2023: Our House Goals for this Year!

It’s that time of year again – time to plan out this year’s house projects! And with January behind us, we seem to have a better grasp of which projects we can reasonably tackle in 2023.

I am not big on making new year resolutions (why set myself up for failure…) but, every year, I do like to take inventory of all my home to-do’s and try to plan out where we will focus our energy. I made my first to-do list for our current home last year (here) and I think we did a pretty good job at sticking to it (you can find our final review of the year here).

Having now lived here for a full year, I can honestly say my wish list has grown exponentially. Not because there is anything wrong per se with our current space but, rather, because I am always looking at how to better a space (be it aesthetically, functionally, etc.) and since our current home is a new build, it has so much potential. But, alas, while the ideas are endless, the budget is not… So here is what I think we can realistically expect to tackle in 2023…

1) Hallways

There’s something about a lot of blank walls that makes a space feel unfinished; that’s how I feel about our hallways. I am not a fan of displaying family photos in our home – a few photos strategically placed here and there is fine but I don’t want our walls to be a shrine to us. Instead, I am hoping to breathe some dimension into our space by adding wall moldings throughout the home (to create a cohesive look) and will likely hang art in the main areas. I’m hoping to snap some fun photos of the boys this year and will hang those in their hallway.

This hallway is nice but it’s missing a little something on the walls to make the space more lived in and to tie in the other hallways in our home…

2) Playroom

We may have been a little too ambitious to think we could tackle both of our unfinished spaces (playroom and gym) in our first year of living here but I think we have our priorities straight this time around. We use the gym everyday and the potential in there is amazing (I have a long wish list for that space) but we are adults and we can live with the exposed wires and nails for a few more years.

The kids’ playroom is another story… They have a lot of toys in there but, for safety reasons, we don’t want them to be in there unsupervised. So this will be one of the first spaces we tackle in 2023. We already ordered the framing wood and drywall in 2022 and have our electrician lined up but it will still likely be a year-long project before it is truly complete. Next on the budget is ordering flooring, baseboards and trim.

3) Mudroom

The one item that is at the very top of my wish list is the mudroom.

We currently have a dedicated space which I call our “mudroom” right off of the garage. It is in the same space as our laundry room. It has a bench and coat hooks, so it is fine… just fine… It has no storage so in the winter the hats, gloves, etc. are sprawled all over the place and the mess is just repeated in the summer but with beach bags, towels, sun hats and flip flops.

Our mudroom is small – it was supposed to be a walk-in coat closet but we removed the coat closet from the plans and kept the same layout. It’ll be comprised of two walls (since it is open to our laundry area and is too narrow to build out on all three sides). So I will have to be creative but I really think that, when done, it will change the way we come in to our home.

4) Outside

If 2022 taught me anything it was that our outside space will never be “done”. The hope is that each year it will be better than the previous but, with a 2 acre lot and way too many Pinterest ideas, I would be setting myself up for failure if I tried to make this one big project. Instead, we’ll tackle it in numerous very small stages.

The goal for 2023 is to work on the front and side of the house. We are hoping to add an interlock path leading to our front door, add some plants and boxwoods below the windows, plant some cedars along the one side where we have a neighbor and seed the entire lot in hopes that we start getting some grass. Sounds ambitious when I write it all out so I’ll try not to be too hard on myself if we don’t do it all but the desire is there and I think both Paolo and I are committed to make it happen.

5) Luca’s Room (maybe…)

This is a bittersweet “maybe”…

Luca was one when we moved into this home. I decided at the time that I would keep his room simple – I felt that there was no point in creating a nursery but also it was too soon for a big boy room… While I haven’t touched his space, I have a lot of ideas for it. The driving force to design this room will be when he is ready to transition from a crib to a bed. Theo had just turned 3 years old when he started showing signs of being ready to sleep in a bed. Luca is turning three in October 2023 so if he follows in his brother’s footsteps then we may be looking at tackling this space towards the end of this year. But I won’t be rushing him – Luca’s my last little baby and I’m not sure I’m ready to let that stage of life go just yet… (plus, he’s totally the type of kid who will get out of his room at 4am and wreak havoc in our home)…

6) Guest Bedroom

I wasn’t planning on having the guest bedroom on this year’s project list but sometimes unexpected events help shift your priorities… Luckily, this one is a good shift.

When we built the house, I opted to remove the closet in our guest room and just leave the nook (where the closet would have gone) as empty space. I did this because the closet area was pretty wide (for a small guest room) and I preferred to have a smaller built-in closet and a desk area combined.

Up until now, our guest room has only ever been used by my parents who live about 2.5 hours away. They usually come down for only 2 days at a time, so there’s no need for a dedicated closet. But this year, in August, Paolo’s mom will be visiting from Italy! The last time we saw her, Theo was only 10 weeks old, so it will be 6 years since we’ve been together. While she will be splitting her time between ours and Paolo’s sister’s house, I still want to make sure that she has enough storage in her room here to be comfortable.

And as if the above was not already a lot to tackle, I am forever hoping, dreaming, planning of little things I can do around the house, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I sneak in a few un-planned projects onto the list along the way…

But, in a nutshell, this is what we have planned for 2023. Stay tuned to see what we actually get done!


2022 In Review

I am not quite sure how we got here but, somehow, 2022 is done and now it seems like the wish list for our home projects in 2023 is endless (if only the budget was endless too…).

After living here for over a year, we’ve come to know our space and we definitely have a deeper understanding of what projects need to be tackled first. But, before delving into what is to come, I always like to look back at what we set out to do at the start of the year and what we actually accomplished.

If you missed it, in January 2022 I posted my Home Project intentions for the year – you can find that post here. Now let’s see where we are at…

1. Theo’s Room

Theo’s room was my very first DIY in 2022. We had promised him a big boy bedroom as soon as we moved in to the new house, so I intended to make good on that.

Fast forward to January 2023 and Theo still loves his room (thankfully!!!) and it is still one of my favourite spaces.

You can see more of Theo’s space (before the rug and chair arrived) in our Home Tour Series post here.

2. Foyer Built-In

Originally, I planned on getting a seat and back cushion made for this space. I was going for a tufted banquette style but the cost for custom upholstery for such a small space was more than I was willing to spend. So I improvised…

I used a Twin bed headboard that came with the wall mounted bracket and covered it in a neutral (but still stylish) upholstery fabric. I made a 2″ seat cushion using the same fabric and added shiplap to the back for some visual interest.

While we rarely enter by the front door, we do need to walk past our foyer every time we go to our boys’ bedrooms or whenever I go in to my office and, each time, I look over at my little creation with pride.

While Theo’s room is one of my favourite spaces for sentimental reasons, my little foyer bench is one of my best DIYs to date!

3. Closet Glow Ups

Calling what I wanted to do to our closets a “Glow Up” might have been a little far fetch… Our closets (ours and the boys) are very builder grade and I knew I wasn’t going to be in a position to tackle those in our first year of living here. So I set out to make them just a little more functional by adding extra shelving (since there was a large space between each shelf).

My intention was also to get an Ikea Pax system for each of the closets with drawers for some more contained storage but Ikea has had a rough year in terms of supply. Every time I thought of getting a unit, the frame and/or the shelves/drawers were always out of stock. So, now, I think we will hold off on buying anything until we’ve designed the whole space (one closet at a time, of course) so that we can have it all fit in at once.

4. Landscape

Talks of landscape consumed most of our summer this year. We had several contractors come out for quotes and each seemed to have a different idea of how we should go about getting grass and hardscape. Ultimately, drainage issues on one side of our house took precedence and we had to hire a contractor to dig, bury a perforated pipe and create a swale.

We brought in several loads of fill to level out some low spots and pruned as many of the trees as we could. We made our first ever brushfire (and a few other ones after that too) and have lined up our trades for (hopefully!) some hardscape and landscape in 2023.

So while lots seemed to happen behind the scenes, our actual lot still looks the same…

5. Phase One of the Unfinished Parts of the Basement

The unfinished parts of our basement are areas that both Paolo and I were excited to tackle but there ended up being no room in the budget for it this year.

Currently, the framing wood and drywall have been purchased for the playroom and we’ve had an electrician come out for a quote – so stay tuned for at least some developments in that space in 2023!


Am I grading myself too generously by giving an (A-)? Maybe to some but I am happy with what we have accomplished in our space this year. In addition to the above list, I installed shiplap in the dining room, built shelves in the guest bathroom, had some fun art projects and invested in all the usual organization essentials that are required in the first year of living in a new home.

My to-do project list seems to grow longer everyday so I find that setting these realistic goals at the start of every year and then looking back on them periodically throughout the year has been really helpful in keeping us grounded. Stay tuned for our 2023 Project List coming out shortly!

2022 : Our To-Do List

For as long as I can remember, Paolo and I have always had something to do in our homes; no space was ever truly done. Now that we’ve been living in our new home for 3 months, the list of projects we hope to tackle grows daily. Realistically though, projects take time and cost money, so it won’t happen over night. In the meantime, to calm my mind and to manage expectations, I’ve created a list of the projects we can reasonably hope to tackle in 2022. Here it is:

  1. Theo’s Room

When we sold our last home, Theo was still in a crib and about to move in to his big boy bed. Before I knew that we were moving, I told him we would transform his nursery into a big boy room when he changed beds. He didn’t forget that and kept asking me why he didn’t have a cool room when he moved into his big boy bed at the rental house where we were living during the build. So, now that we are home, Theo’s room is the first on our project list.

First up for his room is going to be to add moulding to the walls. I fell in love with this design by Millhaven Homes years ago and plan on replicating it in Theo’s room. Currently, Paolo wants it to be on just one wall but I’m pushing for a whole room design (mainly because I am not a fan of accent walls in bedrooms). So we still have some plans to iron out but I’m thinking we will start with the wall behind his bed and see how the space feels after that.

2. Foyer Built-In

Currently, our foyer is a blank slate. We have a glass console table that we brought over from our last home; it’s not what I envision for this space but it’ll do for now. We have a coat closet that is in need of some built-ins but it functions well for the time being. What we are missing is a place to sit to take off/ put on shoes.

We purposefully designed a space between the front door and the coat closet where we knew we would eventually build a bench. Since we extended our tile rug into that space, we won’t be building anything on the ground (because I don’t want to ruin the pattern) but we’ll do something simple like this one built by Angela Rose and then glam it up with either wall trim or a custom seat cushion.

3. Closet Glow Ups

One item that didn’t make it on to our wish list (as I knew it would be outside of our budget) was custom millwork in the closets. I never raised the question of shelving and layout options with our builder because I assumed we’d live with the customary shelf/rod standard until we decided to invest in custom closets. To my surprise, when the finishing carpenter was working on our closets (each of the boys and ours) he did a really good job at designing the space and even added extra shelving. Now that we’ve used our closets, the layout actually really works for us. While it may not be our dream design, (and we may very well decide to invest in a custom layout down the road), the current closets work great; they’re just in need of a little extra touches.

Currently, the shelves in each of the closets are spaced far apart. This year’s closet glow ups would just consist of us adding a few extra shelves in between the ones already there and also adding a small IKEA PAX wardrobe to each of the closets for some drawer space.

4. Landscape

Originally, we naively thought we could hold off on investing in landscape until our 5-year mark, which is when we’re hoping to get a pool. However, when we moved in in October, it became apparent that we weren’t going to be able to live with a field of mud in the front and back of our house for all those years.

Our plan now is to break down the landscape into phases. In 2022, the plan is to clean up the trees surrounding our lot, level out our land and bring in the necessary soil to make everything even.

5. Phase One of the Unfinished Parts of the Basement

We made sure to finish part our basement during the build stage to ensure we had extra space aside from our main level. However, our future gym, pool room and play room still need to be framed, install electrical, drywall, lighting, flooring, etc. Since all of the spaces are usable, just not currently pretty, we’ve decided that this is another area of our home that we can work on in stages.

Our intention for 2022 is to frame the walls and install strapping in each of the three spaces. We’re going to hire an electrician to run the wiring for outlets and lighting. And, if time and budget permit, we will get drywall installed and mudded.

That’s what we’ll be working on in 2022. The list may seem short to some but, since this is our home, I want to be sure to leave time to enjoy our space without tools and paint brushes in the way. In between these larger projects, I’m sure I’ll find smaller DIY tasks to tackle that may not have a big interior design impact but that will be sure to bring me joy.

What’s on your list this year? Long or short, the first step is to write it down! Lists give you a reference point to look back on and keep you moving forward!