Confessions of a Designer | What I learnt taking part in the One Room Challenge

Confessions of a Designer.jpg

Have you heard of the 'Cobbler's Children Syndrome'? Maybe you didn't know it now had a fancy term, (I know I sure didn't!) but I am sure you are familiar with the phrase that the shoemaker's kids have no shoes, to which it refers.

Well, I'm here to tell you I suffer with this syndrome: yup, I'm that designer living with a mix of un-designed and part-designed rooms in my home!  

That was until I participated in the One Room Challenge. The experience taught me a few lessons.

Let me explain.


Having lived in our current home for 16 years, you'd think I would have completed every room in the house twice over by now. Instead indecision, overwhelm, analysis paralysis and perfectionism took over and I ended up with a home that was cobbled together with not a single room that I could honestly say felt like 'us'. 

Kind of odd really, seeing as I have chosen a career where I happily create beautiful and functional spaces for my clients in a timely, well managed process.


Choosing to take part in the One Room Challenge with a six week timeline to complete the project made a few things really clear to me:



Ironic really, I am always working to deadlines with my client projects, yet somehow never applied those same deadlines to my own home projects. No wonder things dragged on and on and on...

Actual construction time, from demolition to completion, was a mere three weeks. Proof that deadlines are necessary. Or motivating. Maybe both.




Focusing on our Master Suite (I know, I know, technically two rooms), allowed me to manage the budget, focus on creating the right look for us and ensure that the space was tailored to our needs. 

It also helped minimize the upheaval that comes with any re-decoration or renovation project. Multiple rooms under construction magnifies the upheaval. Turns out I don't like things being disrupted for too long!




Renovating my own home is the perfect opportunity to get creative and/or try new products. 

Since I first laid eyes on this one textured graphic wallpaper book almost a year ago, I was desperate to install one of the patterns somewhere. Many of my clients are wallpaper averse (I think they are traumatized from epic 1970's wallpaper removal sessions!), and I hadn't found anyone brave enough to try it out.

Instead I got to try it out in my own home! And just look at how fabulous it is - and if I want to change the colour, I can. Just a can of paint is all it takes.

Any takers? Lots of patterns to choose from. Just sayin'. ;)

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For some bizarre reason I thought, the day before the photo shoot so no pressure, that Graham and I would be able to hang our fancy new drapery rod easily.

About 45 minutes later, having looked at the parts and desperately tried to remember how to measure the placement of the brackets and how the whole darn thing went together, I conceded defeat and called my professional drapery rod installer.

Best. Decision. Ever. 

Done and dusted in under an hour.

So, why didn't I do that in the first place? I would NEVER try to do this for a client, so why did I ever think I had the super human powers of my drapery rod installer?

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It feels so good to have a completed room, finished to our taste and our lifestyle. There just isn't another feeling like it. 

Having that one space that feels like our personal haven, that's energizing and motivating, has proved to be the perfect space to begin and end our days.

If you are on the fence about re-designing a room in your home, I highly recommend it! I tell my clients all the time that well designed interior spaces improve our living. This renovation was a timely reminder to take my own advice.

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Now that I am recovering Cobbler's Child Syndromer (haha) I can't wait to get on with the rest of our home. I can't say that Graham is as excited as me, because, well, you know...guys. (If I said I was buying a 90" TV though I'm sure he would be game! LOL!)

If you're feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of creating a home you love, and you want to experience that feel good factor for yourself, I'd love to work with you.  Feel free to get in touch!


Caireen Kennedy Designer - Shift Modern Home.jpg

Hi, I'm Caireen, a down-to-earth, approachable designer ready to help you shift your home from blah to ooh-la-la.

Most days you can find me at my desk with a pile of samples, a cup of tea and a tape measure close at hand. I have a thing for modern, comfortable spaces inspired by the mid-century aesthetic.

To follow along with my various projects sign up below for my weekly-ish articles, and like, comment and join in on the fun over on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

I can't wait to meet you!