Fall ’23 One Room Challenge | French Bistro Inspired Kitchen | Week Five

Welcome to Week Five of the Fall ’23 One Room Challenge! We made BIG progress on the French Bistro Inspired Kitchen this week, and I can’t wait to show you!

In case you’re new 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. And if  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!

Last week I walked you through each day of Demo for the old kitchen. This week, SO much happened!


Hardwood Floor Repairs

If you’ve been following my blog and/or Instagram, you may remember the post about refinishing the floors in my office, the front staircase, and the Whimsical Parlor I created the Spring One Room Challenge. The reason we only refinished the floors in those three areas was because we knew that we would be renovating the kitchen soon, and that by changing the layout of the kitchen, we would definitely need to repair and then refinish not only the kitchen floors, but since the kitchen is open to the breakfast nook, family room, butler’s pantry and dining room, ALLLLL of those floors would need to be refinished as well. And even if we had wanted to keep the floors the same color as they were, it would have been nearly impossible to get the newly repaired sections to match the old floors, so everything would need to be sanded down and re-stained. The Domino Effect in renovations is REAL! So why didn’t we just wait to refinish all of the floors at the same time, you ask? Because that would have meant we would not only move all of our furniture out of the entire main floor for 4-5 days, but ourselves too! By doing the front rooms first, (which had a stopping point at the tile entry), and later the back rooms, we only had to move half the furniture out, and could stay put during the refinishing process. We luckily have a front and a back staircase, so we could access our bedrooms both times. BUT before I get ahead of myself, this past week, we only had the kitchen floors repaired, not refinished. Once the demo was done, the flooring guys could see exactly which sections would need to be repaired, and do the patching before the new cabinets went in.


A large section of floors had to be patched where the old island had been, since the new island is a very different size and shape


All of the light pieces of wood are the new red oak planks that were pieced in where the old island stood


Repairs were also needed where the old walk-in pantry walls were removed, and in a few other spots along the walls where the new cabinetry might not cover the exact positions of the old cabinetry


We hired Larry Morris Floor Services, the same team that had refinished the front rooms in the spring, to do the patching, and they were fantastic this time around as well! They worked hard, and had all of the patching done in one day! With the kitchen floor patched, we were almost ready for the new cabinet delivery…we just needed to create space in the garage for all of the boxes which would be filling it up.


Habitat for Humanity Pick-up


Luckily, I had called our local ReStore (the Habitat for Humanity donation center and resale store) to schedule a pick-up of the old kitchen cabinets. If you’re planning to do a big renovation, try to salvage what you can so that organizations like Habitat can reuse any of the building materials in the homes they build for people in need, or at the very least, they will sell them in their resale stores, and the proceeds will still benefit the organization, and stay out of landfills.

So on Friday, the truck showed up as promised, and they loaded up all of the old cabinets, countertops, sinks, a couple of unused doors and appliances!


Baxter was on duty to ensure all of the old cabinets were loaded up in the ReStore Truck!



New Cabinet Delivery


I was so excited for the new cabinets to arrive, I could barely stand it!! Elite Kitchens showed up on time, and unloaded all of the boxes with care:







We checked each unit off the list as it came off the truck, and all of the boxes were carefully stacked in the garage, ready for installation!



New Cabinet Installation


We purchased the cabinets through Elite Kitchens in Rockvillle, MD, but chose to use our own carpenter for installing them. Because my husband is a developer, he’s been working with Duy Nguyen for the last 15 years to install kitchens and bathrooms in his properties, and I’ve worked with him on client projects (and personal projects!) as well. Duy is professional, a complete perfectionist, and a true master carpenter. Duy doesn’t have a website, but if you live in the local DMV area and need a carpenter, feel free to shoot me an email at justine@blueleopard-interiors.com, and I’ll be happy to share his contact details. Duy and his team arrived early the next morning to start installing the cabinets! They worked non-stop for two days – and it was done!! I couldn’t believe how quickly it went.



Duy and his team working hard



I was super excited to see the Mouser Durham cabinets “IRL” after dreaming about them for so long! Suffice it to say, they did NOT disappoint! Just look how beautiful they look on this pantry cabinet – basically a shaker style – but with a little bit of somethin’ somethin’! That rounded moulding just takes them up a notch!



The Message Center being assembled! This section of the wall had been a blank space, but now it has a whole new purpose as a family command center for mail, messages, device charging, and storage of files, office supplies, and things we use daily, like sunglasses, keys, and vitamins!




The beautiful black farmhouse sink being set in place!



The range wall by the end of day two, with my Ilve Majestic Induction Range! As if the new cabinets alone weren’t exciting enough – they also installed all the hardware!!




The sink wall with the “Cabinet that Saved The Day” on the right! As you can see, it’s not flush against the wall in order to make space for the plumbing that had to be moved behind it.


The only hiccup we experienced with the cabinets was that the panel brackets that were sent with the built-in Dacor refrigerator, were incorrect, so Duy wasn’t able to hang the panels on the fridge doors, but I’ve already contacted Dacor, and new brackets are on the way. Duy will also need to come back to install all of the crown moulding when that arrives, along with a couple of panels to hide a couple of odd corners that could only be ordered after the cabinets were installed. But overall, HUGE progress was made in the past week, and I’m thrilled with the results!


Make sure to take a peek at all of my fellow One Room Challenge participants’ progress this week – there are some really exciting projects going on!


Until next week, Cheers to Fab Interiors!






Here is my ORC progress

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