Elsie’s Home Projects in 2021 (A Recap)

Welcome to my yearly recap of rooms and spaces we completed! I’m always surprised how much can change in just one year.

Each year, I publish a big list of home project goals in January. Here’s my list for 2021. As I looked through it, I was surprised how many things we checked off.

Last year was full of changes, including Collin moving back to his hometown. We worked on DIYs, renovation and decor in my home for almost six years, so as you can imagine, his absence left a mark and I’ve been readjusting ever since.

Another notable change is that this past year, I formed a different vision and mood board for our home. When we first moved here, I was bringing a lot of the 1970s inspiration from our last project with lots of pink and orange.

But after a year of living here and making/remaking mood boards, and Harry Potter and Nancy Meyers marathons, I finally FULLY changed directions. It went from a very ’70s-inspired warm toned mood board to a 1920-inspired feel with a color scheme of more green and neutrals. I’ll talk more about this at the end!

We completed my closet makeover. It was a low-waste renovation, meaning we didn’t rip very much out. Instead, we optimized what the space came with. A year in, I am in love with this closet and have no plans to further renovate in the future. It’s magical!

We also completed my husband’s closet.

Next was the pantry. And yes, if you’re keeping track, that is two pink closets in a row. This is most likely a phase one renovation because we will likely reconfigure this space at the point when we remodel the kitchen. In the meantime, it’s been useful and organized.

My office was my favorite room makeover of the year. Getting floor to ceiling wallpaper has always been a dream of mine, and WOW, it made a big impact. I am so grateful for this creative space both for work and for making crafts with my children.

We completed the guest bedroom in January. It was wonderful to have a welcoming space for friends and family to come visit. We even got a visit from baby Oscar this past year!

Our kids’ bathroom got a mini refresh. I am blown away by how wonderfully the stick-on tile held up (no wear whatsoever—it’s very thick and high quality).

And overall, I am grateful to have a cute(r) space for the kiddos as we don’t plan to fully renovate their bathrooms for a long time.

This year, we did two phase one renovations to our kitchen. The first was adding this stick-on backsplash. It has held up well, and has given our large, boring kitchen more of a focal point.

It was also a chance for me to see how I liked living with patterned tile and I think I would be MORE likely to use it in a future renovation after living with this backsplash.

Our second phase one renovation was this faux painted marble counter. I was nervous to try it, but I ended really enjoying the process. It made a huge impact in how our kitchen looks and feels. We use these counters heavily, and there are a few small wear marks after six months.

I have heard a lot of people say their counters lasted years with no signs of wear, but those were probably people who didn’t have two small kids.

Even still, I would definitely recommend this as a phase one renovation to anyone who is interested in a weekend project. Zero regrets.

We decorated our kids’ bedroom this year and it was a lot of fun. One of my tips for moving with small kids is to make their bedroom feel special and settled in as quickly as you can.

As first-time pool owners, our first pool season was a magical time! We worked hard to get it set up as soon as warm weather hit. It was extremely fulfilling to see it transform! You can see photos of this space here and the pool tour here.

The pink arch buffet was one of my favorite projects of 2021. It was such a fun experience to try something like this.

We updated our breakfast room by adding wallpaper. It gave the room a lot more personality, and I think this wallpaper choice (along with the office) was probably a key part of my style crisis (and inevitable flip flop of mood boards). No regrets.

Let’s move on to the pivots! We made two MAJOR pivots in 2021. The first was our decision to buy the pink house. We were planning to buy the holiday house in our hometown, but when Emma decided to move there as her full-time home, we decided to hold off.

It was more of a five-year plan to possibly buy a second home in our hometown. We weren’t sure what to do and we were constantly discussing the pros and cons.

Of course, I set a Zillow alert in the neighborhood where Emma lives (the cutest neighborhood in the world!). Over the summer, I got obsessed with a big historic home that needed a lot of work.

I love a big project, but my husband was not interested in a big, long distance remodel. He’s was thinking practical and I was thinking with my fireplace-loving heart.

So, when an already renovated (and much smaller) home popped up, we decided to take a look. The stars seemed to align and we were able to purchase the home, paint it pink, and furnish it during the fall season.

We stayed there for the first time over Halloween weekend with our children. We’re so excited to make memories there and be able to visit our Missouri family easily, stay for as long as we want, and bring our dogs with us. We’re extremely grateful … like WOW.

I would also credit this house in some of my style transition because decorating it without any mid-century influence opened up a whole new part of me.

I can pinpoint it specifically to the first time I bought an antique chandelier for the pink house. It was SO beautiful and full of character. I know it sounds cheesy, but it changed me! I fell fully in love with traditional and historic decor throughout the process of furnishing this house.

The second big pivot of 2021 was completely changing my mood board for our Tennessee home remodel. I feel SO lucky we didn’t do very much remodeling before I made the swap. You can see my original mood board (made just 12 months ago) here.

I am very grateful we lived in the house more than a full year before renovating. It gave me a chance to get to know the house, but also to get to know my own vision for it. The year I spent imagining and reimagining was such a gift!!! I am so, so grateful we didn’t start renovating before we moved in.

Alright! That’s it for now. Soon, I’ll share our plans for 2022! If you’ve been following on IG, you know we are already DEEP in a renovation of six rooms—the living room, dining, entry, powder bathroom, hidden library (!!!!) and the main bedroom.

2022 is going to be a very exciting renovating year on the blog.

Sending love to all of you! xx- Elsie

  • I absolutely love your white bricks. But I am curious now that you have changed the aesthetic plan for your house, will you go back to to the classic red? And is it possible to go back after painting them?

  • I love the shift. I love the new mood board! It’s awesome. Thanks for sharing I was wondering what prompted the major shift. I think it’s fun to try new things in your home, especially when you get a new home. Your mood boards inspired me to make one for our house and I reference it all the time when shopping / planning. <3

  • I’ve been a reader of the blog for a long time now and have always enjoyed your work.

    I’m finding the blog really challenging to read these days with so many ads. I read this post on my mobile and found the ads took my attention away from your great content and pictures.

    I appreciate that ads are a big part of online content but I am finding it overwhelming on Abm. Thanks for listening!

  • YES, so looking forward to it! (Was getting a teeny tiny tired of the pink-white-gold combo.)

  • Love the office! I could spend all day in there. I need to look into stick on tile backsplash. Very intrigued by that.

  • I just wanted to say that I love your new mood board, it feels so grand but lived in and seems like a great fit for your house. Anyway, thanks for letting us follow along, I’m so excited to see it come together.

  • I love the new mood board! It think it fits the house much better and I can see your family growing into it more over time. So cozy!

  • I love all the home updates! So inspiring!
    On another note, I’m hoping you’ll send a winter bucket list printable soon. I need some motivation to get to Spring! 🙂

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