I have to be honest. I’m on the side that is glad to see the end of 2016. It was not my favourite year.
But there were some bright points. And before I look too far ahead into 2017, I want to take a look back at my Home Goals 2016.
I really enjoy laying these goals out at the start of every year. And I find them very helpful throughout the year to keep me on track.
This year was kind of a mix. We accomplished a lot, and I am really happy with what I can cross off the list. However, some little finishing details continue to hang around, and I couldn’t summon the motivation to finish them.
Here’s my review.
Start to plan for the big reno
I started last year by sharing some of the floorplans that we’ve been playing around with for our long term vision for this house. Through that process, I think we landed on a plan that will work best for us.
We also met with a contractor, got his input on the plans and got some very rough numbers from him about how much things will cost.
We also realized that we can easily break our plans–and our budget–down into several phases. I like knowing that we don’t have to do everything and spend all the money all at once.
The big reno, even just phase one, is likely still a little ways away, but it seems more real now that we have some drawings and numbers.
You know I love crossing a whole room off my list, and the guest room has been one of my favourite projects so far.
A few family members visited us in 2016, and they all liked it too. My one nephew said it was like a bed and breakfast–the kid knows how to make his aunt happy.
This is a project where one niggly finishing detail is still hanging around. I stripped the paint off the old metal bedframe way back in the summer, but I never repainted it. So this will have to go on the list for 2017.
Finish the basement
The basement was our very first project when we moved to the farm, but four years later I still had some niggly finishing details hanging around. The biggest detail was Matt’s bathroom, which is alllll done–and so, so pretty.
The basement ended up being the focus of an unexpected reno this year when we had to waterproof the foundation in a few areas. It was tough to redo already redone areas. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we don’t have any water seep in this spring.
While I had planned to focus on just a few small things, after redrywalling the areas that were waterproofed, I also built a new closet in the laundry room. Closets were a theme of the basement. We added a tonne of new shelves to the cold cellar and built shelves in the closet under the stairs. These areas have given us a lot of extra storage. It was great to dig out the Christmas decorations without digging through a pile of boxes first.
So there was some good productivity.
But on the niggly details front, I continue to struggle with art to finish off the basement. I know what I want and I even have frames. I just haven’t taken the time to find the pieces I’m looking for. I did make 16 personalized Scrabble tiles for the pingpong room. Having each of our family member’s initials is a touch that I really like. The rest of the art will come in 2017. I promise!
I didn’t buy a whole lot of new furniture this year, but what I did has been on the list for a loooong time.
Finding a third matching cabinet for the dining room was definitely the thrifting score of the year. I think it will be hard to top that one.
A close second, though, is finding a china cabinet for my office. I’ve been looking for a pretty specific piece for a long time. This hunt was a lesson in persistence and the importance of carrying furniture measurements with you everywhere.
The two other pieces of furniture on my list for 2016–making a new coffee table for the living room and reupholstering a slipper chair for my office–will carry into 2017.
The garden was a huge project this year. We invested a lot of time in it, and we saw the results.
In fact, everything that I wanted to do on my original Home Goals 2016 list, save for planting rhubarb, we did.
2016 was about a lot of the infrastructure for the garden. We finally hung the gate, put in curbs around the outside edge, built raised beds, built trellises for raspberries, tomatoes and squash, planted some perennials like grapes and asparagus, tried our first cover crop of winter rye, experimented with a deep mulch of straw, and last but absolutely not least ran a waterline out to the garden.
This year’s harvest was again fabulous. I feel like we’re starting to settle into our gardening groove.
And thanks to all of the work that we did in 2016, I feel like 2017 will get off to a much faster start and we can focus on growing, not building, the garden.
When I look at the farm, I feel like there’s so much that needs to be tidied up. In adding outdoor clean-up to my list last year, I knew I was going to have to pick a spot.
However, when I reflect on the last year, I realize that we actually ended up doing better than just one single spot. We cleaned up a scrap lumber pile behind the barn and another big one at the edge of our centre field. We picked up rocks, so I’m able to mow along the north side of the house, although I would still like to add some more topsoil and pick up a couple of patio slabs.
And the biggest area is the one pictured above on the south side of the garden, which was cleared for the first time this year–a controlled burn is the way to go–and then mowed by Matt all year.
There’s still a lot more clean-up to go, but I have to remind myself that we have a 129-acre property and we have made good progress.
And that’s a good word to sum up 2016 as a whole. Progress.
I feel good about what we accomplished, and, even better, I continue to enjoy the process of making the farm and the house ours.
What were your accomplishments in 2016?