One Room Challenge: Week No. 1

One Room Challenge: Week No.1 • on @SavvyHome


What I have in mind for my little white box in the sky, is a multi-functional space that’s laid-back but tailored.

I’m envisioning a cross between a cutting-edge boutique hotel suite, and a yacht cabin (since the space is so small, and also for my love of coastal homes).


One Room Challenge: Week No.1 • on @SavvyHome
One Room Challenge: Week No.1 • on @SavvyHome


I’m so excited to be participating in the One Room Challenge!

When I moved into my new place last month, I went from 1,350 sq. ft. to just a little over 500 sq. ft. I like to call this “convenience over capacity” (convenience of a downtown location with indoor parking garage, fitness centre and rooftop deck with pool and spa). But after the movers had piled up my boxes to the window (to the wall) and to the ceiling, I knew I would have to make some pretty drastic decor upgrades to accommodate my new micro-living situation.

Above is the room in its initial state. The “before” shots on move-in day. As I was unpacking that first day, the issues surfaced: bookcases that didn’t fit, an oversized desk space, ill-fitted rugs, a dining room table as big as my entire living area (that one went straight to storage, sniff). Then, I got a call from heaven Linda of Calling it Home, inviting me to join the One Room Challenge. This was the perfect opportunity to make this living space my own (in the time it takes to say One Room Challenge, or almost)!

The One Room Challenge is an online bi-annual challenge that brings together 20 talented bloggers to achieve the near-impossible: to completely transform one room in just six weeks. The six week constraint is only part of the challenge in my case… The other one is having to fit a living room, dining room AND office into a 11 x 17 space (after this, Manhattan, I’ll be ready for you)!

For those of you who have just met me through this challenge, O my god, hello how are you welcome to my aquarium errr, home! I’m an interior stylist/blogger based in Montreal. I’m thrilled to have you here. You can get to know me better in this post, or by stalking my Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest.

You can also let me get to know YOU better by telling me a fun fact about you in the comments below (examples including but not limited to: John Legend or Frank Sinatra?; What would be your last meal? and; If I gave you an unlimited budget to buy a property anywhere in the world, what would it be and where?).


Let’s do this!

(tune back in next Wednesday for the masterplan)

PS: Follow along the players participating this round: Jana Bek | Autumn Clemons | Coco+Kelley | The English Room | Vanessa Francis  | Greige Design | Hi Sugarplum | I Heart Organizing | Jenna Sue Design | Stephanie Kraus | The Pursuit of Style | Julia Ryan | Simple Details | Simply Grove | 6th Street Design | Jill Sorensen | Swoon Worthy | Waiting on Martha | Kimberly Schlegel Whitman | Trademarked by Calling it Home.

PPS: Is it weird that while writing this post, I googled “to the window to the wall” and stumbled upon The Proposal’s alternate ending? #winning #attentiondeficiency

  • Julia Ryan

    LOOOOOVE your space and your plan! Can’t wait to see it. All that light!!!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Thanks Julia! The light is really what sold me to the space… So much of it!!

  • Mimosa Lane

    What a great space!!! So excited to know you are participating! I can’t wait to follow along and I’m excited I get to see you again in Dallas!! (I hope!)

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Yes, I’ll be there (with Gaby again)! See you very very soon!

  • viv

    So, so excited to see what you do with the space!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      So, so excited about your email this morning!

  • A Prudent Life

    Oh those windows are amazing! I can’t wait to follow along with your transformation. I was a linking participant in the fall (and will be again tomorrow). One of my favorite parts was finding new designers to follow. To play along with your unlimited budget question, I’d have to go for a second home in Manhattan. A grand pre-war overlooking the park with killer original marble and woodwork. Not that I’ve ever thought about that question before or anything!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      That space sounds pretty amazing and I’d love to have a guest room please! Make sure to send along a link to your ORC post 🙂

      • A Prudent Life

        Absolutely – you can have a reserved spot in the guest room whenever you want. Just the fact that you Googled ‘to the window to the wall’ tells me you’d be fun to hang out with. Here’s my space from the fall round: My post for this round will be linked up at Linda’s blog tomorrow!

        • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

          1. You need to come organize my pantry (make that life) stat! Loved your transformation! 2. I might have listened to the above-mentioned song on repeat after googling it 3. Get the guest room ready, I’m coming over!

  • CallingitHome

    Frank Sinatra, Nantucket, and I google stuff and get sucked down a hole all day long. So glad you are doing this. Love your style, love this space.

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Frank Sinatra… Nantucket… Linda, you’re like music to my ears, errr eyes!

  • Pam @ Simple Details

    I still remember that amazing bathroom you created before! What fabulous inspiration this will be for those with small spaces to work with – can’t wait!

  • Carrie

    Ha! How have I not been following you before?! I love you! There was an alternate ending to The Proposal?? Totally Frank Sinatra in answer to your question. Have you seen this video? So so awesome. Excited to follow along; your style is great!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      OMG don’t EVER hold back on sharing videos, this just made my day!! Love you too!

  • Sarah @ 702 Park Project

    Ahh I’m so excited you’re participating this year!! I always love everything you do! I’m going to be linking up for the first time this year…my two-story back porch is getting an overhaul and I’m so thrilled!! 🙂

  • Katie Gavigan

    So glad to have found your blog! Those windows are killing me, and I really hope you’re keeping the rug as I’m in love. Looking forward to see the transformation!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Thanks Katie! I’m keeping the rug, but it might have to go to storage :/ the size is a little funky for the space! I do love it though…

  • Frances @ Improvement List

    Frank Sinatra, sausage biscuit, a boat to live on as I traveled the world. We had move to a small space for a better location (redid two rooms there as a linking participant for the ORC) and grew to love it since it was so much less stuff to keep up with and keep clean! I look forward to following along and seeing how you space turns out.

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Amen to less cleaning right!? I realized that I don’t really need more space than what I have now. Except I do get a cleaning team to come in every two weeks since I don’t want to clutter my closets with mop buckets and vacuums! #smallspaceproblems

  • Nicole

    Hi there! I’m new here! Just thought I’d say hi! And if I could buy said property it would be this amazing off the grid cabin I’ve been lusting after, about 100 miles from where I currently live in Colorado!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      That sounds amazing Nicole! I have family that have a ski chalet about 3 hours out of Denver and it’s pretty great! The scenery is so beautiful there.

  • kirsten krason

    I’m so excited to follow along!

  • sherry hart

    Alrighty then….unpacking all of those boxes would be my ORC….At the end of 6 weeks empty boxes and an “oscar” for me! But hey that is why they call it a challenge:) John Legend is cool…..Napa Valley….chili dog.

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Ahhhh I love Napa! Also, was I the only one living under a rock and not knowing that John Legend did a duo with Sam Smith?? And, thankfully the boxes are already unpacked…

  • The English Room

    Cannot wait to see it come together. I am sure it will be fabulous with that great plan in place. Let the games begin!

  • enna

    OMG that rug! I really want something similar. I am looking for such a rug forever!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hi Enna, the rug is the Safavieh Montauk rug — I got it on . Good luck on your rug hunt!

  • Kevin O’Gara | Thou Swell

    I’m so excited to see how your living room turns out! Your small-space constraint is definitely a challenge but will surely inspire some clever creative solutions!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hopefully!! Thanks Kev, it’s a fun project so far!

  • Laurie S

    Hello Gabrielle. I’ve always loved that name, even as a young(er) person. Love your new space, and I’m really looking forward to see how you furnish it in the One Room Challenge.

  • itsums

    Can’t wait to see you work your magic! Its a lovely space – those windows are incredible!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Thanks! The windows were the selling point for sure 🙂

  • june olsen

    what an amazing light in that space!! This is going to look stunning!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Thanks June!

  • Bettsi McComb

    I just made a very similar move, Gabrielle- I now have a “spacious” 638 sq. ft. apartment walking distance from work! I moved in last month and I feel like I’ve already discarded half of what I initially brought with me. I’m so excited to watch your progress- I’m cheering you on!

  • cassie {hi sugarplum}

    This is going to be amazing…I know already! Can’t wait to watch it unfold, and participate with you! xo

  • aimee

    My last meal would be a loaf of homemade white bread each slice being smothered in Amish butter and raw honey! And can you tell me the name for the style rug in your space? Love it. I love how all the ladies of this challenge have such a variety of tastes.

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hi Aimee, the rug is the Safavieh Montauk rug — I got it on Good luck on your rug hunt! Also, you just made me very hungry.

  • jlnatty

    My space would be a penthouse across from the Met Museum in NYC. I am looking forward to following your progress. I recently downsized (although not as drastically as you have), and I am having real problems trying to figure out how to redo my living room that is packed with furniture from my former larger home — I would love to be able to buy all new things but that is just not feasible on a teeny retirement budget. Good luck!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      I like your style! One thing at a time has been my motto during this whole process… There are things that aren’t fitting quite right… But they’re staying until I get around to replacing them. Good luck!

  • jana bek

    HI Gabrielle! I’m obviously catching up and can’t wait to see your scheming! My NY apartment was 500sq ft and though tricky I think it makes for a tighter design, can’t wait to see your updates!

  • OMG I (totally) Heart

    I love your space, and it is so inspiring to see someone facing the same challenges as I am making this work! I recently downsized from 2B2Bath condo (with one of the room used as my closet!) to a tiny 517 sq ft condo in San Francisco. Making everything fit was a major challenge, but I knew it can be done. Seeing this just assured me even more that function and style can exist in small space! Cheers to city living 🙂

  • Lauri Frisby