The year of finishing what we started was pretty accomplished, now that I look around the place. In late January 2015, amidst an awesome hibernation, I made a list of things I wanted to get done to make our home feel more finished. Some things were easy (install a new doorbell), others were either expensive (i.e. new $5,000 electrical system), or time intensive and hard to get motivated for (cleaning, scraping, reglazing and painting all of the exterior windows… ZZZ), but the lists I made at the beginning of the year were helpful in that it set expectations and modest goals, and it worked. We got a lot of stuff done, even if the days and weeks spent refinishing all of the windows don’t leave me much to show for it.
What else did we cross off the list?
- A new mattress and our first-ever bed frame. We upgraded to a king to help fill the space in our big master bedroom. The bedroom is disproportionately large compared to the rest of our house, and still seems like an unnecessary use of space (I’d rather it be divided differently to make an extra bedroom, or a master bath) but we bought the Mod Upholstered bed frame from West Elm, which fills out the space in a better way than I could have predicted. Verdict? Feels like a hotel when your bed is off the ground. True story? You may never see a full shot of the bedroom again; we are not that tidy, nor are we “make the bed” people. Sorry to disappoint ;)
- In September, I ordered a couple additional corner cushions for our Tillary sectional. The corners are way heavier than the straight back pieces, and they’re less likely to slide around when you’re laying on the couch, plus, it’ll help us make the couch more configurable. (By March, we should have them – oof! – someday I’ll dish about how frustrating it can be to order furniture, but in the meantime they offered me a $50 credit so I’m not side-eyeing too hard). If there’s anything good I can say about ordering furniture from West Elm, is that their credit card program is awesome – between the bed and the cushions, we have several hundred reward dollars to apply to future purchases. But I digress…
- We really ramped up the media experience in the living room. We committed to using the projector for indoor movie nights and producing the ultimate video gaming experience with the addition of a ginormous ceiling-mounted screen that retracts to block the light coming through our front window. Solid investment, and by configuring it where we did, we free up a large wall opposite the window on which we’ll hang new art. It also allows us to face the couch towards the wall-mounted television and out the front window for a better view. Is it normal to have a 12-foot long projector screen mounted where one would expect curtains in your living room? No. Do I care? No.
- My favorite DIY shelf is also officially a floating DIY shelf, because I finally got around to anchoring it in the wall beneath the TV.
- After years of not reliably getting any channels with our rabbit ears/Leaf antennacombination efforts (still shown to the left of the TV in the photo above), Pete relocated the Leaf to the outside of the house, and ran cable through the ceiling joists in our basement up into both first floor televisions in our home. It was a bit of a test, and we may end up affixing a more powerful antennae inside our attic space if Leaf doesn’t hold up outdoors long term, but for now the reception is great. We still don’t have cable (I miss DVR conveniences, and maybe someday we’ll go back but right now I can’t justify the cost). Instead, we have a Roku hooked to one TV, and an Apple TV on another, which gives us basically everything and more that we’d want to watch via other subscriptions like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
- The happy little shelving find found a permanent home in our hallway. I haven’t even refinished it in any way yet, but turns out that its shallow depth makes it the perfect size, and offers us plenty of space to store odds and ends (behind the closed doors) and some of our kids’ book collection in plain sight.
- Buying the new-to-me dining room table and chairs was one of the biggest highlights of the year. We still haven’t refinished any of it yet – it needs it eventually, but not desperately.
- I really thought we’d have more art on the walls, which we don’t, but I did make progress in that I had a local frame shop do a custom frame for a very large print. The custom job was totally worth it, but I don’t know where to hang it yet.
- As has been the trend, we spent nearly all spring and summer doing outdoor projects. There’s a flagstone fire pit now, painted doors, painted trim, a bigger garden, and Pete cleared even more brush from the back acre to extend our grassy play area tremendously. The grass has begun to spread really nicely into the land he cleared in 2014, and I bet by next summer we’ll have great natural grass coverage over most of the new, opened space.
Honestly, that photo doesn’t mean anything unless you remember what it looked like when we moved in, and turns out that I didn’t have many reasons to photograph “before” shots of an impassible wooded area. In the next photo, the wooden fence and the tree 10-ft. to the right of Pete are the distinguishing points of reference, from the first time we pruned branches:
What’s on the list for this year?
- An extended flagstone patio for our backyard to create a better outdoor entertaining space. We have so much more outdoor space in this house compared to our last, but it’s still just lawn chairs-in-grass, versus setup on a porch or patio. We always planned to fix that, and I think this is a good time.
- A repaired fireplace (we’re on the 3rd winter without a fireplace, which is 3 winters longer than I imagined it would be). I also figured we’d get around to this in the Fall, but I was feeling pretty lazy every time I drove past the local fireplace specialists that I want to have quote for me. Soon-ish, OK?
- A few updates to our basement to make the space more usable. This is in progress literally right now (paint is drying, so I’m typing).
- I never found the bedroom drawer storage to replace our crumbling IKEA RIBBA dressers, because there are just not many units on the market that I like at the moment that are either solid white or a light oak/maple/birch. I’m excluding the $2,499 models from some of my favorite higher-end stores, and the low end models that I know would work for a few years, but would rag out just like RIBBA. Something will come along eventually, so it’s still patiently hanging on my list. If you know of anything you think I’d like (including vintage solid wood units that need rehab) send a note my way.
- Better lighting. In like, every room. Bedroom sconces to flank the bed, floor lamps for the living room, eventually a new ceiling fixture for the dining room, which leads me to…
- hopefully, a jump start to our bathroom and/or kitchen remodeling. I keep having dreams about contractors quoting us really low. I think it’s a bad omen. I’ll just keep saving.