Home Goals for 2011

By Kate Riley January 8, 2011

Hi, it’s me!  Late to the soiree again (Nester’s Home Goals party), but for good reason!  I spent all yesterday behind one of these:


kitchen 2


I’m still an amateur in front of a camera, but so grateful for the patient and encouraging crew.  It was nerve-wracking, thrilling, and educational all at the same time.  But more than anything, exhausting.  I have new respect for anyone involved with video production ~ oh the patience, time, and attention to detail from color balance to lights and sound.  You’ll see all four features unveiled in the spring, I’ll let you know when they’re live!

OK, time for the Home Goals for 2011.  I’m holding my own feet to the fire and I’ll try my darndest to finish up all of these projects around my house. 

Goal #1:  I’ll start with the most controversial change, the backsplash just behind my range.  Not the white tile surround, just behind the range. 

kates kitchen

The Mister wants to keep it, but I’m so over the ‘fruit plate’ look, so much so I painted the surrounding yellow tile white because I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I found some coordinating white harlequin shaped tile I want to insert in its place with some pewter accents too, so I’m turning on the charm to coax the hubby into saying goodbye, and cracking open my new Dremel MultiMax to cut that entire section out!  You may think it actually looks good in this photo, but trust me, up close, it looks so painted. 

How do you like the new clock above the mantel?  Picked it up at K to the Mart peeps.  Love it! 

swirl snip

Goal #2:  Create a homework, art, and storage center on this blank wall for my kids. 

patch blank wall


I finally got around to painting over the old paint color this morning where this cabinet used to sit.  You know, six months after I painted the rest of this space

swirl snip

Goal #3:  Replace the existing entry chandelier with something larger in scale, and for goodness sakes CG, time to clean your outdoor sconces and paint over the brass too.

entry chandy and sconce


swirl snip

Goal #4:  Invest in a smaller sofa or loveseat that will fit better along the wall and in this sitting area in my living room.  I also want to create some large scale abstract art and find a great area rug!

liv room upgrades

swirl snip

Goal #5:  I neeeeeeed to finish my little boy’s bedroom.  It’s about time I hem and line those curtains and also add board and batten wainscoting to this sweet little space!

boys room curtains

swirl snip

Goal #6:  Remodel the hallway bathroom.  You can’t quite tell but the countertops are ten year old cultured marble and I see a completely different color on these cabinets. Plus I’m scheming to elevate the existing vanity on small legs to make it more modern, think I can pull if off?   Can’t wait to get started! 

hall bathroom

swirl snip

Goal #7:  Finish this circular patio in the center of our backyard.  Torn what to do here, stamped concrete, travertine, or mosaic tile?   Nothing boring or slippery.  The surround is a tan colored concrete that obviously needs power washed.  Got any ideas for a design?

circular patio

swirl snip

Goal #8:  Refinish our courtyard patio.  Right now, it’s a medley of exposed aggregate and smooth concrete.  Why?  Long story short it’s because we had to add the concrete steps when we added on to our house five years ago.  To tile or resurface this baby, it’s extremely costly.  Plus we’re looking into other options beyond ordinary tile.  Supplies and labor alone are crazy expensive, and not sure I want to tackle 300 square feet of outdoor resurfacing on my own.  Someday, right?  A girl can dream!!



I also plan to paint and wallpaper the inside of my closet, but if I showed you that, you’d realize just how bad I am at keeping all my clothes organized.  Help!

So that’s the big list, we will see how far I get!!  What’s your #1 goal for home improvement this year?



  1. Great goals! Very interested to see how you elevate the vanity and what you replace the top with as I need to do the same but am not sure what it will involve.

  2. Oh no. I think I missed it. What’s going on with all the cameras? Looks so exciting! I think your goals are pretty fantastic–and most of them look pretty doable! Can’t wait to see all the changes!

  3. Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the homework center. One of my goals for this year is to find a home office solution, something better than the current ‘laptop on the sofa table’ situation.

    Have you looked into concrete paint? It would give you a cohesive look without the steep labour costs. Definitely within your capabilities Kate :)


  4. My home goal for this year is to put into practice (and I do mean practice!) some of your decorating examples in my family room and living room. I do pretty okay at Christmas time, but the rest of the year my decorating is practically nonexistent. I realize I have to actually purchase a few items to get started. So there it is, a very humble goal, but it’s an important start. I need to stop just reading about it and actually do it!

  5. I’ve no doubt you will get it all done! We have a beach house renovation we are doing this year, and the number one thing we have to do, before we can move forward with the renovation, is lift the house about ten feet Up in the air. In the winter. On the beach. In the rain. While the wind is blowing. Under budget. Pretty sure we can do everything but the under budget part…



  6. I think you can TOTALLY pull off raising the vanity with some legs . . . which is a fantastic idea. A different paint color, and wow. It’s going to look great!

  7. Kate, if you wouldn’t mind sharing, I would love to know the color on your living room wall in picture #4. I am looking for a shade of blue with grey undertones. If the color is accurate on my screen, this looks like the exact shade I am looking for. Thanks for your help!

  8. Are you launching a TV show??!! Love adding stuff to my DVR. ;)

    Knowing you, you’ll have your projects completed, in a fabulous manner, by the end of summer. B/c you are a machine, girl!

  9. Great goals gir!friend! I am going to #1 Get my office/ den in shape. Organizing lightening it up and brightening it up!

    Art by Karena

  10. Right as I type, I’m waiting for the ceiling to dry in my front hallway so I can check if it needs another coat and if not, then tackle the walls. It’s not a big area but it’s fiddly.

    That’s the goal for today. For the rest of the month and the year, I’d like to re-paint all the rooms in the house, get new curtains and have a big de-clutter in my sewing room which also holds most of my clothes and shoes.

    That’s about it for now…but I think it’s enough

  11. If you have enough depth inside your patio medallion, can you plant some of that really low-growing irish moss? It would add a lovely patch of softness to all that concrete!

  12. My goals are not quite as involved as yours, but I need to go through my cookbook collection and purge. I also would like to reorganize my office. I’ve offered to organize the garage, but hubby insists he will do it… I’m not expecting that to happen any time soon. ;)

  13. I am also in the process of making my 2011 to-do list! Laying tile is really easy, especially for someone as handy as you. I am actually planning ready to do my boyfriend’s patio this summer. Just hire yourself a wet saw for a weekend and plan your layout carefully. It’s much easier than you think and you can save a ton of money doing it yourself.

  14. Wow…can’t wait to see what you accomplish! I was thinking something along the lines of a sundial for the patio. If you all plan to stay in the home long enough to get your monies worth out of it, even your family’s crest or monogram would be cool.

  15. How about a Mariner’s Compass design in the patio circle? I have a side table and love that particular design. Can’t wait to see the rest of your ideas, especially the bathroom one. I know that ours needs new fixtures and sink top and I’d love a new cabinet all together but not sure the budget will swing that. Maybe some paint, hardware and legs would do enough of a change to work. Good luck!

  16. I can’t wait to see what you do with your bathroom. I have a similar vanity that is 8′ long with an 8′ long very boring, unframed mirror above it. That mirror has got to go! But how to get rid of it??? I don’t know, but this year it happens!

  17. RE: patio …. A few ideas ….. terra cotta tiles, you can buy the cheaper ones and then stain them to get the deeper brown tones. A pattern with shaped terra cotta – like a quatrefoil would be cool. You have a lot of circles and curved lines around it. Also, they now make solar water pumps. A large urn in the middle of that would be cool. It could have water bubbling out. Also, have you considered pea gravel ? If you want a DYI … I would color some concrete and stamp it. It wouldn’t be that hard in a small area. My final idea is colored glass pieces that are sanded smooth. Sort of like sea glass. A neighbor has this in her garden and it is really cool. ~ Christie

  18. Oh boy…my number one goal? Not sure, I have a ton, which I shared on my bday goals list on the blog today. I think that, more than anything, I need to invest in a dining table and chairs that I love – because ever since we moved here in May, our dining “room” (more like walk-way) has been empty. Naked. Boring. And so every night we eat in front of the TV in the basement instead. Yep, definitely room for improvement there….

  19. Odd (well maybe not) question, in the photo of your backyard area, are those grape trees? I’m kinda assuming so since I know you live in the No Cal area…..are they yours or are you that close to heaven, aka a vineyard?

    Enough of my being nosey…..can’t wait to see what the new year brings for your blog, and what the camera crew is all about!


  20. Raelynn, those are grapevines! Still have to take the nets off before they start to bud this spring.
    Thanks Lauren, GiGi, and Christie for all of your outdoor patio ideas!
    Jill, the color of the living room wall is ‘Tranquility’ by Ben Moore, but I did tweak the color. See my FAQ section for the exact formula!

  21. Your plans are awesome…can’t wait to ride along on the journey from blogland….

    are you doing a tv show and I missed it?

    WOW. Congrats to whatever the endeavor is!

  22. I can’t wait to see what you might have been filming. I’m sure that it will be fabulous.

    I’ve seen companies around here advertise installing decorative stamped concrete over existing concrete. A restaurant or two around here has it and it looks fabulous.

  23. New Years is my favorite time of year because I get to start off with a new list of goals as well.

    I love the color in your little boys room. Overall, I love to see how you have transitioned each of your kids’ rooms and the family room. We don’t have children yet but since we have limited spaces, we’ve been putting a lot of thought into how we should utilize them (ie. nursery, playroom, guest room, media room).

    Goal #8 – Have you thought about stamping the concrete yourself? That would be somethin’! Adding a lot of potted trees would look great there and give it a tuscan feel.

    Good luck!

    Our #1 goal this year for the house is to hopefully to have a reason to put in a nursery!!!!

  24. Hi there, Centsational girl,your circular patio in the center of your backyard could have a mosaik of pebbles in concrete-seems pretty simple to do-I have seen a fantastic floor like that in the Grotto in Stourhead ( in England ).It’d just a pebble in the middle with circles of pebbels around it – the cirles get bigger and bigger. Simple but looks really stunning- classic and comtemporary at the same time. Worthwhile also to maybe look on the Internet on Google->imgaes_>pebble mosaics.
    It’s what I am planning to do one day with my super boring patio.

  25. Goal # 6 – THAT’S MY BATHROOM!!!! It’s so eerily similar. Do this goal first please :) haha, kidding. I can’t wait to see what you do!!

  26. My master bath is #1 on my list- it’s horribly outdated, ugly, and not practical. I’ve been avoiding it because I don’t have the money to do it the way I want, but I’m finding a way to tackle it somehow!!!

  27. Can’t wait to see what you do with the abstract art! I’m a bit surprised, I’ll admit. I wouldn’t have expected abstract in your home. But, ‘can’t judge a book by it’s cover’, or ‘a house by it’s furnishings’, {ggg}.

    Seriously, though, you’ll have such fun! I’m saying this as an artist who has never, ever, ever painted abstract. Faux finish is about as abstract as I get!

    I’ll stay tuned . . .

  28. Just a quick thought on the patio, stain the concrete! Its so beautiful when done right and can be done for under $100! Its a quick fix until you are ready for the tile!

  29. So many things to work on around here, it keeps me up at night. Not in a bad way, in an exictied way. Thank goodness for “blog land”. Your fresh, creative ideas inspire me. Thank you:)


  30. Just a thought. If you raise the vanity onto legs dosen’t that mean it can get really dusty under there? It’s not an easy place to clean. I’m thinking of doing the same thing, but I’m worried it might get too dusty for OCD me.

  31. My goal (well our goal really) is to move out of the falling down around my ears house we currently rent and buy a house – then I can really get to work. Short term is to redo my mantle now that Christmas is over. Love your list and can’t wait to see the results.

  32. Thanks for the inspiration! i love your site and great many great ideas here. I would start with the bathroom as this would be quick likely and give you motivation for the rest of the projects. I did my bath tonight after being insired by your bath remodel linky party and painted the oak vanity white and it looks really great. Iwas reattaching the mirrors above and my 2-year-old came in and knocked over the mirror on top of hubby’s toes shattering it (the mirror, not his toes). I was not a happy camper. Two minutes from completion and I had to stop and persue plan B which will take longer. Uggg. My number one goal is to do home projects in a relaxed fashion – take it easy and enjoy the process. It is already 8:30 pm and i am saying to myself…hmmmmm…what can I do tonight in the house. Goal #2 should be to REST!
    Thanks again and good luck with your goals – I’ll be watching to see how you are coming along!!
    Stacey :O)

  33. It seems that each room in my home needs a little something. A piece of artwork, a small piece of furniture, etc. I will be looking to finish off these little things in 2011. I am also planning to redo my 7 yr old daughters room. It’s time for a big girl update!

    Can’t wait to see your projects!

  34. hey girl, I have a “mint condition” 1950 sky blue bathroom that I probably SHOULD remodel. So, when you do yours, I’ll get myself together an do mine! p.s. would you write a great goals list like that for me?

  35. Can’t wait to see you tackle all these great projects. By the way, thank you for all that wonderful 2010 blogging. You’re an inspiration!

    Warmly, Michelle

  36. I think my biggest improvement is to find more art- to bring color to my space and to “finish” the overall feel of the room.

  37. That’s an impressive list :) I love your house! Looks just like a magazine!! Our MAIN goal is to FINISH remodeling the master bath. That we started almost a year ago. If we can get any tile people to actually GIVE us a quote. I also want to paint the entire main level- since my new kitchen/addition dreams are on hold for at least 2-1/2 more years….

  38. I’m an interior designer from Melbourne, Australia – I loved your blog, I found it very inspiring. This is all new to me but I have just set up my own blog
    You may like to check it out because I had so much fun doing it. It’s got a bit of everything fashion, interiors, food, travel spots – hopefully you will find something in there that you like.
    Thanks for providing me with such great entertainment!

  39. Now that’s a list! I could never get mine in one post, too many too little time. You could do pavers in the circle. There are going to be a lot of cuts with it being circular , you might want to ease into some type of square in the middle section to save labor costs. Pea gravel is a painnful on your feet and is high maintenence with keaves. You could always stain the courtyard concrete and aggregate, a beautiful outdoor rug would be a quick fix with a big impact. Good luck,

  40. I am repainting my tv armoire in the living room (which is now a pistachio green…..what was I thinking….???) a nice creamy white……in February……when hubby is gone for a few days……lol!

    xoxo laurie

  41. I can help you with the last two goals for the exterior. I am a Landscape Architect and I say go with the easiest maintenance. In the middle section, I would add colored, stamped concrete. However, FIRST I would acid stain everything- including the walls which are pretty colorless. This is a project you could do yourself with a little study and pull of for a few hundred dollars. Acid staining is a great way to overcome the problem of different ‘shades’ of concrete. It also gives off an ‘old world’ feel and lasts much longer than simply staining concrete. Use a base color and one or two accent colors. Kinda like a ‘faux’ finish. A little googling of ‘acid staining concrete’ should have you on your way!

  42. Can’t wait to see all your projects! Regarding the fruit tile in the kitchen- did you see the segment on tile tatoos on the Nate show last week? If you’ve got a dremel and have already starting coaxing your hubby, you’d probably rather go for the real thing, but if you’re interested in a temporary solution you may want to check it out:


  43. I love to see your transformations happening around your home. I had an idea for your circular patio, painting or staining an old compass face on it.

  44. Love your kitchen. I have a question for you. What process did you use to paint the yellow tile backsplash? I need to do the same and I’ve read many different ways of doing it so I would appreciate hearing from someone who actually did this. Thank you so much! I love your blog!

  45. I like Leeanna’s idea about the compass but doing it in mosaic or possibly a sun with the swiggly rays. I know it may take a while, but would last a bit longer and would really fit the Tuscan feel of your patio/vineyard area. Happy New Year by the way!

  46. I will be waiting for your bathroom makeover as mine needs one too and is very similar to yours. So inspire away Miss CG!

  47. I love your goals and I LOVE that you are willing to show us your “needs help” areas. Vulnerability can be such a lovely gift.

    One day, ONE DAY I plan to install shelves to contain my stereo system and purchase a flat screen TV so that I can finally get rid of the bulky armoire that is currently home to all of that. Oh, and I need a dining room table that seats more than 4 comfortably. One day.

  48. No pressure, but I’m dying to see how Goal #2 turns out. I’m so in need of redoing my kids homework space. On the edge of my seat!

  49. Do you happen to know the paint color in the room under Goal #4? I’ve been looking for a color similar to that, and I absolutely love how it looks in your room!

  50. I am secretly sporting an evil smile that even YOU have sore spots in your home, ie. those outdoor sconces, I am waving my wand, ZING, bright brass for you!!!! (Cue devilish wicked witch laugh here.) On a more serious note, I have realized that you are truly human with an unbelievable amount of high octane energy. Hope you get through your list this year. I am going to make my own list.

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