2017 Year In Review (How’d I Do On That “To Do” List?)

I didn’t make it through my 2017 “to do” list this year, but I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of the progress I made over the last year. Unlike 2016, where I felt like I spent months on end running on a hamster wheel and never getting anywhere, I’m ending this year feeling like I had some real traction and momentum for most of the year.

So how did I do on that “to do” list? Let’s find out.

My Niece’s Bedroom:

By the end of 2016, my mom and I had already made quite a bit of progress on my niece’s bedroom. My mom painted the flower mural. I built the built-in bookcases and bed with trundle. And we both worked on the new headboard. We were off to a great start.

bedroom built-ins with bookshelves and daybed - 2

But at the beginning of 2017, there were a few things left to do, like…

  • Make a decorative full-length mirror. Done!
  • Make a big personaized bulletin board. Done!
  • Finish installing baseboards. Done!
  • Pretty up the plain, flat hollow core doors. Done!
  • Purchase and install sconces by the bed. Done!
  • Decorate and accessorize to finish. Done!

And now the room is finished and looks like this…

Yaleana's Bedroom - after 14 - hand painted flower and vine mirror, built in bookcases and daybed

You can click here to see more of the before and after pics of her room.

Whole House:

Once her room was done, I was able to spend the rest of the year on my house. One project in particular affected just about every room.

  • Sand, stain, and polyurethane the floors in the breakfast room, pantry, kitchen, music room, living room, entryway, and hallway. Done! 

At the beginning of the year, my floors were pretty orange in color. So after testing out some different stain colors…

…I made my stain decision and refinished my hardwood floors. I hired out the sanding, but I did the stain and polyurethane myself.

The color turned out just like I wanted.

You can click here to see more of the before and after of my refinished hardwood floors.

Breakfast Room:

It’s hard to imagine that my breakfast room looked like this at the end of 2016…


So as you would expect, I had quite the list of items to finish for this room…

  • Finish installing trim (door casings, baseboards, crown moulding) Done! 
  • Finish the back of the peninsula (install trim, prime, and paint) Done! 
  • Make draperies Done! 
  • Choose new woven shades and get them ordered and installed Done! 
  • Paint and upholster dining chairs Done! 
  • Refinish dining table Done! 
  • Paint the buffet Done! 
  • Make a t.v. cover for the wall mounted t.v. Done! .
  • Paint the new door Done! 
  • Decorate and accessorize to finish Done!

I also added a couple of additional projects along the way…

  • Build and upholster two benches Done!
  • Paint and frame artwork Done!
  • Make lumbar pillows for dining chairs Done!

I finished all of my breakfast room projects and got the room completely finished!

breakfast room after - 14

You can click here to see more of the before and after pictures of the breakfast room.


At the end of 2016, I was still heading in the navy blue/light gray direction in my kitchen. The back wall of cabinets had been painted in those colors…


…while the rest of the kitchen cabinets were still painted green. But I eventually decided that the blue and gray, while pretty, just wasn’t quite me. Teal was a better color choice for my kitchen.

So my “to do” list for the kitchen included…

  • Finish painting the cabinets Done! 
  • Refinish the concrete countertops Done! 
  • Finish the trim around the cased openings Done! 
  • Build a vent hood cover Done! 
  • Buy and install new sink and faucet Done!
  • Paint ceiling bright white Done!
  • Grout Renew all of the grout white Done!

I completed that list, and transformed my kitchen into a room that truly fits my style and personality.

teal kitchen - view from living room doorway towards back of breakfast room

You can click here to see more of the before and after pictures of the kitchen.

The Pantry

Well, I didn’t quite make my goals on this one. In fact, I barely made a dent. The pantry ended 2016 looking like this…


And I had really hoped to get the whole thing finished this year. My list included…

  • Trim out the window and doorway Done!
  • Build, install, and finish the cabinets and shelves (I got them planned and drawn on paper this year, but didn’t even start building them.)
  • Build a countertop (Nope, not even started.)
  • Make and install the double glass doors Done! 
  • Make a window treatment for the window (Nope, not yet.)

So while the actual interior of the pantry doesn’t look much better than it did at the start of the year, other than a stained and polyurethaned floor and a trimmed out window, the entrance to the pantry looks much better now.

Entryway and Living Room:

At the beginning of the year, my living room was pretty much empty, and the entryway had one lone piece of furniture (the black buffet, which is now the purple buffet in the breakfast room). I also had one drapery panel finished for the living room, with five to go.


This room is where I spun my wheels for quite a bit of 2016, as I tried to force the room to become a dining room. By the end of 2016, I at least realized that the dining room idea just wasn’t going to work out, and started back on the right track of using the room as a living room.

From there, things seemed to get easier. And especially during these last couple of months, this room really seems to be coming together. Unfortunately, I still don’t have it done, but it’s getting very close!

On my “to do” list for the living room and entryway were…

  • Install quarter round on baseboards and touch up baseboards (Not yet, to the chagrin of you OCD types out there 😀 )
  • Finish making the draperies (Not quite.)
  • Create an accent wall in the entryway Done! 
  • Choose new woven shades and get them ordered and installed Done! 
  • Refinish and reupholster the sofa (Done! Not really. I bought a new one instead.)  
  • Reupholster the pair of chairs I’ve been saving for years (Not yet.)
  • Find an area rug for the living room Done! 
  • Make or find a coffee table or coffee table ottoman Done! 
  • Make or find a new entryway table Done! .
  • Make a large piece of artwork for the entryway wall Done! 
  • Paint front door (Nope, but I did decide on white.)
  • Decorate and accessorize to finish (So close, but not quite there yet.)

And I added one more project along the way that I didn’t even know the room needed, but has turned out to be my favorite thing…

  • Make a bird illustration gallery wall Done!

I have a really good start on both the entryway and the living room, so it shouldn’t take much longer to finish them.

Music Room:

The music room got some attention this year, but not as much as I would have liked. At the beginning of the year, I had decided that the black walls weren’t right for the room.

Music room remodel progress with DIY sliding doors and built-in bookcases to create pocket doors

I had hoped to get the following projects finished, but I just didn’t quite make it…

  • Install quarter round on baseboards and touch up baseboards (Not yet.)
  • Paint the walls Done! 
  • Make cabinet doors to cover the bottom two shelves on the bookcases (Nope, not yet.)
  • Refinish the piano (IN PROGRESS! I’m so close to finishing it!)
  • Reupholster the two blue chairs (No, but I have chosen the fabric.)
  • Make or buy artwork/wall decor (Not yet, but I have plans.)
  • Decorate and accessorize to finish (Oooohhhhh, so close, and yet, so far away.)


The hallway turned out to be such a bigger project than I had anticipated. At the beginning of the year, it looked like this…

It had old doors where I had tested various paints and stains, no ceiling light, and orange floors. My plans included…

  • Install new doors on the bedrooms Done! 
  • Install trim (door casings, crown moulding, baseboards) Done! 
  • Build cabinets Done! (I’m counting this as done, even though I still need shelves for the upper cabinets.)
  • Install new light fixture Done!
  • Decorate and accessorize to finish

As the hallway progressed, I added a couple of additional projects…

  • Paint stripes on the walls Done!
  • Build a small console table Done!
  • Create a piece of artwork for the large wall Done!

With just a little more decorating, the hallway will be finished.

Master Bedroom:

I hadn’t planned on doing any decorating in the master bedroom this year, mainly because at this point any decorating would be a waste of time and money. What is now the master bedroom will eventually (sooner rather than later, I hope) be turned into the master bathroom, so I can’t see myself spending a great deal of time, energy or money on the room until then. But for practical and safety purposes, I did have one thing on my “to do” list for the room.

  • Remove the side window and add a door Done! 

No pictures, no fanfare. It was just a practical item that needed to be done, and so it was.

And finally…

The Studio:

This turned out to be the most expensive, most extensive, and most time-consuming project of the entire year. The funny thing is that not only was it not on the “to do” list for 2017, but at the beginning of the year, it wasn’t even so much as a thought or dream in my head.

The studio project is an idea that came to me some time around the beginning of February, and surprisingly, not only was Matt on board with the idea, but he wanted the project to start ASAP.

After some delays, the process of turning our garage into my studio, a half bathroom, and a small mudroom finally got underway at the beginning of July.

The garage that started out looking like this on the inside (packed and useless, like half the garages in America)…

…with this eyesore in the back storage room…

…and looking like this on the outside…

(I think that was taken during my kitchen or bathroom remodel, hence the plethora of construction bags in front and construction debris on the side.)

…now looks like this on the inside…

And on the outside, what started out as just a garage-to-studio conversion ended up affecting way more than just the garage/studio area on the outside. I built a portico on the side of the studio, had some of the stone removed, along with all of the old vinyl siding…

…and had all new HardiPlank siding installed…

The outside is ready to be painted, which would have happened this week had the weather cooperated. Sadly, the painting had to be postponed, but at least it’s ready to go as soon as we have a stretch of nice, sunny weather.

While none of this (with the exception of the portico) was a DIY project, those of you who have worked with contractors on big projects know how time-consuming it can be. You have to be constantly on hand to answer questions and make sure things are going according to your plans. So while they were working on the “big picture” of the project (e.g., framing, installing windows and doors, plumbing, etc.), I was busy designing and planning the details.

So there it is — 2017 in a nutshell. It was a busy, productive year, and I’m so proud of the progress I made this year. Do I wish I could have done more? Always. Had I hoped to get through my entire 2017 “to do” list by now? Of course. But there’s always next year, and for now, I’m just going to be proud of what I did get finished. And all of that even with being out of commission for a total of about five weeks due to a pinched nerve issue in my neck, shoulder, back and arm.

Not too shabby for 46 weeks, right? 🙂 And here’s to a more productive 2018 filled with even more fun projects and more completed rooms. Hope your holidays are wonderful and relaxing, filled with loads of family, friends, and laughter, and I wish all of you the best for 2018. I’ll see y’all back here next year! 🙂



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  1. Your house is looking very good. Thanks for taking us along for the ride. It’s amazing how much it has transformed. Merry Christmas and the very best, happiest new year to you and Matt.

  2. You made amazing progress this year. Your kitchen is spectacular!! Well done. Your bright color choices are refreshing. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2018.

    1. Ditto, Kristi and Matt! I don’t comment often (love your thought process but don’t think I can help very much), but I follow with so much interest and concern. You inspire me to try new things and provide so much info to help me get it done. I have a love/hate relationship with the finishing work. Love to see it, hate to do it. Your attention to detail helps so much! Thanks for sharing your ups and downs and Happy Holidays!


  3. I am tired just reading that list of accomplishments, lol! As always I am in awe of the transformations! Merry Christmas!

  4. Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you and yours! All the best to you in 2018!
    Thanks for all the fun reads. I look forward to reading more from you in the new year.

  5. What was the problem with your original drapery fabric? Looking at the picture with that beautiful flower blue fabric I can’t help but think you should be using that now!

  6. For your curtains, what about something in that lilac-raspberry range? Like in your watercolor fabric. or somewhat lighter than the beautiful raspberryish velvet pillow on your recliner? Just throwing that out there.
    I am totally amazed at all the work you accomplished this year, and how beautiful it all is. You should be so happy with how everything is coming along. I’m looking forward to 2018 at your home!

  7. Excellent! I think it’s 8mportant to remind ourselves what we’ve accomplished, even on a weekly basis. Question…on your beautiful floors, d9 they show dust/pet dirt easily? D9 they scratch easily? I’m seriously considering them for my whole house. Tjanks!

  8. Wow, has another year gone by already!? It’s been great following your progress in 2017 and as always I’m just amazed at how you are transforming an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.

  9. Kristi, the amount (and quality) of projects you accomplished this year is beyond amazing! And everything is looking SO gorgeous! I can’t wait to see the changes that will happen in 2018!

    I hope you now take some well deserved time away from projects and your blog! Merry Christmas!

  10. I’m with Athen – I forgot how gorgeous your original drapery fabric is! Too busy? Seems like it picks up several colors from your new pieces, but as I’ve said before, I have no confidence in my color choices, so you’re the best judge of that!
    On another subject, I would really appreciate it if you went back at some point and re-visited some of the choices you made through the year, especially when you used outside resources, and new technology. I’m thinking specifically about your grinder toilet (I’m sure that’s not the name, but the one for your office) and the ice machine you mentioned, the finish you went with on the floors (as KathyG mentioned above. I really enjoy the feedback you give us as you are going through projects, but I often wonder about certain things and whether they were worth the effort invested.
    Anyway, congrats on how much work you got done! I would like to just get my filing caught up, and my taxes up-to-date! Aloha! Happy New Year to you and Matt.

  11. You did a fantastic job this year! I feel like an OLD SLOTH next to you. Your home looks great. I love watching your progress.

    Have a wonderful holiday season!

  12. WOW!!! I’m AMAZED at everything you got done!! You should feel very proud of yourself! I too, love the blue floral curtains in the living room. Are they too busy to go with the rug? I must’ve missed that post.

    The very happiest of holidays to you and Matt!

  13. Amazing results for the year… your home is looking fabulous. Merry Christmas to you and Matt and your family and I look forward to what you can accomplish in 2018.

  14. Unbelievable! I sure have enjoyed each step of the way and I am looking forward to all you will do in 2018. Wishing you and Matt a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Enjoy your break!

  15. You are truly amazing at what you’ve accomplished on this house! Each space that you are still working on will be truly stunning at the full reveal!! I’m hoping you and Matt have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. On another post I mentioned a seller on Etsy for hand-dyed silk velvet, but I’ve also used a seller named silkfabric and been very happy with everything I purchased. She does custom work, too, if you wanted to match velvet to the welting on the chairs you’re upholstering. That might be too much velvet, though.

  16. Wow, it is amazing how much you accomplished this year. And it looks fantastic! Hope you and your husband have a merry Christmas!

  17. Congratulations, Kristi! Your progress was exceptional and the bonus is having so much more functional AND finished living space, now. That is HUGE! You definitly got your mojo back. 😉
    May you and Matt have a blessed Christmas and best wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, and healthy new year.

  18. Just amazing accomplishments this year! You should be very proud! Here’s wishing you and family a Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year!
    I vote for you to revisit your original drapery material. It looks good to me!
    I wanted to suggest a frame company that I have used, they do custom sizes too. I had to frame a 24″X36″ for an art show, in a 6″ gallery frame and they were very reasonable [$125.00] and prompt. They are in Ca, but I can vouch for the quality of the frames. Lots to choose from.
    La Tourette Gallery

  19. Congratulations!! Beautiful work, even projects still in progress. Love following your page! Merrry Christmas to you, Matt, & all of your loved ones. 🎄

  20. Congratulations on getting so much done, Kristi! Hope you are enjoying and relaxing during the holidays. Although, something tells me that once your house is painted, you’ll want to paint your door right away. 🙂

    I can’t wait to see all you do in 2018!

    Thanks for sharing your progress and setbacks with us!

  21. Congratulations to you and Matt on all that you achieved this year. I hope this message finds you both enjoying the house that is more and more becoming your home. Happy New Year, Ardith

  22. Kristi please take a pic of the music room wth the new light fixture, your old pic has a bulb hanging down. It doesn’t do justice.

  23. AMAZING! Even though I read your blog everyday, I was STILL blown away by all you accomplished last year! Wow!

    Eager to hear how your break was. I miss you!