Looking Back, Planning Forward

Well, hey there, strangers. 🙂 I’ve missed y’all! Happy New Year to you!

I had such a good blogging break, but I’m so glad to be back, and I’m so excited about this new year. I have such plans! 🙂 I had originally planned to use my blogging break to get ahead on some projects around the house. Ha! That didn’t quite work out. From my last post mid-December until today, I spent all of one day working on the house. 🙂 But it was a great break, and I feel so energized and ready to hit the ground running on house projects today.

Of course, I do have to take care of one item on my “to do” list before I can get started on the house. You see, 2016 started off with a bang for me…or rather, the aftermath of a bang. I woke up bright and early on January 1st, went to my car to head to the grocery store, and saw that someone’s fireworks had blown a 2-inch-diameter hole with a trailing 1-foot-long crack in the back glass of my car.

hole in back glass of car from fireworks

And then as I drove, the whole thing began to crumble into little pieces like tempered glass does. You can see from the inside that the entire back glass is shattered into tiny pieces, and literally the only thing holding it together at this point is the window tint film on the window.

hole in back glass of car from fireworks 2


If I make it to the glass place today without that entire thing caving in, it’ll be a miracle. 😀 So let this be a cautionary tale. Don’t do fireworks in a residential area!! Can you imagine if that had landed on the roof of our house? It’s against the law to do fireworks in the city here in Waco, but unfortunately that doesn’t stop people. And since there were people all over our neighborhood shooting off fireworks, and I was inside the whole time, I have no idea who’s responsible for this damage.

So as soon as I take care of that today, I’ll hit the ground running on my house. And I’m really looking forward to making a ton of progress this year. In hindsight, last year felt like a year of me spinning my wheels and not really getting anywhere, but I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that my attention was divided for so much of the year. I spent several weeks working on the condo and getting it ready to sell, and then another two weeks working on my niece’s bedroom (which isn’t finished 🙂 ). And then my father-in-law was here for a total of five weeks. Even though we’re always very busy when he’s here, and we make great progress on the house, it’s more general work that we do (i.e., insulation and such), so it never feels like progress is being made in one specific area or room. And for some reason, I always lose momentum after he leaves and it takes me a couple of weeks to get back into the groove of things.

So in the entire year of 2015, the only room in my entire house that I actually finished was my hallway bathroom.

It was quite a big accomplishment considering that it was more that just a quick little makeover…

When I look back at pictures of the bathroom during that time, I’m amazed that I stayed calm through all of that. And I’m very proud of the fact that I took on such an extensive remodel by myself. But I still can’t help but feel that last year kind of slipped through my hands. Time totally got away from me.

So this year, I’m hoping things will be much different. I don’t plan on taking on any outside projects (I’m going to let my mom and niece finish up her room, and I’ll just be more of a DIY coach to help them along when needed), so my attention won’t be divided this year. I’ll be focused only on my own house, and getting it as close to finished as I possibly can. These are the areas that I hope to have finished by the end of this year.

house floor plan - 2016 goals

I’ll start by finishing up the basics on the music room. I’m so close to being finished!! And then I’ll finish up the basics on the entryway and dining room. Once the basics are done, I can get started on the decorating. I have draperies to make, chairs to reupholster, artwork to make, pendant lights to make, a dining table to build, and so much more!

After that, I’ll move to the hallway. That’s where I want to build the hall tree, so that will be a fun project. That’s the only major project in the hallway, so it shouldn’t take long at all (compared to the kitchen and hall bathroom, that is).

The bathroom and kitchen are finished, although there is one project that I’d like to do this year in the kitchen. Remember how I have white concrete countertops? (You can read about that project here.)

Well, they’re not exactly white, and I really wanted white countertops. And now a year-and-a-half later, the sealer I used didn’t really hold up, so I have stains on my countertops. I could remove the stains and reseal them, but then I’m back to having off white/very light taupe countertops when I really wanted white.

So I’m going to stain my countertops. Black. This isn’t a high priority on my list this year, but I do want it done. I think the black will tie in beautifully with all of the other black I’m putting in my house, and the dark color will hide stains. Plus, I’m been researching sealers for months now, and I believe I’ve found the best. So for those of you keeping record, this isn’t a project do-over. It’s a project continuation. 🙂 I already have the concrete, so I just need to strip the remaining sealer, stain, re-seal, and done.

But again, that’s not top priority. What is important for me this year is working on our bedroom, so I’ll do that after the hallway. This bedroom will kinda, sorta be temporary until we do our big addition on the back of the house, although that could be three or more years away. But even though we have those big plans, I’ll still be doing quite a bit of work on the bedroom. Remember the closets I built on either side of the bed in the condo bedroom? (More info on that closet project here.)

Well, I’ll be building something like that in our current bedroom. And quite honestly, it has less to do with needing storage (although that’s always a bonus), and more to do with making things easier for Matt. (Matt is my husband who has M.S. and is in a wheelchair, for those of you who might be new around here. 🙂 ) A closet on his side of the bed would definitely be easier for him to access than the current (original) closet, but it will also serve another very important purpose. Because of his muscle weakness, Matt has a very hard time rolling over in bed unless he has something to grab onto. And since he hasn’t had anything on the left side of the bed to grab onto since we moved into this house, he hasn’t been able to roll onto this left side, which means he’s stuck sleeping on his back or his right side, which can feel somewhat confining for him.

In trying to figure out a solution, he reminded me that the bedside closet in the condo really helped him with this, and he suggested that I do the same thing here at the house. I actually love that design, and I like the idea of doing it here as well, so that’s the direction I’ll be heading with the bedroom.

But there’s one obstacle with our current bedroom. There’s a side window in the way.

(That’s an old picture, and I have made some progress in there since then, but it’s still pretty bare bones.)

So that window has to come out. That’s no big deal since it would have to come out anyway when we do our bit addition on the back, unless we want a window from our bathroom into our new bedroom. And we don’t. 🙂

But with that window gone, and our headboard up against the big, main window, that creates a problem. If there were ever a fire, I don’t see myself being able to drag the bed away from the wall, get Matt out of bed, and get us both through the window in a timely manner.

So I’m going to put in a door. It’s just a much safer design all around, and will give me such peace of mind knowing that in the event of a fire, I could easily get Matt out of the bedroom and into the back yard through the door. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now, so I really want to stop putting that off and get it done this year. In fact, I believe Matt’s dad will be coming in April, and I think I want that to be our main project.

And then after all of that is done, and if there’s time left, I’ll work on the breakfast room and pantry. That will be the last thing on my list, and if it has to get bumped to 2017, I’ll be perfectly fine with that.

Phew! Lots to do! It should be a fun year. 🙂

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  1. I look forward to seeing this journey unfold. My husband and I just had black quartz countertops put in our kitchen against cabinets that I painted a medium green-blue and we are happy. Hope you will like yours as much!

  2. I love reading about all of your projects. I hope that you are able to get lots done in 2016. We have been remodeling our house for two years and I hope to get the big stuff finished this year so that we can use all the rooms. I totally relate with spinning your wheels. I was wondering if you have ever heard of Wahl’s Protocol? It is a special diet used to treat autoimmune diseases (including ms). The author/doctor has ms herself and is doing quite well. If you haven’t already looked into it I hope that you do. Here’s a link:

  3. I love making a plan for the new year. I may not finish the whole plan but at least I have an idea of what needs done. Without a plan I just run in circles flapping my wings! Lol. Looking forward to seeing what you get done.
    Sheila F.

  4. Happy New Year Kristi. I missed you!
    I really look forward to seeing what kind of magic you whip up
    this year😊
    Blessings to you, Carol

  5. Happy New Year, Kristi! Following you is pure pleasure for me. I am looking forward to 2016 with you! Funny you mentioned your concrete counters, I was just showing them to someone, I think they are so pretty with that ogee edge and I had wondered how you were liking them.

  6. I love to follow your blog. Although we have our homes decorated differently, I have learned SO much from your projects (and the project mistakes!)

    It seems like a brilliant idea to put an outside exit door on Matt’s side of the bed, it’s great how things work out like that.

    I wanted to share a story about white countertops…when we moved in our home 24+ years ago it had pure bright white formica counters. Husband and I made it a rule that when we or one of three boys used the white countertops, we would put down a cutting board or towel. We wanted to keep it nice looking for at least a year or two since all funds had been put into the purchase of the home.

    Well, here we are 24 years later…the toddlers are adults and married and have their own homes. Our white formica? It is still there and it is still white!! Even when we inexpensively remodeled the kitchen the past year or so…we could not justify tearing out the counter tops. I’m amazed they have stayed white. Kind of unbelievable to me and I thought I would share my story with others. (yes, I suppose that part of the kitchen looks like 1980s 🙂 )

  7. Random thought for your bedroom-What if you did a shallow shelf cabinet space with a board that goes all the across the bed. It would make it look like a built in unit, but then you could put some serious reinforcement into the part over the bed so that if needed, you could mount a trapeze for Matt. (I feel like I should specify I mean a healthcare trapeze, not the kinky circus kind!LOL) It would be nice to have a stable frame built into your beautifully designed space so you could add one if needed!
    Something like this, but much shorter so that it only goes between your window and ceiling. Perhaps just a couple of pieces of molding on top rather than storage space? http://www.houzz.com/built-in-over-bed

    1. Your comment made me laugh. We call them monkey chains where I live (I work in healthcare) and they are indeed very useful for patients who battle to maneuver in bed.

      Definitely a thought to consider for future needs perhaps?

      1. I have a nursing background and so I knew what I was talking about. I just didn’t want anyone to think I was suggesting other accessories for the bedroom 🙂

  8. Hi Kristi,

    a very happy new year to you and Matt! I’m looking forward to following you another year and through a new set of projects – and I’m certainly as surprised as you are about the last year, as I felt like time was flying even more then than ever. I can perfectly well remember your post about what you plan for 2015 and how you want to go about it 🙂 So let’s see what will fill your 2016 – whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be great and fun to see!

    Love from Hamburg

  9. What a way to start the New Year, wow, it’s good it didn’t happen while you were driving! I liked your light colored countertops, but I think black will look fantastic!!! I have soapstone in my kitchen, so I’m predisposed to like dark counters already 😉 I enjoy watching your progress (and process) – and roll my eyes and laugh at the ‘do over’ police. Why should we live with things we don’t love, if it’s within our power and budget to change it? Happy New Year!

  10. So glad you had a good break, but I am thrilled you are back! I look forward to seeing your progress with every blog!

  11. Hi Kristi, I’m so glad you are back. It looks like you re did your web site a little bit, for some reason the format of the posts looks a little bit different.
    I bet I can guess what you did over break – did you either clean or re-do the floor in the music room?
    Bad luck about the car window. At least it looks like it was an accident, not vandalism.
    I’m looking forward to see what you get done this year and again, I am so glad you are back.

  12. Happy New Year, Kristi & Matt! I’ve been anxious to see what all you have in mind for this year. Black countertops? Fabulous! Bedroom door? Fabulous! With that in mind, I predict the whole year will be FABULOUS! Carry on! 🙂

  13. Dear Kristi,
    You might want to consider putting in French Doors with interior blinds or shades for privacy…..much easier and cheaper than installing a window and more light than a window and both doors open for access?

  14. Happy new year, Kristi

    I was happy to see you’re back on the job and I look forward to all the changes you’re making to your house this year. Good luck to you, Rita

  15. Hi Kristi, welcome back. I think for Matt’s safety a door is definitely called for. When you don’t live with someone who is physically challenged you do not realize all that it entails. Having followed you since you kitchen I really believe that what you love to do is build things. You buzzed through your kitchen, your pony walls, your bookcase walls, pocket doors, and French door lights. When you get the building done I think you loose your steam. Maybe you should just continue to do things the way you do (bouncing from one to another) and get all the building done. Do your hall cabinet, and any other building that needs to be done. Then do the sewing and upholstering, since again these are projects that you can immediately see. Then do the crappy stuff….the stuff that seems to hold you back….the painting. Paint the window walls and ceiling, so you can hang your drapes. Then if you are bored with the dining room, paint the walls in the music room and hallway. They are not that big of a job. You need to find your groove, and if that means doing all the building first then have at it. You can then clean up all the mess of building and just deal with the paint. Hopefully you will get the front rooms done in the next few months so you can clean your floors and move on. I would hold off on the black countertops. If, when all else is done, and you think you really want them, go ahead, but I don’t think you should jump into that willy nilly. You could never cover up the black and then you are back to ripping out the counters and using something else. Good luck, I will try to keep up with the blog, to see what you accomplish. Blessings

  16. Despite what you think in your post, I think you accomplished a lot during 2015. Your condo was a lot of work to finish but it looked so great for the new owners. You have many plans for the new year and , as always, I can’t wait to see what you are going to do. Thanks for a great 2015 and looking forward to 2016.

  17. I love watching your progress. I am so impressed that you tackle just about anything. i think the black stain on the counter tops will look great.You said you wanted a door from your bedroom out, could you put french doors out where the window is now? I have no idea what your set up is outside but I love a porch to sit and have coffee. or to be able to open the doors wide and let the fresh air in. What ever you decide, I know it will be wonderful.

    1. I don’t think there’s room there for French doors, but I’d sure love to have them! When we do our big remodel on the back and add a new master bedroom, I’m definitely going to have French doors onto a nice deck.

  18. Thank you for “being real” with your struggles getting your house completed. I think we all can certainly identify with that. I look forward to seeing how much you accomplish this year. 2015 wasn’t kind to me either, so I am really looking forward to 2016.

  19. A question about your countertops. Did you pick the whitest there was? I too would like white countertops and have seen one other blog do the concrete. I have been considering it but think that i would like real white not offwhite.

    1. I used white concrete without any pigments or dyes. I used the exact same thing that Chris & Julia used in their new kitchen remodel, but theirs looks much brighter white than mine does. They did mention that the sealer darkened theirs a bit, too. That’s when I noticed mine getting darker (and every so slightly gray/taupe in color). I honestly don’t think there’s any way to get concrete as bright white as white quartz or anything like that.