Friends…I turned 40 this week. FORTY! I’m still grappling with this upgraded checkbox as I’m entering the era of “over 40” tips and tricks for everything from exercise to skincare. Spoiler alert…I think I’m gonna live and some of these over forty skincare hacks are amazing! Sephora take all my money!
I wanted to celebrate turning 40 in a grand way but Colby kept vetoing all my great ideas. Like test driving 40 Jeeps (I’ve been jonesing for a Wrangler since before I could legally drive), playing 40 rounds of golf, drinking 40 beers, or hiking 40 miles. So when I told him, on the eve of my fortieth birthday that I was writing a 40 greatest moments from the blog post, he responded, “That’s more appropriate.” Apparently adopting 40 chickens was also on his no-go list.
I still can’t believe this blog is over a decade old! I started blogging back in May of 2010 as a way to share our home renovation progress with friends and family. Isn’t that how they all innocently start?! Up until recently, I kept the blog as a hobby, taking extended breaks here and there when life felt like too much.
But in some ways, I feel like I grew up with the blog. After all, it’s seen me through two dog adoptions, the birth of two daughters after a decade of infertility, an engagement and a wedding, two homes, and so much fun.
Speaking of fun. I feel like lately I’ve got the business of blogging on my brain as I’m working on growing readership to meet the requirements of ad networks. To do so, I feel like I’ve been writing posts more for Google than for a fireside chat with friends. Well…today is one of those fun chat posts. So pull up a chair, grab a cuppa, and let’s dive into my 40 greatest moments on Angie’s Roost to commemorate my 40th birthday.
One last thing. By no means are these in order. I feel like ranking these moments is impossibly complex and how does one determine if the dog eating Colby’s college-era couch trumps not having to shower in the scary shower? Buckle up, here we go.
Buying Our First Home (#1)
Of course, I had to start with the one thing that started it all, becoming a homeowner. I honestly thought I would never be a homeowner. It seemed so out of reach. But thanks to the Obama-era first-time home buyer program, I made the dream of home ownership a reality. I always dreamed of renovating my own space, and this home in Maine made it happen.
Buying Our Dream Home In Vermont (#2)
To say we love and are grateful for our home in Vermont is an understatement. I am beyond grateful that the universe aligned to make buying this home possible. It’s a great story that I share in the intro to our home post. It’s such a “great things were meant to be” story.
Goose Ate The Couch (#3)
I cannot think of our first dog, Goose, without the image of him nestled into the interior of Colby’s college-era couch after he affiliated it. Apparently, Goose felt the same way I felt about this couch.
Never Showering Here (#4)
The one and only bathroom in our first home was downright scary and I am SO glad I never had to take a shower here. I don’t know how we pulled it off, remodeling the bathroom enough to be usable in the one month we owned the home and still had an apartment. Colby used to build houses for a living so that was definitely helpful! Here’s the scary before…
And the after…
Selling Our Maine Home (#5)
Selling our first home in Maine was bittersweet. The story of why we sold and moved to Vermont is all spelled out in our comeback song post. All those house projects certainly paid off and we were so surprised to sell our home in four days and over the asking price.
The Big Life Moments (#6)
There were some serious big life moments here on the blog including both getting engaged in our backyard (the announcement and the proposal story), hosting a giant backyard bbq for all our friends and family the night before our wedding, and getting married.
Designing A Nursery (#7)
When you’re in the depths of infertility treatments, there are moments you feel like you’ll never have biological children. When you’re in the depths of infertility treatments AND you love home design, sometimes you feel like you will never design a nursery. I’m in love with how the nursery turned out. Catch ALL the nursery posts here. I may already be mourning the day it’s no longer needed.
Ombre Ballusters (#8)
This may just be the coolest project we’ve ever tackled. These days, it’s definitely not my style, but back then the ombre staircase balusters fit our Maine cottage vibe. They weren’t the easiest project, but so, so worth it.
This Old House Staircase Feature (#9)
My biggest pinch-me moment was when those ombre staircase balusters were featured in This Old House magazine. I legit thought someone was punking me when emails from a This Old House editor kept appearing in my inbox. No way. It had to be spam. But it was real. We were even on the homepage of their website for a brief moment in history.
This Old House Bathroom Feature (#10)
And then…it happened again with our bathroom. This time our mugs even made it into the October 2014 issue for tackling a budget bathroom makeover.
Dreamy Craft Room (#11)
The room I am most proud of and my favorite space in all our home is by far the craft room. Here’s the most recent craft room tour with it all organized. I love how I call it a craft room but in reality, it’s an everything space. It’s definitely one of those good spaces that take time rooms. I’ve been working on the craft room since we bought our home eight years ago and with every new purpose it picks up, it morphs just a little bit.
I’m definitely not a big before-and-after person and instead prefer to tweak over time as I thrift something new to me or need a space to serve a new purpose. This room has definitely been that for me and if I could spend all my time in here I probably would. Now kids, stay out and stop stealing all my paper! Scratch that…steal anything you want as long as it sparks your creativity.
The $400 Refrigerator (#12)
Do you believe in manifesting? I do after Colby manifested our $400 refrigerator. I kid you not, Colby and I were walking into Lowes one night for a lockset and I asked him if we could cruise the clearance appliances. When one has little money to renovate their home, you collect new appliances over time from the clearance section. Colby looks at me and asks, “What if we find a $500 fridge?” Well, we buy it of course. Lo and behold, we found a refrigerator for $400 and I didn’t let that puppy out of my reach until it was loaded in the back of our truck.
The Corn Squirrel (#13)
Oh, the corn squirrel story! I still haven’t grown corn in my garden because of the trauma from the corn squirrel! Long story short, a squirrel was taking down our corn one or two stalks a night. Colby being Colby, set out his game camera and we caught the little sucker on film standing gloriously over his catch. Little punk. I hope our corn was delicious!
Sewer Pipe (#14)
Do you ever have one of those OMG I need to be a real adult now moments?! Shortly into home ownership, we learned that the clay sewer pipe that connected our home to the town sewer in the middle of the street collapsed. Meaning we would have to dig up our front yard and the street to replace it. AND on our dime.
I was finishing up my MBA program and was just about to pay the tuition for my last three classes (also not cheap) plus fund my required travel abroad business trip (again, not cheap), and now I had to replace my sewer pipe which also wasn’t cheap and cost us many thousands of dollars. I couldn’t afford them all. So up to the financial aid office I marched for a student loan. Making it all work and replacing a sewer pipe (so unglamorous) felt like such a big adulting moment and gave me the superwoman feeling that I could tackle anything. And then our roof started leaking.
Opening An Etsy Shop (#15)
The Etsy shop was something I never intended to do and just fell into it. What a trip! One day I’m responding to a hundred comments that no, I don’t sell these iPad stands and next thing you know, I’m selling 100 of them a month. I learned so much running my own business, I even quit my day job because of the income it provided. And even though I learned mass producing iPad and cookbook stands was not my thing, I’m so glad I had this experience.
Entrepreneur Magazine (#16)
Pinch me moment right here. It all started when I wrote a post about the things I learned in the first months of running an Etsy shop. Then Entrepreneur Magazine reached out for an interview and cited me in an article. As a business-minded creative, this felt like a major accomplishment.
Maine Flea Markets (#17)
Boy, do I miss the flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops in Maine. I’ve found some seriously amazing treasures that I just can’t seem to live without. I felt like every post from our Maine house was “found this at the flea market” or “this came from the Big Chicken Barn Antiques Shop.” Or the fact that there was an antique shop right at the end of our road.
Finished Maine Home Kitchen (#18)
The kitchen renovation in our first home was bittersweet. I love how it turned out but I cooked precisely one time in our renovated kitchen. Then packed it all up and moved to Vermont. The whole story, we planned to move to Vermont and I applied to a bunch of jobs in the spring/summer, then crickets. I figured I got passed over so Colby and I decided that we would finally renovate our kitchen. We did the kitchen renovation demo and the next thing I knew I was interviewing and getting job offers, one of which I accepted. We couldn’t sell our house in the state it was so I moved to Vermont while Colby finished renovating our home.
Kitchen Pull Out Pantry Shelves (#19)
The coolest feature in our old kitchen is the pullout pantry shelves. Oh, how I loved those shelves. I keep wanting to recreate something like them here in Vermont but I haven’t quite figured out a spot.
Deck Building (#20)
I remember when Colby told me he was going to build a deck for our Maine home. I was like, nah no way. There’s no room (or money) for a deck. Well, he figured it out, used gift cards he had won in a sales contest to pay for it, and built that sucker in an extended weekend. He never ceases to surprise me.
My favorite was when the code enforcement/permit inspector person came to sign off on it and commented how that deck wasn’t going to budge in a hundred years. That’s Colby, overbuilding house projects since 2010. Here are all the deck posts: deck planning, part 1, part 2, part 3, and finally the finished deck.
Stenciled Dining Room Floor (#21)
It’s kind of fun when you have a temporary project to hold you over and because it’s temporary you do something you would normally NEVER do! Knowing that the floors in our Maine house would all eventually get replaced with pine planks, I stained and stenciled the old dining room floor. I loved that temporary project so so much, especially as the floor got more worn!
Maine House Pine Floors (#22)
Speaking of floors, replacing all the floors in our Maine home with pine flooring and square-cut nails for a vintage feel, was one of the greatest projects we completed. I never did a full flooring reveal on the blog or updated our old how-to-install unfinished pine flooring post (maybe I should?!) but it’s also got me thinking of pine flooring for the first floor of our current house.
Renovated Laundry Room (#23)
The laundry room in our Maine home on move-in day was not only an eyesore but also the least functional space. You can see the before in this laundry room makeover post. I love to do laundry. No joke, it’s my favorite chore. So you can just imagine how ecstatic I was to start doing laundry in this finished, organized just for me laundry room space. Dreamy! Now it’s giving me the bug to create a laundry room in our current home.
Gutting Rooms On Free Dump Day (#24)
I totally forgot about this old habit until the other day when I was updating blog posts. The town we used to live in had one week a year, always in the spring, where you could dump construction debris for free. We ALWAYS scheduled our renovations around free dump days which is why you always found us gutting rooms, removing old plaster and lathe in the spring. It saved us SO much money. We were on a shoestring budget with our first home, so every little bit helped.
Buying A New Couch (#25)
What is it about buying your first brand new, smells like a furniture store couch that makes you feel like a grown-up? After Goose ate our old couch, we decided to use the money we were gifted from our wedding to buy a new couch. It wasn’t the most stylish. If I could have chosen ANY couch, I probably would have done something different. But it was what we could afford and it’s the comfiest couch! We still have it, although it’s definitely worse for wear, and until the kids stop using it as their personal trampoline, it won’t be getting any upgrades. I still to this day blog in the corner of the chaise. Hi Goose!
Roofing Our Home (#26)
There was never a moment I was more appreciative of Colby having built houses for a living in his past life than when the roof of our home started leaking. We knew we needed to shingle the roof but it became priority number one when one of the bedrooms started taking on water. Thankfully my brother and one of his friends, who both also spent time as roofers, came to assist and help us shingle the roof.
First Dance Wedding Art (#27)
My favorite DIY art project, creating our first dance wedding art. Technically, the art is just a black-and-white photo of Colby and me during our first dance. But I wrote out all the first dance song lyrics, Eric Church’s “I Love Your Love The Most” on the photo mat. I still have this art piece 11 years later.
Blog Photos Vanilla Ice Style (#28)
Let’s chalk this one up to the most cringeworthy moment in blog history, the day we fired up the camera self-timer and took photos for the blog Vanilla Ice style. I still can’t get over the censor!
Rustic Entry Bench (#29)
I love it when the things in my home carry meaning or have a story. It’s one of the ways I make a home feel like home. One of those objects is our coffee table. It’s built out of the old lumber from the original carrying beam in our first home. Our old kitchen was sinking some and Colby decided to beef up the structural support underneath the kitchen which included replacing a carrying beam. He repurposed the wood and built a bench for our first home, which has since become our current living room coffee table. I adore that we have a piece of our first home with us now and will forever cherish this piece.
Old Box First Aid Cabinet (#30)
I miss the old box-turned-first aid cabinet that used to live in our first home’s bathroom, which later became vitamin storage. It was one of my favorite, budget-friendly DIY projects. It’s actually what made me pounce on a set of vintage first aid kits I came across in a Vermont antique shop, which now hangs in the kids’ bathroom.
Haven Conference (#31)
And the award for the most fun experience I’ve ever had as a blogger goes to…attending the Haven Conference! I briefly debated attending this year since they had a few last-minute tickets available, but I just couldn’t make it work. But mark my words, I’ll be back. While the DIY, decor, and design blogging conference was full of educational opportunities, for me it was all about the connections and meeting with like-minded people. I’m still close with a few of the bloggers I met ten years later!
Porch Repairs (#32)
This is one of the projects that wasn’t 100% done when we sold our first home and it still breaks my heart. Our Maine home had the coolest front porch but it was in serious disrepair. Colby and I were in the process of repairing all the rotten wood, making the windows all operational, fixing the floor, and replacing the rotten ceiling. We were so close to done when we sold and I’m so sad I never got a chance to rock and read on the porch with the windows wide open!
Vermont Vintage Finds (#33)
The vintage finds in Vermont 100% needed a spot in this top 40 list. While Maine has amazing finds, Vermont is top-notch when it comes to finding free things. I’ve found some of my favorite pieces for free or for next to nothing. It’s not uncommon for me to bring the car to a screeching halt to pick up the dresser off the side of the road.
Some of my favorite finds are a next-to-nothing vintage rolltop desk, a free lamp from the dump that looks like a Pottery Barn $500+ find (you can see it in our dining room on Instagram), a free barn light that I spray painted red for the craft room, wood pedestal table also free from the dump, and a vintage trunk for a dollar.
Kids’ Bathroom Renovation (#34)
We finished our first major renovation in our current home, the then guest bathroom now kids’ bathroom renovation, seven years ago and it still has not changed. Not one bit. I love this bathroom and I still use it as my go-to shower location. Now if only I could finish our primary bathroom renovation.
Christmas In A Vermont Farmhouse (#35)
There is something so magical about decorating our Vermont house for Christmas. Maybe it’s the age or the old farmhouse vibes, but simple Christmas decor just looks so great in this space. I did a Christmas decor walk-through in 2016 and I cannot wait to update it and do it again this year.
Massive Vegetable Garden (#36)
There are many great reasons why I prefer living in the country as to in town, but near the top of that list is the ability to grow a massive vegetable garden. Here’s the garden tour from 2019.
This year’s garden is so sad. It’s been a tough growing season full of late frosts, rain, flooding, rotting garden beds, pests, and (let’s be honest) gardener neglect. I’m grateful we don’t rely on the garden because I’ve half given up this year, but I am working on a fall garden. Here’s hoping the weather cooperates! But I love puttering in the garden and spending time here with the kids, who currently park themselves in the raspberry beds, eating 17 raspberries for every one raspberry that hits the bowl.
Attic Walk-In Closet (#37)
I still get all googley-eyed every time I get dressed and ready in my new attic walk-in closet space. I’ve never really had a closet let alone a walk-in closet and it is just dreamy. I still have a lot of ideas for how to use this space and finish it. It’s majorly underutilized because I don’t have that many clothes. But until then, I’ll be dreamily putting on my socks in here.
Building A Kitchen Island (#38)
Colby is the unsung hero of this blog. He loves to build things. After spending his days as a salesman, there’s something about physically doing home repairs or furniture builds that gives him life. If it wasn’t his thing, I would 100% work on cultivating my woodworking skills repertoire but I appreciate not only his love for it but for how good he is at it.
One of my favorite builds he tackled was our kitchen island. I just showed him a picture of an island I loved from Williams Sonoma and he built an identical one for us at a fraction of the cost. Here’s the building process part 1 and part 2. We’ve since put a laminate, faux soapstone countertop on it and it is dreamy.
Painting Our Home White (#39)
Before we bought our home in Vermont, I had a Pinterest board called “Country Home.” It was eery when we purchased our own country home to look at the board and see that almost every country home I had pinned was the same shape and style as the home we ended up with.
One of the first projects we needed to tackle on this home was scraping and painting all the old clapboards. We liked the old blue color but just didn’t love it. I consulted my Pinterest board once again to help me decide on a paint color and it was glaringly obvious, 90% of those country homes were a classic white.
I love our home with her fresh coat of white paint. She is a time suck when it comes to painting so we try to keep up by painting a fresh coat on one side of her each year. We’re currently painting the third coat of white paint on the front this summer and it’s amazing how just one fresh coat of paint livens up the look.
Keeping Room Bookshelves (#40)
I can’t believe I haven’t really blogged about the bookshelves in the keeping room. They are amazing and deserve some permanent presence on the blog soon. Here’s a glimpse of the bookshelves in our 2019 projects post or in this post on Instagram. They are dreamy and simple and hold ALL my favorite books. I never thought I would fill them but I’ve found myself needing the cull books the last few years.
And That’s A Wrap
If you’re still with me, how are you feeling? Too much? Yeah, maybe too much. But could you have imagined if I had chosen to play 40 rounds of golf instead of highlighting my 40 favorite projects and blog moments? Colby is much appreciative!
PS…So tell me, do you have a favorite project or DIY moment from your home?! Feel free to tell me in the comments!