Fall ’22 One Room Challenge: The Height of Modern Cottage | Week 3

The Height of Modern Cottage Design Week 3: A Show-Stopping First Impression

Welcome to My Fall ’22 One Room Challenge Featuring Bold Design Choices in a Modern Cottage Style

I’m just so over the moon about participating in this 10th anniversary year of the One Room Challenge!

I look forward to sharing every step with you as the 8-week challenge goes on. Thank you ORC for hosting this wonderful event and I’m excited to cheer on all the other participants as we all take on this design challenge! (Psst…after you’re done reading my story, head over to the ORC Blog Page to read about the other guest participants’ designs.)

If you haven’t already, be sure to follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date with everything I’m doing for my Fall 2022 One Room Challenge.

The Entryway, Hallway, and Front Door are All Getting the Star Treatment this Week!



Front Door


The inspiration photo for my entryway bench!

The entryway is the first part of my home you’re going to see when you walk in – so I want it to be loaded with personality! My entryway bench concept stemmed from an inspiration photo I found in a magazine.

The bench in the picture inspired me to put a built-in bench in the wall that faces the front door. Soon I will be sewing my cushion with Thibaut’s beautiful stripe linen fabric. That will be a stand out moment on my new bench. When the bench is completed, it should be that cozy little spot just like you want in a Cottage design!

The bench is under construction! I worked with Bill to make three custom brackets for the “feet” of the bench.

Beautiful Bench Storage!

This bench has storage! Bill did such a fantastic job with this piece. I was expecting the bench lid to lift off and underneath there would just be a simple hole. Nope! Bill built fully finished storage in my bench – I’m so lucky to have him on my team!

Special Touches for the Entryway Bench Wall

I added some special touches to my  wall with the entry bench. You’ll see a custom tongue-and-groove board series right above the bench and above the bench wall you’ll notice built-in fretwork. Both of these choices give the wall its one of a kind character and makes for the perfect cheerful welcome for anyone entering my home.

Entryway Bench Wall Panels

Look at the ingenious trim details created with the cuts of my baseboards being cut around the custom brackets of the bench! It really just finishes the look with a textural treat!

I had to do a lot of thinking about the wall panels when designing the built-in bench. The panels need to work with the overall panel layout. I chose to have all the panels at the same height vertically, but allow for the width of the panels to change. Right in front of the bench there is a tiny little panel. It just fits right in and is so cute!

Front Door

My height of modern cottage design is a journey that begins at the front door. I really wanted to create a moment with the front door that sets you up for a full experience. I kept the same front door, but it needed to be entirely redone with a new eye-catching cottage design. 

I contemplated replacing the whole door with a new one, but a quote for a custom door came back at $6,000 with a super long lead time!! Yikes. Instead, I decided to sandblast the door to remove the old paint and get it ready to be repainted.

I painted the inside of the door the same semi-gloss white as the walls to continue the white architectural feel of my rooms. I also have an exciting new color coming for the outside of the door but it’s not quite ready yet. Stay tuned to see the front door when it’s all finished!

I want to give my husband, Steve, full credit for making the front door transformation happen. I did the painting (surprise, surprise!) but he did the sandblasting, the deconstruction, the install…he even put the plywood up to block the front door during construction. I couldn’t have done it without him. (Thank you, honey!)

Custom Cottage Door Pediment with Brackets

Hit play to watch Bill install the brackets and crown moulding over the front door!

I had so much fun this week collaborating with Bill on this architectural build up of trim details. As you could see, it took many steps to create this custom cottage look. Let’s take a look at those steps together!

1. Practice the Layout

I gave the door its own personality by extending it even further with its own special door pediment of mouldings. It’s similar to the mouldings found in the rest of the house, but it’s T-A-L-L. It goes up onto the vaulted ceiling. It was important to test the layout before Bill built it to make sure the end result was as good as we both were imagining it. It took a couple hours but boy was it worth it!

2. Create Custom Brackets and Circle Detail

These pieces are part of the creative solution Bill and I designed for the door pediment.

I have a beam on the right hand side of the door. This posed a challenge for me due to the symmetry I wanted throughout the design. That beam could have thrown off the balance, but I found a way to compensate and visually re-center the door with custom brackets. The circle detail flows with the custom casings I built for my two living room windows.

3. Install the Custom Door Pediment

Bill installed the layers of architectural trim in just a day! Can you believe it?! The brackets definitely brought the sense of symmetry I wanted. As you can see from the video, it’s just amazing to see what you can do by layering up trims in this manner. It’s incredible to do so much planning and preparation and then finally see the reward!

4. The End Result: The Entry of My Dreams!

This close-up by my photographer, Martin Beebee, really shows the detail that went into my “Height of Modern Cottage” front door!

Even in the evening light, my front door shines!


The height of these walls can’t be ignored! The hallway walls extend up 13 feet to the ceiling – that’s a lot of paneling! One of the fun but challenging parts of the hallway was to ensure the rhythm of panels flowed all the way down both walls as well as the wall at the end of the hallway. There are a lot of doors interrupting the panel pattern, so it was tricky work figuring out exactly what size each panel should be. 

As challenging as the living room and entry were, the hallways proved to be even more challenging due to the tighter quarters. With such tight quarters, it was definitely a challenge to negotiate the placement of the walls after they were built. It really was nuts trying to install fully-built walls onto the hallway walls!

Next was my multi-layer paint finish. Then, Bill took over to add the panel moulding. This completed the walls as the perfect backdrop for multiple pieces of art that will hang in the panels for a gallery effect. The finished look will be like jewelry adorning the hallways walls!

My Door Pediment for the Passthrough to the Laundry Room 

Bill installed the door pediment with a combination of crown mouldings and a raised panel detail to give me that perfect European charm I am after. This is a masterful way to add to my “Height of Modern Cottage” design. I literally raised the door to 10 feet high!

The doorway pediment creates the perfect frame into my laundry room. The moulding echoes moulding in the laundry room as well as throughout the rest of the living room, entryway, and hallway design.

My new door pediment is a statement of rich mouldings. You can see my new door pediment even before you enter the hallway. Just the European touch I was looking for – such a ‘Wow’ moment!

My New Cottage Style Post

Originally I had a wimpy post! And that would never do in my new hallway! Bill and I designed a buildup of beefier mouldings to wrap the post with. You can see this in action with all the clamps that are temporarily holding it all in place.

This came together fairly quickly and tied the whole column effect together. The column goes all the way from floor to ceiling now and my post fits rights in with my dramatic, panel-clad hallway. No more wimpy posts here!

Featured Sponsor:


I’m using brand new black-and-white hardware courtesy of Emtek in my “Height of Modern Cottage” design. Flat black iron and ice white porcelain play beautifully together with a balance of modernism and that vintage cottage look.

The knobs for the hallway doors are finished off with a #8 rosette in flat black and the front door handle is Richmond with Luzern lever in flat black.

The black against the semi-gloss white of my doors is a gorgeous contrast! Thanks to Emtek, I’m going to get that classic cottage look with a modern twist I want!

That’s it for this week! Next week it’s all about the custom furniture (6 pieces in total!!)

That’s a wrap on the entryway, hallway, and front door (until week 8’s big reveal of course!) But, next week join me as I share how Bill and I worked together to create all 6 pieces – including a towering entertainment center! It’s going to be an exciting week!

Keep up with my design by following me on Instagram

Tune in next week for chapter four of my “Height of Modern Cottage” design!

My All-Star Team

I couldn’t possibly pull of a design of this size and ambition all on my own in 8 weeks! I want to introduce you to the whole team, so you can see everyone who’s going to bring this design to life! (Shhh…don’t tell, but we’re all in our sixties!)

Steve Hersh

My electrician, custom metal worker, and my overall handy guy (oh, yeah, and he’s my husband)! It’s great to have my husband on board supporting me and helping me make this design happen!

Bill Mott

Master carpenter in charge of building…well, everything! I’ve worked with Bill for years. He’s so skilled and passionate about what he does and always goes above and beyond. Just wait till you see the videos of Bill in action! You’ll be amazed at the work he’ll produce just like I am every time I work with him.

Martin Beebee

My incredible photographer! Martin has been instrumental for me when it comes to taking gorgeous, magazine-worthy pictures of my designs. He’s going to work with me throughout the challenge to take in-progress and completed design photos and I know he’s going to help show off every part of my design in the best light possible.

Keely Hersh (that’s me!)

Homeowner, painter, drapery fabricator, re-upholsterer, room stager, finishing detail work…the list goes on! (Oh, yeah, and I’m my own designer this time! What a treat to put my skills to work for myself!)

See what comes next!

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