ORC spring2020.png

The day has finally come!

It’s reveal day of my ORC project. This project has BY FAR been the biggest and most challenging ORC project to date that I’ve taken on. The amount of work we’ve done in 9 short weeks has been beyond exhausting.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about and are here for the first time. 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, Peloton addict and apparently just a little bit crazy and ambitious!

For the spring 2020 challenge I became keenly aware that I needed a pretty place to workout (thanks to quarantine). So I decided to makeover our small walkout basement. When I went down to the basement I was reminded just how awful my outdoor space was. I just couldn’t workout and stare at the mess that was in front of me. So the gym makeover became a gym and patio makeover, that became a gym, patio, deck and playground makeover. This project wouldn’t stop growing! My One Room Challenge turned into like 4 spaces.

So for the past 9 weeks I’ve been getting dirty. (Not that kind, get your head out of the gutters!)

If you are 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 8 weeks. Linda from Calling it Home is the creator of this amazing event, currently in its seventeenth season.



If you missed my week by week progress, you can catch up below.

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five (cancelled),

Week Six

Week Seven

Instead of giving you the recap checklist , because well the checklist kept growing. I’m going to give you another fun list. I’m saying fun very loosely here!

15 tons of gravel were delivered, shoveled and raked in our yard

5100 pounds of retaining wall bricks were delivered, moved, stacked and leveled

770 sq ft of turf installed

565 days of rain (JK, I don’t know but it was a lot!)

150 cedar slats installed

105 Plants bought and planted

70ish 2 x 4’s used

countless amounts of dirt moved around

30 yard bags full of Ivy removed prior to start of project

15 gallons of paint painted

15 toads moved (1 causality, I accidentally dropped a retaining wall brick on it. RIP toad)

7 4×4 and 4×6’s installed and cemented in the ground

2 truck loads worth of brick hauled off that we found buried in our yard

56500 hours of labor…It felt like it OK!

I think you got the idea of how much back braking work went into this project!

This quote always popped in my head when I wanted to quit or felt like I was going to pass out and die from lifting one too many bricks or shovels of gravel. I kept hearing one of the Peloton instructors yelling “no one said this was going to be easy” and “but did you die?” If you have a Peloton you know exactly what I am talking about.

No, I didn’t die and if I did I wouldn’t be here showing you the final reveal. We made it after all and quite frankly I have no idea how we pulled this off.


I know everyone is anxious to see how the project turned out BUT before we get to the MAJOR transformation, l always like to revisit what the before looked like. It makes an even better final reveal and shows just how far we’ve come.

Even I can’t believe the transformation, and I live and breathe transformations every day.

Let’s start with my backyard shall we?

Backyard Before

Our backyard actually used to be mostly a driveway. We had taken out the driveway a couple years ago (see the left over concrete?) but had not done anything with the space since. It became such a eyesore that no one ever went back there.

We had a pretty significant slope both coming down the side of the house and then coming down into the basement area. It’s hard to tell from the photos but you can see the erosion from pulling out the driveway.




I feel like you’ve been pretty patient so far unless you just bypassed everything I just wrote to look at the after photos. I wish I could have bypassed 9 weeks of dirty pores to get to the after photos too. Any way enough about my dirt clogged pores. Without further ado, the after photos of my backyard.


We ended up with a two tier yard to help with erosion and drainage. We added the retaining wall to divide the spaces and support the soil from erosion. We had to build up a small section behind the retaining wall to make the playground area. It still slopes down, but not nearly as drastic as before.


We enclosed a portion under our deck for outdoor storage, since we had none before. It also helped camouflage some eye sores on the foundation where our A/C unit used to be and the sloping brick foundation.




The old playground went bye bye. We built this much more streamlined one in place of it and added 3 swings to accommodate all 3 of my kids at once. Surprisingly, we have not had any fighting over the swings. YAY! A parent win.


I just love how this patio area turned out. The furniture was sponsored by POLYWOOD and I couldn’t be happier with how comfortable and durable it is. It makes for the perfect spot for my morning coffee of watching the kids in the evening playing on the swings.

The Harbour Collection was the perfect compliment to my space, the clean black lines of the chairs and sofa mimic the slats on the fence and the storage area. The chrome bar on the back is a beautiful added detail.

Design is in the details!


Like most families, we are super busy. The last thing I wanted to think about was how to care for and store the outdoor furniture when not in use. The best news ever, is that POLYWOOD is all weather. I can leave it out here all year without having to fuss over maintenance. Just a quick soap and water rinse every now and again.

The material is made from recycled plastics! The company’s mission to help our environment is right on point with my own beliefs. Truly a great company!




Keeping right in line with recycled materials. Is this beautiful classic blue and white stripe rug sponsored by Jaipurliving. It’s made from PET recycled materials. A perfect combination of comfort, style and sustainability.




Meet Charlie. Yes my dog statue has a name and that’s what I call him. We had to put our 16 year old black lab down last fall, so this is in remembrance of our Silo.

PS. We are not ready for another dog just yet. So this is working out nicely.





Well, what do you think? Can you believe this is the same space? I really love how we tiered the yard instead of just keeping the slope. It was a lot of work building the retaining wall, but so worth it!

We also installed the turf last weekend and love how it turned out. I’m really looking forward to not having dirt around the playground and the kids can play putt putt golf on it too. Plus, bonus…I can’t kill it!

Now, who wants to come over and drink lemonade or wine with us?


Gym Before

And now for the gym, the one room that started the whole series of makeovers. Although after 9 weeks of working on my yard, raking gravel, lifting 85IB bricks, I kinda didn’t really need a gym. JK, sorta…yard work is most definitely a serious workout though.

So now we revisit the before pictures of my uninspiring basement gym.

Reveal Time


My entire color scheme, inside and outside was inspired from the wall mural. I’m pretty happy with how well I did installing the mural, having never installed wallpaper myself before.


Life is a hustle, right? I designed this custom rug to mimic the road in the mural. I felt like the road itself was a bit bland so I decided to add the word HUSTLE on the side. We always seem to be on the Hustle road. It’s our road that goes nowhere…yet everywhere! No slacking on your workouts down here!

I really wanted to get the Peloton tread for my new gym. Unfortunately due to Covid they suspended all tread sales. So I have to make due with my old one for now. (wink, wink, hint, hint Peloton)



Remember when I said I strongly disliked the color yellow? Not in general, just as a paint color. I am 100% in love with my yellow stairs. They make such a fun, vibrant, energetic statement down here.

Other then the stairs everything else was painted Secure Blue from Sherwin Williams. By keeping the same color on the ceiling, walls, and trim it helps camouflaged the low ceiling height, drop downs and imperfections of the space. Everything blends together and blurs defining boundaries.

This is a trick that designers use in small rooms with lots of doors, and rooms with low ceilings.




I have banned as much plastic waste in my house as possible. So when my friends created KOZ, on-the-go water in aluminium cans I knew they would make the perfect addition to our basement beverage cooler.

I could go on and on about what plastic is doing to our environment but I’ll save that for another post. Please consider buying KOZ and banning plastic bottles.


My motto throughout this entire renovation….Let’s do this!

I am 100% determined to finish something when I start it. I’m not afraid of hard work and getting dirty.

Walking down my stairs everyday to see this saying first thing is a reminder that you can do whatever you set your mind too.


Now that this renovation is behind me I need to get back on track for training for my 100 mile bike ride at the end of July.

I did warn y’all I was crazy. At least this crazy gal, has an inspiring place to workout and admire now!

It’s such an awesome feeling that we are done. But the best moment during this whole thing is when my kids said their favorite part of our house is the gym and backyard now. They even went on to say it felt like a fancy resort. …that’s what its all about. A space for all of us to love and enjoy together!


A big thank you to my generous sponsors for providing me with all the beautiful finishing touches these spaces needed.

POLYWOOD– Outdoor sofa and chair

Jaipur Living– Outdoor Rug

Sherwin Williams– Interior and exterior Paint

Handy Paint Pail– Painting supplies

KOZ Water– Water in aluminum cans

Please be sure to check out these wonderful brands!

I’d also like to thank Lea Hartman Photography for taking the photos and working with me!

Most of all I want to thank my husband who stepped in and helped me out. We didn’t always see eye to eye on the “right” way to build stuff or order of operations. In the end we got it done and we didn’t kill each other…close though. lol. We will have 19 years married next week btw. Deployments and renovations can’t stop us now.

That’s a wrap for now folks. If you need me I’ll likely be taking a long nap or drinking to celebrate our marathon makeover.

Outdoor Sources

Clickable images


Gym Sources

As always, thank you for reading, and following along with me the last 8ish weeks. I’d love to hear what you liked the most or found interesting during this challenge, please leave me a comment.

Lastly, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe 4th of July!

Jana Donohoe, ASID

Fayetteville, North Carolina

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Comments (37)
  • Charlene Donohoe
    | 4 July 2020

    Once again Jana, you have met your goal with honors! Love the transformation of the backyard…. not sure it qualified for the title of “yard” before!?? Lol! Now the family has a beautiful space to enjoy the outdoors. Amazing that you were able to move all that dirt, rock, bricks etc and build it all in eight weeks besides all the rainy days. The fact that you incorporated a much needed storage area into your vision and made it a nice backdrop for your outdoor space is nice.
    I love the yellow stairway down to the pretty blue room and mural. It is quite the statement. Sunshine and blue skies! Who wouldn’t want to hop on that bike and ride! Love it all!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 4 July 2020

      Haha! You are right, I don’t think it counted as a yard before. I don’t know how we pulled it off but we did.
      We all just want to hang out down there all the time now. We can’t wait for you to come enjoy a glass of lemonade down there with us!

  • Leslei Carothers
    | 4 July 2020

    Jana: I am going to leave you a marathon comment, because, girl, you DESERVE one! It is absolutely AMAZING what you (and your husband ) have accomplished, despite every obstacle..mostly: so much rain!

    It brought tears to my eyes to see your children on that oh so adorable swing set.

    What impressed me first was the before, and knowing that, despite that uninspiring environment, you went down there every day, before you began this ORC renovation, and rode that Peloton and completed 50 miles.

    Just knowing THAT, says everything about your commitment to finishing what you start.

    And then… reading this post and realizing the HEAVY lifting of all you had to do? It’s beyond me to think that you all did it ALL BY YOURSELVES! And….I loved the detail about the toads :).

    And it all came out incredibly beautifully, Jana. It DOES look like a resort in in your backyard now… you’ve created an extra home.. and place where your kids and you can feel free, happy and safe.

    It just blows my mind how pretty it all is. What a vision.

    My hat is being thrown in the air for you….and I truly hope PELOTON does see this and gets you your TREAD! Pronto!

    You embody what they are screaming at you as you race…and you are still here to tell us the story!

    Good luck on your 100 miler, Jana.. I have no doubt that you will be waving that flag around your victory lap!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Leslie! You are one of the biggest cheerleaders I know, I am so glad to have gotten to know you the last few years. I truly appreciate your kindness.
      I am glad you liked the little detail about the toads, its funny how they all come out at dusk and hop around. I was so upset that I accidental killed one, while trying to move it out of the way.
      Those blocks are heavy. I didn’t find out until recently that each of those blocks are 85IBs each. Had I known that prior to this makeover, I don’t know if I would have attempted them. lol.

  • Susannah Watts
    | 4 July 2020

    WOW! That’s absolutely crazy and now I can understand how you’ve been so busy. It looks great! Amazing job!!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you!so much Susannah! Yes every spare amount of time went to getting this project done! 12-14 hr weekend days working on this project was pure insanity!

  • Christine Kohut
    | 5 July 2020

    You CRUSHED IT. I was looking and reading all about the back yard and I forgot about the gym, because that was ENOUGH for the ORC, but then I kept scrolling and I was like, oh yeah! As usual, my friend, you knocked the ORC out of the park.

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Chris! I almost forgot about the gym too, the backyard took so much time and energy. The gym felt like a walk in the park to get done. 🙂

  • Christie
    | 5 July 2020

    You did such an incredible job I can’t believe it only took 9 weeks for such a drastic transformation!!!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you Christie. I can’t believe we pulled that off in 9 weeks either but I know we spent every spare second out there working on it. It was a true race to the finish line.

  • Sheri Bruneau
    | 5 July 2020

    Jana, this is an amazing transformation of both spaces! Congratulations.

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Sheri! So glad you like it!

  • Janet
    | 5 July 2020

    This is amazing! The backbreaking work paid off. I know this began with the basement but I believe I love the outside more (in a picture, anyway, since you can’t feel the oppressive heat and humidity). What a wonderful space. And as always I’ve learned so much from your makeover. Janet

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Yes, the whole makeover stemmed from the basement gym but I have to agree the outside area is by far my favorite transformation…I am still glad I did the gym though, so I can admire it from the A/C space. haha!

  • I absolutely love what you have done. The before and after pics are stunning.

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you Doreen. It’s a pretty dramatic before and after, right! I think I am still pinching myself that we completed this challenge.

  • Elizabeth
    | 5 July 2020

    OH MY GOODNESS- I can’t even!
    Jana every year your ORC is always one of my favorites, but my good grief!
    you killed this!
    What a transformation!
    So beautiful!!
    And I love that you always include your babies in your reveal pics- SO very special♥
    Way to go friend!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Elizabeth! I think this is probably my favorite transformation too. I love to incorporate my kiddos, because ultimately everything I do to our house is for our family to enjoy. 🙂

  • Carla Aston
    | 5 July 2020

    Great job, Jana! And a place for your precious Peloton! You will enjoy this for years to come and have added so much value to your home. Seriously good! Pinning!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Carla! My husband and I were just talking about our ROI and he fact that we did most of the work ourselves saved us a large amount of money.
      I am so happy my Peloton has a proper home now, it makes me smile every time I go down there now.
      Happy pinning 🙂

  • Linda Holt
    | 5 July 2020

    Amazing job!! I think you get the top award for most accomplished in 9 weeks. You are an inspiration Jana and I all I have to say is congratulations!!!!!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Linda! Such a wonderful compliment. ❤

  • Davetta Moore
    | 5 July 2020

    Your project turned out perfect.

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you Davetta!

  • Lisa Peck
    | 5 July 2020

    This is an amazing transformation! Great work!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 5 July 2020

      Thank you so much Lisa!

  • Janet Lorusso
    | 6 July 2020

    Holy WOW, Jana! Amazing transformation! I love the colors and the patio furniture! And you’ve inspired me to getting my outdoor space onto the ORC lineup for a future project! No way am I doing that much digging in the dirt, though LOL. Congratulations on a stunning result!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 8 July 2020

      Hi Janet. two words… back hoe. We should have rented a back hoe!!! Sometimes I learn the hard way. lol. Thank you for the wonderful compliments and hats off to you on a beautiful space too.

  • Deborah Main
    | 6 July 2020

    WOW Jana!!! You really took on 4 rooms. I love what you did in the backyard and the patio!! It looks so comfortable and colorful. Sorry I couldn’t help you out on the pillows, but I had my hands full. The ones you chose really make the patio furniture pop.

    Then when I saw the gym, I thought this is really cool. How innovative to design a rug to reflect the road in the mural. Love the yellow stairs!!

    And I hear you on wanting to quit. But we’re go getters and we don’t stop. I really am glad though it’s over. Enjoy your patio and gym time with your family, while we enjoy our kitchen. Congrats!!! We did it!! Stellar job my friend. Xo ❤

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 8 July 2020

      Hi Deborah! Congrats to you too my friend and no worries on the pillows. I’ll get cha for the next one. 🙂 Cheers and I hope you are feeling better.

  • shannon ggem
    | 6 July 2020

    Congrats! It’s absolutely gorgeous and a perfect place to distance with friends. I’m sure the kids are thrilled with the swings! So impressive you got this all done and with skill and style! CONGRATS! What an accomplishment!

  • suzanne
    | 6 July 2020

    Incredible!!! Great job!!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 8 July 2020

      Thank you Suzanne!

  • Mary Ann Benoit
    | 6 July 2020

    Amazing job. Beautiful transformations and colors!

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 8 July 2020

      Thank you so much Mary Ann!

  • I love it! What an inspiring place to workout. (Poor little toad)

    • Jana Donohoe
      | 8 July 2020

      Yes I felt so bad for the guy or gal toad. Thank you for your comment.

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