Rooftop Retreat: Week 1 {One Room Challenge}

Over the past decade, we've made a lot of changes to our backyard and it's become a really great space for entertaining and play... but we have another outdoor space - a rooftop deck - that we've been completely ignoring. 

When we first bought our home, I was so excited about the roof deck. I envisioned Scott and I spending our summer evenings out there entertaining friends and enjoying the mountain views. Fast forward eleven years and two kids, and that deck has become nothing more than an abandoned space. I'm honestly not sure I've even walked out there in the past year, and I'm not sure my kids have ever been out there. But all that is about to change!

Every spring I tell myself this is the year we're going to finally turn this rooftop deck into a space our whole family can enjoy, and every fall I lament that another year has gone by and we still haven't used the space. But there's one sure way I know to get a project done, and that's the One Room Challenge! So I'm jumping in to the ORC for the 9th time, and five weeks from now, we'll have a finished rooftop retreat just in time for warm summer nights!

Next week, I'll show you what I have planned for our rooftop deck, but first, I just want to show you the space we are working with.  

Our house is built on three levels, with just our master bedroom/bathroom on the top floor. The bedroom has two sliders that lead out to a good sized, wrap around deck with treetop and mountain views. Before we had kids we used the space on occasion, but for the past seven years, we've barely stepped foot out there.

Here's a picture of how the deck looked around 2010, which is probably the last time we actually used the space. It would look pretty much the same right now if we ever bothered to uncover the furniture, which has remained covered for many years in a row now.

To give you a bit more perspective, let me show you the floor plan for the third level of our house. The front of our home faces south, but the large, open part of the deck is on the east side of the house, making it nice and shady in the evenings.

We live in an older neighborhood with lots of big mature trees all around. I really hate that we have this big outdoor space with gorgeous treetop views, and yet we hardly ever go out there. The problem is that we've just never given this space a real purpose. 

When we first moved in, we put a table and chairs up there, as well as two lounge chairs that we picked up on an end-of-season clearance. The table and chairs never made much sense at all... we were never going to carry food up to the third floor to eat, especially not when we have a nice patio with a BBQ right off of our kitchen. And the lounge chairs seemed like a good idea at the time, but the reality is that we aren't "lay out in the sun" kind of people.

Over the years, as we've improved our backyard, it's become a great place for us to entertain friends and where the kids can play. Here's a view of the backyard as seen from up on the deck...

In order to make the roof deck a space we'll really use, it needs to serve a different purpose. I don't envision us taking many guests up here, so it's really all about the family. I want to create an outdoor living room where we can spend quality time together in the evenings. Obviously our two old lounge chairs aren't ideal for a family of four, so we'll need much more comfortable seating. I also have a little something extra planned that I think the kids are going to love! 

For the next five weeks, I'll be posting weekly updates to show you the progress on our rooftop retreat, leading up to the final reveal on May 9th! Come back next week to see my initial design plans.

The best part of the One Room Challenge is that I'm not going it alone! Each ORC round, there are twenty amazingly talented designers who headline the event, posting their updates every Tuesday night. Participation in the ORC is also open to other design bloggers, referred to as Guest Participants, and we post our progress updates each Wednesday night. The ORC gets bigger and more exciting every round, often with more than 200 participants!

For me, that means sharing encouragement and commiseration with lots of fellow designers... for you, that means endless inspiration for every room of the house in every style! All of the participating bloggers share the links to their weekly progress posts on the One Room Challenge website, so you can find all of the ORC progress posts and final reveals in one convenient place!

Here's a look back at each of my eight prior One Room Challenge spaces:

I participated in my very first One Room Challenge back in the spring of 2014. Baby #2 had recently entered our lives, and needed the nursery, so I designed a menswear themed boy's bedroom for my older son, who was 2.5 at the time.

The next ORC round, I turned my attention to our master bedroom, which had been largely neglected in the six years since we'd move into our home. I made a big impact in this space without replacing any of the furniture, or even changing the placement of the furniture in the room.

In the spring of 2015, I converted the storage space under our basement stairs into a rock 'n' roll inspired playroom for my boys. At only 3 foot by 12 foot, it's one of the smallest spaces I transformed, but what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in style and fun! This is still one of my very favorite projects to date, and it was featured in print in 5280 Home magazine!

In the fall of 2015, I finally achieved my goal of making our laundry closet feel and function more like a laundry room by adding tons of style and storage, including removable wallpaper and, a hanging light fixture, and bold cabinets.

The following spring, in 2016, I updated our master bathroom to match the "graphic glam" style of the adjoining bedroom. The wall of graphic black and white cement tile and statement light fixtures are the stars of the show. I was thrilled with what a huge transformation we created in this space without replacing any of the existing cabinets or fixtures.

Later that fall, I tackled the much dreaded garage! I was hoping to just create a more functional storage space, but in the process of cleaning and organizing, thanks to some creative DIYs, I also managed to make the garage pretty! I was incredibly honored to have our garage makeover featured on a two-page spread in the March 2018 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine!

In the spring of 2017, my boys (then 3 and 5) were begging for bunkbeds, so we turned the former nursery into a shared boys room, complete with lots of color and tons of storage for books and toys.

Most recently, in the fall of 2018, I took on a modern dining room makeover. We added more storage, finally found a solution to an awkward wall, and made a big statement on the kitchen island. And we did it all on a budget. 


  1. This is such a great outdoor space I am really looking forward to this transformation, and prefect one for spring.

  2. OMGosh! This is going to be amazing! Cannot wait to see how you transform that rooftop!

  3. That's a great space! I can't wait to see what you do with it!

  4. Can't wait to see what you do with the space - I know it's going to be fabulous!

  5. I adore your wrap around deck! What a unique space. I'm looking forward to seeing what you make of it. Good Luck!

  6. Angela, you had me at rooftop retreat! This is going to come out amazing. I love outdoor projects for the ORC. Good luck and I look forward to following along! - Tee

  7. A rooftop deck!!! Lucky girl! Can't wait to see this one- I'm sure you'll make it just as amazing as the rest of your outdoor space.

  8. What a cool space! I can't wait to see how it turns out! And I love your space below!

  9. This rooftop space is going to be so nice! I need to redo our deck seating area and can't wait to see how yours turns out.

  10. You have fantastic outdoor spaces! I would love to have such a unique feature and am excited to see how you transform it 😍

  11. What an amazing space to decorate! Can't wait to see how it comes together

  12. What a fun space to give a makeover to! I love that wrap around deck - so excited to see what you do with it! :)

  13. Angela I love your deck and cant wait to see you transform this space. I do have a question, I love the overhang (wood planks) and was wondering if you intalled that yourself? I'm adding this for the one room challenge and i love them. Thank you

  14. Sometimes we just have to sit and really think about how we want to use our own spaces. Its going to be so great!