Biggest changes in 2014!

December 29, 2014

Since we are nearly the end of the year, I like to look back at the biggest projects I completed over the past 12 months. 

If you haven’t noticed before and after pictures are pretty much my favorite thing ever, so I’m including pics of how they looked at the start of the year as well as the final result (which is often not the end result cause everything takes me forever).

First up, the mud room. Ohhhh yes. The mud room! When we had the basement finished a few years ago we moved our laundry down there and it’s seriously one of the best things we’ve ever done. 

We lived with it as it was for quite a while and then at the beginning of this year I got started. This is how it looked to start:

What’s funny is I was so tired of the bright yellow I had in there for years I felt like the blank white looked a ton better:

laundry room turned mud room

I love that you can see where I painted around the washer and dryer way back when. At least I used tape to get a straight line!

So anyway, I got busy installing the rest of the beadboard and painting it, building a bench (out of kitchen cabinets), DIYing a cushion out of a rug and then adding the sconces:

diy bench in mud room

Um…we LOVE it. Love love love. Seriously, I’m so happy to have an actual landing zone when we walk in now.

I still have a lot I want to do in here – I’ve been wanting to build the upper storage for a year now and just haven’t gotten to it. The ceiling needs to be patched and painted (due to some water issues) and I will add crown molding too:

beadboard in mud room

I changed out the overhead light in the space recently and still need to show you that too (it created some new holes in the ceiling as well).

Funny thing, seeing our big cat in these photos – this bench is his absolute favorite spot in the house. The furnace is in here so I think it’s probably the toastiest room:

bench made out of cabinets

On a side note – if you’ve ever wanted to spray paint your door knobs be sure to check out my experience with it in this room here.

We didn’t do much in the basement this year (although I still have some fun plans in mind) but I did make some progress on the little kitchenette down there. This is how we started at the beginning of the year:

simple kitchenette

I installed the (super cheap!) countertops and painted the cabinets. Then I added a little bling to that wall with a stencil I found at Hobby Lobby:

stenciled wall

We’ve since installed the sink down there and I’ve had the shelves to hang for probably six months. Hoping to get those up over break.

I also shared the details of how we had our basement finished for (what I think) a great price:

finished basement costs

Basically we used small business contractors, spread it out over time and I did the finish work myself. But I share all of the costs and break down in that post.

Our master bedroom got some updates as well. I’ve been working on this room for over a year now and may finish it next year…we’ll see. ;)

I couldn’t decide if I wanted our room to be bright and light or dark and comfy…so I went halfway. I started painting the room the lighter color I picked out:

DIY tufted headboard

And then decided I was craving some drama. So I added it in the form of some trim and a dark gray color called Peppercorn:

gray accent wall with trimI also beefed up the baseboards (without taking off the old ones!), added craftsman trim around the doors, and changed out the light (from the old dining room). It is becoming a truly beautiful space and we love it!!

(To see how I made the tufted headboard for less than $100, go here.)

I worked my tail off on one of the biggest transformations in our house this year that no one sees but us – our master closet. It’s big and we weren’t using it well. This before photo was the closet on a really, really good day:

closet makeover

I mean…really. This was nothing compared to the usual mess.

I purged big time, installed more kitchen cabinets (yes, I have a problem. Yes, they work and they are cheap!) and then painted everything in purple tones – my one girly room the house! :)

It kind of changed our lives:

closet makevover with cabinets

You can see more of the final reveal here. A functional, clean closet it highly underrated. I still have more plans for the space but so far it’s working SO MUCH better than what we had before.

And finally, the spaces I got some help on. We had dreamed and planned to potentially add on to the back of our home – our family room and kitchen were open to each other but very tight and awkward due to the layout of the fireplace and windows.

We had saved up a chunk of change do a renovation but we realized pretty quickly it wasn’t going to happen. Getting contractors to respond was impossibly hard (only a few even responded) and the costs we were getting from those who did respond were astronomical.

Along the way a reader put an idea in my head and we went with it. Here’s an old photo of the wall that we took down:


Believe it or not this after photo is only taken a couple feet behind where the one above was taken:

knocking down a wall

We knocked down the wall between my office and the family room and reconfigured the fireplace. We gained 100 square feet in doing so:

fireplace with built ins

The biggest part of the room is the new fireplace placement and built ins. They looked like this to start:

fireplace with built ins for electronics

That white chunk of wall is where the old corner fireplace was. So happy that is gone!!

After I trimmed it out and painted, added some new doors to the cabinets (so we could hide the electronics in there), tiled the surround and then planked the wall above, it turned out like this: gray fireplace marble tile

That’s the Christmas version. ;)

Here’s another view of the room before (a more recent one):

corner fireplace

And now from the same general area: gray fireplaceThe changes made a bigger impact to the kitchen than we anticipated too, so we went ahead with our second phase sooner than planned. Here’s the view into the family room before:        

And here it is now (as a kitchen!) with the new doors:

double atrium doors

Those doors? Easily top five best things we’ve done in the almost 11 years here. They are amazing and completely changed how we function in these rooms. Absolutely love:

transom above french doors

You can see the entire renovation process (over five months) here.

It’s been a GREAT year! I am so happy with the changes we’ve made and so thankful we were able to make them!

Onto 2015…I’ll share my plans for that next! Did you do anything fun to your house this year? We did a lot but it’s kind of my job. ;) And it’s my passion – I love it!! 

Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. It was a very productive year! Congrats! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next!

  2. EPIC CHANGES! Please come re-do our house. I was going to say that I loved your mud room the most.... Then I saw your Bedroom, and the closet, and I gave up because they all look so fantastic.

  3. Wow, when it's put all in one post, you guys have done a LOT! Nicely done!

  4. It all looks wonderful, but I agree, the doors are amazing!

  5. I love how you panelled the bedroom!
    Everything looks great! You are so daring!

  6. Oh wow! You've done so much within the space of a year, everything looks great! Especially the fireplace, it looks lovely! x


  7. Great year! What huge differences you made!! Congrats on such a productive year. Everything looks fabulous. Happy New Year!

  8. What a productive year you've had! They're all amazing projects. Somehow I missed your basement post with all the details about it. Ha, I'm so happy I went and checked it out. So much wonderful info! Now, I have big hopes for my basement! :)
    Wishing you and your family a great 2015!

  9. Beautiful changes!! Do you ever stop!!?? Happy New Year

  10. I love everything you have accomplished and you are such an inspiration. Can't wait for the next project!

  11. What an incredible year, some really get projects in there. I can't believe the difference that taking out that wall made! You've inspired me to be more creative with wall coverings in 2015 - thank you :)

  12. Wow! You certainly have been busy!!! I especially love the breadboard (great color) & bench and the kitchenette. Looking forward to your 2015 projects! Happy New Year!

    PS - You're so lucky you guys saw Night at the Museum 3, Pumpkin declared that he was too old for kid movies. LOL

  13. My favorite project are your incredible french doors; completely elegant, spacious, and the opened view is great! Looking forwarding to your inspiring 2015 ideas.

  14. You never cease to amaze me! I can't believe all you accomplished this year while I sat here dreaming about getting off my butt and doing my entryway project for the past two years.

    When I ever do it? It is going to be fantastic!

  15. Your home is beautiful! I always look forward to your emails to see what you've been up to :)

  16. You do amazing stuff! Thank you for sharing with us all year :)

  17. Ditto to all the praise - it's been well-earned! Look forward to see what you come up with next. :)

  18. Cats and throw pillows. Is there anything else a person really needs?

  19. You have done amazing things this year! I hope to take some risks this year myself. Thanks for showing everyone that it will all turn out OK. Even better than OK! Amazing!


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!