Twelve Months of Favorites

By Kate Riley December 29, 2010

It’s roundup time right?  My good friend Rhoda is hosting a fab party, and how perfect is a ‘Top Projects’ post this time of year?  Here are my favorite projects from 2010, the ones that gave me the most satisfaction, taught me something new, scared the bajeezus out of me, or simply made my world a better place. 


That ‘Five Days to a Fresh Start’ series where I kicked my booty into gear with some serious decluttering, recycling, filing, and all natural cleaning



I repainted my kitchen island and walls.  There are more improvements on the horizon next year for this space, including a new backsplash just behind the range.  The white tile stays, the yellow can say ‘buh bye’. 

painted island



I refurbished this patina dresser, but not before I dealt with two kinds of strippers



We upgraded my stepdaughter’s bedroom in shades of turquoise and white, added silver leaf to her lamp, and a new DIY tufted headboard



The Laundry Room makeover!  Project breakdown here



I had a close encounter with a black widow spider while trying to makeover a bistro set.



The kids’ playspace got a few upgrades and a new cornice to go with the painted laminate media center (faint glimpse to the right). 

And we finally added wainscoting to the living room.



IKEAhack!  This Hemnes dresser was given some fun trim for my boy.

And our family room got a little sprucing too.  Can you tell I’m a fan of blue?



I found a free chandy at the local Restore, rewired it, and gave it a little love.



Hands down, my favorite DIY project this past year, the new staircase !!!

stairs before and after



A new storage solution found with this credenza makeover.


And a favorite color appears on this very vintage dresser.



Check out over 600+ amazing links from the Christmas Craft Link Party.  Bookmark it for next year!!  I’ll be browsing there again in 2011, that’s for sure. 

You can also see the full Holiday Home tour here.

cg holiday home tour

What a strange, wonderful, amazing year this was!!  It was so fun going through old posts, laughing at so many things that have happened, and appreciating so many of the ‘Before’ and ‘Afters’ shared.  I’ve enjoyed every day interacting with all of you who stop by to visit, and I look forward to the New Year as we all grow in our skills and continue to inspire each other even more.   

Cheers to yet another amazing year in 2011 ! 





  1. I’ve just found your blog. Congratulations! You really did wonderful things, am just amazed!

    Happy New wear to you and your beloved ones.

  2. I think you are one of the busiest bloggers out there! You have something fabulous for each and every month, and that’s why your blog is one of my top favorite stops every day. :) Happy New Year, Kate!

  3. I just found your blog a few months ago, so it’s really nice to see some projects that I didn’t read about when you posted them! Love that IKEA dresser – we’re making an IKEA trip in a few weeks and you may have convinced me that at least one of the kids needs a new dresser. :)

  4. I love it all. I’m totally jealous because we are currently in a rental and I so miss doing big projects in my own house! I guess I’ll have to quit making excuses and work with what I have.

  5. Oh my goodness! How in the world did you have the time to finish ALL of those projects in just one year. You’re my new hero! :-) Here’s hoping that 2011 is just as productive.

  6. What an amazing post! Your projects, style, and blog are just gorgeous. Thanks for giving us such a great recap.

  7. Kate, you are a true pro when it comes to home improvement and blogging. Thanks for all the inspiration. I look forward to following you in the coming year. Happy New Year to you and your family!

  8. You never disappoint. I have realized that there are some posts that I have missed, and need to go back and read. I still really love that piece of furniture in your office, I have tried thinking of something around home I could do this to, but I guess I’ll have to go buy one to do over.

  9. Kate, I can’t even tell you how much you have inspired me this year as we embarked on downsizing and re-doing an outdated house. CG was one of the first home design blogs I stumbled upon and I have been a faithful reader ever since. Not only do I love your style and projects, it’s just so fun to come over here for a read! Thank you so much for all your hard work!!

  10. Hey, girl! I’ve so enjoyed being on this ride with you this year, enjoying each & every one of your fabulous projects. A highlight for me this year was meeting YOU in person, not once but twice. Can’t wait for more inspiration in the new year. xoxo

  11. Great recap! I LOVE that bistro set! Definitely worth the spider showdown :) Love this blog and can’t wait to see what you do this coming year!

  12. Love………everything. Thanks for the inspiration, even if I’m not able to do many of your projects due to money and space constraints, you’ve given me the vision and confidence to beautify my space. Sincerely…..thank you!

  13. wow! that is all I can say! your house looks beautiful!! and you got so much done in just a year! and freak me out that spider gave me shivers down my spine!! I can’t wait to have my own house so I can decorate it all beautifully like you have!

  14. thanks for all the inspiration. i was at a lost on what to do with my house until i came across your blog. you gave me new life to fix up a lot of my stuff by painting it and re-purposing my furniture.

  15. Hi Kate-
    I think the stairs are my favorite too :) Maybe becuase I can’t wait to finish ours :)

    You are such a huge inspiration to so many of us, thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve for 2011!

  16. Isn’t it amazing to look back and actually SEE what you accomplished during the year? You’ve been one busy person! I love the transformations. Everything was great and I can’t wait to see what’s going to take place next year.

    Here’s to wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year!


  17. Kate, when you spray painted the chandelier in September, what, if anything, did you do to prime it? Did you wash it, scuff it up, prime it, or anything like that? I have a brass (not antique brass, 90’s brass) chandelier this is desperate for a new look, but I’m not sure how to tackle it!

  18. wow – you have been quite a busy lady!! thanks for all of the inspiration you provide, every day! your home is beautiful and you make me want to get creative! :)

  19. Loved the recap – can’t wait to go back and read all your posts from before I discovered you and looking forward for being along for the ride in 2011! Happy NY’s!

  20. You never fail to create beautiful pieces! You’re wonder-woman, Kate! My favorite projects of yours are of course the stairs, the white dresser in the entry way, and the kitchen island. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2011 :)

  21. I love everything you do. You are one of the main reasons I started a blog. You are a tremendous inspiration. Can’t wait to see what you bring to 2011.

  22. You are buy far one of my top 3 favorite home bloggers. I love your style (and the fact that we have the same favorite color doesn’t hurt either). :D

    It has been a great year!

  23. You are so talented! Thank you for sharing all of your fabulous ideas with us. They truly inspire. :)

  24. You’ve had quite a journey this year, Kate! All amazing and gorgeous transformations. You are an inspiration as well as being extremely talented and creative. I look forward to your blog in 2011! Happy New Year to you!

  25. Your blog has become one of my favorite (almost) daily stops. I feel like I have been reading for a long time, but there are plenty of things on this list that I hadn’t seen. Time to look through the archives!

  26. Of all of your fab projects throughout the year, your staircase is also my favorite. My staircase is also oak treads and matching colored rail and now I really want to transform it. It will have to wait but yours is a real inspiration, and so, so beautiful!

  27. It’s weird to see one of your projects that feels like yesterday, and then read you say, “in March…” How has this year flown so quickly?!? Our kids will be graduating before we know it! (Think we’ll still be counting down our top projects that year too?)

    I’ve enjoyed, and learned, so much from all of your projects Kate! Thanks so much for sharing…so thrilled to have ‘met’ you this year.

    xo, Cassie

  28. Love all of your projects Kate! Such a great year for you. :)
    Can’t wait to see what you have in store for 2011!
    See you in a few weeks. :)

  29. Wow…you accomplished so much and each one makes such a big difference. You’ve inspired me to try to complete at least one DIY project a month this year. Have a Happy New Year!

  30. Your makeovers are beautiful. Love the staircase. One of my favorites is the Ikea dresser makeover. Can’t believe the before pics on that one.

    BTW, if it was me vs. that spider I would have run screaming like a little girl until my husband ‘secured the premises’.

  31. Totally inspirational! I’d be thrilled to bits to achieve just 2-3 of these in a year, never mind 12.
    That said, our home decor is slowly moving in the right direction and I made a big career change, so 2010 was not idle for me.

    Struggling to be Stylish is now The English Organizer – visitors welcome :)

  32. Thank you for sending a bunch of {sighs} my way! Much more fun than looking through my faves of 2010! :) And, I do not remember seeing the patina dresser & family room pics before -so something new to sigh about!

  33. You have done some very impressive projects this year! I absolutely love your family room and the your new chandelier in your kitchen is perfection. Thanks for sharing.


  34. Thankyou for a fab year of inspirational projects . I Love your choice of colors and your beautiful house. Cheers to another year of creativity. Happy New Year!!! Love your blog <3

  35. I’m a new visitor to your blog and your projects look great. I was wondering if you have used oil based paint before (like what you used on your kitchen island)? I have heard that it turns yellow over time, which is why I would be leery of using it. Do you know if that’s true?

  36. Thanks for sharing this link party and it’s a lot of fun going back and seeing the whole year of posts…and very hard to narrow things down to one favorite project per month. Wishing you all the best for 2011. Fondly, Roberta

  37. I just found your blog from a link on Clover Lane! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your stairs. I have about a bizillion projects on my list for this year. I think I will add my stairs. I have some hideous dark mauve carpet on them. Do you have any DIY tips for staining all your floors. I figure that will be too much of an undertaking but thought I would ask. I’m a new fan!!

  38. Thank you for all the inspiration this year. I am a chronic lurker but I have gotten so much joy from your blog. I was even inspired to tackle putting tile in my kitchen. The hubs helped or rather I helped the hubs but we finished it TODAY. You make all of this look easy and fun. So much so that I started a blog of my own!

  39. Kate you are so inspirational – I love your projects that you accomplished this past year and am always impressed with your photography and writing in your blog. Centsational Girl is just an all round great package. Thanks for doing such a great job.

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