gym. We may still be working outside as well. We just kinda have to see how it goes.

Join me next week for the complete design plan. And 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 (3)
  • Leslie Carothers
    | 8 May 2020

    I am so looking forward to seeing how you make both of these spaces work together for yourself and your kids, Jana! I am sure it will be inspiring by the end, knowing you!

  • Janet Lorusso
    | 9 May 2020

    Yikes, yay for stamina! That looks like a back-breaking DIY project moving all those concrete chunks! It’s really smart to do it all at once, though, b/c exercise absolutely needs inspiration! It will be so fun to see where you go with this – I know it will be gorgeous because ALL your projects are!

  • Kyla Herbes
    | 12 May 2020

    Super excited about this one! I’m also working on a home gym. And I spy your TRX =)

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