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Top 20 Home Projects, Reveals, & DIYS of 2020 | The Happy Housie

I started out 2020 with all kinds of energy and enthusiasm for housie stuff.  I got right down to business and tackled Finn’s bedroom in a five week time period for the “New Year, New Room” Challenge, and a couple of posts from that challenge ended up in my Top 20 for the year. I also started off the year by working on getting things organized around our house and began my own 10 Week Organizing Challenge for a second take (the first time I did the challenge was in our previous home).  You’ll see several of those organizing posts appear in my Top 20 of the year.  As for the challenge, I got as far as week six and then the pandemic hit and things got a little weird.

We also decided around that time to get our basement finished and to sell the house as we wanted to start building on our property in the summer months and wanted the house sale to go through before we began to build.  There were so many questions and concerns around what would happen with the real estate market due to the pandemic and we didn’t want to be stuck trying to build a house while still living in a house that we hadn’t (or couldn’t sell). So… while on “lockdown” during COVID we put our time to good use and completely redid the basement family room, installed vinyl plank throughout most of the basement, painted almost every room in the downstairs, and updated the basement bathroom.  Whew. That was a lot!

Of course, as probably happened in many areas, the pandemic seemed to have the opposite effect on real estate then we first expected and our house sold within the first weekend with multiple offers and over asking price. This left us with the prospect of moving into our lake cabin full time while building the new house (which is located just up the road from where we had been living).  Of course, moving to the cabin meant I had to first update it with some fresh paint (see that tour and before/after here), as well as have the kitchen sprayed out white (I’ll share that soon).

Truthfully, after that huge whirlwind during the first half of the year (including adjusting to teaching from home and having the boys at home for school for several months), and then starting our build in August, I kind of fizzled out with my energy and focus on the blog during the second half of the year. I definitely shared a few fun fall and holiday projects, but I have found it increasingly difficult to be creative and get any DIY or writing work done while living in this smaller space. I also started a new teaching position as an elementary (Grades 4-7) Fine Arts teacher this past September and that has taken a lot more of my time and energy as I’m now working full time (something I’ve not done since having my children).

In October a vacant piece of property came up for sale on the lake in the area that we have always dreamed of living. So…. we went for it and made our best offer and ended up being the successful bidders in what turned out to be a minor bidding war. We needed to quickly turn around and sell the cabin in order to finance the purchase, but thankfully that happened in a snap and the new owners even agreed to rent it back to us while we finish building our house in town! Win win! So… the plan is to live in the house in town that we are currently building and eventually build on our lot at the lake – first a little cabin that later we’ll replace with our retirement home.  So as you can see, there has been a LOT happening behind the scenes during the second half of 2020.

What a year it has been. We are so grateful to live in an area that has, until recently, been fairly untouched by the virus compared to so many areas of the world. Our province has us on pretty strict regulations right now to try to curb the winter spread of the virus, but we are looking forward to spring when hopefully things subside. We are also hoping to finish up the new build sometime in March and move in by mid-April at the latest. Fingers crossed that we can keep it all on track during the weeks ahead!

I almost didn’t write this post because the last few months have been such a whirlwind and I wasn’t really feeling like I accomplished very much on the blog this past year. That being said, I’m glad I did take the time to look back and reflect and to look at my analytics to see which posts from 2020 were popular with my readers.  It was a great reminder and a reality check as to how much we did actually do this year, both on the blog and off….

Always a popular topic this time of year, I find paper clutter to be one of the worst offenders in our home. It gathers so quickly and is not always the most fun to deal with.  But dealing with it and then setting up a system to continue to deal with it going forward makes a huge difference to the function of your home life.

This post I put together when COVID hit and many families were suddenly heading towards a home schooling model with many parents out there completely unsure of where to start!

I get so many questions about our large white Farlov sectional and our Farlov sofa that I finally put all of my experiences and wrote a review post this fall of this popular sofa option – the good, the bad and the ugly about the Farlov sofa series.

I jumped into the ring and joined the One Room Challenge this past spring and gave our family room at the old house a complete makeover with a fresh, modern boho feel.  A few of the construction related posts from this makeover were in my top 20, as well! It’s such a good before and after…

I always love when the time arrives to add some spring decor to our home, as I’m usually more than ready for springs true arrival after our long, wet and dark winters on the west coast. Readers must like spring decor posts as well, because this year’s spring home tour was in my top posts for the year.

Just after Christmas last year I jumped right into new projects and the first one that we tackled was our youngest son’s bedroom makeover. You should see the BEFORE! What a difference a few fairly simple changes made to his whole space.

I also tackled some organizing projects after the New Year last year, and one of my favourites was giving our linen closet a completely fresh and updated look and feel using peel and stick wallpaper.  Pop over for all the details!

We redid the entire basement last year between January and June, and I started small with just paint and some wallpaper early in February. I hadn’t originally planned to replace all the flooring, so this was an interim solution and it was amazing how quickly those few changes freshened up that space.

Later in the spring we decided to go the whole way and replace those old tile floors with a beautiful vinyl plank from Golden Select. It made a huge difference, and was so much easier because we were able to install the vinyl right over the tile with just one little trick.

After completing our kitchen makeover project the year before, I shared what I had learned about all the solid surface countertop options while doing the research for our kitchen renovation. There are all kinds of pros and cons to the various options, so it’s important to consider those when making a choice that works for you – especially considering how expensive solid surface countertops can be.

About a year after our final kitchen reveal I finally got around to doing a review post of our Ikea kitchen and sharing all of my experiences with installing and using/living with a kitchen from Ikea just this past fall. I actually loved how our kitchen renovation turned out in our previous  house and will be sharing some more tips and tricks about our Ikea kitchen during the month ahead.

One of the construction/renovation related posts from our One Room Challenge makeover of our modern boho family room, this had to be one of my favourite before and afters from our entire house. I hated that old fireplace before and I LOVED it when it was done – and we made such simple changes!

Having a mudroom entry space is such a blessing for busy family life, and this small nook off of our garage entry at our old house was the perfect spot to house all of our gear. Living at the cabin with no separate entry space makes me appreciate and miss this area of our previous home even more!

The vanities that we chose when we renovated the two upstairs bathrooms in our last house were beautiful but didn’t pack a ton of storage. They had enough, but it was definitely important to keep them well organized in order to maintain the function of our bathrooms, and in this post I shared my tips for organizing your bathroom even without much storage space.

After COVID hit and nearly everyone everywhere was on some kind of lock down, I decided to create a series of free printables that expressed thanks or gratitude for those who continued to serve us in various ways, whether it be health care or front line workers, or delivery people.

Another construction post for our One Room Challenge space, we shared a how-to for installing vinyl plank flooring directly over concrete in our family room.

This is also another construction post from our One Room Challenge makeover – I shared all the details on how were removed our drop tile ceiling in the basement family room and replaced it with a regular dry-walled ceiling.

Another popular organizing post is always the pantry – and last year right after the holidays I shared my best tips for organizing your entire kitchen and pantry in six simple steps.

Probably my favourite home tour post from the entire time that we lived into our previous house, I was super thrilled to see that it was my second most popular and most read post published in 2020.

My most popular post that was published in 2020 was the first post I shared when I began Finn’s room makeover as part of the New Year New Room Challenge. I shared all the before pics of his bedroom as well as my inspirational ideas for how I was planning to design his room.

Did you get a chance to check out my 2021 Free Printable Family Planner Calendar?

Head over here to learn how to download your own copy, today!

Here’s to a better 2021 for us all, my friends!

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