Fall ‘22 One Room Challenge Week Eight | Dining Room and Butler’s Pantry | Final Reveal!!

Welcome to the Blue Leopard Interiors Blog! I’m so glad you’re here! My name is Justine Dennen, and I’m the owner of Blue Leopard Interiors, a boutique residential interior design firm in Great Falls, VA. Although I’ve been in business as a designer for five years, this blog is brand new! For my journey into interior design and a little more about my current and former homes, check out my very first blog post here.

I’m thrilled to be participating for the first time in the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge!! In case you haven’t heard of the One Room Challenge, it’s an eight week online event which happens every spring and fall, where interior decorators, and home bloggers, undertake redesigning or designing from scratch a room of their choosing, while sharing the progress along the way. It’s not a competition, as there is no winner, just a supportive group of like-minded design enthusiasts challenging themselves to complete a room in eight weeks. Huge thanks to Linda Weinstein, the creator and director of the One Room Challenge.

For my first foray into this event, I’ve decided to undertake both my Dining Room and Butler’s Pantry. For before photos, and the story of why I’ve finally decided to participate in the One Room Challenge, (after following it for years!),  check out this blog post, where I talk more about it. After eight weeks of planning, creating, and implementing, it is finally complete – and I’m both thrilled with the results and relieved its over!! Although many participants (wisely) don’t make over their room in real time, I did. On the one hand, that made this challenge exciting and authentic, but on the other hand, it also made it a true challenge!! There were definitely times I thought I might not finish in time, and other times when I wondered why in the heck I was putting myself through all of this stress. But in the end, I did finish both of these rooms, (other than one small detail, which I’ll talk about below), just in time for Thanksgiving, and I feel very proud of myself, and all of my fantastic trades people and photographer. I absolutely could not have done this without them!


The Dining Room – Before

I am so excited to share my dining room with you, but before I do, let me remind you how this room looked when we moved in less than four months ago:


Dining Room Before This photo is from the listing, and it includes the staging furniture. Nothing wrong with the decor, just a bit too gray and boring for my taste 😉


And here’s how the dining room looked shortly after we moved in, just as the One Room Challenge started at the end of September:


Big, mess of a Dining Room. Since I had sold all of our old dining room furniture when we moved, this room was empty other than the Chinese Wedding Cabinet and Turkish rug we brought from our old house. That made it a great place to store all of my decorative items, art, and the dog crate! I did change out the light fixture as soon as we bought the house, and as you’ll see, it stayed in my design for the dining room.


So that’s where this room started. Great bones and tons of potential, and really only in need of cosmetic upgrades to make her a beauty 🙂


Dining Room Inspiration and Mood Board

As I share in this post, my main inspiration for this room was the sumptuous and glamorous Beefbar Restaurant in Paris, France. I find myself often drawing inspiration from restaurants and hotels. I think its because I love bold, colorful, eclectic design, and a lot of hospitality design is a little more fearless than residential design tends to be. So when I found the first photo of the Beefbar, and my heart leaped and my eyes danced, I knew I had to find as many more photos of this incredibly designed restaurant as I could! Here are a few:


Beefbar, Paris
An Art Nouveau Masterpiece! I love the exciting mix of colors and patterns set against that incredible architecture.



I think what most inspired me what the bold colors, textures and patterns that all work so harmoniously together. Of course, the amazing architecture doesn’t hurt, either! So although I didn’t want to just copy all of these elements slavishly, I did decide to use this eclectic mix of colors, patterns, and finishes in my own way. Here is my initial mood board for the room:




As you can see, the overall feel of the Beefbar is apparent, but the elements have been interpreted differently. For example, the red chairs are represented by the red lacquered cabinet I already owned, the green velvet banquette is reimagined as curtains, etc. And although many of the things in my initial mood board changed throughout the process, I  think my dining room showcases most of those Beefbar elements I found so thrilling. But enough talking about it – let’s take a look at the big reveal!!


The Dining Room – After


Here she is in all her glory!! Pretty big transformation, eh? Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins Photography


All of the pieces finally came together, and I am so happy with the result! The only thing I couldn’t finish in time, is the trim on the curtains. But thanks to staples and my amazing photographer, Mary Pat Collins, we were able to temporarily add the trim to a couple of the panels, and Mary Pat magically photoshopped the rest!! So this is how the curtains will look once I’ve added this gorgeous trim to these very well-priced curtains! 

But until my fantastic seamstress Aneela of One Stop Sew Shop is able to do the work, I’ll just have to live with plain green velvet curtains like the rest of the photos show!


My favorite shot of the Dining Room, as this is how it looks from my entrance, and I love this arch! Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins Photography


I’m so happy with how these “vintage” Pottery Barn chairs turned out thanks to Grace of ReFryed Furniture! The black lacquer finish, combined with the cane backs and the bright yellow velvet upholstery is *chef’s kiss*! they also play beautifully off of our vintage Moldavian rug we bought in Turkey many years ago. Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins Photography


In case you haven’t noticed, rounded and oval shapes are my favorites. They just make me happy, and I think my dad still has a drawing of about 160,000 tiny circles I did when I was about three! Now that fascination manifests itself in my design details, seen here in the Bubble Chandelier, the Safavieh Kyrene Table Lamps, (with switched out shades from Lamps Plus), and my collection of marble and semi-precious stone orbs! Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins Photography



Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins Photography



Just look at the pretty woodgrain on the Lynn Dining Table from Woodbridge furniture! This shot also shows the lovely texture of the Rib Wall Panels from Fasade and the Schluter Rondec edging. Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins



I’m so happy with these brass plant stands from Amazon! But the real star of this little side show are the gorgeous Ficus elastica (Rubber Tree), and Dracaena trifasciata (Snake Plant) that I bought from Pots & Plants here in Great Falls. Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins


Another detail I decided to add at the last minute is this ceiling medallion from Architectural Depot. I love how it helps draw the eye up to the ceiling and the texture mimics the fluted wall panelling. I only wish I had ordered one size up!



Another fantastic Amazon purchase was these sconces. I love the unique, modern shape, and of course, the round globes! But they also play nicely off of the Cloisters paintable wallpaper from Brewster, which I had painted in Sherwin Williams SW7004 Snowbound, but the fabulous guys at Victory Renovation Services. Photo credit: Mary Pat Collins


Despite the abundance of color, texture, and pattern in this room, the overall feeling is actually really peaceful and uplifting Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins


So that’s the dining room…but wait!! There’s more!! I didn’t just take on One Room for the One Room Challenge – oh no! I had to go all out and do TWO rooms! And since the Butler’s Pantry leads into the Dining Room from the kitchen, it made sense to work my magic there as well. And just in case you missed my earlier posts about the Butler’s Pantry Before, Inspiration, and Mood Board, I’m going to share those as a reminder first!


Butler’s Pantry – Before

I was so excited to have a Butler’s Pantry when we bought this house! Growing up in Arizona, and then owning our first home in South Africa, I don’t think I had even heard of or seen a butler’s pantry before moving to Virginia. But I loved the bonus storage space for serving pieces they offered, and I like any small room in a home that presents and opportunity to do something fabulous! Similar to a powder room, you don’t spend a lot of time in a butler’s pantry, so why not be a little daring with the decor, since you don’t run the risk of tiring of it as fast as you might in a bedroom, family room, or kitchen?


The listing photo of the Butler’s Pantry. Gray walls, yellow maple cabinets, dated tile and granite

Butler’s Pantry Inspiration and Mood Board

So with my inspiration for the Dining Room already in place, and keeping in mind that I wanted to do something really fabulous with this little space, my first idea was to find a wallpaper that would not only make a statement, but tie together some of the colors and continue the Art Deco theme of the dining room through to the Butler’s Pantry. I had been looking at a few other wallpapers that featured majestic cranes, and had a slightly deco, asian feel, but it wasn’t until Cathy Patterson, my wallpaper installer extraordinaire, mentioned the Cranes by Milton and King, (thanks Cathy!), that I knew I had landed on the perfect jumping off point. I also knew I wanted to replace the upper cabinets seen above with brass bistro shelves – something I had been dying to incorporate into a project for years. And I had plans to transform the lower cabinets with paint, decorative sheet metal inserts, and new hardware. Here’s the initial mood board:



This sexy bar area in the home of Hollywood interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard was a big inspiration to me:




Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Butler’s Pantry – After



How’s that for a major transformation?!?! I can’t even believe this space is in my own home!! Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins

My genius photographer took this shot from standing on my back deck looking into the butler’s pantry, with the kitchen to the left, and the dining room to the right. Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins

I looked at SO MANY vintage advertising posters, (I’m pretty sure I must have had a past life as an artist or flapper in 1920’s Paris), but this is the one that made my eyes do a little dance! Doesn’t she look fabulous layered on top of the Cranes Wallpaper? The framed Martini & Rossi print is from FramedArt.com, and I was really happy with their quick turnaround time, and the quality of the frame and print. And see how beautifully the wallpaper ties into the rug and curtains in the dining room?! Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins

I did a lot of research on brass bistro shelves, and got several quotes, (I even asked my dad, a retired machining engineer if he could make them for me!), but I am SO HAPPY that I chose Soil and Oak!! The entire process working with Jay was exceptional. His communication through Etsy, his drawings and measurements to be sure everything would fit correctly, the turnaround time, and last but not least, the quality of these stunning shelves, was all top notch, and I will 100% order from them again, and recommend their products to clients! Look how pretty my Estelle Mint Colored Glasses, which I found at my favorite fit shop, Vivid Chill in Great Falls, look on the beautiful tempered glass shelves from Columbia Mirror and Glass of Georgetown! Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins

Yet another round, globe light fixture – I just can’t get enough!! But I’m really happy with this beauty from Bellacor. The black and brass detailing with a subtle industrial vibe make it perfect for the Butler’s Pantry. Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins

The beautiful countertop was actually a remnant from my kitchen at our old house, and was installed by the Countertop Guru. I looked through allllllll of my paint swatches to find the right color for the cabinets, and chose Sherwin Williams Bohemian Black, which is actually a really deep eggplant, and I love the way they turned out! We used the same color also in a semi-gloss on the ceiling, and Victor and Adilson of Victory Renovation Services did an excellent job – in fact you would never know it’s not a factory finish on the cabinets! The cabinet hardware is by Top Knobs, and I purchased it through the great folks at The Home Specialty Store, here in Great Falls. My carpenter, John Fennel, helped me cut the center panels out of each cabinet door, and I cut pieces to fit of this brass decorative sheet metal, which really helps up the glam factor of these builder-grade cabinets! Photo Credit: Mary Pat Collins

So that’s it folks!! I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the transformation of these rooms! As I mentioned before, I couldn’t have done it without some key people, namely John Fennell (carpenter/electrician), Cathy Patterson (wallpaper installer), and Victory Renovation Services (painters). I am happy to pass along contact info for any of these exceptional trades people, so just shoot me an email at justine@blueleopard-interiors.com, if you want their details. Also, one more big shout-out to my photographer, Mary Pat Collins, who only took these photos a week ago, and managed to get them gussied up and sent back to me yesterday!  Thanks again for following along, and I highly recommend checking out all of the other amazing room transformations from the many other ORC participants, which you can find here.

Here is my ORC progress

Week 1  ||  Week 2  ||  Week 3  ||  Week 4  ||  Week 5  ||  Week 6 ||  Week 7  ||  Week 8