Our 5 Projects On Deck for 2016

January 6, 2016

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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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At this time last year, Chris was getting ready to have back surgery and that took us out of the reno game for the first 12 weeks of 2015. Faye was just 8 months old and we still set our project hopes high for 2015 and miraculously checked off nearly every one. Somehow. Maybe those 12 weeks of rest were good for all of us. ;) So here we are again, with our annual project predictions and we are setting our project goals high again this year. Even higher than last. We are feeling healthy, rested and ready to get a lot done, so without further ado, here are the projects you can probably look forward to seeing right here in 2016:

1. The Media Room/Playroom

Here are a few reminder photos of where we started when we moved in a couple years ago:



It’s a very large room, almost as big as our great room (living room/dining room/kitchen) upstairs. There’s a storage room behind the back wall that cuts it short just a bit. We really haven’t done much since moving in besides making it a catch all for all things play:


But now we’re ready to make it more usable and organized. The far side will be a playroom, which we’ve barely started while still kind of trying to make a few decisions:


The good news is we’ve made a lot of decisions here in the past week or so down here. I’ve ordered toy storage (yesterday!), we decided to keep the fireplace afterall. I picked out a couple sectional options. We’re going to replace all the carpet. (oof!) We’re 75% sure we’re going with a huge tv instead of a projector because I started feeling a little sick thinking of our girls watching movies as teenagers with all the lights off down here. NOPE! The “media room” is originally why I was thinking a dark paint color would be better, but when I start thinking about playroom and a media room combined, I feel like light walls are the way to go–especially since it’s a basement. I came across this photo on @studiomcgee’s instagram (follow them. follow them now.) and it’s serving as our main inspiration for the downstairs. 12338849_1674853492729145_689766977_n

I usually try to stay away from anything too trendy–do planked walls fit in to that category?–but I wouldn’t mind just cutting and pasting this downstairs right now. There’s so much to do, but we’re diving in ASAP and hope to finish up by March-ish (that already sounds ambitious).

2. Kids’ Bathroom

Staying on the lower level of our home, we are going to tackle the bathroom down there. It’s primarily Greta’s bathroom now (will also be Faye’s when she moves down there) but also needs to serve overnight guests, as well as, anyone that’s downstairs. Unfortunately, it needs pretty much gutted.


The main problem, that I touched on in our house tour video earlier this week, is there’s no tub which is the most important thing in the girls’ eyes at this point in time. They have been the sole users of the bath in our bathroom since we moved in (Chris and I are just not bath people). Not seen in the above photos is a second vanity behind the door. We’ll tear all that out, put a tub/shower on the back wall and figure out new placement for the toilet and vanities. Still lots of planning to do here but we hope to start in the spring.

3. Master Bathroom


While we have to do the downstairs bathroom before the master bathroom (so we won’t be without a tub), we have been dreaming of what we’ll do in here for over a year.



The layout is terrible with a toilet closet right in the middle of the whole room. We plan to nix the tub entirely and put in a huge shower in its place and the toilet where the tiny shower is now. That will give us room for a his and her vanity and hopefully we can widen the doorway into the master closet (which you can see is through the bathroom), too.

4. Master Closet

We’ll likely do this at the same time as the bathroom since they are pretty connected. It’s not the biggest closet you’ve ever seen (I need to dig up a photo!), but it’s a good size that just needs optimized. A place for things as simple as pants would be heavenly.

5. Back Patio

This would be a big bonus project this year. We are waiting to hear back about a gig to see if we will even have the budget or time for this project, but we have a vision for our backyard that we can’t wait to implement. I took this picture when we first moved in and I’m recycling it since there is 2 ft of snow back there right now. Since, we’ve added a fence and greened up the grass a bit but the size remains the same, of course.


While our side yards are pretty big, this back space is on the smaller side. We plan to make one side yard (out the kitchen windows) a play area for the girls and the other side yard for gardening, which leaves this back space perfect for entertaining. We gone back and forth on decking or pavers but have decided to do pavers. We’re also dreaming of a fireplace and pizza oven and pergola and lights and seating. Like I said, when we were mapping our plans for this year, this one is a big maybe but we’re going to push for it and see what happens.

2016 is going to be a big, fun, full year for us and hope you’ll tag along for the ride!

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What do you think?

  1. Becky says:

    That built in is absolutely amazing! Did you have it done? This is the inspiration for our living area!

  2. Dave says:

    Looks like you have an exciting year ahead. We look forward to watching your projects progress.

  3. Sounds like fun! Excited to follow you guys in the new year!

  4. Christine says:

    Yay! I love you blog and this post, especially. My fiance and I are buying a house that’s a moderate fixer upper and it feels good to know other people have to slowly renovate their house. A lot of shows on TV and even other blogs renovate houses within months (major jealousy) and it’s reassuring that normal people may have to fix their house over years! I’m excited for your new changes :)

  5. It looks like an exciting year! I can’t wait to see what you do. I never thought about outlining planned projects like that, but am off to do my own now…great idea.

  6. Exciting stuff! A basement that can be/already is finished is near the top of the list for our next home – our gets are getting a little older too, and I’d love more of a “family room” so lounging around, etc. We are also planning a bathroom remodel this year – our bigger upstairs one! It needs two new windows though – yikes. And a new bath surround. And flooring. And pretty much everything else.

  7. Anna says:

    What a big year! I don’t know how you guys are so productive, especially with two kids and jobs! Kudos to you, and good luck — can’t wait to see your progress. You always execute super fast too, which I think is a sign of excellent planning!

    Sorry to be annoying but “adieu” is French for goodbye. I think you mean “without further ado” as ado means fuss :)

  8. Jess says:

    Darn – I wanted to see a pic with snow! (Down in NC we don’t see much of it.)

    I originally thought the inspiration photo had horizontal pinstripes painted (or wallpaper) rather than planked walls. Maybe you can achieve the visual impact of having planked walls without actually installing plank walls? Just thinking out loud…

    • Mary says:

      I was just coming to say this! A pinstripe wallpaper would go better than planked walls in this house in keeping with a modern aesthetic.

  9. Wallpaper is super fast and quick, but also super chic. If you’re looking to save time on your handful of renos wallpaper will surely do the trick!

  10. I totally feel you on the trendy scale… On one hand I want cement or patterned tile SO bad, but on the other hand, I’m nervous it’s going to be soo 2015 in about 5 years. Can’t wait to see how you tackle these!

  11. Shelby says:

    Ah! Two bathroom renovations in one year…y’all are crazy! Haha, just kidding. Considering how fast you completed the kitchen I’m pretty sure you guys can handle it.

    We are stilllllll working on our master bathroom remodel…6 months and counting. You will LOVE having a large walk-in shower though. We had a super tiny stand-up like y’all do, and now that our large shower is done I pretty much take the longest shower I possibly can. :) Progress of our bathroom here if you’re interested:

    I cannot wait to see how these projects come together over the next 12 months. Love everything you and Chris do! My husband and I have used many of your DIY projects/ tutorials as inspiration for our own home.

  12. can’t wait to see what you guys do this year! the playroom already looks so good.

  13. Fun plan and awesome that we have so much to look forward to as readers! :-) We sort of started the opposite way in our house. We started with the family room, then yard, minor updates, recently renovated bathroom/dormer addition for the bathroom, and we’ll end with the kitchen someday. We’re recouping from the bath reno, and we’ll probably move more slowly, but hopefully we’ll get some other big things off our list this year!

  14. Gretchen says:

    From one Pittsburgh girl now living in the West to another, I’m so glad you decided to keep the fireplace downstairs. I love your plans for that space now!

    When you do your master closet check out Elfa from The Container Store. It’s been a game changer for us. We customized our space with shoe racks, drawers, shelves, and everything else imaginable. It really transformed a not-so-great master closet. I don’t work for TCS, I just really love their products!

    Also, pavers=less maintenance. Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings in your house!

    • Julia says:

      I’ve heard so many good things about Elfa, I’ll have to check that out. And yes! That’s exactly why we decided on pavers rather than decking.

      ps. Pittsburgh forever!

  15. Ellen says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, your home is absolutely gorgeous, and your blog has some of the most inspiring content on the internet. (And I read a lot!) I can’t wait to see these plans unfold!

  16. Julianne says:

    Wow! That’s a lot of projects. Our two upstairs bathrooms need to be gutted but the expected cost well, guts us. In your yard have you considered edible landscaping? I need someone I follow to start. :-D

  17. Tee-la says:

    Regarding your back porch…we poured 3’x3′ concrete pavers for our patio and they look fantastic! We also have a section where we left one paver out and welded together a square steel firepit. It’s a great look.

  18. Elizabeth says:

    I’m excited to see how you continue to transform your space! I love what you’ve done so far!

  19. Awesome projects! I can’t wait to follow along (like always) :)

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