Our House

And That’s A Wrap! (A Look Back At 2016)

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached the end of 2016. Isn’t that crazy?! In just a few short days, it will be 2017.

As far as my house projects go, 2016 started off strong. In January, I finished up all of the big projects in the music room, turning a room that originally looked like this…

..into a room that looks like this…

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I also got my new windows in the living room trimmed out. Do you remember the original windows?

I had them replaced with new windows in October 2015…

But it took me until January of this year to finally get them all trimmed out

If you need a tutorial on how to trim your new windows, I have some pretty detailed instructions here:

Dining room window trim progress

I wrapped up January by building (but not quite finishing) the overmantel on the living room fireplace

In February, I made a semi-flush mount light from scratch for my music room inspired by a very expensive Coleen & Co. light that I really liked.

And then things started going a little sideways when I added the picture frame moulding and chair rail trim to the entryway and living room walls

This was just the wrong room for all of that additional trim. Picture frame moulding looks much better in a room with long, uninterrupted walls. This room has way too many doors and windows to let the picture frame moulding really shine.

In March, I finished up the living room (which I was trying to turn into a dining room) and entryway walls

Then I installed a pretty new mailbox (my one and only outdoor project so far on this house)…

And then things really got off track for me. Somewhere around the middle of March is where I really lost my way for several months, wandering around aimlessly in the decorating desert with absolutely no idea where I wanted to go or how to get there.

I bought this dining table (with eight chairs) for a steal at $52 in Ebay…

I mainly just wanted the chairs, so the table was a bonus. I used the table top to build a new farmhouse style table

And then I proceeded to paint it. Then I painted it again. And again. I just couldn’t get this table to work. I thought it was just a matter of finding the right paint color. It wasn’t.

So I moved on to another project, wandering even further into the decorating wilderness, and repainted my living room walls. I thought maybe the white just wasn’t me, and I needed color. Perhaps that would make things right…

It didn’t.

In April, I worked on one of my favorite projects of the year — my hand drawn birds & butterflies “wallpaper,” inspired by Schumacher’s Birds & Butterflies pattern.

The problem was that that project, even though it was one of my favorites, was layered upon some really bad decorating decisions (i.e., picture frame moulding and wall color). So I was really never completely, 100% happy with how it looked.

I also made a gold leafed sunburst mirror

…which now hangs over my fireplace.

In May, I made some black and white striped lined, pinch-pleated draperies for the living room (which I was still trying to turn into a dining room)…

I also did a pretty quick and easy sanding and recoating of my hardwood floor in the front room, which made the floor look like new again (or like newly refinished 70-year-old red oak)…

I made one fully-functional Roman shade for the front room (with plans to make four more, and thankfully, never got around to it)…

You can click here for that DIY tutorial.

And then I tried to refinish the dining table…AGAIN. I think that was time #5, and it was still a bust.

May and June were very difficult months. In addition to my frustration with my house projects not really working out, my family also had to deal with my step-father getting sick, going into the hospital twice, and finally being admitted into Hospice. We said goodbye to him in June. It was heart-wrenching and awful, and really took the wind out of my sails for quite a while.

But I continued pressing on with my projects, still wandering around in decorating wilderness, not quite happy with the way anything was coming together (because mostly, it wasn’t coming together), but trying to move forward anyway.

I reupholstered two of the dining chairs that I had purchased on Ebay.

I was proud of how they turned out, and yet it was a bit unfulfilling.

And with that project, I thought that my entryway was finished

It was definitely a vast improvement over the original entryway…

…but it just didn’t feel like “me.” I tried to convince myself that it was TOTALLY ME! But I knew it wasn’t, and no amount of effort to convince myself or tell myself how much I absolutely loved it would work.

In July, I took on a very satisfying project — building a wingback dining chair from scratch and upholstering it.

I was incredibly proud of myself for taking that on, and even prouder about the outcome. But I sure am glad I didn’t spend time making a second one!

And then I painted my dining table. For the sixth time. UGH!!!

August was a good month. Even though I was still lost in the decorating desert, things got done that really needed to get done. First, we finally got insulation! Yes, we had been living here for almost three years with no insulation in our attic. We opted for spray foam insulation.

I highly recommend it. It keeps the “floor” of your attic clear so that you can see where you’re walking (if your house is like mine, and you don’t actually have a floor up there). It also keeps the temp in the attic regulated a bit better so that during the summer, it’s not sweltering up there, and it’s actually bearable to be up there.

I also had the breakfast room floor leveled, which felt like HUGE progress!!

September was also a good month with lots of progress. First, we got rid of the ugly leaning pecan tree in the front yard.

My brother and I installed the plywood subfloor in the breakfast room. It was my first time to use a gun powder-actuated tool, which was scary at first, but fun!

And then he helped me rebuild the back wall of the pantry, removing the two windows and adding one smaller window in the middle…

And a few days later, we did the same thing on the front wall of the breakfast room

And somewhere between rebuilding the back wall and rebuilding the front wall, I also installed the new hardwood floor in the breakfast room and pantry…

October was my month of clarity. Not only did progress continue in the breakfast room, with the electrical being finished and the walls and ceiling finally being drywalled, taped, and mudded

…but by the end of the month, I came to my senses and realized that I was truly lost in the wilderness when it came to my attempts at decorating my house this year. And after some soul searching, I finally realized why it had happened.

I explained it all in this post.

So last month, I put together a new plan. A plan that suited me and made me happy. A plan that felt like home to me. A plan completely uninfluenced by outside voices creeping into my head. And then I got busy, starting with a new color (or colors) for my kitchen cabinets

And then this month, my decorating clarity has continued, with a new fireplace paint color and chandelier. I also realized this room was supposed to be a living room…

That was followed by new drapery fabric

And a realization that the walls were entirely too busy

…and would look so much better with one solid, pretty paint color, like Benjamin Moore Silver Gray…

And finally, I shed some light on my entryway with a new full-lite front door

And that pretty much sums up my year. 🙂

I started strong, got lost in the wilderness for several months, and somehow found my way back to decorating civilization. These last two months have been exactly what I needed. After a very frustrating year of feeling like I was spinning my wheels and getting absolutely no where, I finally feel like I have traction again. I have vision again. I have clarity and a plan. I have excitement and momentum again.

It was a long, hard, frustrating year, but if that’s what it took to regain my clarity and excitement, then it was well worth it. I predict that this excitement, momentum, and clarity of vision will carry throughout 2017, and I’ll actually see tremendous progress and some actual finished rooms. 🙂

Thanks so much for following along on my journey, even as I’ve wandered aimlessly through the wilderness this year. Y’all make this journey so much more fun for me. I wish each of you a wonderful, relaxing, and joyous time with family and friends as you wind down this year and celebrate the holidays.

By the way, if I do work on some projects during my break, you can follow me on Instagram to get sneak peeks and behind the scenes looks at my projects.

I’ll see y’all right back here next year. I’ll be back on Monday, January 2nd. See ya then!



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43 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment
    Barbara H.
    December 23, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Yes, you wandered but then the lost was found. Most importantly so much of the basic house building stuff like insulation, new walls, leveled floor, new floor, etc. got done. Congratulations on surviving one of the tough years we all get to go through now and then. Enjoy your time off!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Molly
    December 23, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Just curious, but now that you have decided to turn your living back into a living room. Do you regret at all having cut an opening into your kitchen or do like have more openness into your kitchen?

    • Reply To This Comment
      Kristi
      December 23, 2016 at 9:33 am

      I don’t regret it at all. That opening has made such a huge difference in my kitchen. It felt like a dark, small box before, and now it feel so open, bright, and big (even though it’s a very small kitchen). It will definitely make furniture arrangement in the living room more of a challenge, but I’m okay with that. 🙂

      • Reply To This Comment
        Molly
        December 23, 2016 at 9:58 am

        I would like it too because it seems to change the flow of your house a bit too, which I think I would love! It seems like that opening should have always been there!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sheila F.
    December 23, 2016 at 9:32 am

    Still alot of progress! Merry Christmas to you and Matt! I look forward to reading about your progress in the New YEAR!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Dale
    December 23, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and wonderful New Year! I feel as if we are friends even though it’s a bit one sided with day to day info lol…💚

  • Reply To This Comment
    Yoli
    December 23, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Merry Christmas Kristi and Matt !!!
    Glad that you have found your way!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Marilyn Canaday
    December 23, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Merry Christmas to you & Matt! I just want to thank you for writing your blog. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading it and look forward to each one! Hope you can take a break, just not too long!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Jane
      December 23, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      I totally agree! I always look forward to reading what you are up to! Always very enjoyable! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    December 23, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Thank you for a great year of inspiration and sharing your life with us! Wishing you a wonderful break, enjoy!

    • Reply To This Comment
      Ardith
      December 23, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Ditto what Karen says, Kristi. May you and Matt enjoy the break. Cheers, Ardith

  • Reply To This Comment
    Chris F
    December 23, 2016 at 10:22 am

    You can be glad to weren’t wandering around the desert for forty years! I so enjoy your journey and you do inspire us to keep going and keeping it real. I love your choices, good or bad, fearless in your attempts and am looking forward to 2017. God bless and keep you and Matt in the coming year.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Marianne in Mo.
    December 23, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Yes, you had a confusing, frustrating, sad and challenging year. But you can count your blessings that you DO have, and move forward with your new goals. I wish for you and Matt the best of the season, a bit of relaxing and connecting, and a hope for a good year ahead. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and thanks for sharing with us all!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Arli
    December 23, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Wishing you and Matt happiness, clarity, and especially good health in 2017! Thank you so much for this blog. It gives me a endless amounts of enjoyment and inspiration. Enjoy your “time off”.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Susan Davis
    December 23, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I love your blog! It keeps me going. I love that your found yourself with your new curtains in the living room of your house……Mark Hampton once said, Be true to the colors your client loves; they never waver.” Or words to that effect. haha As I look at the new curtains they remind me of all the colors you used in your beautiful Condo! Yor are being true to your colors and to yourself, but sometimes you have to make a few detours just to make sure! Happy New Year, Kristi and you the new adventures of your blog. I am so looing forward to your new ventures and jousrneys.!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Barb
    December 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Kristi, I must have missed the blog post where you said the ‘dining room’ was going back to being the living room? Can you give us a link to that post?

    And I wish you and Matt a very beautiful, blessed Christmas and God’s many blessings in the coming year.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tammy (Pa.)
    December 23, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Merry Christmas to you and Matt as well. I hope you enjoy your much needed holiday break.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Tirsa
    December 23, 2016 at 11:07 am

    You did so much! Thanks for letting us come along and watch the journey. Hope you and Matt have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

  • Reply To This Comment
    JoAnne
    December 23, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Kristi,

    Merry Christmas to you and Matt! I love the new direction you are taking.

    JoAnne

  • Reply To This Comment
    Connie in NJ
    December 23, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Thank you for sharing your decorating/renovating adventures with us. I am scared to do a recap of my year, because only one project got completed that I started in the previous year! One day I will have a whole house! Bless you and Matt in the New Year!

  • Reply To This Comment
    chiflipper
    December 23, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you for sharing your decorating struggle, it has clarified my own path for 2017. While this year has consisted of (mainly) structural changes in my home, I have been contemplating furniture selection etc. YOU have made me realize that I “like what I like” and trying to change will end badly. While I have no problem assisting others whose tastes are wildly different from my own, I can’t seem to envision something for myself if I stray from my own palette. YOU made me accept that this home will be (color wise) much the same as my old ones…and THAT is just fine.
    I wish all good things for you and Matt in the new year and look forward to seeing your future projects.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Wendy Stevens
    December 23, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Kristie, you are such an inspiration to me I enjoy your posts and I have built bookcases with the fireplace in my living room lined drapes for the window and I want to try make the wingback chair but I wondered if I could make it into a settee for two. Would I need extra supports ie a third like at the back?
    Enjoy the rest of the year, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year and look forward to your posts in 2017 😘🎄🍾🇨🇦

  • Reply To This Comment
    Dee Miles
    December 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Merry Christmas Kristi! Love watching and reading about all your DIY adventures and can’t wait to see what you do in 2017! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment
    Elizabeth | Elizabeth Burns Design
    December 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Gracious, you had a busy year! I just found your blog and am totally blown away by you DIY projects. It is hard to find professionals that make millwork look as stunning and crisp as you do! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for 2017!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lynne
    December 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you Kristi for keeping it real. I love the inspiration I get from Instagram and Pinterest, but I must say that I love your blog most of all. You provide a happy distraction from life’s troubles when I need one, you inspire me with your enthusiasm and I really appreciate your honesty about your misses as well as your hits. I enjoy following you on your journey. Merry Christmas to you and Matt! I am looking forward to your projects next year!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Lisa Erdmann
    December 23, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Even with everything, you still have gotten sooo much accomplished. Merry Christmas to you and Matt and a Happy New Year!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Karen
    December 23, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    The project I am most bummed about is the loss of your mural. I know you are planning to do another one in your breakfast room. Have you thought of pasting canvas (drop cloth maybe?) on the wall before making the new one? Then it could be saved for posterity or reused if you decide to make changes later.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Fern
    December 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Merry Christmas. I’ve so enjoyed reading about your journey!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Diane @ An Extraordinary Day
    December 23, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    What a great wrap up post for the year! Thank you for your honesty, too. You have made significant achievements in your home and you should be very proud… all 5 foot 2 of you. 😉

    Happy Christmas to you and Matt and may God overwhelm you with his love and grace and blessing in the New Year!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Jan
    December 23, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Must confess, I almost had a heart attack when you painted over the birds. I suffered through all the dining table stripping and painting. Loved the white and black walls and black and white draped, so much work. My favorite post and the one I plan to copy is the clear curtain rods, love, love them. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you January 2nd.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Rhonda
    December 23, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    First, I am glad the living room is a living room again. I love the music room. Kudos. But you souks have left that gorgeous color on the kitchen cabinets!! Now they don’t stand out as well. And I’m afraid you are band-aiding that new front door. Now you want to cover it up some how at night. That’s going to get old every night. I’d say go simple and put a rod at the top and a rod at the bottom and a couple of sheers on the door that you can cinch together in the middle, for daytime and uncinch at night. Thanks for the entertainment and happy holidays.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sheri Hepworth
    December 23, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    That was fun! Thanks for a great summarizing post. You’ve done a whole lot this year. Ups and downs, most definitely.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Patricia
    December 23, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane- and you’re right that there’s been a lot of changes! I love the fearlessness and as I’ve said before, you allow me to give myself grace when I make decorating re- decisions!
    Enjoy your end of year season and see you in 2017!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Melanie
    December 24, 2016 at 5:46 am

    Merry Christmas! I am happy you found your way. You still had unbelievable progress in your home despite the setbacks. Thanks for the time you devote to the blog. I read each and every post.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sue
    December 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for another exciting year with your decorating adventures on your blog! I am a huge fan.

    You may have wandered int he wilderness of home improvement for a while but you made some wonderful progress with the projects like your new windows in the breakfast room, the repainting of the cupboards, the fireplace and your pantry. I cannot wait to see all of that finished and am hoping that you and Matt will have many wonderful mornings at the table in your breakfast room.

    Some of your projects weren’t what you ultimately wanted but you did a great job on each and every one of them. Some day you’ll have enough extra projects that you can have a wonderful garage sale and make some $$ for more remodeling projects. : )

    I’m looking forward to following your blog in 2017 and watching you finish some rooms and beginning others.

    Happy, Restful Holidays to you and yours and a Happy, Healthy, INSPIRED 2017!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sherri
    December 25, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Rest and enjoy the holidays! Then perhaps adapt the roman shade for the door?
    Sherri

  • Reply To This Comment
    Sharon C
    December 27, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for the recap of your 2016 projects. You really have accomplished so much, even with the setbacks and challenges you have faced this year, so kudos to you Kristi. I’m pleased the year is ending on a high for you with your new decorating plan coming together and I think 2017 is going to be an absolutely incredible year with major projects and decorating projects being completed, now that so much ground work has been done. I absolutely love the real-ness of your blog and look forward to following you through 2017. Happy Holidays and a well deserved break to you and Matt.

  • Reply To This Comment
    Rachael
    December 27, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I want to say thanks so much for your blog! I’m a woman who does the same kind of fun as you- trim, hardwood floors, etc. (although not handpainted wallpaper-like wall- that was amazing!). I’m currently copying your pony wall because it has such nice lines and would really fit in my home. Love your stuff, thank you!

  • Reply To This Comment
    Genelle McDaniel
    December 28, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Excited to see what the new year brings.

  • Reply To This Comment
    janell
    January 1, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    It seems that your tastes are maturing. I’ve noticed with myself that when I was younger, I liked bright colors and fun and trendy decorations. Now I prefer a muted, relaxing decor. When I sit in my house, I don’t want to be stimulated by the designs. I just want to unwind. I love seeing your projects and will be applying them to my house when I move in.

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