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We Did A Lot In 2022, But Unfortunately That Did Not Include Blogging

Yes, the title pretty much says it all. We apologize. 2022 came and went with a quickness we've yet to experience in our now 30+ years on this speck of dust circling the sun. We started out with a goal to blog about our home, and all projects in and outside of it, as much as we could. In 2021, that mostly went according to plan. And in 2022, we started out hot with a list of projects we'd like to accomplish that year. And, perhaps to some surprise, we actually successfully completed some of those tasks. Others, not so much. Yet as any homeowner knows, the list of home projects only ever grows longer, even when knocking things off the backlog. It is what it is. But on that note, we'd like to recap some of our successes over the past year- not as a pat on the back, per say, but more of a "Hey! Sometimes things do work out!". So, let's see some of those things that worked out.

We finally had our built-in wardrobe closet finished!

Yes, one of the items on our checklist for the year was actually completed- how exciting! But seriously, this was a huge win for us. If you've been following us for a bit, you know (or are at least tangentially aware) that we renovated our primary bathroom at the end of 2021. But in that process, we had to lose our closet space to make for a suitable bathroom footprint. So, queue months on end of having our entire wardrobes strewn about the house on chairs, downstairs dressers, and target clothing rack systems. It wasn't ideal, and quite frankly we hated it. But at long last, our very efficient built-in closet from Closets By Design was installed. This immediately allowed us to declutter our bedroom, and as this was built along the bedroom wall between bump-outs, we didn't lose any meaningful square footage in the room. Double win!

We Revamped Our Living Room Built-Ins

(Left: before, Middle & Right: after)

For me, this was one of the biggest transformations of the year. In 2020, we salvaged an old mantle that Hugh found on Facebook Marketplace, and built it into our living room wall with shelving and an electric fireplace. It was nice, but it didn't quite "fit" correctly for me. So, we decided to turn that entire living room wall space into a faux built-in. We added new baseboards, chair railing at the height of the mantle, picture frame moulding, and statement crown moulding to connect the existing shelf and mantle to the rest of the wall and room. We went with a monochromatic color scheme, echoing those colonial farmhouse vibes we all know and love. The color we went with was "Current Mood" from Clare Paint, and it truly helped transform the entire living room. Now, this entire wall looks like it's always been there. Or, in simpler terms, it looks CORRECT.

We Saved & Refinished Our Original Pumpkin Pine Floors

(From left to right: the engineered hardwood hiding our original pumpkin pine, after we ripped out the engineered hardwood, and finally when our original floors were restored.)

Well, technically not all of them. We were fortunate enough to purchase the home with original floors already present and beautiful on the staircase, second, and third floors. Truthfully, they were a selling point for us and one of our favorite features of the home. However, the first floor looked quite different. In the living room and kitchen, aka where we spend the majority of our time, the contractor who flipped our home had covered the original hardwood floors with engineered hardwood. It wasn't the ugliest thing we'd ever seen, to be fair (laminate will always be a greater sin). But, it didn't match the rest of the house. It was not a vibe. So in April, we took a chance and ripped the engineered hardwood planks out without knowing what we'd find underneath. To our both pleasant and unpleasant surprise, the majority of our original pine floors were hidden away underneath! The unpleasant part, however: there were a lot of planks replaced by plywood in the kitchen. That, and a lot of the living room floors were covered in an unnamed, black, tar-like substance. Also less than ideal: we ripped the fake boards up in April, and then had to find somewhere that sold reclaimed pumpkin pine flooring from the same era of our home. You know, you'd think in a city like Philadelphia, with all of its salvage shops and antique stores and just history in general, this wouldn't be too hard. But it was. And we didn't find what we needed until we stumbled into JC Woodworking in Bucks County, PA. At last, we'd found the pumpkin pine flooring we needed. And, they were able to plane it to the thickness we needed. Win win. Now, the rest of the process would be deserving of its own blog post, but we're not 7-ish months past completing this project, so I'll just say it was a LOT of sanding, a LOT of gap-filling, and a LOT of baseboard cutting and trim cutting. But with that said, this might be one of the more transformative projects we've ever done. We can now say our home has approximately 97% original pumpkin pine in mostly great condition (interpretation: dog nails suck), and the other 3% is salvaged from elsewhere, but nobody could ever tell. With this flooring throughout our home, it feels complete- even if the projects aren't.

We Added a Built-in Daybed In The Office

(Left: Before; Middle & Right: After)

After the floors, we were a little burnt out. A few months passed, and we learned we were going to have the pleasure of hosting some of my family for Christmas. That is all well and good and merry and wonderful. The only problem: we only have one spare guestroom. The other, smaller bedroom I use as my glorious work-from-home office space. But, similar to our living room and primary bedroom, we had an interesting little space formed by bump-outs for ductwork. At the time, we had a little loveseat in that space. But, given that we had more humans than we could house arriving imminently, we took the week before Christmas to create this adorable little daybed, complete with shiplap wall nook and storage underneath. My hat goes off to Hugh on this one, as it was probably his biggest/most complex carpentry project yet. But, it worked out quite nicely- we now have an extra mini-bed for someone to sleep on, and it was another excuse to change paint colors in our house. This time, we chose Alabaster for the walls, and "Dutch Tile Blue", both from Sherwin Williams. As an added bonus, Cooper now has a memory foam bed to doze away in while I work at my computer.

We Refreshed Our Guest Bedroom With Some Help From Magnolia Home and Kilz Paint

(Left: Before; Middle & Right: After)

Immediately after our holiday guests departed, we dissembled the guestroom and got straight back to the chopping block- literally. We worked with Kilz to help bring a little more historic charm back into our guest room with the help of their newly-launched Castle Collection from Joanna Gaines and Magnolia Home. This collection is named for, and inspired by, Joanna's renovation of "The Castle" in Waco, TX- which even has its own Fixer Upper series that you can catch on HBO Max and Discovery+. We chose "Castle Cream" with a satin finish as our new wall color. It's warm and elegant, but still neutral, and provided the perfect "antique" sort of wall shade we were looking for. Secondly, we wanted a wall feature in this room to provide a little more visual intrigue and some texture, so Hugh put his carpentry skills to work once again and crafted some simple and beautiful board and batten. On this lower wall feature, we wanted a "pop" of color that still fit in with the overall historic theme, so we chose "Cottage Grove" from the Castle Collection. We used the trim and cabinetry paint here, as it provides woodwork with a nice but subtle shine. Collectively, the room has been completely transformed, and we're in love with the colors and the warm, timeless feel that this room now exudes.

And That's It... For Home Projects

That's right. We ended the year with a one-two punch of projects on our second floor, and that was it for the year, interiors-wise. But in non-home-design related news, and in what one might argue much more important news, a major life update did transpire in August of last year: we got engaged! Yes, after four years and a lot of not-so-subtle nudging from Hugh, it was determined that it was my responsibility to pop the question. And so I did, and what better place than in Venice? (Hugh would say Lake Como). But seriously, it was a magical vacation at the tail end of summer, and we are happier than ever. And in November, given the impending doom of our ever-turbulent political situation in our wonderful country, Hugh and I were "officially" married in the eyes of the City of Philadelphia, as to preemptively avert any attempts to roll back those flimsy little Supreme Court precedents that uphold a lot of our rights. But alas, that has yet to occur, and we are ever thankful for it.

And now, I can almost positively say, that was it for the year of two thousand and twenty two. I'm sure there are a dozen little mini-projects that I could ramble on about, but those are so far in the past and I've already forgotten about them. In the next year, I hope to more frequently scribble words on this white page of the internet for the void to read, but I won't make any promises on that frequency. Maybe once a month. We'll see. But I can say, we do have big things planned. So... stay tuned.

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