Sometimes I look around at our house and think “This looks nothing like other bloggers’ houses. Nothing feels pulled together. I have no artwork. I have two hand-me-down sofas. I am failing at this home-decor-blog-thing.”

And then I look around at our house and think “Holy cow! Look at what we’ve accomplished in just one year in our first house!”

Looking back on our first year, here’s how we’ve put our personal touch on our home.

Master Bedroom Progress

Last winter, Erick and I went from this:

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To this:

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Now we’ve added some more pillows to give our bed a little more height:

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Sorry for the junky iPhone photo… I’m actually saving for a decent camera, so I’ll be getting my National Geographic on any day soon. 🙂

A headboard is in our future, I think. Possible DIY ahead.

Living Room Progress

This summer, I banged out a fairly dramatic living room makeover for only about $150 (in paint and curtain fabric). In just a few days weeks months, we went from this charming vision in puce:

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To this:

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And most recently, I sewed up some throw cushions for the sofa and we hung some very special artwork on the opposite wall.

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These watercolours were painted by my grandfather, Robert Burnell. He was a true Renaissance man: someone who was interested in art, music, science, and literature. Though he spent his professional life as a professor of organic chemistry, one of his great passions was painting. It seemed very fitting that the first pieces of art we hung in our house were his.

The wall behind the sofa is definitely crying out for some artwork. Not sure how to go about this on a very limited budget. But something of this scale is most definitely NOT something I want to DIY. Hmm.

Back Deck Progress

We gave our deck a facelift this spring with the help of a few different projects. When we started, it looked like this:

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Granted, April in Canada is no dream. The whole bare-branches-dirty-grass thing kind of works against us. But by the time we added some DIY planters, a container herb garden, made over some antique wooden chairs, and moved the furniture around, it looked like this:

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We also tackled a few small-scale gardening projects such as mulching (OMG back-breaking) and planting some dahlias.

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Savouring smaller victories!

I also did a few smaller DIY projects that helped to make this house feel a bit more “ours”, like the nightstand and lamp in the guest bedroom.

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Now we get to the juicy stuff… Our 2015 house plans!

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Among the many things we’d like to accomplish in 2015, our house is a real focus.  Now that we’ve lived in this house for a year, we would like to cross several larger-scale projects off our to-do list.

1. Detail. 

We would really like to put up more artwork this year. We have several lovely pieces that we have identified spaces for, and we have a more concrete decor plan for the living room, master bedroom, guest room, and foyer/hallway. Gallery wall, I’m looking at YOU!

We’ve also budgeted for at least one nicer piece. I keep going into art galleries and hoping that something, anything beautiful will fit into that budget. No luck yet, though.

2. Super-duper-tight-budget bathroom makeover

Plans include painting the upstairs bathroom walls and vanity white, and achieving more of a calm, spa-like feel. We have brown tile and a pinkish-beige tub. We are, as Tim Gunn would say, going to “make it work”!

3. Music room makeover

We’ve actually already bought the paint and cleared the room for painting, so we’re off and running! I’ve already got a lot of white and black furniture going on in there, so I’m considering a black, white, and yellow scheme. We’ll see.

4. The kitchen

What do we do with a yellow-beige (beigow? yelleige?) and cranberry kitchen? Yes, folks,  you read that right: the yellowish-beige and cranberry colours feature in yet another room of our house! Well, they’d better watch their backs because I’m coming for them! This is a big project, so it’ll definitely wait until this summer.

5. Put some nice touches on the downstairs area

I’ve got my eye on a slipcover that I think will work on the sofa downstairs. Until we cover the worn 1970s floral motif, there’s really not much to be done. Once that eyesore is taken care of, I’m thinking of adding a plush area rug, some homemade art, and building a coffee table.

6. Refinish the floors?

Possible DIY???? Do I really want to do this to myself???? Am I crazy???? Probably.

And if you think I’ll actually get all that done in one year, your expectations are sorely overinflated!

But I’ll try!

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0 comment on One year in: our starter story

  1. You have turned your house into your home! I enjoyed all of your before and after shots – that’s important to keep records of what you have accomplished. If you could have seen my college apartment LOL. I have come a long way since then and so will you. Thanks for sharing your home with Fiesta Friday 🙂

  2. Hi, My artist friend Indra is just starting a wall mural painting business. She just did a gorgeous piece for us using Eithne as the model of the celtic horse goddess Epona. You might want to consider using her to paint a mural in your bathroom where she could work with your existing colours and make them work for you in a personalized work of art…

    • Hey Jean! Good to hear from you! I miss choir these days… Thanks for the suggestion. I don’t know that Erick and I are ready to commit to something as large-scale as a mural right now, but maybe somewhere down the road. Our bathroom makeover is going to be a temporary solution anyway, until we can afford to replace the ugly brown tile. So I wouldn’t want to put a beautiful mural in there, only to change it in a couple of years! Does she do smaller-scale artwork?

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