2018 Renovation Recap & a Look Ahead at 2019

2018 marked our second full year of owning our fifties fixer upper, and although we kept busy with projects, we took plenty of time to enjoy life outside of house projects as well. We also had some exciting advancements and changes with our “brand” and we’re planning on quite a few exciting things for 2019.

What we accomplished

1. Finished our master suite

One of the biggest projects from 2017, our master suite took us through the end of January 2019 to finally finish. We had turned the third bedroom upstairs into an en-suite master closet and 3/4 bathroom. Doing this required adding electrical and plumbing, reframing the room, building a shower pan, and tiling, along with all the finish work. This was the longest project we’ve done in the house, and in total it ended up taking about 9 months. The results were well worth the wait- we love having an en-suite and our closet is a dream!

2. Finished our main bathroom

Our main bathroom is right off of our living room, and for the first two and a half years we’ve lived in this home, it felt like a dirty bright blue cave. We set out to renovate it in the spring, and participated in the Spring One Room Challenge (ORC), which had a 5 week timeline. We quickly realized that 5 weeks was not nearly enough time for us, and ended up backing out of the ORC. This wasn’t a difficult decision, per se, as we didn’t really have a choice! We’re happy that we took our time and finished the bathroom the way we wanted. It’s so awesome having two functional bathrooms now, too!

3. Built a front patio

Front patios are a big trend in home exterior design right now and for good reason! Sometimes it’s nice to be able to hang out in your front yard, get to know your neighbors a bit, and watch passers-by. They also add great curb appeal and make your home feel more inviting. Josh actually had the idea to add a front patio to our home, and we built it over a few weekends in the summer. I don’t have a dedicated post for this just yet but plan on it soon. We loved being able to sit out with a glass of wine and enjoy the summer and fall evenings- I’m looking forward to the days when it’ll be warm enough again to do that!

4. Transformed our exterior

Our exterior was in desperate need of a makeover, as you can see above. It’s not the ugliest house I’ve ever seen, but it certainly wasn’t cute. We had replaced the original brown windows within the first few months of living here, but otherwise hadn’t put much effort into the exterior. This fall, we re-sided the entire house and garage (by ourselves, with the help of family and friends), painted the foundation, removed a side door and stairs and added a window, added light fixtures, replaced the front and back doors, and updated curb appeal with a new mailbox, house numbers, and shutters. We still have work left: we need to paint the garage door, gutters, replace the railings, and add window boxes and a trellis. We also had jack-hammered the back patio so we could get rid of it while we had the big dumpster, and it’s currently a frozen dirt pit with no stairs leading inside. That will be another project for next summer!

5. Added finishing touches to our living room

I had been lusting after the Article Timber sofa for months before we finally decided to purchase it. We absolutely love it and feel like it’s the perfect addition to our living room. The caramel leather is beautiful and I smile inside whenever I see it! We also purchased a loveseat from Interior Define that we love as well. Netflix marathons are so much sweeter with great couches and we’re happy with both of our investments! I also swapped out the pink rug for a larger neutral vintage-style rug, and it helps to open and brighten up the room so much. Finally, we added blinds to our big picture window! I had searched and searched for the perfect blinds and found them on Blindster.com. They really warm up the room at night when they’re down and blend right into the window trim when they’re open during the day.


Our Renovation Goals for 2019

1. Clean out and organize the garage

Full disclosure: this one’s a carry over from last year. We did spend quite a bit of time decluttering and cleaning in the garage, but it seems like as soon as it’s clean, we’ll start another project and it’ll be a mess again! This year we really want to create some organization so that we’re not going “where is my (insert tool name)” and digging around in the garage for an hour! We’d also love to be able to finally park a car in there- we have a 2.5 car garage but have only actually parked a car in there a few times, since it’s been acting as a storage area and workspace!

2. Renovate the basement

This is a huge task. Our basement is about 3/4 size of our first floor, and it’s taken almost three full years to renovate our first floor! The biggest difference is that we’re not living in the basement, so instead of doing it all room-by-room, we can do it task by task (e.g. drywall, painting, flooring, trim etc). We’re starting with demo soon and ideally would love to have it all finished by the end of summer. We plan on taking it down to the studs and starting completely fresh. We’ll add one or two bedrooms (which includes adding egress windows), a bathroom, a living room, and rework our existing laundry space. I’m currently working on the design and am excited to share the process!

3. Finish the exterior

As I mentioned above, there are a few things we didn’t get to finish on the exterior before it got too cold. We have to paint the gutters white, add a storm door to the front door, replace the front railings, add window boxes and a trellis to the front, and paint the garage doors. We also have some landscaping work to do in both the front and back yards- especially the back!

4. Create a back patio living space

Although this could technically fall in the category above, it’s such a big project that it deserves a bullet point of its own. We jackhammered out the concrete patio and stairs at the back of our house this fall, and it got too cold before we were able to install the new patio. As I type this, we have 3 pallets of paver bricks on the parking slab in the back of our house. I’m sure the neighbors love this…. sorry guys! Our plan this summer is to add a large paver patio, possibly a pergola, new back stairs, and a firepit area. My goal is to create a true outdoor living space, complete with a dining table, seating area, place to grill and prepare food, and area to relax and sit around a bonfire. I can’t wait to see my visions come to life out there!

5. Think about the future for our home…

If we accomplish all of the above in 2019, our home will be completely renovated. The idea of this is kind of crazy to me because renovation is all I’ve known since we’ve lived here, and we still have a massive amount of work left to do. However, we’re determined to work our butts off and make it happen! With a finished house, we have to think the next step. We’ve already decided that we’d like to sell it shortly after it’s finished, but the timing of that will depend on the market and our ability to find another home (don’t worry- it’ll be another fixer upper!). I’m not putting “sell the house” on the list just yet because our goals are so lofty- but if we can make it happen, that would be pretty dang amazing!


Thank you all for following along with us over the last year- it truly means so much that you’re here. I have a feeling that 2019 will be the most exciting yet for us! I’m excited to share all of the reno content with you all- from the planning to the dirty work to the reveal!

Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in St. Paul, MN. When I'm not designing or renovating homes, you can find me working as a pediatric ICU RN, snuggling my dog or cat, skiing in CO, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio.

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