Outside Press

Up for the Challenge: The End

Today is the last day to vote in the 48-Hour Challenge. The timing of the challenge was a bit crazy (coinciding with my ninth month of pregnancy), but Brandon and I took it on and we’re so proud to have been a part of it. Thank you to Better Homes and Gardens for asking me to be a part of the challenge, and thank you to the other participants: The Cottage Nest, The Home Garden, The Wood Whisperer, and of course my friends over at This Young House. We were thrilled to be in such wonderful company, and the other four projects were all incredibly inspiring.

Here’s a look back at where we started…

The Front Porch, Empty

And where we ended…

Front Porch

And during the process we went from a married couple to a family.

On the Front Porch with Eleanor and Murray

Thank you too, all of you, for your support throughout the whole process. There were times when I thought I was in a bit over my head (*ahem*, porch painting), but the end result and your thoughtful comments made it all worth it. And I truly appreciate those of you that took time to vote for us, whether it was once a day, once in a while, or just once. Thank you.

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  • Kariane
    June 12, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Good luck to you! This is it, the final day. I believe your redo is the TRUE winner. You took it above and beyond, ultimately creating the real challenge for the other participants, out doing YOU!!

  • Liesbeth
    June 12, 2009 at 2:50 am

    Hi there!
    I’ve been voting almost everyday; anxiously awaiting the results after the vote.
    I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed!!!
    Good luck!
    Groetjes from Belgium,

  • Aussie_Mum_plus_cats
    June 12, 2009 at 2:52 am

    Good luck, crossing everything for you. Think I’ve just put in what will be the last vote I’m allowed. All the best from Australia.

  • madeleine huttenback
    June 12, 2009 at 3:53 am

    I’ve been voting every day too! I really want this for you guys! You deserve it.

  • Sanja
    June 12, 2009 at 4:13 am

    I’ve been voting for a month now, first thing in the morning. I think that your project was the most complex one, containing lots of great ideas, creativity, work on each of those mini-projects and effort in general. And obviously people have recognized it, too.
    May you spend the bonus in health, love and happiness, making many more lovely things.
    Greetings from Bosnia and Herzegovina :)

  • Sarah
    June 12, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I visit your blog all the time. You’re so very inspiring! Your daughter is beautiful, as is her nursery, thanks for sharing. I voted a couple of times, I hope you win, you deserve it!

  • Reese
    June 12, 2009 at 7:03 am

    I just voted and have been voting for the past month when I first discovered your blog. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading it! Thanks, —-Reese

  • Caitlin
    June 12, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I’ve been voting!
    Good luck, though I agree with the poster above, the true winner is your porch, as it’s lovely now!

    A married couple IS a family; growing the family just adds to the love.

  • RisaJ
    June 12, 2009 at 7:47 am

    I’ve been trying to vote everyday….this is so exciting. I can’t wait to see the end results.

  • Denise
    June 12, 2009 at 7:57 am

    It’s been a pleasure to read your blog and vote daily during the 43 days of the 48-Hr Challenge. Your distinctive porch design is uniquely “You”, and just keeps getting better and better! Thanks for sharing this special time in your life with all of us.

  • Leah
    June 12, 2009 at 8:03 am

    I’ve been voting every day! I love the transformation you’ve made. You have been inspiring me all spring to make the outside of my house a more lovely place!! Good luck!

  • Bonnie
    June 12, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Good Luck! I tried to vote as many days as possible and just put my last one in today. Looking forward to the results!!!!

  • Laurie
    June 12, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I’ve been voting most days, I think you have the best overall design, its the most personal and really reflects you :) GOOD LUCK! I can’t believe the lead you have now, rightfully so :)

  • Emma
    June 12, 2009 at 8:11 am

    I have been anxiously voting every morning while waking up over my cup of tea. Tomorrow I hope to be able to read the news instead of voting, and to be able to rejoice in your victory! :)

  • Dave
    June 12, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Your porch turned out very nicely and I know with the new baby you can make good use of the prize! Congratulations on both accounts! Thank you for the link. :)


  • Eva
    June 12, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I have voting every day since two weeks ago…. YUPIIIII!!! You’re winning!!! I hope this will end up with…. ejem… congratulations for your wonderfull child, your lovely porch and…. tomorrow more!!!!

    Best whishes from Spain! Eva.

  • Susan - Jubilee Furniture Co.
    June 12, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Just voted – as I have done every day. I not only appreciate your wonderful design sense and incredible spunk (tackling this project in your 9th month of pregnancy!), but love your grace and kindness too. You are one classy lady.

  • kristen_verity
    June 12, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Been voting! Pleased to see you’re in the lead! Fingers crossed for you!

  • Diane
    June 12, 2009 at 9:04 am

    Having been recently pregnant for the first time myself, all I can say is you have my undying respect forevermore for tackling that in your 9 month, and I’ve been voting accordingly. Good luck!

  • Danielle
    June 12, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Good luck to you! I just love the painted rug you did!

  • Kristina
    June 12, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Hi Nicole, long time reader, first time poster. I voted every day. You did an amazing job–on the porch and Eleanor. ;) Good luck!!!

  • Alysia
    June 12, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Hi! My husband and I have been voting for your space!! Good luck! I am nervous about the results. Best of luck.

  • Alyssa
    June 12, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I love your porch. I liked Sherry and John’s too, but your transformation was just incredible. You even inspired me to paint a jute rug in a similiar pattern, which made my own home a little lovelier. So – I felt like I owed you a few votes! Fingers crossed for you…

  • lb
    June 12, 2009 at 10:24 am

    I’ve been voting every day for you guys! Your porch really is lovely and you did such a great job. I can’t imagine painting a floor nine months pregnant! You and Eleanor have many years of girlie decorating fun ahead of you!

  • Aunt Jane
    June 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

    What a lovely story you have given us. Life really is a project, isn’t it? Congratulations to all three of you! Little Eleanor will learn about the love, creativity and perseverance of her parents.

  • KatieO
    June 12, 2009 at 10:36 am

    you’re my idol. I’ve put my vote in, for you, every chance possible! So excited to see the voting results!

  • meredith k
    June 12, 2009 at 11:04 am

    good luck, nicole! i have been voting for you almost everyday for the last few weeks… the painted rug is my favorite parts of your challenge entry ;)

  • jo
    June 12, 2009 at 11:27 am

    i voted for you almost every day (i’ll admit i forgot a couple of times.) you deserve it!

  • christy
    June 12, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Good luck! I just voted. I hope you win!

  • :::Lyzz:::
    June 12, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I voted everyday and glad to contribute to your current lead. Good luck and hope you guys win!

  • pj
    June 12, 2009 at 11:38 am

    count me in as a fan! love the porch and admire your sense of style. good luck!

  • amy purple
    June 12, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I hope you guys win, you’re almost 1,000 votes in the lead. I’ve been remembering to vote!

  • Elena
    June 12, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Nicole, I love your porch, your site and the way you have conducted yourself during this whole process. You truly deserve to be the winner (even though I do love TYH site as well). Therefore, have voted daily! Cant wait to see what you do with the winnings!

  • Tracy
    June 12, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Good luck, guys. I voted too today and I hope you guys win the prize, you deserve it. Your work is excellent!

  • puck
    June 12, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    i’m sure we have all been voting! i know i have.

    good luck!!!!

  • robin
    June 12, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    good luck! can’t wait to hear you’re the winner :O)

  • Cindy
    June 12, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Good luck!! I’ve been voting for you!

  • Jen
    June 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    i’ve been voting everyday. i really hope you guys get it! :)

  • Carolina Avellaneda
    June 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I voted everyday. It’s 3:30 pm…21341 votes…I think you should start celebrating!!!

  • Anonymous
    June 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    I second what Caitlin said. . . A married couple is a family. Many in the world make you feel otherwise, especially when you are childless not by choice.

  • Jessibee
    June 12, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    I have a terrible memory but somehow I have managed to remember to vote for you everyday! Good luck guys!

  • mina
    June 12, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    you deserve the win, I’ve been voting daily!

  • Jill
    June 12, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Hi from New Zealand (in mid-winter). I love what you have done with your porch, and your whole house. Keep up the great work, and thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Jpoo
    June 12, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    You guys deserve to win!! Perhaps baby Eleanor will get that new window for her room after all…..

  • Ash
    June 12, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I really like what you have done with your porch except for the green and white divider. I don’t see it’s purpose and find it takes away from everything else.

    Just a comment not an attack.

  • Abbe
    June 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I just got my vote in. I hope it puts you over the top!

  • C
    June 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    I’m still in awe that you painted that porch while 9months pregnant! It brings to mind a very Morrocan or even Indian traditional ethnic style. Resort style- fabulous.

  • Katie
    June 12, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I put my last and final vote in! I hope you win! I think you deserve it the most. Good luck!!

    btw – noticed your twitter update… I am glad you are ok and that everything is ok or is going to be ok… That’s a scary thing to hear.

  • melissa copeland
    June 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    i made my last vote today.. you were winning.. good luck!!

  • Mim
    June 12, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    I voted for the last time today and there isn’t that much time left! Keeping my fingers crossed that you keep your lead :)

  • Jo
    June 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I’ve voted every day – all the best from Australia!

  • Jennifer Rea
    June 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Good luck! It looks like you are winning!

  • French furniture crazy
    June 13, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I love your porch. It’s a nice place for you and your family to relax. Charming!

  • Susan - Jubilee Furniture Co.
    June 13, 2009 at 7:40 am

    Just checking in to see who won – before leaving for work – and linked to the BHG site and you could still vote – so I did (for you of course! I would imagine they will discount any votes after midnight), but by voting it showed the totals for each of the contestants – and you were in first place with 22,437 votes! Gosh, sure hope that’s true and if so congratulations!

  • Denise
    June 13, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Ditto Susan, here! I’m a bit confused by BHG’s lack of detail with the contest at this point. Surely they will update their voting page (as in halt the vote counter) and announce a winner today! Glad to see Nicole still in the lead.

  • Melissa
    June 13, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Looks like you won the challenge! Yah!!! I can’t wait to see what other projects you come up with!

  • Emma
    June 13, 2009 at 8:14 am

    Me too, Susan! It makes me anxious that we can still vote – what if the Richmond couple suddenly pull a thousand people out of their sleeve? Go Nicole!

  • msmezzo
    June 13, 2009 at 8:57 am

    June 13 and I am still voting! fingers crossed

  • Denise
    June 13, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Nicole, since I noticed TYH congratulating you on Twitter I’m going to follow them in offering my Congrats! I’m a huge fan of TYH, too (John and Sherry are awesome), still your lovely porch had my vote from day one!

  • danielle
    June 13, 2009 at 9:35 am

    i voted! keeping my fingers crossed for you guys…what paint did you use for the porch? i am wanting to paint ours, but am unsure what paint to get.

  • robin
    June 13, 2009 at 11:12 am

    congratulations!!! you did it :O)

  • Shalini
    June 13, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Nicole, I just checked to see if the results were declared on BHG.com but I don’t see the contest being closed and they still allow you to vote. Wonder why?

  • Alysia
    June 13, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I still voted today! (June 13th)…not sure if they closed the voting or not. But you were in the lead by 200 or so. Oh my! What a close race.

  • Diane
    June 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Actually, you are ahead by 1,112 votes. I am still voting out of fear that BHG is messing up and that other competitors will pull 1,000 voters out of thin air (as someone mentioned above.)

  • Lucitebox
    June 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Nicole! I’ve been pulling for you (and voting for you) throughout the contest. I hope you win! I was just able to vote at 1:32 CST.

  • Brittany
    June 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    So I went to the BHG website just now (6/13) and was still able to vote.

  • teresa
    June 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Just voted again! Hoping you win!!!!! That painted floor is just killer.

  • Clara
    June 13, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I voted again 2day too!!

  • Sara
    June 13, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Quick, quick, quick! You can still vote today, the 13th! I just tried it!

  • Jolie
    June 14, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Who won?!?!?!?!?!?!

  • msmezzo
    June 14, 2009 at 9:03 am

    June 14th, still voting. Can anyone say “hanging chads?”

  • Laurie
    June 14, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Voted again today! What the heck? Still in the lead though, WOOT!

  • Sarah
    June 14, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I was able to vote again today!! I hope you win, i love your awesome porch!!

  • Diane
    June 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    You can vote, but the totals haven’t changed since Friday night. So I think the votes are no longer being counted. So, you’ve won!! I’m convinced! Whoopee. I want to see the bathroom remodel (and E’s window, of course) Can I have both?

  • amy purple
    June 14, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    i’m still voting til it’s not letting me!

  • Danielle
    June 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Have you won? I thought the contest ended June 12th. Let us know! I really hope you won!

  • Emma
    June 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    I am doing what Amy does and will keep voting until BHG changes the voting website!

  • April-Living The Sweet Life
    June 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Congrats on your sweet new baby. I love the color pallet you chose. Pinks & lime greens are a prefect summery combination.

  • Amy
    June 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Voted again today! Are they going to announce it soon?…..

  • Ann-Kristin Iversen
    June 14, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    You guys did a great job! The transformation looks really good. I bet you’ll enjoy some long summer evenings on that porch;)
    Thanks for sharing!

    Greetings from Norway!

  • Tommy Bahama Bedding
    June 15, 2009 at 1:11 am

    You did such a great job – the porch looks amazing :)

  • Lucesita
    June 15, 2009 at 2:53 am

    Mmmm! I think you won!!!yu hu!!!i’m so happy for your family!!!blessings to all

  • Amanda
    June 15, 2009 at 5:22 am

    Ooh, I think you won! Yay!!! Congrats :)

  • Making it Lovely
    June 15, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I haven’t received any official word yet, but it certainly seems so!

  • mrs.lee
    June 15, 2009 at 8:17 am



  • Denise
    June 15, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I just watched the trailer for the movie Away We Go. Hope it comes to a theater in my area!

  • carol
    June 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I hope you won, I’ve been voting almost everyday for you :)

  • Allison
    June 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Unofficial congratulations!

  • Mrs Limestone
    June 15, 2009 at 1:14 pm


  • Rija
    June 15, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Congratulations! Well-deserved and now maybe some of your home improvement to-do list can be achieved :)

  • Sanity Fair
    June 15, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    SO cute! You did a great job – good luck!

  • amy purple
    June 15, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    When will they let us officially congratulate you? Until then, unofficial congrats! Freaking awesome!

  • Brandie
    June 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Congrats on the win! You seriously deserved it!

  • Laurie
    June 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Wow, when will the winner be announced? Unofficial congratulations until then!

  • Lucesita
    June 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Wuuuuu Huuuuuu!!!! We won!!!! I mean you won but I’m soooooo happy for you guys….Much blessings…

  • Blondie
    June 15, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Your family is so cute! Which is why I voted for you almost every single day! LOL Good Luck! I hope you guys win!

  • Allyn
    June 16, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Congratulations on the challenge, and on your beautiful baby girl! I really enjoy your blog. I just bought my first home and in decorating it I often look to your site for pictures that inspire me to reach for some beautiful looks and ideas. thank you!

  • Tracey
    June 16, 2009 at 3:40 am

    Congrats on a beautiful daughter & a beautiful winningpatio too!!!
    Well done to you both!

  • k8
    June 16, 2009 at 9:35 am

    yay! i’m so happy you won the challenge. mainly because i am excited to see what you do with $5,000 and your darling home.

    always an inspiration nicole, always.

  • Nicolette
    June 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    You really have nothing to worry about. The house looks great, including the porch. I look forward in seeing more great works from you!


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