A Recap of 2019 & a Look Ahead at 2020: Our Home Projects

2019 was a bit of a blur… between weddings (we had 6!), traveling, weekends at the lake, work, launching my design business, and oh yeah… house projects, we kept busy! We will be the first to admit that we took a step back in 2019 and made time for LIFE. We said YES to more things than we’ve said yes to in probably the last 3 years. We put house projects on the back burner, and that’s ok!

That being said, we DID find time to accomplish quite a bit in 2019. Below, I’ll recap what we finished, and then outline what we hope to accomplish this year in 2020.

2019 Project Recap:

  • We demo’d the basement! This was a weekend-long hardcore demo session, and together with my parents, we ripped out everything in our 1950’s basement. Wood paneling (SO.MUCH.PANELING), old doors, old light fixtures and doors, a built-in bar, and a built-in charcoal grill (yep, you read that right!).
Sima Spaces: 1950's Basement Demo BEFORE
Before demo: yes, that is a built-in charcoal grill in a basement surrounded by wood paneling… YIKES
Sima Spaces: 1950's Basement Demo AFTER
After demo: a (mostly) blank slate!
  • After basement demo, the asbestos tile flooring and ceiling panels were abated. Josh works for an environmental company and knows how to do it, so he was able to save us quite a bit by doing it himself.
  • We had egress windows and drain tile installed in the spring. We hired that project out, and although it wasn’t cheap, we were very happy with the results and the pros were able to finish the job in just 3 days (it probably would’ve taken us 3 months).
Sima Spaces: Egress Window Installation
  • We cleaned out the garage. I know this doesn’t seem impressive to probably anyone, but our garage has been used for storage and as a workshop for the first 3 years of us living here. I think I’d parked my car in the garage maybe 3 times in that 3 years! After some selling, donating, and throwing out of things, I am now able to park in the garage every day, which comes in handy during the snowy MN winter.
Sima Spaces Master Bedroom Makeover
  • I updated the landscaping! I added a brick border of perennials to each side of the fence, and removed and replaced some of the landscaping in the front yard as well.
Sima Spaces landscaping, front yard
  • We built our back patio! This was perhaps the biggest project we did this year, and involved laying a paver patio, building a privacy fence and pergola, firepit area, built-in bench and planters, custom patio table, and furnished and decorated the whole thing. Josh also built new steps for our back door, and we ordered custom railings for them (coming in early 2020). We enjoyed sunny mornings and afternoons on the patio, and loved having bonfires and grilling out in the evenings.
Sima Spaces back patio reveal
  • We painted the garage and spraypainted the gutters and fascia. Our garage was a faded yellow, the gutters were brown, and the fascia was a stained white. We sprayed a bright white paint over it all, and it looks so fresh and updated now.
Spray painted aluminum gutters and fascia: Sima Spaces
The gutters and fascia blend in to the fresh white coat of snow we got!
  • We planned out the basement design, including the layout, electrical plan, plumbing, and builtins. I started brainstorming ideas for the finishes and fixtures, including the bathroom design. We also pulled permits for the structural work, plumbing, and electrical work.
  • We got a little over half of the basement framed in, including exterior walls and one bedroom. We had to have the main support beam reframed and recessed because it hung below 6’4″, which is the height required in order for any space to be considered “habitable” (i.e. a legal bedroom) in a basement per our county codes. We also hired that project out, since it was such a big job.
Framing the basement: Sima Spaces
A peek at one of the bedrooms in the basement!

Last but not least (and not related to our home projects), I decided to take the leap and create my own design business! After having people reach out for design help over Instagram (and in real life!) for the past few years, I decided to take my love for design more seriously and start offering services to people. I offer consultations, e-design, a la carte services, and full service design, and I have loved my experiences so far. It’s such an honor to be included in the design of someone’s home- their safe space!- and create spaces that are beautiful, inspiring, and enjoyable. I am so excited to continue this work in 2020 and take on more projects (which could be yours- email me if you’re interested!).


What’s planned for 2020?

This year, we only have a couple goals, but they’re both BIG.

  1. Finish the basement! As many of you are aware, this is actually a massive job and includes adding two bedrooms, a living room (with builtin fireplace and dry bar), laundry room, and full bathroom, as well as finishing the stairs. We have this on a 6 month goal list and are hoping to be totally done by early summer. You’ll see a lot more posts about our plans and progress coming up!
  2. Sell our house! We don’t have a timeline set in stone yet, but it will obviously have to wait until the basement is finished. Yes, we will (very likely) buy another fixer-upper, and no, we don’t know where it will be just yet! Since it would be another live-in flip, we don’t have strict location requirements- we’ll probably go wherever the money is right and the profit potential is highest.

It’s always fun to look back at the goals I had created for the previous year… if you’re curious, here’s my 2018 recap and 2019 goal list. Looking at it, we did accomplish quite a bit, even though it wasn’t everything we wanted. I’d call it a successful year overall and I can’t wait to see where 2020 takes us! Thanks for being along for the ride!

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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