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

Welcome to Week Four of the Fall ’23 One Room Challenge! I’m so excited to share some of the progress on my French Bistro Inspired Kitchen this week – we are half way to the finish line, and although it may look like we’ve only just begun, I know that with my awesome team, we can get it all done in the next four weeks!

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 talked about all of the appliances we chose for our French Bistro Kitchen. But this week, I have some real progress to share – we started demo on our old kitchen to make way for my new Mouser cabinets (click here for more on those beauties), and for the most part it all went fairly smoothly, with no surprises…



Demo Day One




Demo Day One: my contractor started by pulling out the wall ovens and taking out the old cabinets



Demo Day One: The next thing to come out was the walk-in pantry



Demo Day One: The pantry is gone, and look how big the wall is now!



And here’s a reminder of how that wall looked when we bought the house:



Pre-Demo: The oven and pantry wall


Demo Day Two


I forgot to take any action photos of the island being demo’d, but here it is at the end of Day Two:



Demo Day Two: The Island is gone!




Pre-Demo: The old island looking toward the Butler’s Pantry




Demo Day Two: no more island



Pre-demo: The old island looking toward the breakfast nook and family room


As you can see, there was plumbing from the old prep sink, an a/c vent, and the gas line for the old cooktop which all needed to move, but other than hoping that perhaps the hardwood floors extended all the way under the island, everything else was expected. The cabinets were all coming out easily, and were being stacked in the garage waiting to be picked up by Habitat for Humanity. My contractor was even able to salvage a lot of the larger pieces of granite, and of course the appliances, sink, and faucets could all be donated as well.


Demo Day Three


I suppose with a kitchen renovation, some hiccups were to be expected, and Demo Day Three is when they started. As you can see in the photo below, there was a wall at the right end of the run of cabinets along the sink side of the kitchen:




This wall next to the fridge we planned to knock out to make more space for the cabinets, and to bring in more light from the breakfast nook into the kitchen



When designing the new kitchen, we had planned to knock out that wall so that the new run of cabinets could end there, giving us about 6-8 more inches for the cabinets, as well as opening up the kitchen to the breakfast nook a bit more. I had asked my contractor if this would be possible, and without actually opening up the wall, he surmised that the wall was just there to hide the end of the refrigerator, and nothing else. So we went ahead with the plans for that side of the kitchen, as seen below:



Plans for the sink wall of cabinets – with no wall at the end where the fridge had been.


Demo Day Three was going along swimmingly, with my contractor pulling out most of the old cabinets, but leaving the fridge, sink, and dishwasher for me to use up until the new cabinets could be installed.


Demo Day Three- not very pretty, but at least we still have a sink, dishwasher and refrigerator!


But then when he started knocking out that wall next to the fridge, we discovered what we hoped would not be there – PLUMBING – wah-wah-waaaaaah



Dammit – not just one, but TWO pipes were in that wall!



We knew that the light switches in that wall could easily be moved over to the right, but plumbing is not as easily dealt with. After looking at the kitchen plans, we came up with a pretty good plan: my contractor could move the plumbing back about 18 inches, and to the left about 6 inches, and the new plumbing could be concealed by the ceiling to counter height, cabinet planned for that spot. The only alteration would be that the cabinet would need to sit closer to the edge of the counter than originally planned to make space for the plumbing hiding behind it, and some slim, 6″ wide panels would be needed to cover up the gap.



The tall, ceiling to counter height cabinet which could luckily conceal the newly relocated plumbing


Earlier in the kitchen design process, we had considered doing regular upper cabinets in this spot, but thankfully I had my heart set on open shelving on either side of the window, and a tall cabinet. Sometimes it pays to stick to your gut and go for what your heart desires!


Hiding the plumbing behind a traditional upper cabinet like this, would not have been possible had we agreed on this earlier version of the sink wall.


So there, we are. Half way to the finish line! Next up are the hardwood floor repairs, and soon the CABINET INSTALLATION!!! So stick with me and don’t forget to check out all of the progress my fellow participants have made this week – truly inspiring!!


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