Elsie’s 2018 Renovation + Blog Goals

Hi friends! Today just wanted to share some of my goals with you for the new year, specifically related to renovations and my work for this blog. 2017 was a great year for me, I felt the most fulfilled in my work that I ever had and worked so hard. It was a lot of fun and it feels so good to look back and see all my hard work in the form of our bnb home (which is 90% completed) and our own home (which is 100% completed, even though as any homeowner knows, you are never really finished).

Here are some projects I am looking to check off in 2018!

First, a few goals for my own home:

-Add a deck to our backyard and landscaping. 
In the past two years, we have completed our interior renovations, but we haven’t done much to the outside besides having it painted white, adding the flowerbeds and building two playhouses (this is one, we haven’t blogged the second one yet). In 2018, we would like to add a deck and complete the landscaping in our yard.

-Tweak our kitchen for our new lifestyle. 
Since bringing Nova home, we are eating (quick) meals at home constantly. This is a big change for us as we used to eat out a lot and when we cooked it was more leisurely before. Now I want to reorganize and completely redo our small pantry. I feel like this will really help me keep up with the daily tasks of food prep and the constant rotation of doing the same dishes over and over.

-Maximize our closet space. 
We love our closets, but ever since we built out Nova’s closet custom I have been dreaming of how I could rework our closets to better fit what we have. I am planning to make a few small tweaks this year.

-Tweak Nova’s nursery for her toddler years. 
Since we designed the nursery before we were matched, I always knew we’d need to do a round of tweaks once we came home with our child. For the record, I do not regret fully completing it before meeting Nova. It gave me something positive to do during one of the most difficult seasons of my life and it’s MUCH easier to tweak it now than it would be to design it from scratch. And since we plan to adopt another child in the future, anything Nova doesn’t use can be stored for them.

I’ll leave the full list of modifications for the post (I’ll be done by next month; already working on it now), but I’m so excited to keep using this room for her all throughout her childhood. I feel like it can definitely grow with her!

-Complete tours. 
I still need to photograph our den, the hallway bathroom (also known as the “kids” bathroom or Nova’s bathroom for now), our master bedroom and my office.

-Film a before/after home tour. 
When we first got the keys to this home, the first thing we did was film a “before” tour. I am SO looking forward to taking new footage of all the rooms and cutting it together with the BEFORE footage. I think that will be so satisfying after (coming up on) three years of hard work!

-Finish these bookshelves.
Working on this right now! I am really looking forward to completing this project. It’s one of my favorite projects of all time.

And next, a couple of goals for my bnb home:

-Tour the laundry room and living room. 
I only have two tours left in this home before it’s completely done. Should I do a video tour for this one too?

-Landscape the exterior. 
I am still deciding what to do in the backyard. It has a nice, big yard. I’m thinking of adding a playset and a willow tree to start with! And I still haven’t decided whether to paint the brick exterior. I know a lot of people are against painting brick, but a lot of the nicer homes that have been remodeled in this area are painted. I’m still on the fence.

Other goals for the blog in 2018 …

-A decor product line.
For years it’s been a goal of mine to do a product line in the decor category, but it has always fallen through or not felt right. I think this will finally be our year. I’m hopeful!

-Invest in a new property. 
Not sure what kind, but I had such a great experience working on the bnb this past year that I’d like to invest in another property (and we’re definitely not moving, at least for a while!). I love the idea of doing a tiny home or a cabin. Right now, I’m just looking at options and dreaming.

Well, that’s all for my goals! Since becoming a mom I definitely have less time to run in infinite directions, so I am planning to pour all that I have into ABM, A Color Story (which will be launching a sister app in early 2018) and Oui Fresh. Here on the blog, I plan to mainly focus on my decor content, but I will still share other things I am passionate about like green beauty and occasional snapshots from my personal life.

If you have requests for anything you’d like to see on ABM (be it from me or one of the other writers), we’d love to hear it.

I can honestly say that after 10 years of blogging I am loving it more than ever … maybe even a lot more than ever. And I believe that the secret to our staying power is continuing to change and evolve each year and follow our passions.

I hope your 2018 is off to a great start! Love, Elsie

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photography by Elsie Larson and Amber Ulmer.

  • Brilliant ideas to make any home look modern and according to present day standards.

  • I am a lover of baby furniture..from bassinet to toddler beds. After I have seen that awesome crib, I can comfortably say that you have a great taste. Bravo and continue with the great job.

  • These are great objectives! This post was extremely propelling. good luck!

  • Well done Elsie, this is a great post with some great goals. I love the images you have.

    I recently compiled a post that I feel will add value to your toughts. You can have a look at https://bvcgroup.co.za/10-reasons-for-home-renovations/. Please let me know what you think.

    Kind regards,
    Bruce – BVC Group

  • Hi Elsie! I wondered if there was somewhere I can find out a little bit more about your exterior paint. I did a quick blog search and couldn’t find a post about it. I wondered about your paint color, if you went with a certain brand of paint that is better for Southern living, we live in Texas. Thank you!

  • I love this post and your return to the blog! It’s been such a delight to follow along your family adventures with the incredible Nova on instagram. If you ever have any desire to add watercolor animals to your home decor line (about which I am ridiculously excited), I would love to collaborate (or even just send something over to you- perhaps an animal alphabet poster?? – for Nova’s room)!


  • Don’t forget to show us your gorgeous bookshelves and desk that you painted white! I’m a sucker for shelfies ????

  • Hey Elsie,
    I don’t comment very often but I do love to follow your blog. I always find it so inspiring and beautiful.
    I have a toddler at home (and another on the way) and I think this is the post you mention that you are thinking about changing up your kitchen to meet your new lifestyle needs. My apartment has changed so much since having a child and I imagine it will continue to evolve as our needs change. My daughter just turned 2 and these are a few things that have helped our kitchen work for us: 1. A toddler tower. We bought one that some grandparents made locally so I don’t have a good recommendation but I’m sure you can find something similar. I have a clear counter space that is away from any knives etc. that my daughter can stand at the counter and help me cook (think pouring in ingredients, stirring, putting toppings on pizza, ripping up lettuce). She loves to be involved and while it is more work, it means we can make cooking an activity and I love that she is learning about food all the time. 2. A spiralizer. Maybe you have one already. A fun way to incorporate more veggies as noodles into meals as your daughter might get pickier. 3. A special drawer for your daughter. I have a bunch of the lower drawers child locked (and the oven) but I have a big bottom drawer that isn’t locked. I keep all the kiddo plates and cutlery as well as basic snacks in it. This way my daughter helps to set the table (toddlers LOVE helping) and when baby comes she can help me by getting her snack and bringing it to me (crackers, apple chips etc). 4. An instant pot. It’s not the most glamorous way to cook but I have found it really helpful to be able to cook things quick without a lot of hands on work like making pulled chicken or doing yams or spaghetti squash.
    Hope some of that is helpful to you. I look forward to seeing how you adapt your space as your daughter grows.

  • Would you try your hand at renovating a caravan/airstream trailer or something like that?

    Also, to kind of fit in with the Curated Closet theme, I recently revamped my own wardrobe through thrifting classics like some linen pants, which I took in to fit me, and dying some of my old dresses which were getting a little tired looking. I love my “new” wardrobe and it cost me so little! Could you do a thrifted closet/revamped closet or something along those lines? Ad hoc clothing alterations are fun, but I struggle with curating outfits, so any help in this direction – at low cost (I never buy new clothes, I must say) would be interesting to the likes of me!

    P.S. You have totally inspired me to adopt. Thank you so much for sharing your story so openly and honestly!

    • I love this idea Tully. One of my personal goals for the year is to start wearing more vintage.
      Also- I am so happy you’re feeling inspired to adopt!

  • Your blog is so inspiring and beautiful!


  • All good things!
    I see you have a picture of “Shelly”on your bulletin board, Twin Peaks fan?

  • Congrats! You are always so inspiring & I look forward to all the amazing things you WILL conquer this year! Can’t wait to see what’s next!
    xx, Nitsa

  • As tempting as it maybe, DON’T paint the brick unless it is deteriorating to the point that paint will stabilize the exterior. Painting never painted brick will always be a maintenance nightmare!

  • Wow, I absolutely love your white kitchen with green range! If my kitchen were that pretty, I would spend all day in there. I’m looking forward to see what you have planned in the new year.

  • Something I seriously need to do is maximise my closet space! Cannot wait to see the before and after video, I absolutely adore your posts and your writing style, you make me want to imporve my blog in every post! xx

  • These are awesome goals! This post was very motivating, good luck!


  • A decor line would be amazing!!!!!
    One post series I really miss is the every day/around the office one. Although with everyone working in a different city I’m sure its close to impossible to do now.
    Can’t wait to see what 2018 brings you ladies and your blog!

  • I can’t wait to see “after” video tours of both spaces! I confess that during the sweet Nova videos on your IG stories, I am also trying to get sneak peaks of how your home flows together. Then… yesterday I bought the pink Domino book on a crazy sale and… look who was gracing the pages with her gorgeous home! I just want to see more! And Nova! Love the sweet glimpses into your life that you are sharing!

  • Can I just pop in to say that you are one of my blogging heroes? Best of luck to you, your family, your blog, and all of your projects in 2018!

  • I LOVE IT! congratulations on baby Nova <3, no doubt you will be able to achieve all of your goals. 2018 is going to be a great year for me, I am turning 30, and getting married!!! Life is great!
    much love,

  • Wow! Some ambitious and inspiring goals! Wishing you luck completing them and I look forward to following along with the progress.


  • Those are great goals, very inspiring. I like how they build on what you’re already doing, plus some fun new ones.

    If you ever want to talk about memory keeping with a child, I’d love to hear about it. After two decades of scrapbooking, I’m for the first time trying to figure out how and what to do now that I have a kid. Is the memory keeping for me, or is it for him when he grows up? Should I do two albums, one for me and one for him? Is just doing the happy highlights ok, or do I want to accurately show the ups and downs of mom life? Most importantly, I’m already a year behind, when am I going to find to catch up, ha!

    • Ooh, I agree with Amy (and not just because she has a great name :P)
      I’d be curious to hear how or if you and Laura are still scrapbooking/making mini albums. How do you choose pictures, when I’m sure you’re taking more pictures than ever now?

  • I’ve been following you a long time now and I basically love everything you and Emma do, your team too. You all are very inspiring. I’m a lot older (could be your mom) so my lifestyle is quite different but I glean lots of good info to use from ABM. I am so happy for you and Jeremy and beautiful Nova! Your & Jeremy’s posts with Nova are the highlight of my day (is that weird, ha!) I look forward to what you all will accomplish in 2018! Happy New Year!

  • Don’t forget to show us your gorgeous bookshelves and desk that you painted white! I’m a sucker for shelfies ????

  • I would be really interested in quick, kid friendly meal recipes that you are now cooking! Always looking for inspiration in that department! Happy New Year! ????

    • I’ve never been too much of a food blogger (I struggle with writing recipes) but I’d love to share more about our routines maybe. Or maybe halfway homemade food. xx!

  • I love your blog and am excited to see you check all of these off of your list! You have such a great style and I always look forward to reading your posts. I love your bookshelves and everything about your home! Can’t wait to see your yard landscaped!

  • You get such an incredible amount of stuff done, I’m feeling a little envious of your motivation! Your home looks absolutely beautiful, especially Nova’s nursery!

    Steph – www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

  • So much beautiful work done in 2017 – excited to see what 2018 brings. Do you mind sharing where the rug from the living room photo is from?

  • Hi, all looks so beautiful! Sound like you have a busy year ahead of you! Where is the gold chair from that you are sitting in at your desk? Thankyou

  • I love this post. I’ve been following ABM forever and I appreciate the growth and changes that you guys have made. Thank you for doing what you do!

  • Ugh a decor product line, take all of my money! There’s are some pretty amazing goals, can’t wait to see the progress!

  • I’ve had this on my mind for a while but didnt know where to post it, so I’mdoing it here.
    One thing that would be a GREAT update to the ColorStory app is if you made a logg in thing? Like, if we could have accounts. I just got a new phone and Had to re-buy all of the filters I had already purchased. It would be nice if I didn’t have to re-buy every time I got a new phone. Thanks!

    • You shouldn’t have to rebuy them unless you change from iOS to android! xx

  • Yay Elsie I’m so happy you’re back. I’ve been following you and ABM for many years and you never cease to inspire me. Can’t wait to see what creative things you come up with this year. Sending you lots of hugs from Beirut. ???? *and extra hugs for the cutest Nova*

    • Awe thank you! I will happily pass your hugs along to our little gal. xx

  • Gosh Elsie I find you, your positivity and can-do attitude to be totally inspiring! First and foremost I’d like to say please don’t forget to make your own wellbeing a priority and take care of yourself too, especially now you’re a mummy! (Having goals and ambitions is great but not at the cost of your own health and sanity haha 😉 ) And as for things I’d love you to cover on the blog, personally I’d love to see what you do with your closet and capsule wardrobe. I’m aiming to have a big spring clean and re-organise my wardrobe and have noooooo idea where to start, so any advice you can give would be very welcome. Storage, particularly for accessories and jewellery would be so helpful (I remember seeing a stackable jewellery box in one of your old posts, I think you kept your flair pins in it. I can’t find anything quite like it anywhere and it’s driving me crazy!). I’m already reading ‘The Curated Closet’ on your suggestion.
    I miss Sister Style too!
    Secondly I’d love to see more spontaneous snapshots from your personal life. I love that all of you at ABM recognise that life isn’t perfect and that we should all embrace a little messiness! In fact ABM is really the first blog I ever started reading and really the only one I read everyday. So thank you all so much for being brave and putting yourselves ‘out there’.
    And Elsie, I’ve been so touched by your adoption story. I’ve been reading the blog for several years now. When you made the announcement you were planning to adopt I admit I was a little nervous (and perhaps rather selfish!!) in not wanting the blog to change, but guess what? I have become totally swept up in your and Jeremy’s journey. Whatever the sadness in her past, Nova’s future looks full of happiness and love. Something good can always come from something bad. And once you put positivity or a kindness out into the world, you never know how it might inspire or help someone else. So thank you for reminding me to be more open and positive and to embrace change- even in the smallest of ways!! (Sorry this turned into an essay, I didn’t mean to gush!). Best wishes, Janet xx

    • Thank you for such an affirming comment!! 🙂

      Don’t worry- I have personal goals as well, I just didn’t share them in this post. Currently I am doing the Weekday Weekend challenge and I am excited to try another capsule wardrobe for Spring (I didn’t really do it for winter because I got too busy prepping for China).

      Thank you for your kind words about the adoption too. I totally understand people not wanting our blog to change. And although it will always be changing season by season we have no plans or interest in making this into a full-on mom blog. I actually think it’s REALLY healthy for me to have separate work, like doing rooms, that has nothing to do with Nova. It’s good for my creative side.


  • Check out The Simply Luxurious Life blog post on having a capsule menu. So helpful when trying to design a happy, healthy kitchen!

  • I love painted brick! I especially love the look on Fixer Upper with cream colored brick and wood and black iron accents. Seems like it would fit the style of your bnb interior 🙂

    • I am leaning toward a darker color like black, with contrast trim. Or maybe white which black. Not sure yet. I’ve seen both look SO good on similar homes.

  • Oh, I am SO excited for everything – especially the new app!! A color story and your two others are some of my absolute favorites so that makes me really happy to hear you have a new one coming out!

  • I love your house so much and the book shelves look amazing already! I just wish I could come and stay over for some time haha. I’m glad 2017 was a good year for you and I really hope 2018 is even better! <3

    With kindness,

  • I hope you meet your goals

  • Ugh, your home looks so beautiful already and it’s not even completed. I can’t imagine how good it’ll look when it’s at 100%! ❤️❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • I’m already excited what you will do to the backyard, can’ t wait for pictures!

    • Thank you! We are so excited too! Nashville has the prettiest sunsets and I’d love to spend more time outside! xx

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.