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The Best And Worst Of 2023

With just a few days left of the year, and stuck in the weird time between Christmas and New Year’s Day where no one gets out of their pajamas or has any idea what day of the week it is, what better time than now to review the best AND worst of 2023.

I’m talking about the best and worst projects we tackled. From beautiful finished spaces to the uh-oh, did I really just do that?!

I adore posts like these because they are essentially a highlight reel of our year. And a blooper reel. The big wins and the big fails. Plus we’re still in the Christmas season house project moratorium so it gives me some content to share.

Shall we dive right in?! We shall!

DIY small bathroom remodel, white subway tile, turkish towels hanging from gold hooks, swan art print, dark wood vanity with white vessel sink

Best Project Reveal: The Bathroom Renovation

Hands down the most amazing and rewarding project we finished this year, is our primary bathroom renovation project. I’m happy to report that we’ve officially taken over a dozen showers in this space and it’s just as dreamy to use it as it looks.

It’s also the project that wins the “worth the wait” award since we officially started it years ago. It may also win the award for the project we have poured the most into…ever. In both time and finances. And maybe also the award for the most swear words dropped during a project. But I don’t want to give the room too many awards and have it go to her head.

V-groove planked doorway from the attic walk-in closet to the bathroom with vintage wide pine floorboards

Worst Repeated Fail: Rug Too Small

You would think, that I would learn my lesson about ordering rugs that are too small after ordering a too small rug for the nursery a few years ago. Then ordered a second rug and duct-taped the two rugs together.

Apparently, rug ordering is my Achilles heel of space planning and design. New Year’s resolution…purchase a correctly sized rug for a space.

But alas, I ordered a too-small rug for the attic closet project. In my defense, I was trying to get a rug that didn’t take up the entire floor space of the attic. But alas, the next size down was too small.

It was kind of a blessing in disguise since we also wanted a rug for the playroom. The poor, old playroom floor is a giver of splinters and our children are on the receiving end.

We moved the too small for the attic rug to the playroom and it’s been so nice. The rug to the playroom was like trees to Bob Ross, just happy little accidents.

DIY lessons learned from ordering a rug that was too small during a bathroom remodel

Best Use Of Rubber Snakes: Halloween Snake Wreath

I loathe rubber snakes. But rubber snakes hot glued to a dollar store wreath for Halloween…SOLD!

Way back in the day, circa early aughts, I came across a Halloween snake wreath made by the queen herself, Martha Stewart. Well, let’s be real, more like made by her editorial team.

I fell in love with the creep factor of the snake wreath and vowed to recreate the wreath. Even after three separate Amazon orders for rubber snakes (doh!), I adore how the snake wreath turned out.

DIY Halloween dollar store wreath made like the Martha Stewart Halloween snake wreath

Worst Bathroom Renovation Fail: Moving The Plumbing

Do you ever make one rash decision that snowballs into a whole big mess?! Raises hand in shame. It’s me.

We had made a rash decision in the middle of our bathroom renovation to move the plumbing. The original plan was to build a wall between the shower and the toilet nook with the plumbing in that wall.

I panicked that building the wall would make the bathroom feel too small and tight. It’s already such a small bathroom. Colby agreed and we moved the plumbing to the exterior wall and nixed enclosing the shower.

Next thing we knew, the lights were dangerously close to the shower head, we had plumbing in an exterior wall, the tub drain was on the opposite side of the hardware, and so many other things.

I’m forever grateful that we listened to our guts and took a timeout on the project to reassess. It wasn’t going in the right direction. The finished bathroom is one thousand times more perfect once we course-corrected back to our original plan.

Bathroom renovation with tongue and groove ceiling planks installed with exposed wood beams

Best Use Of Unfinished Space: The Attic Closet

For someone who has never had a closet bigger than a postage stamp, it’s dreamy to call this unfinished attic-turned-walk-in closet mine. Swoon!

I still pinch myself that I get to get ready in here. Combine that with the recently finished bathroom connected to it and I feel like a whole new person.

Gone are the days of having my things all over the house, upstairs and down. Now, everything is right here. Suddenly, doing my hair and makeup is enjoyable again and I look forward to date nights out with Colby and fancying oneself for said date nights.

An unfinished attic turned into a large walk-in closet with white painted flooring, exposed beams, shiplap ceiling, and a vintage dresser

Worst Summer Project Weather: This Summer

This summer…wtf. It was rough living in Vermont this summer. It rained every single day. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. It rained all but four days this summer which resulted in massive flooding. Let’s just say our summer outdoor project to-do list didn’t happen at all.

On one of the four non-rainy days, we did dive into the girls’ playhouse but that was it. Gone were the original outdoor project plans of finishing the greenhouse, converting an old shed into a playhouse, and revamping the hand-me-down playground.

There’s always next summer, right?! Although, this unseasonably warm winter has us thinking maybe we should work on these projects now.

Old window sash getting turned into a greenhouse in a cut flower garden

Best Use Of Crepe Paper: Crepe Paper Bunting

For Bea’s second birthday party in August, I made the simplest, cheapest crepe paper bunting banners and hung them above our outdoor dining table. It was such a dramatic effect for such a quick and easy project.

I want to do this for all our summer outdoor celebrations. You know, if it doesn’t rain for forty days and forty nights again. If that’s the case, I’m for sure building that ark this summer.

But back to the crepe paper bunting. It was magical. I didn’t want to take it down. The end.

Birthday crepe paper banner made from crepe paper streamers hanging above an outdoor dining table for a little girl's birthday party

Worst Follow Through: Kid’s Bedroom Refresh

Talking about Rowan’s bedroom refresh is a sore subject right now. We were full speed ahead, coming up with a new bedroom layout and then thrifting for furniture. I was working on the design plan and ordering samples when Rowan started changing her mind about what she wanted and so did I.

One thing I didn’t think of when we started working on our oldest daughter’s bedroom, is where our two-year-old is going to go once she outgrows her nursery. It put the brakes on this bedroom refresh since we are strongly leaning towards the girls sharing this space.

We are starting in on a brand new bedroom refresh plan that incorporates the girls sharing this room, which is what they wanted to do when we presented them with the options. Or more like what Rowan (age 6) wanted since Bea (age 2) worships Ro and will do anything if she asks.

And updated kids bedroom layout with the bed moved from against the wall to the center of the room

Best Organizing Project: Craft Room Organizing

This one is a toss-up between the nursery organization and the craft room organizing. Although I’m going with the craft room organizing.

Ironically, the two spaces are mirrors of each other. The same shape, same size, same window, and even painted the same color. These are the two tiny rooms at the top of the stairs that are too small to be a bedroom. So nursery and craft room they became.

Organizing the nursery just took a little fine-tuning while the craft room organizing project was a haul. I would like to say that since organizing it, it’s stayed that way but it still ends up being a catch-all. I think it’s due for a solid decluttering.

Craft room organizing and an Annie Sloan Louis Blue chalk painted craft cabinet for storage

Closing Out 2023

All in all, I would say that it was a solid year for working on our home. In style, organization, and renovation progress.

We’re at an exciting point in our Vermont country home renovation in that the second floor of our home is done in terms of major renovations. There are still some small things to do like decorating projects, furniture refinishing, and converting Rowan’s bedroom to include Bea. But all in all, it’s pretty much done.

A master bedroom looking to the nursery space in the master bedroom showcasing wide pine floorboards, spider plant and vintage dresser

It’s time to start thinking about renovating the major living spaces of our home, like the kitchen, laundry, dining, and living room. It’s equal parts exciting to dive into those projects but also super intimidating.

Unlike the rooms upstairs, where I feel like bedrooms can kind of do their own thing, especially kids’ bedrooms since I want our kids to have a space that they love and feel like them, I want the first floor of our home to be cohesive.

Our home is a circa 1781 early colonial home and I want it to feel that way although with some modernization. I hate using the term modern colonial, because it isn’t really. But I envision modern touches and materials but in a still that honors the home’s 1700s roots.

A family photo in front of a white early colonial home from 1781

I got a big stack of design books for Christmas, including the DeVol Kitchen Book, that I’m pouring over to come up with an overall design plan. Along with researching some of the old home museums in New England. So many exciting things to come!

Pssst…Are there any projects you tackled this year that you’re super proud of? Or a favorite design or decor book you received as a gift that you love? They may be my favorite Christmas gifts!

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Angie's Roost Campbell Family in front of home in 2021

Hi there! We're the Campbells. We traded in Maine city living for the country life in Vermont. You'll find us here fixing up a circa 1781 historic home, growing our own food, and filling this home with the memories and things that matter. Read more about us...

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