Fall ’22 One Room Challenge: The Height of Modern Cottage | Week 4

The Height of Modern Cottage Design Week 4: Building Custom Cottage-Style Furniture with Je Ne Sais Quoi!

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.

This Week, It’s All About Furniture!

1) Entertainment Center

2) “Giddyup” Table

3) Red Coffee Table

4) Red and White End Table

5) Rectangular End Table

6) Scalloped End Table

For my custom furniture, I worked with master carpenter Bill Mott to design five custom accent tables, and a stunning entertainment center featuring a dazzling clock tower and Thibaut wallpaper! That’s six – count ’em: SIX! – pieces of custom furniture for this design. The whole design process just amazes me – how Bill worked with me to create so many unique pieces that fit perfectly in my home. WOW!

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of my six pieces of custom furniture!

1) The Entertainment Center: A Tall (Very Tall!!) Order!

The line drawing I made for Bill!

This is one of my favorite parts of my entire design! Oh my gosh, this clock tower entertainment center was a process, but it was worth it. I knew I wanted a tall piece of furniture to go on the tall wall to accentuate the height. I also knew it needed to have the same architectural panache and crisp white color of the walls and moulding so that the entertainment center would almost look like a built-in without being a built-in. I drew a picture for my furniture-builder, Bill, (yes he has so many construction skills!) to see my concept and we collaborated together to make the entertainment center a one of a kind piece.

The entertainment center before it got a very special “crowning glory!”

The Clock Tower

I added the clock tower, which made the entertainment center so tall Bill had to position it underneath the skylight in his shop! Talk about “The Height of Modern Cottage Design!”

The curved clock tower part of the entertainment center came about because I knew I wanted to be able to see a clock in the living room when I watch TV. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a clock on the wall itself or not, but then I saw a photo in which a piece of furniture had a really ornate clock built into the top. I thought, “oh, I can design a clock tower custom to fit my own furniture piece.”

Hit play to watch Bill and Steve delivering the entertainment center. There was a bit of an oops – you’ll have to watch to see!

Today’s the day to carry in the entertainment center! I had tarps laid down to protect the floor and as Bill and Steve were carrying in the entertainment center…Steve slipped! He’s okay, though! All part of a busy day in construction!

It’s the details that make my Entertainment Center so special!

I added a piece of mahogany between the first two sections of the entertainment center. I love a good mahogany accent and have this same wood species on my custom island top in my kitchen.
The two center doors are a raised diamond pattern on a small grooved background with a shaker door frame. The bottom door is a simple shaker style and keeps the focus on the striking patterned center doors.

A Real Architectural Masterpiece

I knew that the entertainment center would be a stunning piece of furniture in the space, but with the late addition of Thibaut’s grasscloth wallpaper and Bill’s expert craftsmanship, the finished result is even grander than I initially planned!  Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that Bill and I were able to come up with this design! Woohoo!

2) “Giddyup” Table

The inspiration photo that gave me the idea for my “giddyup” table

I just love the shape of this table in this inspiration photo. How fun are those legs? I knew I wanted my own version of this table in my entryway. I affectionately named the style of this table the “giddyup” table because it looks like horsey legs getting ready to gallop away!

The template I drew for Bill for the legs. Giddyup!
Here are the legs Bill created for me from the drawing all stacked up! Check out that grooved front edge!

I drew the design for this star feature and Bill made it happen! He did such a good job on the legs, including the grooved edge on the front of the legs. It looks almost like if you ran a fork down the front of the legs – it’s just the neatest thing!

I painted my table Sherwin Williams’ Leisure Blue (SW6515). Such a pretty, soft blue in the same tone as the rest of the blues in my design. 

I’m giving my table more architectural flair with the addition of round wood appliques placed at the perfect point on my table legs to create a leg joint effect! I think this is one of those special last minute details that just comes about during the design process, and I am glad it did!

As a finishing touch, I added pearlescent serpentine knobs from Anthropology that are shining and feel so good in my hand as I open the drawers.

After I completed the painting, I then used my multi layered sanding system to give it a distressed look that’s perfect for cottage style design. The finish is very deceiving. It looks like a rough finish, but it’s actually silky smooth to the touch. Next, my table is going to “giddyup” into my entryway!

3) Red Coffee Table

I knew I wanted beautiful spindle legs and a glass top for my new coffee table. I found a great shop on Etsy (shoutout to mgwooddekoration!). I had the legs custom turned and shipped all the way from Turkey!

One of my favorite parts about this table is that Bill built curved corners to join with the legs. The whole shape is a series of curves and round edges. Just divine!

I’m painting the table Poinsettia (SW6594) from Sherwin Williams and then I’ll give it my multi-layered finishing technique for a perfect cottage distressed look. Here are the steps in my special finishing technique:

  • Paint with primer
  • Apply bronze paint
  • Apply candle wax to release the top coat for easy sanding
  • Apply red paint
  • Sand until the bronze shows through the red for a perfectly imperfect cottage look!

A bold red coffee table like this acts as a focal point for the eye, but doesn’t draw so much attention that it stops the eye from moving around the space to take in more of the endless details I will have going on.

4) Red End Table

My small square end table with curvy cottage legs adds the perfect cottage touch! I got the idea for this table from another inspiration picture.

After I saw it constructed by my carpenter Bill, I had an on-the-spot idea to accent the top areas of the table with a red and white paint finish. 

What fun to take off the masking tape to see the finished look! Hit play to watch!

I’m loving how the red accents on my table (Poinsettia (SW6594) from Sherwin Williams) just pop against the white. This table will fit in perfectly next to my chair I plan to reupholster in red and white fabric by Jane Churchill (J966F-02 – Chari Stripe/Red).

5) Rectangular End Table

I asked Bill to make a table to go next to my sofa. It’s extra long to match the length of the sofa arm. Usually tables like this are 20-24 inches long, but this table is 28 inches. It’s a totally custom size. It’s also extra narrow to accommodate for the lack of space on the right side of the sofa. 

I put on bronze paint and then rubbed wax from a candle on the bronze parts before painting blue paint over the top. The wax resists the paint which makes it easier for the next part of the finishing process which is sanding for a special distressed finish (my multi-layered sanding technique!).

Hit play to see me use a special paint and sanding technique for a layered paint effect.

Once I finished applying one coat of Sherwin Williams’ Regatta (SW6517), I let it dry and then sanded it softly, revealing the bronze paint just where I wanted it to show through. The blue and bronze combination is so complementary. The finished look is a nice antiqued moment that adds warmth to the table.

Look close! You can see the gold paint shining through the blue.

I look forward to accessorizing the bottom shelf of my finished table. Stay tuned for the big reveal in week 8 when I show off my new end table all dolled-up with accessories!

6) Round End Table

I plan to place my round, scalloped accent table between the sofa and my husband’s chair. There’s not a lot of room for the table so we built it 22″ round to fit the space. It’s also visible from pretty much every point in my home so round is a great shape. It’s 360 degrees of cuteness!

Bill had to cut out little pieces of wood with scalloped edges and glue them together to make this shape. Such meticulous work!

Hit play to watch more finishing techniques!

Once the table was constructed, I painted it white and Regatta (SW6517) by Sherwin Williams, which is the blue on the scallops. Then, it was time to hand sand for a similar finish to the rectangular end table.

The finished table! How cute!

A round scalloped table is special all on its own, but add the pretty curve of the legs and the extraordinary craftsmanship of Bill Mott and this humble little table suddenly becomes another cottage star to add to my collection!

Featured Sponsor:


I used wallpaper courtesy of Thibaut in two unusual and special ways to take my cottage design to greater heights!

1. I Wallpapered the Entire Inside of My Entertainment Center

I wallpapered the interior of the entire center with this to-die-for grasscloth red wallpaper courtesy of Thibaut (Sakura T75513). Oh my gosh can you say “spectacular?!” The grasscloth adds an unbelievable texture and it’s printed with cherry blossoms! How much more romantic cottage charm could I add?

Can you imagine my entertainment center without the cherry blossom grasscloth wallpaper courtesy of Thibaut? The stunning print and bold red color makes all the difference. The grasscloth wallpaper is a textural treat in addition to the print’s botanical beauty.

This was a last minute decision that I will always remember adding. I called up Thibaut, they sent me the wallpaper, and I went crazy with it! The dramatic wallpaper looks so perfect – like it was created to go with my entertainment center.

Hit play to watch me in action wallpapering away!

2. I Accented the Drawers of My “Giddyup” Table

I staged the drawers with my three favorite coordinating designs. Thibaut had so many great options to choose from!

Next, I played around with the order of the different wallpaper prints till I found the order I liked the best. Then, I glued the wallpaper in place.

Oh my gosh, it’s so much fun to see these beautiful prints! Each one is like a little surprise when I open the drawers!

Here are the patterns I used:

I’ve been so lucky to have Thibaut as my sponsor and will share how I plan to use even more of their beautiful products in the weeks to come. If you want a truly gorgeous wallpaper make Thibaut your go-to!

That’s it for this week! More to come next week…!

How do all these gorgeous pieces of furniture come together in the finished design? Find out soon! Follow me on Instagram to be the first to know when my next blog installment in my Height of Modern Cottage design story goes live!

Stay tuned for chapter five of my design story next week!

See what comes next!

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

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!)