Every year in January we post our renovation plans for the year, and looking back at 2019’s list (you can read the whole post here) it’s clear how unanticipated 2019 ended up being. On our list from January of this year was:
For our previous home:
Add wall treatment to the stairwell
Add exterior lighting
For our cabin:
Finish the kitchen
Update tile, vanities and fixtures of all 4 bathrooms
Paint the downstairs
Finish the Lake Room
Build a crow’s nest in the loft
Complete the laundry space
It was three and a half weeks after posting this list that the cabin burned down. We had rooms full of new finishes and fixtures, lighting and gallons of untouched paint, and furniture pieces still in boxes. Everything waiting to be put in place so we could make real what we saw in our minds when we first stepped foot in that cabin in late September of 2017. In those three and a half weeks we did manage to completely finish the bathroom in the loft, just a couple days before the fire. So I feel confident that we could have finished this entire list and had another amazing Christmas up there this year.
After the fire, everything got turned on its head. (We have an update coming for you on the state of everything involving the cabin. It’s been quite a lot behind the scenes and I think some closure is in sight). But needless to say, this entire list got thrown out the window, even the last remaining items in our own home, as we decided what our next step would be.
In our period of limbo we did take on a complete redo of our friends’ kitchen. This project honestly was a life saver for us, as it snapped us out of our fears and anxieties and made us realize that our future could be anything we wanted it to be. We decided to embrace the changes and double down, leaving our comfort zone behind and moving to a new city.
But in true CLJ fashion, we wasted no time and posted another list of projects we wanted to complete in 2019, this time for our new home. And while some things in the list haven’t finished, other parts of the list expanded and we’re so happy with how far we’ve come. So we’ll review each and give ourselves a grade.
The Living Room: B+
Plans: new paint, new wall of windows to replace the old, beams, move the fireplace, new lighting and flooring as a bonus
We’re so close! The windows are in (and amazing), we did paint but will need to paint again, new lighting went in this week. The fireplace was taken out but is still in progress, and no beams yet. But this space is on the verge of completion and we know it’s going to be the heart of this home.
The Dining Room: B+
Plans: replace sliding doors; tear up tile and add in-floor heating; lay new tile; remove stone columns; add new lighting, moulding, windows; build a large table for 20 people.
Our expectations for this project were thrown completely out the demo’d space where windows used to be. The second they opened up the first wall it was clear this addition had been done under the radar. So the entire space was ripped out completely and built as if it had never been there to begin with.
This is another one we’re really close on. Should be done sometime in January along with the rest of this first phase, but things remaining are flooring and finishes. We aren’t being hard on ourselves because this room ended up being a lot bigger of a deal than we could have anticipated. Plus we added a balcony above, which gives bonus points. But also, we just bought two tables instead of building one so I’m not sure if that’s extra credit or a deduction – given our workload, we’re going to say extra credit.
The Music Room: A+
plan: add a ceiling and create a bonus room above, add walls and create new arched doorways.
Checked it all off, except make the “bonus room” a new closet for the Master bedroom. Which is definitely worth some extra credit in our minds.
(above: the former double story dining space turned music room and below: we turned the new upstairs space into our master closet.)
Master Bedroom Phase 1: A-
plan: add furniture, window treatments, lighting, nightstands, dresser; remove mantle and pendants in front of fireplace, paint and minimize the tray ceiling.
No window treatments, but we do have new lighting. No bed frame, but we do have nightstands and a dresser. The mantle, tray ceiling and pendants were removed and our room feels SO much larger. The new, 8′ tall doors really add to the height. We tacked this space onto the other major renovations and it’s currently still under a bit of construction. But as soon as the paint goes on the wall, furnishings will come together really quick – culminating with our bed arrival in February! Can’t wait.
Entry Phase 1: A
plan: add new tile, lighting, paint, and furniture
We did ALL of that, except the tile. But we completely skipped phase 1 as a tile swap and moved right into new hardwood floors. So even though the plan shifted, all together this is a win. Check out a lot more photos here!
plan: replace all the windows
We’re giving ourselves a B on this because we obviously didn’t replace all the windows. BUT we did that purposefully because we plan to change the exterior of our home, as well as the location and size of several of the windows. So given the change in plans, it was the right call.
plan: hire someone to paint the walls and trim
We actually did accomplish this one. We had a painter go through all the main spaces in the house and give them a fresh coat of paint, as well as the trim and baseboards. So why the low grade? Because we probably should have just waited. All of the baseboards, except in the girls’ bedrooms, have been removed and will be replaced. A lot of the walls have been torn down. So now we’re just going to have to redo all of that.
But I’m also not going to fail us, because I think having it all painted helped me feel a connection with this house quicker than I otherwise would have. It’s been a rocky start in some ways with this home, to be honest, but doing little things has helped us all hang on and feel a little more comfortable. And we can’t wait to do even more of those “little things” in 2020. This is going to be our year, I can feel it.
I know a lot of people start the year with a word, and I’ve never done that, but looking back on 2019, I’d use the word PIVOT to describe last year. It was a challenging year in a lot of ways, but we’re so grateful for where all that pivoting landed us. We’re already working on 2020’s project list for you and it’s going to be a very exciting year! Can’t wait to share more.