2 Years Later – All the things I would (and wouldn’t) do again!
Two years ago this past weekend, we moved into this 5th house of ours‘. I kind of can’t believe it’s been that long already! I feel like I was literally just picking out paint colors and hustling to get them on the walls before our moving truck arrived with our stuff! It’s been two years of project after project and room makeover after makeover as I essentially made over our entire house with a new color palette, new furniture, and a new approach to decor. As I look around the house, my seemingly-never-ending list of wants/needs to get done has mostly dwindled (although not entirely as I am a perpetual “futtzer” and changer and do-er!). But honestly, all those things I was hoping and wanting to do when I first pulled into the driveway two years ago are now mostly done. And while I am still finishing up some details in a few remaining spaces (yes, it’s taken me two years to finally decide on some art for the family room ;), I can’t help but reflect on what I’ve accomplished in this little house.
One of my favorite things about moving so frequently is that I get to try new things without a ton of commitment. Don’t like that wall color? That’s okay, we won’t use it in the next house! Sure it’s a bit annoying to re-create a home every few years, part with furniture that just won’t fit, or not be able to make any permanent changes to a space, but I do have a freedom to try colors, patterns, layouts and ideas knowing I can abandon anything I don’t like the next go around. As I look around this house that is now mostly done, there are things I’ve done that I LOVE, things I am just okay with, and things I can’t wait to say goodbye to. So instead of just doing a re-cap of the projects from the past year (which quite frankly overwhelms me!), I thought it would be fun to share with you my thoughts on how this house of ours turned out!
THE “HOME RUNS”
There are things I have done and spaces I’ve created in this house that, to me, are total home runs. I LOVE how they turned out; and if I could, I would literally pick them up exactly as they are and drop them into the next house. The first success story in my mind is that I think I finally landed on a whole-house color palette that I truly love and actually works. In the past I have stumbled by picking too-strong a color palette and not linking one room to the other. Our current scheme of greys and blues with pops of kelly green, bright turquoise, and lemon-lime yellow throughout the house is a perfect blend of fresh, bright, classic, modern and preppy. These are colors that excite me, rejuvenate me, and inspire me…and I love that they work year-round. By linking each room together, I have given myself some flexibility with layouts and decor for future homes. Because everything works together, I can move pieces around to fit our new space as necessary. It’s been a long grind to rid our house of browns/oranges, but where we’re at now is the direction I’d like to stick with for a long time to come!
More specifically than just our color scheme, there are some rooms that just came together so well and I don’t feel the need to change much about them (which is rare for me!) I know I haven’t done “final room reveal” posts for any of these rooms yet (those are coming soon actually!), but here’s a quick look at my favorites!
The Dining Room. I love our dining room. I “finished” this space early on and haven’t really made many tweaks since. On the walls, we painted cobalt blue on the top, contrasted with the bright white on the bottom, separated by chair rail. I am still as in love with this color as the day I picked it out. It’s vibrant yet classic, and it is the perfect backdrop to our black furniture and bright accessories. I am still waiting on the right rug to go on sale before I snap some final photos but hope to have the full reveal up for you here soon!
The Master Bedroom. While I hate the size, shape, and lack of windows in this particular room, I adore the oasis I have created in here. I am often tempted to add in more color and more “Megan” details, but I stop myself because the calming greys and glamorous finishes make for such an elegant and gender-neutral escape at the end of the day. From the wall color to the minimal accessories, this room still stops me in my tracks every time I walk in it!
Henry’s Big Boy Room. I know I just finished this space and haven’t even gotten around to showing you everything in the room yet, but I am so smitten with how this room came together. With each project I’ve created and room makeover I’ve done in this house, I’ve really learned what I like and what I don’t like, as well as a bit about how certain room elements come together to make it feel “just right.” I think I did things “just right” in this room. It’s fun and fresh and modern and colorful, but tasteful and so “me” without feeling over done. I can’t wait for you to see it all done!
THE “LEMONS INTO LEMONADE”
There are other spaces in our house that I can’t quite call “perfect” or “ideal” (for me) but they are darn close. These are spaces that I can’t guarantee won’t get a different look at the next house, but I did the best I could with our space, budget, and resources, and I am darn thrilled with how they turned out! These spaces make me smile, which is good because I spend A LOT of time in all three!
The Laundry Room. Our laundry room is quite little, right off the kitchen, and has horrible lighting; but I was able to organize this space so that it’s one of the most hard-working rooms in our entire house. Pair great function with a few preppy details (i.e., the striped curtain), and it’s a quaint, organized and cheery place to sort dirty laundry and hunt down lightbulbs!
The Office Nook. Our little office nook on one end of the craft room/home office is one of my greatest little victories. You might recall how much I hated this desk and down-right loathed how everything was looking and functioning in general. Last summer, with a very low budget and some thinking outside the box, I created a super fun and chic home office space that I love working in. Is it my dream office? No. But this turned out to be a tall drink of lemonade made from some very sour lemons 😉
The Playroom. Oh the playroom. Probably the most tweaked, changed and re-done space in our entire house! While spending so much time and effort on a playroom may seem a bit crazy to some, this little play area sits right inside our front door. It’s the first thing people see when the come into the house, it is part of our entryway and family room, AND it’s where Henry and I spend a lot of our time. It took me a lot of tries to get it right. But where it’s at right now functions and looks perfectly with the rest of our house. Phew! I didn’t want to makeover this room anymore 😉
The Craft Room. With as much as I worked on this space (and as many posts as I wrote about it), you’d think this space would be at the very top of my “home runs” list. Well, I DO love this space and I have worked VERY hard to get it to where it’s at, but I can’t say it’s ideal. I can say that it functions very, very well. All of my craft supplies are neatly stored and easy to access. It’s easy to keep clean, and I am genuinely lucky and thrilled to have a space like this in our home. The part I don’t love? The counter. Can you believe that? Wait, let me clarify. I love the counter for working on projects, laying things out etc. However, this is the only work space I have in this room, so both my sewing machines and my Cricut sit on the counter, leaving me with very little room to actually work and lay things out. Things get piled up faster than I’d like, and I feel like I am constantly moving stuff out of the way to work. What would I change? I would actually prefer two work zones: a counter-type island that I can stand at for working on projects and a large table for my sewing machines. This is one of those “you live and learn” moments, and while this room is not 100% perfect, I really am thankful my hubby let us forgo the spare bedroom for this crafting sanctuary!
THE “NOT SUREs”
As I mentioned above, decorating this house has been a huge learning experience. I have learned how to do new things (like make curtains the proper way!), what elements help make a room feel more “complete,” and mostly, what I don’t like! There’s nothing more frustrating than finishing a space and it not turning out quite as you expected; or after a few days/weeks/months, a room just really isn’t your taste anymore. There are a few things I’ve done in this house that I am just not quite sure about. They aren’t total fails, but I still look at each of these spaces/choices with a critical eye, trying to figure out what I did wrong and how I can fix it to make it work “just right!”
The Command Center. I know, another gasp! My Command Center post is one of my most viewed posts and has been featured on several other websites. Don’t get me entirely wrong, installing this drop zone in our hallway was and still is one of the smartest things we’ve done in this house. However, this little spot has undergone some minor transformations since the original post. The sticky note board now is a bulletin board to hold Henry’s artwork, and the magnet board now holds everything and anything important. All in all, this spot still functions pretty great, but the dark teal and yellow color scheme aren’t my favorite. More and more I am liking things less busy and more streamlined, so next time around, I’ll probably do it in a single color and include less clutter on the walls!
The Hallway Bathroom. I feel like as soon as I finished this little hallway bathroom, complete with the flowered shower curtain and bright blue towels, I fell hard for all white linens and towels. I am happy with the floating shelves and small decor items in this tiny bathroom, but again, I think a more streamlined look would work better in such a compact space!
Cornice Boxes. The cornice boxes, a Pinterest project (!), were one of the first projects on my to-do list and one of the first projects completed for the adjoining family and dining rooms (they make me kind of sad to look at because my Mom helped me make them 🙁 ) I love everything about them in theory. I LOVE their streamlined look, their low fabric requirement, their ease of construction. However, from the moment they were done and hung, I wasn’t sure they were exactly right. After two years of staring at them, I think I’ve identified three things I would change next time around. First, the pattern is a pretty small scale. And while I do love the color and the pattern itself, they are pretty “busy” over each window. I feel like they’ve limited me with other patterns I can use in the space because they are so bold. Second, when I went back through my cornice box inspiration images, I noticed that the windows look MUCH better with trim and molding around them. The cornice boxes alone are just a bit too stark and seem to be missing something…molding would help them look more classic and less minimalistic. Lastly, woven shades. It seems a bit obvious to say that the vertical blinds are hideous, but there really is only so much money we were willing to spend on a house that isn’t ours’. To this day, I wish I had invested in woven shades from day one to get as much money out of them as we could! Woven shades would not only provide much needed contrast and texture for the rooms, but would be worth every penny to eliminate those darn hanging blinds that seemingly fall out every.single.day. Next time: woven shades are on the shopping list! So the verdict here? I’m not ready to abandon cornice boxes just yet, but I didn’t get them just right this time!
The Blue Couch. Oh friends, our blue couch. How I both love and hate our navy blue couch. I was so excited when we picked out this couch, and even more excited when it arrived. It is comfortable and classic and the color is beautiful. I genuinely love the couch itself. What I don’t love? Decorating with it! There is a reason you have yet to see the “final reveal” of our family room because frankly, the room is not done because I have had a heck of a time decorating around this big blue beast of a couch. I never anticipated how hard it would be to “lighten” this couch up. I’ve poured over images of rooms with navy blue couches, trying to identify any little thing that will make it all work. I’m getting there and hope to have some progress shots up here soon…but this one has proved a big ol’ doozy. Honestly, the jury is still out on if blue was the right decision for our “investment” couch!
Are you still with me? Phew – we’re almost done. Let’s talk walls!
Grey-on-Grey Stripes. More than anything else we’ve done to this house, we get the most comments and compliments on the tone-on-tone stripes we have wrapping our entire entryway, playroom, and family room. This is a massive room, and painting these stripes was a BIG job. And honestly, I still love them. I’ve already talked about my love affair with stripes, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that I still love our walls. However, these stripes have taught me a few things too. First, the stripes are a pattern (duh!) so when it came to adding additional patterns for the pillows, ottoman, window treatments, things got busy really, really fast. Even though the colors are neutral, the walls still read busy, so it’s forced me to play down other elements in the room. Second, I wasn’t really able to test paint colors in the house before we had to commit to colors. Two years later, I can say that I think the Martha Steward Driftwood Grey (the darker grey stripe) is a bit too dark. At times, this room feels very dark and heavy. I still love the tone-on-tone look, but next time I’d probably take it a step lighter.
Gold Dots. The gold dots in my craft room also rank up there as one of my top posts ever, and I have to say, I still LOVE them. They do feel a bit trendy to me, so I’m not sure if they are something I’d do exactly the same again. But I do love creating the look/effect of wall paper with simple vinyl so that is something I will certainly do again in other spaces!
THE “SO OVER ITs”
The Color Red. When we moved into this house, I was ready to paint everything red…and at first, I sorta did. I painted our outdoor bench and some accessories red. I painted Henry’s play table red and designed his whole playroom to be red. And then I realized how hard red is to decorate around. Not that it can’t be done, but the approach I was taking wasn’t working. I just love a lot of color, and trying to incorporate some other colors with the red turned out to be too much. I seemingly tried everything my novice designer brain could come up with, but nothing I did was bringing me the bright, fresh, clean vibe I was going for. That is, until I got rid of the red. I love the color red, and my heart still stops when I see a great piece of furniture painted in a great red hue, but I now have a better appreciation for how hard it is to work it into a space properly. For now, I’ve gotten red out of my system. And yes, that red bench is going up for sale this summer 😉
The Green Ceiling. I just recently talked about my disdain for the green ceiling here. It was cute for a while until I realized that everything in the room had a sickly glow, including the bright clean bedding and my son’s happy face! After re-doing his room in a brighter shade of kelly green, the lime green ceiling had to go fast. After two years of this green ceiling, his now fresh white ceiling is a glorious site and has given an entirely new feel to the room! This is one project I can surely say “been there, done that, don’t need to do it again.”
“Tile” Backsplash. I look at my vinyl “tile” backsplash everyday; and every single day I waffle back and forth between “I love it” and “I hate hate it,” and “leave it alone,” and “it has to go now.” I love the creativity and ingenuity behind this project. I love that I gave our super bland kitchen some pep in a really eye-catching way. However, with my more streamlined and simple desires lately, this backsplash seems busy, over-done, and distracting. I haven’t yet brought myself to tear it down (truthfully because I’m scared I’ll miss it!), but I’m pretty sure this is a project I won’t be repeating down the road!
Man! That post turned out to be more than I expected it to be. Bravo if you made it all the way to the end. I know I haven’t shown you everything yet, but do you have a favorite space of mine? Do you agree with my hits and misses?
If you can believe it, even after looking at all this hard work I’ve poured into this house, I already have my sights on our next house – gasp! Those of you not accustomed to moving a lot must think I am crazy. But the reality for us military families is that we get used to moving, we get used to looking forward, and bracing/preparing/hoping/dreaming about the next stop on our adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I have (at least) another year to enjoy this little home I’ve made, and you better be sure I still have some projects up my sleeve. But I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t already scheming and planning for how all these ideas and items will fit into a fresh new-to-us space. After all, creating a new home each time is part of the military adventure I love so much!
As I mentioned, I am finally ready to start sharing some “final” room reveals in the coming weeks/months. Some of them will be recaps of projects/spaces you’ve already seen (but complete with source lists etc), and others will be new reveals. I just want to make sure I have everything captured, for you and for me, before we start to tear down and pack up!
A lot’s happened in the past two years…wonder what this house will look like next year 😉
Thanks for reading this monster-of-a-post! Have a great start to your week!