Fall ‘22 One Room Challenge Week One – Dining Room and Butler’s Pantry

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 am absolutely ECSTATIC to be a guest participant in the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge!! This has been a dream and goal of mine for several years, and this year, I got a little more specific about it, and put it on my 2022 vision board. But since we were knee-deep in getting our last home ready to sell this past spring, it wasn’t until now that I was ready to jump in and join. Having just moved into this house created the perfect opportunity to complete some fun projects as part of the One Room Challenge, and since I sold all of my old dining room furniture when we sold our last house in May, this room was the perfect candidate for a glow-up! But right next to the dining room is a butler’s pantry, so I’ve decided to include it in the challenge as well. I have always wanted a butler’s pantry, (there’s something very old world and glamorous about them that I love, even if I don’t have the butler to go with it!), and this is my first home to have one. Ours is just a small room – a passageway really – between the kitchen and dining room, but it has built-in cabinets, and double doors leading out onto our deck, so it has the potential to be a special little space that ties the dining room and kitchen together.

Over the next eight weeks, I’ll be sharing the progress of taking these rooms from dull to dazzling one week at a time. The final reveal will be November 16, just in time for celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends – and even more motivation to get them done in time!!

Before Photos:

But first I want to show you how the dining room and butler’s pantry looked when we purchased our new home.

Dining Room BEFORE – Real Estate Photos – Tasteful but very GRAY – not really my style. But I love the bay windows which make it so bright and provide a great view of our backyard.
Dining Room BEFORE – Real Estate Photos – Tasteful but very GRAY – not really my style. But I love the bay windows which make it so bright and provide a great view of our backyard.
Dining Room BEFORE – the archway leads to the Entry Hall, and the door to the left of the arch leads into the Butler’s Pantry
Dining Room BEFORE: The rug is the only piece from the dining room in our last house that I’ve kept. We brought it back from Turkey several years ago and I love it so much!
The Butler’s Pantry BEFORE – view from Dining Room through to Kitchen
The Butler’s Pantry BEFORE – the built-in cabinets
The Butler’s Pantry BEFORE – Double doors leading to the deck
The Butler’s Pantry BEFORE – view from Kitchen toward Dining Room – that door has got to go!

So that’s how everything looks as of now, but oh do I have plans! Here are the lists of all the changes I plan to make in each room:

Dining Room

● Move all extra decor and accessories out
● Wallpaper and Chair Molding on Walls
● New Dining Table
● New or Vintage Dining Chairs
● Window Treatments
● New or Vintage Console/Server
● New or Vintage Wall Sconces above Console
● Create Storage in existing Chinese Wedding Cabinet
● Accessorize

Butler’s Pantry

● Remove upper cabinets and replace with open shelving
● Remove door into Dining Room
● Remove Tile Backsplash
● Replace granite countertop with Marble or Quartz Countertop
● Wallpaper walls with something Bold
● Replace can lights with Pendant Light and Sconces
● Paint and replace hardware on lower cabinets
● Replace Cabinet Hardware
● Replace cabinet door inset panels with decorative metal sheeting
● Paint Ceiling and maybe Trim
● Accessorize

Do you think I can get it all done in eight weeks? There’s a lot to do, but I think I can make it happen! And here’s how I know: firstly, I got a little head start, and ordered the dining table of my dreams at the beginning of August and it was just delivered about two weeks ago. That was the piece I was most concerned about getting in time, given that lead times for furniture are still so extended. So with the table here, I can focus on sourcing all the other furniture pieces that are either new and in stock, or vintage and just need some tlc to make them beautiful again. My other secret weapon is a lots of inspiration for both spaces- which will give me a jumping-off point, and the direction I need to make the right choices so that everything falls into place. This is a trick I employ with all of my interior design projects – whether my own or for clients – and it works so well. If you’re faced with wanting to improve a space in your home, but don’t know where to start, my best advice is to find inspiration. And this inspiration can come from anywhere! It could be the colors and patterns in a pretty tea towel, the mood of a favorite painting, or the sights and sounds of an exotic place you’ve visited. Having something concrete like this to draw from, not only gives you a place to start, it also makes your new space highly personalized and unique!

The Inspiration

For my dining room and pantry, I knew I wanted the aesthetic to be clean lines and hinting at French Art Nouveau, and when I came across photos of this restaurant in Paris, I knew I’d found my inspiration! To be honest, I think the name of it (Beefbar) would never make me want to eat there as I’m not a big meat lover, but seeing the interiors puts it right at the top of my Paris bucket list. Ironically, I had been planning to spend my 50th birthday in Paris with my best friend in March of 2020 when the pandemic hit. Needless to say, the trip got canceled, but we definitely plan to make time to go back sometime soon, so now I’ll be sure to visit when we finally get to go! There are actually several Beefbar Restaurants across the globe, but the Paris location seems to be the flagship. I found this about the space on the blog Cool Hunter:

“In the Paris edition, the trio [the designers, Humbert & Poyet] has focused on another aspect of the initial Beefbar ethos: Daring. Located in the 8th arrondissement, within views of the Eiffel tower, Beefbar Paris is nothing less than the rebirth of an Art Nouveau masterpiece created in 1898 as the Langham Hotel by architect Emil Hurtré with breathtaking walls painted by Jules Wielhorski.
The space was walled up during World War II to protect it from the Nazis and then forgotten till 1983 when it was registered as a historical monument and forgotten again.
In their daring, the trio has now taken on the challenge of bringing a dilapidated, protected project to productive and elegant use in today’s Paris.”

Beefbar, Paris, Source
An Art Nouveau Masterpiece! I love the exciting mix of colors and patterns set against that incredible architecture.
Beefbar, Paris, Source
How Exquisite is the juxtaposition of the sumptuous modern furnishings with the art nouveau friezes?
Beefbar, Paris, Source
Très Chic!!
Beefbar, Paris, Source

These last two photos seem to be from the Art Deco section of the restaurant, since the architecture is more streamlined than the heavily decorative Art Nouveau section. The millwork on the walls, the black marble, lush greenery, and the Deco lighting all combine to make my heart go pitter patter!!

So this is where I’m starting with my first ever One Room Challenge – a dream, a vision, two rooms that need a lot of love, and eight weeks to bring it all to fruition! I’m so thrilled to be sharing this journey with you, and hope you’ll follow along through this blog and my instagram!


Here is my ORC progress

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