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Fall ORC Week 1: A gym worth fighting for

The last time I was writing a blog article it was back in May and I was revealing my heart and soul of DIY projects:

My spring One Room Challenge bathroom transformation. This transformation was everything to me.

A project I had dreamt up in my head for months and months, finally coming to fruition. Completing it and enjoying it every day has been reward enough for me.

However, a few weeks ago I was also lucky to have Apartment Therapy do a whole feature on it.

I'm still shocked.

Now here we are again, about to start a NEW One Room Challenge.

My second ever!

This time I am tackling a completely different kind of project and a whole new aesthetic.

And I'm pretty excited for this one too!

This One Room Challenge will be taking place on the opposite end of the house - the basement.

If you've been following me on my instagram you know that I've been transforming my basement into a fun and colorful playroom for my three boys.

There's a "man cave" reading nook, a play kitchen area, a car table, a wall mural inspired by my kids' artwork, and the most recent additions: the building mural that hides the fuse box on the wall and the giant built-in shelf that I built into the awkward nook that was in the wall.

So what more could I possibly be doing down there?

Well, on the other side of the kid area - is a large boring, plain, unused basement space that just feels completely wasted.

I will be turning this space into a home gym for me and my family! I attached a few pictures below so you can see the space! Scroll down to read what my plans are!

I have about 5 million ideas for this space, so my goal is to take this one project at a time.

I want to experiment with some new ideas and ultimately will probably be making some decisions as I go and as time allows. But before I tell you the what, I want to tell you the why. In my opinion, when designing a space, the why is just as, if not more important then the what. Why am I creating a gym? Why is this important to me? Before I was Carrie the DIY-er,

I was Carrie the fitness freak.

So much of who I am has been shaped by my past experiences with fitness, exercise, adrenaline, hard work and discipline. Here are some of the key events. In highschool, I was the homeschooled kid....and one of the ONLY homeschooled kids in the entire area.

Sports was the space that I could be me and not just "the homeschooled kid." When I was on my team, I didn't feel like the odd one out.

I thrived on competition, hard work, and sweat! Basketball practice was my favorite because I loved to be pushed and I loved to run.

The harder the practice, the more I liked it!

So at a young age, sports/fitness helped me find myself and be comfortable with myself. Fast forward to my 20's.

I went through some of the hardest few years of my life.

I felt numb and found myself returning to running.

I ran 10 miles a day.

It started as something to just get me through - it felt good to push.

To prove that I could keep going. But little by little it became something I looked forward to. It became something that made me smile. Sports/fitness taught me to keep going. It helped me find purpose again.

Then I started diving deeper into fitness.

I starting weight training, started running races and obstacle courses, educated myself on anything fitness related, and ultimately went back to school and got my exercise science degree and became a personal trainer. From there, by the grace of God, I met a new coworker who not only introduced me to boxing but went on to become my friend and my coach as I took on training and competing in MMA and Muay Thai.

What started as an invitation to a boxing class ended up being a life changing moment.

The long hours of relentless training,

and cardio workouts that made 10 miles feel like a cake walk.

The sacrificing of a regular social life for training hours.

The feeling of knowing your coach was in your corner.

Of getting knocked down and getting up over and over and over and over again.

Of being so focused and so in tune with what you're doing that you don't hear the noise.

The joy in doing something you didn't think you could do.

Sports/fitness gave me my fight back.

I was no longer just coping or looking forward to something that was coming later - I was fully present in the moment and feeling alive again.

That feeling hasn't gone away since the day I was introduced to a punching bag.

Obviously there is lots more to this story: special people in my life, my relationship with God, the healing nature of time...

But I really attribute so much of who I am today, to the lessons I learned from exercise, particularly from boxing.

For being given the chance to really "see what I was made of" and then to forge something even stronger.

This is why this gym space is so important to me.

I want to honor the things that shaped me.

I want to raise my kids in a space that's going to shape them. To me, that deserves more then an empty room with plain walls.

Full disclosure: I am not homeschooling my kiddos 🥰

NOW ANYWAY. Here is my mood board for this project!

Here are just some of the projects that I know I will be completing in the next 8 weeks: 1. popcorn ceiling removal and painting ceiling!

2. A wallpaper inspired wall mural 3. carpet removal and rubber gym flooring!

4. A dedicated boxing area!

5. Aesthetically pleasing storage space for workout equipment 6. Faux cement wall 7. Creating my own artwork 8. lots of surprises! I hope you're excited to watch this space transform.

I will be updating this blog weekly!

If you'd like to see the day to day progress, please follow me here.

Keeping up with a blog is challenging (obviously, since I haven't posted since the last ORC).

If you were kind enough to read all of this, could you please drop me comment below? It will really be encouraging to know someone is reading this. Thanks for being here! Be sure to check out all the other ORC participants at

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