We’ve been blogging for 10 years. 10. YEARS! Am I shouting?! Does this make us old? Are we blogger grandparents? It’s really hard to believe – like, truly – that we’ve been typing away into this corner of the web for a decade now. Our 10 year birthday was officially a week ago, and for fun, I went back and read our very first post. It made me chuckle, but the good kind! Chuckly with me, will you? Here’s what I say:
I have an addiction to decorative pillows, gaudy photo frames, scarves, and red wine […] I tend to get very excited over rummage sale finds and the potential they have, and I know there are people out there who share that same enthusiasm. I like to think that’s why we’re starting this blog. I know we’re not alone out here. – Kim, circa 2009
After all these years, you’ve shown us that we are most definitely not alone. Not even close! (And not surprisingly, I still love red wine.) I never imagined that my hobby would lead me to this community of home lovers – of rescue pet lovers and lovers of black bedrooms and wallpaper and transom windows and, and! I mean, I wished and I hoped it would, and it did. Ten-fold. I guess what I’m trying to say is, thank you for being here! Thank you for giving us inspiration and fueling our ideas and allowing us to do what we do every day. We heart you.
We thought it would be fun to choose our 10 favorite renovations from the last 10 years. Initially, I had every intention to count them down – Top 10 style! – but when I asked Scott, he said ‘no way.’ We can’t do that! Wouldn’t that be akin to choosing a favorite child? (I mean, you might have a favorite but you wouldn’t say it out loud, would you? Kidding.) So in no particular order, here we go!
The master bedroom was part of a larger 3-room renovation that also included our second floor bathroom and laundry room. It was an intense time, and it was the first time we ever hired a team of contractors to do the dirty work for us – what a treat! Our bedroom used to be the kitchen for the second floor apartment (who remembers that?!), but we ripped it out in favor of a dark, moody retreat. The back door was replaced in favor of windows, and until I dug up these photos, I had completely forgotten there used to be a partial chimney in here!
See the entire master bedroom evolution right here.
And here’s the opposite view, facing towards the entrance. That bump out on the right, below, is a drywalled chimney. And my, how easily we forget – I don’t even remember that window!
You may have heard me say that the entryway is one of my favorite ‘rooms’ in this house. It’s true! So much love was poured into this space over the years, from ripping up the carpet to pulling staples (hundreds of them!) to priming to painting to laying down a runner. Oh, and tile! From start to finish, the entryway renovation took us many years, and it was worth every second for the ‘room’ that greets our loved ones with a hello!
See the entire entryway evolution right here.
We designed and executed The Tree House kitchen in Lucy’s first 6 months of life, and although it was a sizable chunk to bite off during those early newborn days, we were so excited to get to the finish line. Luckily, we are so in love with how it turned out! Even with its small footprint, it’s packed full of function, and – maybe most importantly? – I was able to get this photo. So, you know, I can die happy now.
See the entire Tree House kitchen evolution right here.
The office space, or Stu-Stu-Studio, as I liked to call it, was a tiny room in our condo. It was also the last room we completed before moving into our current Chicago home! It was a space created for me during my transition into self-employment, made even more special because I painted hundreds and hundreds of your pets in that room! It served me very well, and I’ll always be grateful that I had a space to foster my ideas and art.
How long does it take to talk about your baby without feeling weepy? Does that feeling ever go away? Lucy’s nursery was once our Scary Room, a room so terrifying, the door was rarely (never?) opened. But it did have one thing going for it – the beautiful original trim work (although chopped up and missing in a few places). In fact, it was the only room in our Chicago home that had any original detail remaining! We spent a lot of time matching old trim with new, installing new floors, building out a closet, and finally, it was the room we brought our sweet girl home to. Pass the tissues!
See the entire nursery evolution right here.
When our first tenants moved out of the rental unit below us (aka, The Garden Apartment), we took that as an opportunity to repaint the walls and refresh the bathroom. But once we got started, we thought, let’s add recessed lights. And new floors. Well, shoot, maybe let’s redo the kitchen, too! Needless to say, it escalated, and it was an investment well worth it. This was our first full IKEA kitchen, and we were thrilled with how it turned out! There was a lot of reconfiguring, and although we made it smaller, it’s more usable than it ever was before!
See the entire Garden Apartment evolution right here.
Did you know we used to have a 3-story deck on the back of our house? It acted as the back exit for the first and second floor apartments, before we turned the first and second floor into a single family (with the second unit being repurposed as the Garden Apartment). The third level of the deck was attic access, so when we decided that the entire deck come down, we added an attic pull-down inside. Problem solved! And in the meantime, down came the deck… and with it, a big, fat facelift for the back of the house. It. Was. Massive.
See the entire exterior evolution right here.
And here’s the view before and after from our back door (which is off of the kitchen):
8 | The Tree House Sleeping Loft
The sleeping loft is the renovation we most recently completed on this list, and I’d rank it up there with my love of the entryway! We’re constantly daydreaming about the day that Lucy has sleepovers with her friends, and we can hear them giggling above our heads while we’re making dinner. The loft is the gem of our Tree House, and all it needed was fresh paint and the just right wallpaper.
See the entire Tree House sleeping loft evolution right here.
We felt so fortunate to dedicate our time towards creating a welcoming Adoption Center for local Chicago pet rescue, One Tail at a Time. The project was completed with a tremendous amount of help from our insanely generous partners, and by the end of one of the most exhausting summers I can remember, we helped to turn this house into a home. Update: They’ve since added a Behavior Center, with many more initiatives on the horizon!
10 | Our Living Room
The living room has been more of an ever-changing process than a renovation. I mean, initially, we did made some big changes – like taking down a defunct chimney, replacing the ceiling and literally LIFTING the joists to the second floor from below, for starters! – but the last few years have been about tweaking. Resting. Tweaking again. Resting once more. After Lucy, we craved creature comforts and finally parted with our beloved navy sofa, and now it feels more like ‘us’ than ever before.
See the entire living room evolution right here.
A Question for You!
How many of you have been here from the beginning? From the last 5 years? 1 year? This year? It would absolutely make our day to hear from you in the comments below, letting us know where you’re from and what makes you, you. xx