2011 year in review

Well, another year has come and gone and like 2010, we wanted to recap the progress that was made. Compared to 2010, last year was not quite as epic in the remodel department. Even though we didn’t get as much done as we originally planned (c’mon, when does that ever happen?), we’re feeling pretty good about what we did accomplish. 2011 was also all about striking a balance between renovation projects and having a life outside our house. It’s not always an easy goal to reach, but after 5 years in our house it’s an important one. 


We spent the first couple months of 2011 finishing up projects from the year before. In January, Kyle took a welding class, bought some equipment, built this and then built this:

Not bad for his first real project, huh? Yes, my husband is some kind of amazing bad ass who is always surprising me with what he can do.


In February, we started focusing on the interior sliding doors. Originally the doors were going to be welded steel frames with a painted MDO core, but after mocking up the bathroom door we weren’t happy with how it looked or how much time it took to fabricate. So we opted for paint-grade door slabs instead. For colors, we picked out shades of blue, yellow and teal and ultimately landed on “lakeside cabin” and “thunderbird” for the doors.


This month we finished the basement stairs. We used VG fir for the treads and risers and Kyle designed and fabricated the handrail out of tube steel and fir.


In April we completed the sliding doors! Our bedroom had not had a door for 2.5 years and our bathroom had been doorless for over a year. Privacy can be a real luxury when remodeling.

Although we decided to stick with only two colors for the doors, we found an easy way to incorporate some mustard yellow at our big kitchen window. (We later went a little yellow-crazy with accessories and furniture!)


This month we finally got some art on the walls! This series of wood block photos was taken by our friend Todd and hung in simple IKEA aluminum frames.

We painted and installed carpet in the loft earlier in the year, but we finally turned it into a sleeping nook this month. The bed is an Aerobed that we already owned. The duvet is from West Elm and the night stand is a painted step stool from IKEA. The space certainly came in handy last summer when so many friends and family came to visit.


In March, we laid out our plans for the big outdoor project. The first step was to demolish the concrete driveway apron and sidewalk in our backyard to make way for a new deck.

Kyle used a concrete saw to cut up the old sidewalk that wrapped around the back of our house. We transferred the slabs to our front side yard (using this crazy boulder dolly!) and will eventually use them as pavers for the front yard.

The second half of June was all about deck building! The plan was to finish it before summer started (which is often considered to be July 5th around here).

Well, we got close. =)


In July, we played outside. With temperatures in the low 80’s it was just too hot for manual labor.


In early August, we had a party for Kyle’s 33rd birthday. The deck was technically finished and with killer party lights, no one noticed the mounds of dirt or missing planter boxes. 

It was a great party, but the next morning we were all feeling it.

During the second half of August Kyle fulfilled his dream of renting some heavy machinery for the house. Before we could think about landscaping (or finish out the basement) we needed to add foundation drains to the front half of the house. (Keyword: DIGGING.)

We also added a new member to our family this month! When a friend was trying to find a home for this stray kitten, we just couldn’t say no. So we adopted little Chloe. And then we found she was actually a he and quickly renamed him Felix. It was iffy at first, but Bailey and Felix soon became BFFs.


The drainage project dragged into September (and October), thanks to a few setbacks with machinery and hardpan soil. But we trudged through. Begrudgingly. 

We did manage to get away for a long weekend to Eastern Washington to celebrate my 31st birthday. Wine tasting, spa treatments and a little R&R was just what we needed.

With the rainy season looming, we also set aside an afternoon to put the Penofin finish on the new deck. So shiny, so pretty.


In October we finally buttoned up the drainage and crossed our fingers that our basement would stay dry all winter (so far, so good!). We ran out of time to install (or even think about) landscaping, so that’s on the agenda again for this year.

Kyle also built this ipe “bridge” to connect the stoop to our existing concrete steps.

During this month we also refinanced our mortgage, which meant prepping for another appraisal. To play it safe, we added an IKEA wardrobe and bed to the flex room to assure the appraiser that our home was now a 2-bedroom, 1-bath.

At the end of the month Kyle squeezed in one more project – a steel planter box for the north side of the deck. We still need to fabricate two additional boxes that will go on the south side, but that’s a project for next year. Which is now this year. AHH!


As the gray permacloud rolled in, we turned our attention this month to something more uplifting – furniture!

We scored six vintage Eames fiberglass shells and added reproduction dowel bases that we found right here in Seattle! Shell chairs had been on our wish list for years and we were excited to finally pull the trigger.

The new chairs inspired a bit of furniture rearranging and we soon discovered that our BoConcept coffee table actually works a lot better in the Flex/TV room. To fill the void, we designed this table that can transform from end table to coffee table in about 10 seconds flat.

In a moment of furniture weakness, we also decided to finally ordered that LCW that we’d been pining over since our days in architecture school. (Thank goodness Herman Miller has a generous architect discount!)

At the end of the month we celebrated Bailey’s 6th birthday!


December turned out to be a very busy month. First we spent about 4 days down in Phoenix at the Hanley Wood Reinvention conference where we saw lots of modern homes (with so much glazing!), Taliesin West and the Will Bruder library. We also spent a lot of time in the Biltmore Hotel (where the conference was held), listening to various speakers and talking with other residential architects from all over the country.

When we got back from Phoenix, the holiday season was in full swing and we were jumping from one event to the next, while trying to cram in some shopping and baking in between.

For Christmas, we flew back to Oklahoma to spend some time with our families. We had a great time, but I’ve decided that six plane rides in one month is too much! (Also, could someone please hook a girl up with a direct flight from Seattle to Tulsa?)

So that was 2011! And what’s in store for 2012? Lots! (By the way, I love it when relatives and friends ask if we’re happy to be done with the house. Done? Ha! Never…) We’ll do another post about our project list for this year, but let’s just say that the basement o’ shame is first in line.


9 Responses to “2011 year in review”

  1. Heidi says:

    Nice to see the updates (of Bailey). It’s always inspiring to read your posts (that include Bailey). You guys rock (especially Bailey).

    Happy New Year! (to Bailey)

  2. ModFruGal says:

    Great roundup…quite an accomplished year….Happy New Year!

  3. benjamin dockter says:

    I look forward to your posts so I can live vicariously through you guys. I love all the work that you’ve done on your house and can’t wait to see what you’ll do next. I’m right at the beginning of my never ending quest to make our old house better. Being a young architect and DIY’er it’s a real inspiration to see all the effort and success you’ve had in your home. Keep up the good work!

  4. jackie p. says:

    Amazing and truly inspiring. I love reading your blog – onward to 2012!

  5. Monica says:

    Considering that you did not get as much done as planned, you got a lot done. Looking forward to your projects. Happy New Year!

  6. Jenna says:

    Hey Lauren and Kyle! I came across your blog from Dana’s post about the ALT sumit on House Tweaking. Love, love, love your home!! I’ve just bought a 70s bungalow and want to paint it dark and I was going to pick a white door but now seeing your gorgeous front door, I might just change my mind and get an oak one! Love your garden too, I have lots of concrete and had no idea what to do with it – seeing how you removed a lot of your slabs has given me some ideas – thank you! :o) Jenna

  7. Damon says:

    You have done amazing work! Keep it up. 🙂

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