snowy backyard with red chicken coop
Goals, Home Ownership, Home Projects, Homemaking

Home + Yard Plans for 2021

Part of our backyard area (the back of the red building is our chicken coop)

Back in 2019, I started sharing the plans we had for projects in the house and yard that year, along with what we actually were able to accomplish. While last year’s ended up being a total bust (since we ended up moving, which was never in the original plan), it’s still something I want to try and do every year, especially as it helps me to stay focused and is fun to see the progress from year to year.

2021 will be our first full year in our new house, and while we’ve done a LOT of work in the house already, we still have a LOT left that we want/need to do (as you will see in the pictures, which are a bit, um, rough. This is #reallife over here, people). Our previous home was built fairly recently (2005) and didn’t really “need” a lot of changes, other than some toning down of paint colors that were too bright for us and some fun new changes to make it feel more like “ours.” Our current home was built in 1920, and while it’s in great shape, there are definitely features that could really use some updates as well as some things that just legitimately need to be fixed.

Here’s what we currently have planned for 2021:

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House Updates


  • Replace the damaged subfloor in the kitchen and install new flooring
    • When we moved in, the kitchen had a hideous green tile that I really hated, so even though I knew it would be time-intensive, we decided to rip it out immediately. We’ve been living without a kitchen floor ever since because we discovered that part of the subfloor was rotted through by the back door, which necessitated a repair. Once that’s fixed, we should be good to go ahead with putting the new LVP flooring on top. (Update: I started this post a couple weeks ago, and we were able to come have someone repair it this last weekend! Hallelujah!)
  • Paint the kitchen island
    • At the very end of last year, we painted all the oak cabinets in the kitchen white (with ample help from my mom). We decided to paint the island a different color to add some contrast, which is something we still haven’t gotten around to. (We’ve decided to go with a very dark green to match the countertops.)
  • Install new baseboards
    • You’ll see that replacing baseboards is a line item in several rooms because when we ripped out the old ones when it was time to put down the floor we’d chosen, most of them were in pretty bad shape and not worth saving.
  • Install simple wood shelves
    • Right now the kitchen is very WHITE (it doesn’t help that the subfloor is a very light color), so we definitely need some color and texture to offset that. I’m wanting to add a simple wood shelf above the sink, as well as another one on the only open wall in the kitchen.
  • Put all the drawers back on
    • We still haven’t replaced most of the drawer fronts after painting them white because many were loose to begin with and falling off. Matt has filled in all the holes to even out the surfaces and sanded everything down, so hopefully now they’ll go on straight and stay that way!
  • Do caulking along all the edges of the cabinets and trim
    • We didn’t notice how many gaps there were between the cabinets and the molding until we painted everything white, and now they are glaringly obvious. Putting some caulking along all the edges will really go a long way to making the kitchen look more polished.
  • Put laundry closet doors back on
    • Right now, our eat-in area in the kitchen is always messy-looking because it’s right next to the washer and dryer, which are pulled out from the wall and not enclosed by their usual closet doors, thanks to the kitchen floor situation. It will be so nice to be able to close the door on our laundry again!

Back Family Room

  • Set the standing gas fireplace back up in the family room
    • We had to take this out when we put in the new floors, and now we just need to get some tile or slate to put under it so that we’re not setting it up right on the floor.
  • Install new baseboards
    • See note above on baseboards.
  • Get new rug situated
    • We ordered four new rugs for the house using some of our tax return money (the first time I’ve ever purchased (or owned!) a rug). All have come and are set up except the one for this back family room, which looks like this. I think it will look stunning in there as we already have some blue, green, and yellow accents throughout!

Front Room + Entry

  • Add a simple bench next to the front door
    • The house already had coat hooks by the front door, but we need some kind of storage solution for the shoes, so I think I’ll just go with a simple bench-and-baskets combo. (The custom-built mud bench that Matt made for us a couple years ago is by the back door, in case you’re wondering.)
  • Get new curtains for the front room
    • We used some of the curtains we’d bought for our last home on one of the windows, but we still have yet to replace the curtains over the huge picture window at the front of the house, which definitely need it (especially as they’re currently hanging from a makeshift rod from the ceiling rather than being bolted into the wall). Ideally I wanted to get the same curtains we brought from our last house (similar to these ones from IKEA), but they’re no longer being produced, so they are CRAZY expensive to buy. Verdict is out still on what we’ll decide to do about this, especially as I’m not sure if we can bolt a curtain rod into the wall, as they’re made of lathe and plaster rather than drywall. Should be interesting.
The impossible-to-find curtains we brought over from the old house
  • Get two chairs for sitting area
    • Our front entry is a very awkward L-shaped area that had us contemplating for a LONG time how to put furniture in it. We’ve decided on two separate seating areas—one as you first walk in straight ahead, and another off to the right (facing the fireplace). We didn’t own any accent chairs to complete the first seating arrangement, so we’ve been looking around to get a pair we like, and I finally found one I love! I just ordered two and am now waiting for them to arrive. (Note: I got a killer deal on them for President’s Day, so they were just $200 apiece rather than the higher price they’re listed at now. Actually, they were technically even less than that since I went through Rakuten and got cash back for them!)
  • Move fridge out
    • Our fridge has been in the front room right as you walk in because we have no kitchen floor. As soon as that floor’s down, the fridge is outta there.
  • Move side dresser in
    • Our gray and white dresser (which we use as a sideboard in our living room) is the very last big piece of furniture that still needs to be moved to the correct spot. When we first moved in, I hadn’t decided exactly where everything was going, so stuff was just kind of put wherever it fit, and we’ve been slowly placing stuff where we want it ever since. Since this is a bigger piece and it will be kind of awkward to move it, we keep putting this off because it will probably require that we call over a neighbor to help.

Master Bedroom + Closet

  • Finish unpacking
    • The absolute #1 thing that would help these two areas the most is to just finish unpacking already. We’re definitely worlds closer than we were even a month ago, but we still have about 10 boxes to unpack in our master bedroom and about 8 in our master closet. Once those are gone through and removed, it will make a HUGE difference in how these spaces feel.
  • Add shelving in master bedroom
    • Right now, there is almost nowhere to put any decor in our bedroom because our one dresser that we’re keeping in there is in the master closet, and the desktop computer basically takes up the whole desk. Oh, and our filing cabinets (which function as our bedside tables) are all filled with our books that we’re reading. I actually prefer to have a minimal number of flat surfaces around because they just tend to get super cluttered, but shelves that are up higher I can definitely keep neat and tidy, so that’s the plan for now so that we can add some visual interest in there.
  • Figure out organizational system in closet
    • We’ve never had a master closet before, and this one in particular is BIG, which we’re really grateful for. However, it’s got a pretty funky layout (I’ve never seen another closet like it), and we’re just not used to storing stuff on shelves like this. I really just need to sit down with a sketchpad and a Pinterest board one day and figure out how we can utilize this space better AND make it look a little more aesthetically pleasing, too.
  • Paint master closet
    • This is the least likely thing to happen this year because we’re SO TIRED OF PAINTING, but we do have enough leftover paint (I think) to do this, and I know it would serve to brighten the room quite a bit.
  • Fix light in master closet
    • When we were moving in, Matt accidentally bumped the sconce light on the wall with a piece of furniture, and it hasn’t worked ever since. Ideally I’d like to replace the sconce entirely because I don’t love the current style, but I’d be perfectly fine with just another working light in there for now.
Always plenty of #reallife going on in the playroom

Kids’ Rooms + Playroom

  • Move Raven into her own room and move the boys together
    • Raven and Mathias currently share a room and Hyrum is in his own room, but the eventual plan is to put the boys together and give Raven her own space. However, Raven loves sharing a room because she gets scared sleeping in a room by herself, so the verdict is still out on whether or not we can swing this by the end of this year. Also, I have no idea how the boys would take to sharing a room together—I can totally see Mathias keeping Hyrum up or putting a bunch of stuff into his crib, or I could also see Hyrum waking Mathias up frequently because he tends to have a fussy period around 10:30 every night. Hopefully by the end of the year though, everyone will have grown up enough for us to try out the new arrangement. Or, ya know, we’ll just have all 3 kids in the same room. Whatever.
  • Hang up artwork in boys’ room
    • In Raven’s future room (which is currently the baby’s room), we already have artwork hung up, but there is absolutely nothing on the walls in the other kids’ bedroom right now.
  • Hang up artwork in playroom
    • Ditto.
  • Install baseboards in playroom
    • See note above on baseboards.
  • Come up with organizational system for playroom
    • We have space enough to keep everything organized in the playroom, but what we lack now is a specific place for everything, so toys just end up everywhere. We basically just need to get labels and mark all the bins with pictures of what should go inside and that would probably take care of a lot of the problem. (Of course, the real problem right now is that no matter what the older two do about organization, Hyrum is currently in full-on destruct-o mode all the time. So it goes.)
View from the back door

Yard Updates

  • Build 3-4 new raised garden beds
    • You guys, I’ve basically forbidden myself from working on garden and yard plans at night before bed because I literally get too excited to sleep every time I sit down and start dreaming and scheming! We’re planning on building two huge garden beds (4′ x 10′ each) at the far end of our backyard just for my cutting flower garden, and then we’ll be building 1-2 more for vegetables and herbs to add to the four that were already here when we moved in. I’m really hoping we can get these all built by mid-March so we can go full steam ahead with all my gardening plans!
  • Build a sandbox for the kids
    • The sandbox Matt built for our kids at our last house was utilized all the time by them, and I definitely want one here as well, especially as I anticipate that we’ll be spending a LOT of time outdoors here shortly once it starts warming up a bit and we’re doing so much work in the garden.
  • Plant an apricot tree
    • When I first created this list, this wasn’t done yet, but now it is 🙂 We were originally thinking of planting two more fruit trees, but then looking around and seeing that we already have most of the kinds of fruit trees we wanted, we decided to just plant one apricot (as that was the one kind of fruit I really, really wanted that we didn’t already have).

I know this list looks kind of insane, but what can we say? We’ve got to take advantage of that “new house” project motivation while it lasts!

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