My mom was a fantastically outstanding cook. The absolute best, really. She was notorious for cooking huge dinners for any and every occasion. The 4th of July, Thanksgiving even Back to School. Yup…school was a celebration for my mom! Last year, she decided to start up the tradition of cooking for Juneteenth. Unfortunately, she wasn’t here for the second annual festivities or to see Juneteenth become a federal holiday this year.

One Room Challenge: Reveal and remember

Gallery wall
Gallery wall with my parents

Inadvertently, this dining room makeover for the One Room Challenge became an homage to my mom. She’s everywhere in the space: her pictures on the wall and on the bookcase, to the lamps she was so excited about, and even the flower pot that she gave me right before she passed away. Even the dice on the bookcase is a tribute to her. It’s a subtle nod to her famous “dice game” that she played with anybody and everybody she met.

I didn’t set out for the dining room to become a place of memorial for her, but it seemed like it just happened that way. That is the crazy thing about grief; you don’t really understand truly how it’s going to manifest itself. You have to lean in to whatever your heart is instructing you to do. In the end, I guess it was just an instinct to put reminders of her around the dining room.

Before the One Room Challenge…

Gallery wall with art from world market
Another look at the gallery wall. Dice in memorial of my mom.

Before the One Room Challenge began, we demolished the former ceiling (bye bye bulkheads!), put in new insulation, and installed some new drywall. I’ll detail that in a later post.

That is the crazy thing about grief; you don’t really understand truly how it’s going to manifest itself. You have to lean in to whatever your heart is instructing you to do.

When we moved in, this space was set up for a living/dining combination room. It had always been my vision to have a formal dining room for entertaining!

The former room felt enclosed and overly formal with the bulkheads trimming out the ceiling, rosette crown molding, and an offset medallion. The entire ceiling was covered in popcorn texture as well. Even the front entryway felt closed off. It all screamed dated and not our style. Overall, we wanted the room to feel what we felt looked fresh.

Big time one room challenges

We spent the majority of the One Room Challenge working on drywall, both on the ceiling and walls. This was by far the most difficult task of the dining room! We spent week upon week adding layers upon layers of drywall mud, only to sand it down to the smoothest finish possible, particularly on the ceilings. Working with your arms above your head is no joke!

Mirror wall
Adding many textures/mirror wall fun

Surprisingly, blending drywall texture was challenging as well! I tried many different techniques until I landed on a look that was satisfactory. To be honest, I thought the minor difference of the textures would be bothersome. However, after painting and adding the gallery wall, the difference is not noticeable! The texture process was a lovely reminder to not sweat the small stuff. Even if it feels like a big deal now, it probably isn’t in the big picture.

Ironically, we retained the mirror wall. We have too many fun memories of loved ones dancing in its reflection! On the other hand, we did not get a chance to build a floating shelf above the mirror like we originally wanted to as illustrated in the original mood board. That’s still on the to-do list.

Decorative finishes

Gallery wall in dining room
A full look at the gallery wall


After that, we added lots of color through the artwork in a gallery wall. This was my first gallery wall ever! The white walls really allow the artwork to shine and inject the color into the space. At a closer look, many of the colors you will find repeated in the dining room are black, blue, white, cream, green, and a touch of pink. Funny enough, every room in our home has a complimentary touch of pink!

Pattern + texture

Moreover, I also was very interested in introducing lots of patterns and textures to the space. The beaded leopard print pillows, weighty sheer curtains, and tweed-like seat cushions on the mid century modern dining chairs together create depth. Woven textures are additionally in the many baskets and decorative boxes on and next to the bookcase in the dining room.


The bookcase has houses many miscellaneous items, including items that we use to entertain around the dining room table. Yes — that also consists of games we love to play with friends and family! It’s nice to put them away, as many game boxes are unattractive and clash with decor.

Hellohomegirl dining room
The mirror wall in the dining room

The One Room Challenge is finished this time around!

The One Room Challenge is officially over for the spring of 2021! Did we complete the project fully? Absolutely not. But, I am satisfied with the dining room’s current state. We enjoy entertaining our closest friends and family. Now, we have a very special place for us to celebrate around food just like my mother always did.



PS: Although this season’s challenge is over, check out the other ORC reveals!

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