Home Goals: How Did I Do?

By Kate Riley September 13, 2011

The mister and I sat down to look at the fall schedule and with all the soccer games, entertaining, and holiday related events filling up our days, we concluded there are not many weekends available for any more big home improvement projects.   In January, I wrote about all of the home goals we had for our casa.  Today seemed a great day to take inventory on how I did and I’m proud to say I finished a lot of them.  Some will just have to wait until next year, but here’s a quick recap. 

Goal #1 – Replace the kitchen backsplash.  Done!  I was sooooo happy to swap out the yellow fruit plate last winter for a cleaner updated look.  Back in February I removed the old decorative tile and installed plain white tile in its place tile for a more cohesive feel. 

new backsplash

Goal #2: Create a homework and art center for the kiddos.  Yep, finished!  The blank wall in the kid’s play space got an upgrade with the addition of a homework and art station, including a desk, floating shelves, and frames for their artwork.


Goal #3:  Swap out entry chandelier and replace or repaint sconces.  Whoops, only half of that goal was completed.  I was able to repaint the outdoor sconces (and front door too) and a little paint went a long way to updating the dirty ol’ fixtures, but the main entry chandy will simply have to wait till I find something fabulous and a very very very tall ladder. 


Goal # 4:  Spruce up living room with a smaller scale sofa, some artwork, and a new rug.  Done! 

cg sitting area

I shopped my house earlier this summer to switch out the rug from the dining room and a borrow a striped chair from upstairs. A painting found at a local thrift store and a smaller scale neutral loveseat from JC Penney complete the sitting area.  Together with my reupholstered velvet chair, these now form one of my favorite sitting areas in the house.


Goal #5 – Finish my little boy’s room.  Done, yay!  This sweet boy’s bedroom space for my five year old son was one of my favorite projects I completed this year.  

cg boys room after


Goal #6:  Remodel the hall bathroom.  How did I do?  Total fail.  Every day I walk by this bathroom I think about how much I desperately want to update it.  Next year (hopefully) I’ll finally get my act together, pull together a design plan, and make some real progress.  Should be fun!

bathroom before


Goal #7: Fill in the circular patio.  Yep, done!  After tripping over the edges of this patio for years, we finally got around to filling it with some natural stone and we absolutely love the result!  Read the step by step installation here

circular patio before 2



Goal #8:  Refinish the courtyard with new tile or stamped concrete.  Nope, fail.  This goal was one we honestly weren’t prepared to take on this year due to the time and expense, but hey, there’s always next year.  We’re hoping a little more money will grow on some trees in that backyard to make it happen!

courtyard before


Goal #9:  Repaint and wallpaper my closet.  Done!  (Minus the wallpaper.)  The shelving and walls in my personal closet got a makeover with a lot of primer, a little paint, and some stencils too, I love it! 

cg kates closet after


So I didn’t finish them all, but I’m feeling mighty proud of what we did accomplish this year.  Speaking of home improvement, we also adopted the Alma House earlier this year and are still working on it.  We ran into some obstacles last month with the cabinetry we planned for the laundry room, but this week we’re back on schedule and excited to be finishing up that project very soon.  Hope to share it with you all next week!

Finally, a reminder that the fall link parties start two weeks from today – we hope you’ll join in all the fun. 

fall link party badge 2


What about you?  Got a few major home improvement projects you’re mighty proud of completing this year?   




  1. You’ve gotten a lot more done than me. I’m still trying to cram some time in to finish my projects. It’s come to hiring a contractor to finish my kitchen. The good thing is I was more than half way done, which means it won’t cost me that much to have them finish it. I’m looking forward to your courtyard project. I luv what you’ve done so far.

  2. I think you accomplished more in one year than I have in three! ;) I can’t ever pick favorites, but I really loved your closet makeover and the Boy’s room makeover. Made me think about what it might be like to have a boy! I better get busy if I want to check off more on my own list….

  3. You are going to love your bathroom when you update it. I’m painting my kitchen white up top and grey on the bottom. They looked just like your current bathroom cabinets. The change is amazing.
    xo jana

  4. I think you have done quite well with your list. We didn’t make a formal list this year. Just a kind of, sort of, might want to do this type of list. This year has been more about figuring out the look I want to head towards as we redo and replace. I think I have my vision, now we just have to implement it in stages as time and money allow.

  5. You’ve done a great job with what you’ve tackled and if you’re anything like me, the to do list is always more than I can tackle in the time I think I can accomplish it. The good news is, it will all wait for you! :)

  6. You did AMAZING as usual. I love how your home looks. And I love that your husband sat down with you and looked through the accomplishments. How sweet!

  7. Wow! You should be proud & super impressed with yourself! You have accomplished TONS! I love the boys room. My son just turned 5 and his room is on my list of things to do :) I’m new to your blog so this recap/post was good for me ….I enjoyed reading it and seeing bits of your home! Beautiful.. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Good job…I know how these projects take sometime to be done….Im decorating my home ( it is a rent ) so less projetcs to work on …but i just love your home decor anf you taste is so calming…if you have time plz come visit my blog :) after all you were the reason i started this whole DIY projects in my house and im now obsessed :D

  9. I can partially see your island in your kitchen picture and can see the top is a stained color. Is the whole island the same color or is that just the top. I want to paint my brown cabinets distressed cream but love my stained brown island but am unsure if it will still look good together. From what I can see in your picture, I may look great. What do you think?

  10. That’s a pretty big list, and I think you should be feeling FABULOUS about all you’ve gotten done. I really love how your circular patio came out, and your closet is to die for!

  11. You’ve gotten soo much done on your goal list…I’m afraid there arent near enough things ticked off on mine…but we will all get there eventually!

    Absolutely LOVE your wardrobe makeover!!


  12. You accomplished a lot and thanks for letting us see that not everything always gets accomplished; it makes me feel better knowing that sometimes you just can’t get it all done in a certain time frame. We revamped our master bath and bedroom in dove grey justing finishing up by make some roman shades for the windows in the master bath and getting some towel bars and knobs for the drawers; then lighting and I can call that room done!

  13. Hmm…. Goals? What a great idea! Your projects all turned out beautifully. I so admire all you accomplished! I think I’ll sit down and consider what our priorities are. What a novel idea! (Most of the time, I’m just happy if I keep the paper towels away from our gigantic lab…)

  14. Well done! Love all the progress. I think setting goals is a perfect idea, we are going to do that for 2012 so I am not all over the place with my projects. I am going to tackle the outdoor lights this weekend :)

  15. Thanks for including the “fails” as well as the accomplishments, a nice reminder that we can’t win ’em all. But that said, you have done an amazing job. My favorite makeover, by far, is your little boys room. I worked on my 3 year old’s room and its nearly my favorite room of the house!

  16. What tremendous accomplishments! I love the circular patio! I can just see a little bistro set there (or something!). I can’t wait to share our renovation of our prior house we fixed up to sell – that was some floor to ceiling (non)-fun. :-) Otherwise, massive diy landscaping our entire sloped and terraced front yard was the top of our list. Some things you would gladly pay others to do if you had more money than time, and that was one of them. But since it is easier for us to make more time than money right now, we did it ourselves – and pretty proud about it! :-)

  17. You’re quite the busy bee… I need you buzz on over here and get me to do half of the projects I’d like to do.

    PS – I can see the after of that bathroom in my mind…. it’s going to be fabulous!

  18. Hi Kate,

    In the homework and art station after photo, do I spy an updated version of an old, white tile top Pier 1 table? I have that table and it seriously needs help! Can you please tell me what you did to improve the table top? Thanks so much!


  19. Ouch I wrote one of those posts too at the beginning of the year. I am afraid to look back because I don’t think I have managed to cross off a lot. I guess I am hoping for one big sprint at the end of the year.
    Your projects look amazing and you have been so very busy. I am in awe.

  20. I’d say you Over Accomplished. Hope your hubby knows how fortunate he is to have a DIY wife. What a blessing! I’m thinking you’ve saved big bucks by doing these jobs yourself.

  21. Wow you’ve gotten a LOT done this year! Some big projects too! This is very motivating to me to get more things done on my list :)

  22. I’m sort of a nut about making lists like this at the beginning of the year and tracking my progress, so I love seeing how yours has come along. You’ve accomplished a LOT. This inspires me to go through my own list today and see what projects I need to focus on in what’s left of 2011. :)

  23. Wow you have achieved so much, and it all looks fabulous! This year I finally stripped, stained & varnished my staircase a dark mahogany. And I set up a dedicated sewing space with desk and storage. That’s about it I’m afraid… Oh I and I bought a lovely new kettle because I’m from the UK and can’t function without tea! :-) x

  24. Can’t wait to see what you do to that bathroom. I love how calm and soothing your house is.

  25. Wow, you’ve done great. And I looooove that mirror over the fireplace! Concentrate on what you have accomplished, and enjoy the anticipation of that yet to be done! Great job, you should be pleased! (and I’m sooo jealous of that closet space!)

  26. I was just taking note of what home goals we’ve accomplished at this point in the year as well- you’ve made quite a dent in your list! I must say, your sons room was my fave- what a wonderful and beautiful space for him to live and play. My son’s room is next on my list (he’s 6) but we are coming to the end of our biggest goal which was to completely gut our kitchen. After building a banquette and installing trim, we’ll be done. So nice to be checking things off. Cheers!

  27. I too have been thinking of our busy schedule that has started this month and will continue until May of next year. I have a ton of home goals but I am proud to say that I am taking baby steps and the hubs and I are finally doing things around the house.

  28. Hi,

    Can you PLEASE tell me where you got the mirror in your living room? I have been looking for something like that and would love to have an idea of where to look. Did it come white or did you paint it? Please email me at [email protected] if you have a moment.

    Thank you!!

  29. LOVE THIS BLOG! On goal #6 you mention putting together a “design plan”. Is this an official process that you follow? If so, what is it? I am planning ahead for a future house full of future rooms that I will have the luxury of starting from scratch with and I’d like to tackle them in as organized a manner as I can. Any tips?

  30. I love this!! It is so helpful! My husband and I just bought our first home and I’ve already started a list of goals! IS there anyway you would share the color of the walls on goal #4? I’m a bit overwhelmed at all the gray paint chips I currently have and just love that color!

  31. I absolutely love the gray paint that you used for your living room. It looks amazing with your white mantle and that amazing mirror. Can you tell me what paint color you went with?

  32. I love your mirror above the fireplace. Where did you get it. Or where can I find something that unique? you have beautiful taste. I can’t wait to see your bathroom redo. If this note got sent twice, sorry.
    Thanks for your time Judy

    • Hi Judy, the mirror is from Lamps Plus, it’s the Casbah Mirror spray painted gloss white!

  33. Hi, I absolutely love what you have done with your house! And I do have a question , where did you get that mirror above fire place? I so need one like that! I have a fire place that looks exactly like yours! And that mirror will totaly work with our style! Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Lesya, the white mirror is from Lamps Plus, it’s their Casbah mirror turned on its side and spray painted gloss white!

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